|By Carole Deutsch
CICERO, N.Y. — The United Auctions & Antique Purchasing of Olean, N.Y. will offer the final Robert and Harriet Potter Collection in a two-day on-site auction at the family home on June 21-22. The vast collection has been sold in segments since their deaths in 2004 and 2006.
The Potters were lifetime collectors who, during the course of 60 years, amassed a large collection of firefighting memorabilia. Their joint interest in fire artifacts was such an important part of their lives that their tombstone is marked with an elaborate etching of a horse-drawn fire engine racing to the scene of a blaze.
Approximately 400 single lots will be sold each day with many more items being sold in group bulk. A Friday evening fried chicken barbeque, in which friends and collectors are invited, will be sponsored by the Cicero Fire Department.
While the Potters are best known for their firefighting artifacts, they also had many items from other genres, including a collection of rare petroloiania and advertising items, county store and primitives, as well as classic cars and motorcycles, all of which will be represented in-depth at the United Auctions sale.
The Friday session will offer tractors, tools, building material, household items, and a variety of antiques from the Potter estate. Approximately 75 lots of antiques include early pine and Victorian furniture, sterling silver, and a host of country collectibles and vintage general store merchandise.
Items of special interest are represented by a scrimshaw-carved flask and a group of antique country store display and apothecary cabinets that were used for many years to showcase the Potter’s museum collection. A selection of framed Chandler prints and several early oil paintings are also part of this diverse auction.
Saturday’s session will feature the sale of all the remaining fire nostalgia and memorabilia, down to the last item. The Potter collection was so comprehensive that there are still many interesting and appealing items to be found.
“We found any number of surprises stored away in boxes that have been long forgotten,” said Gregory K. Carter, owner and auctioneer of The United Auctions. “In addition, some unique items the Potter Family has finally decided to part with will be of keen interest to any serious collector.”
Key items include two heavy upright cast iron fire boxes with the original pedestals and a fire siren from the early years of the Cicero Fire Department No. 1.
Among a large group of brass and copper fire extinguishers and numerous glass fire grenades is an unusual “Stourbridge Engine No. 2” 4-quart sprinkler with a brass head, a “Childs” brass fire extinguisher, and a selection of brass Indian backpack extinguishers.
Vintage cast fire hydrants are from Kennedy, Mathews, and several earlier makers. A cast bell mount is from a 1922 LeFrance fire truck. Presentational axes, ladders, hoses and nozzles, uniforms, early helmets and badges, ephemera, and every other conceivable fire related item, including a large group of toy fire trucks, can be found at this sale.
The highlight of the Saturday sale will be the final installment of the Potter Petroloiania Collection that will offer a diverse selection of special Socony Mobil Oil items that have never before been offered at a live public market.
Several authentic gas pump globes, a Mobilgas Special with the Pegasus horse and porcelain ring, an early Mobilgas metal ring, a Socony Ethyl metal ring, a 1915-18 Wayne upright gas pump with sliding doors a porcelain globe holder, and a rare DeSoto showroom Hernando bust neon sign are among the plethora of advertisement gas and oil products that comprise the extensive selection.
Classic automobiles as early as 1926 and vintage Harley motorcycles are among both showcase and fixer-uppers that are sure to attract collectors of this genre. Chief among them is a 1936 Packard Super 8 Model 943, which is believed to be one of only 200 ever made.
For more information, visit http://unitedauctionsandantiques.com.