Automobilia & Collectibles From The Francis E. Tarzian Estate Go Up For Bid At Turner Auctions + Appraisals

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Over 200 Lots from a Passionate Collector To be Sold on Saturday, July 30, 2022

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 15, 2022 – Turner Auctions + Appraisals is pleased to present Automobilia & Collectibles from the Estate of Francis E. Tarzian, Sr., on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at 10:30 am PDT. Mr. Tarzian was a passionate collector of antique automobiles and related items, whose restoration and machinist skills garnered numerous awards. With over 200 lots, this auction features a wide and eclectic array of automotive items, virtually all vintage and mostly antique, as well as some other collectibles from the early 20th-century era.

Snake Head with tongue, 5 to 6 foot tapering flexible tube, brackets, and squeeze bulb. Squeeze bulb has tear at base and tube from squeeze bulb is not connected to flexible tube fitting. Nameplate is present but glue has come loose. Estimate $800-$1,200.
Snake Head with tongue, 5 to 6 foot tapering flexible tube, brackets, and squeeze bulb. Squeeze bulb has tear at base and tube from squeeze bulb is not connected to flexible tube fitting. Nameplate is present but glue has come loose. Estimate $800-$1,200.

Among the many items of automobilia are gasoline, pump and truck service signs; license plate toppers; auto and truck badges; horns; auto lights and lamps; lanterns; collectible spark plugs; radiator caps; gauges; speedometers; a Cadillac steering wheel; and antique car parts such as ignition switches, clocks, radios, and more. The sale includes a wide selection of printed matter pertaining to antique vehicles, including books, magazines, maps, instruction manuals, and technical volumes including Automobile Engineering and Machinery’s Encyclopedia. In addition, there are several lots of vehicles’ advertising and images of antique vehicles – all framed. More contemporary items include antique-car-show awards, badges, and ribbons; Shell and Sunoco coin games; and tire ashtrays.

Collectibles include a variety of antique sewing machines, irons, and cast iron toys. Rounding out the sale are miscellaneous tools, unopened consumer products, hip flasks, vacuum tubes, pipes and parts, law enforcement badges, a potato planter and seed sower, kerosene lamps, and wall sconces. Auction highlights include a boa constrictor horn; an antique Edison cylinder, phonographs and parts; and a GE Edison Mazda lamp store display.

Turner Auctions + Appraisals begins its online auction on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at 10:30 am PDT; 

sale items are available for preview and bidding now. The auction will be featured live on multiple platforms:  LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable, Bidsquare, iCollector, and Turner Auctions + Appraisals’ free mobile app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Apps (“Turner Auctions”). All are easily accessed through ‘Upcoming Auctions’ at the company’s website:

About Francis E. Tarzian, Sr.

Francis Tarzian was born in 1929 and raised in New Jersey. His father, born en route while his grandmother was emigrating to America, was a stonemason who was adamant that his son Francis follow in his career footsteps. Young Francis, however, had other ideas: at age 17 – and with his mother’s permission – he ran away to join the U.S. Navy for several years. There he pursued his trade of choice, becoming a master machinist, and serving in the Korean War on the escort carrier USS Sicily.

In 1955, Francis married Vennetta Harding, then began their family of five children: Francis Jr., Rebecca, Nathan, Lydia, and Gregory. In 1969, the family moved to Los Altos in Northern California. During that time, Mr. Tarzian worked for NASA’s Ames Research Center on the Polaris missile project. One noteworthy career achievement was his development of the fittings that connect hoses to the space suits of astronauts.

While Mr. Tarzian had a lifelong fascination with all things mechanical, his interest in restoring cars began in 1953 when he purchased a 1921 Ford Model T Center Door Sedan, recovered from a New Jersey barn. This first restoration project, one that Vennetta participated in as the young couple was courting, was completed in the mid-1950s. It was also in 1953 that Mr. Tarzian joined the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), where he became the founding member and first president of the Foothills (CA) Region. Today the AACA organization boasts over 55,000 members and 350 regional chapters.

Each of the restoration projects lasted about three to five years. Mr. Tarzian was known for the exceptional quality of his restorations and the parts he produced, not only for his vehicles, but for those of other collectors. Because of his reputation, he was often welcomed into car museums, where he was allowed to take precise measurements of a part so he could machine and recreate it. With the exception of one second-place Grand National award in 1988 (of a vehicle restored in 1967), Mr. Tarzian’s vehicles were consistently awarded perfect scores of 100 points. According to his daughter, Rebecca Ross, the result of all the attention, care and love were exquisitely restored vehicles that she says were “a piece of jewelry you drive.” In January 2021, four of Mr. Tarzian’s vehicles – a 1907 Schacht Runabout (High Wheeler), 1912 Ford Model T Torpedo, 1919 White Model 15, 3/4-Ton Stake Side Truck, and 1921 Ford Model T Center Door Sedan – were offered by Turner Auctions + Appraisals and sold to avid collectors.

It’s no surprise that a man who appreciated cars would have other mechanical interests as well – and Mr. Tarzian did. He had numerous mini-collections of automobilia, such as spark plugs, radiator caps and other car-related ephemera. Another interest were motorcycles: with his BMW motorcycle, he was a member of “The-Thousand-And-One-Club” – traveling 1000 miles in just 24 hours! He also went cross-country and back in three weeks. 

Sadly, Mr. Tarzian died suddenly in 1997. Until recently, the family had chosen to keep his collection intact. However, with Mrs. Tarzian’s passing in 2020, the Tarzian children decided it was time to let others enjoy their father’s beloved collection of meticulously restored antique vehicles, automobilia, and collectibles.

Here is information on the upcoming sale (see auction details in the online catalog):  

Lot 57:  Brass Boa Constrictor Early Automotive Horn. Snake Head with tongue, 5 to 6 foot tapering flexible tube, brackets, and squeeze bulb. Squeeze bulb has tear at base and tube from squeeze bulb is not connected to flexible tube fitting. Nameplate is present but glue has come loose. Estimate $800-$1,200. 

Lot 181:  GE Edison Mazda Lamp Store Display and Antique Light Bulbs. Holds 12 lamps to demonstrate different bulb types. Each socket is individually switched. Made of lithographed sheet metal. Lithography has fading in some areas. Light Bulbs: Approximately 4 to 5 inches high (see online catalog for light bulb details). Estimate $300-$500. 

Lot 2:  Red Crown Gasoline Sign. Approximately 30 inches in diameter. Rust and “bullet” damage. Estimate $200-$300. 

Lot 71:  Pair of Antique Brass Automobile Lights by C T Ham Mfg Co. Last Patent Date: August 16, 1998. These appear to be a matched pair with left and right mounting provisions. Both have clear large lenses and small red lenses at the rear. Estimate $200-$400. 

Lot 100:  Marmon Radiator Cap by the Moto-Meter Company. Front glass says “MARMON / The Foremost Fine Car.” Rear glass provides view of the interior thermometer indicator. Base with the side rods has image of Statue of Liberty” head with the word “LIBERTY” below. Lots of wear from use. Estimate $100-$150. 

Lot 63:  Klaxon Horn by the Lovell-McConnell Manufacturing Company. Serial Number 22587. Brass has some dents but has been polished to a shine. Estimate $100-$200. 

Lot 8:  Twelve Sheet Metal License Plate Toppers. 1. “Pinewood Hotel / Virginia Beach, VA”. Used, dirty. 2. “Thomaston / Silvertown / East Thomaston / Every Citizen a Booster / Robert E. Lee Institute” Used, dirty. 3. “Penna. / Beaver Falls”. Used, dirty. 4. “the Peanut Capital / of Oklahoma / Bristow”. Used. 5. “No Third Term / We Want Wilkie”. Used, rust, dirty. 6. “Texsun / America’s Sweetest”. Used, dirty. 7. “Dance Centennial Swim / Terrace”. Used, dirty. 8. “Wildwood Park / Dayville, Conn.” Used, dirty. 9. “Albrecht-Burke Inc. / Packard / St. Louis” Used, rust, dirty. 10. “Slow Down and Live / Simmond’s Hatchery / Kerkhoven, Minn. / Home of Quality Name Brand Chicks”. Used, dirty. 11. “Famous Wreck / Rebuilders / “Matt & Dalton” / Christopher, Illinois”. Used, dirty. 12. One bolt mount. “Will Rogers Memorial / Claremore, Okla.” Used, dirty. Estimate $80-$120. 

Lot 81:  Neverout No. 60 Antique Brass Taillight by Rose M’F’G. Co, Philadelphia. Estimate $200-$400. 

Lot 157:  Wilcox & Gibbs Manual Sewing Machine. Serial # A 527022. Some gold decoration worn off. Dusty. Estimate $100-$200. 

Lot 142: Edison Cylinder Player Serial Number S286415. With Band Rain-in-the-face medley 9817 cylinder Victor Talking Machine serial number VV-XIV 215369 Internal mechanism for a disc player – rusty. Four assorted winding crank handles. Three speaker cones. The Perfection Reproducer – Mfg. by New England Talking Machine Co. Boston, Mass. Reproducer – Exhibition Victor Talking Mach. Co. Camden, N.J. Reproducer with no name. Estimate $100-$200. 

Lot 87:  Antique Copper and Brass Light, Labeled Phoenix / International Auto Supply Company / New York London Paris. Approximately 8 inches in diameter with brass mounting yoke and wood handle. Estimate $100-$200. 

Lot 49:  Seven-Volume Set “Machinery’s Encyclopedia” (C) 1917 by the Industrial Press, New York. A work of reference covering practical mathematics and mechanics, machine design, machine construction and operation, electrical, gas, hydraulic, and steam power machinery, metallurgy, and kindred subjects in the engineering field. First Printing, Ten Thousand. Volume I: Abbreviations – Carbon Steel. 557 Pages. Volume II: Carborundum – Electric Lighting. 554 Pages. Volume III: Electric Machinery Operation – Herringbone Gears. 553 Pages. Volume IV: High-speed Steel – Pattern Making. 551 Pages. Volume V: Pearlite – Steadyrest. 553 Pages. Volume VI: Steam Engines – Zisium. 568 Pages. Volume VII: Index and Guide to Systematic Reading. 222 Pages. All are shelf worn. Volume VII has paint spatters on the covers. Estimate $60-$80. 

Lot 137:  Antique Wood Case Radio: 4 Tube Design. No manufacturer labeling. 2 knobs labeled Kilograd. Plastic faceplate mounting screwed holes are broken at right side. Dirty. Estimate $100-$200.  

Lot 150:  Nine Cast Iron Toy Vehicles and a Road Sign Road Sign, about 4 inches tall. 2 Automobiles – about 3 to 5 inches long; 4 Trucks – about 3 to 5 inches long; 2 Pieces of Construction Equipment about 4 inches long; Motorized Tricycle about 3 inches long. All worn from use. Estimate $50-$70.



Based in South San Francisco, Turner Auctions + Appraisals was founded by Stephen Turner to expand and complement the capabilities of Stephen G. Turner Associates, an auction and appraisal consulting firm founded in 2004. Turner Auctions + Appraisals presents online auctions in diverse categories of personal property ( Among them are Fine Arts, Decorative Arts, Asian Arts, Toys, Jewelry, Militaria, Ethnic Arts and others.  The company offers a range of auction and appraisal services for buyers, sellers and collectors.  Online auctions are held several times a month.  Working with leading live and online auction houses on the West Coast since 1991, Turner is a professional appraiser of personal property and seasoned auctioneer.  His areas of expertise include fine art, decorative arts, antiques & residential contents.  The company welcomes consignments and appraisals.

For more information about the company, please contact:

Stephen Turner, President, Turner Auctions + Appraisals, 461 Littlefield Avenue, South San Francisco, CA 94080

415-964-5250 / [email protected] /

For media inquiries or photos, please contact:Jill Turner, Rodin & Shelley Associates / [email protected]

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