Stephenson’s July 29 auction titled Fab ‘50s and More features vintage advertising, soda fountain, pop culture and entertainment memorabilia
Highlights: Dunhill soda fountain, Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man pinball, Seeburg jukebox, railroadiana including antique ticket booth; early radios, clocks & phones; boardwalk amusement games
SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – On July 29th, Stephenson’s Auctions will return to the days of sock hops, drive-ins and old gold Chevys as they host a colorful 252-lot auction titled Fab ‘50s and More. The sale features an outstanding single-owner collection of advertising signs and store displays; boardwalk amusement games, vintage clocks and telephones; cash registers, vending machines, railroadiana, a diner double-booth, vibrant Fiestaware, and a Dunhill stainless steel soda fountain and related accessories. The saleroom will be filled with not only colorful sights but also the nostalgic sounds of vintage radios, a Bally Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man pinball machine and other games; and a Seeburg Select-O-Matic jukebox, wall-mount speaker and Wall-o-Matic tabletop music selector.
“This is a single-owner collection that comes to us from a Montgomery County (Philadelphia) estate. The collector had a wonderful eye and was drawn to things that were whimsical, well designed and in very nice condition,” said Cindy Stephenson, owner of Stephenson’s Auction.
Both antique and vintage signage is plentiful in the collection, with one of the most distinctive examples being a circa-1930s optometrist’s or optician’s hanging neon trade sign. A riveting pair of octagonal eyeglasses illuminates against a background of large, painted eyes on a red, carved wood frontispiece. Made by Neon Products Inc., it measures 23½ inches wide by 9¾ inches high by 7 inches deep and is in working condition. The pre-sale estimate for this “eye-catching” sign is $2,000-$4,000.
Neon fans will also want to check the time on a circa-1950s pink and green round neon clock made by Electric Neon Clock Co., Cleveland. It measures 26 inches in diameter, has a soft, appealing glow and will be offered with a $800-$1,000 estimate.
Soda pop offerings are led by two dozen lots of Coca-Cola items, including a wide variety of signs, trays and serving items, crates, and other Coke-logo’d collectibles, such as a Stromberg-Carlson tabletop radio, $200-$300; an attractive mid-century wall clock, $100-$200; a picnic cooler, $100-$150; and a thermometer shaped like a Coke bottle, $100-$150. A 1950s Vendorlator Coca-Cola 10-cent coin-operated bottle-vending machine comes with its original key and is ready to dispense frosty-cold soft drinks. It is estimated at $500-$700.
Always coveted by Coke collectors, a blue-uniformed standing police officer/crossing guard holds a sign that says “SLOW School Zone” and stands on a “Drink Coca-Cola” metal disc base. Made of steel and measuring 69 inches in height, this impressive advertising collectible from the 1950s is expected to make $1,500-$2,500 at auction.
Things always go better with Coke, but sometimes on a hot summer’s day a mug of Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer really hits the spot. That’s when it pays to have your own barrel-shaped Dad’s soda fountain dispenser like the one in Stephenson’s sale. The circa-1930s production retains its original spigot and is emblazoned with two tin signs that read: “Have a Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer…It’s Delicious.” Standing 28 inches tall by 14 inches wide, it could tap a winning bid in the $400-$600 range.
The ultimate serving station, a Dunhill stainless steel soda fountain has built-in beverage dispensers, flip-top deep storage bins and a row of lidded storage containers of the type that might hold sundae toppings, like nuts or cherries. This handsome mid-20th-century unit aims for a winning bid in the $500-$1,000 range.
Bidders can get ready to rock with tunes from a great-looking circa-1950s Seeburg Select-O-Matic 100 High Fidelity Model HF 100R jukebox. Through its wide, clear-glass façade, viewers can observe the automatic mechanism playing 45rpm records, or “singles.” It plays one tune for a dime and three tunes for a quarter. In working order, complete with its original manual and keys, it will be offered with a $1,000-$2,000 estimate. Two other Seeburg lots are worthy of mention: a circa 1949-1954 wall-mount, teardrop-form speaker, $100-$200; and a Wall-O-Matic 100 wall-mount jukebox selector of a type seen in restaurants in the 1950s. Users can flip through pages visible through glass to view song selections, then choose one play for a nickel or two for a dime. Estimate: $200-$300
More than two dozen vintage radios display a rainbow of colors and exotic designs. Brands represented include Fada, Crosley, Stromberg-Carlson, Emerson, Silvertone, Bendix and many more. The majority have $100-$200 estimates, but a few are pricier, such as a circa-1946 General Television and Radio Corp., Model 5A5, which is made of black Bakelite adorned with a neon-green horizontal grille and red Art Deco-style tuner dial. Estimate: $300-$500
A game room or man cave isn’t complete without a vintage pinball machine, like the circa-1982 Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man model entered with a pre-sale estimate of $600-$1,000. This beautiful example of a classic arcade game was reconditioned by TNT Amusements in 2009. It comes with its original keys and a 1982 schematics manual.
If that doesn’t get your motor running, perhaps a Gilbarco Inc., fantasy gas pump in Harley-Davidson livery will. The pump itself is a U.S.A. original to which were added a reproduction globe and porcelain signs with a Harley-Davidson theme. Made around the first decade of this century, it stands 75 inches high and is estimated at $600-$900.
A broad selection of railroadiana incorporates train station signs, crossing signs and signals, conductor caps, bronze plaques, dining-car china and more. Special highlights include an antique double-seat shoeshine stand, $1,000-$2,000; and an antique railroad station ticket booth. Made of wood with glass-paneled doors and windows, it is typical of those that might have been seen at train stations in the early 1900s. Its pre-sale estimate is $500-$1,000.
Additional categories of interest include a Machine Age red Naugahyde and tubular chrome settee, $150-$250, and chairs, $100-$150; a contemporary Vitro Seating Products retro-style diner booth with a Formica/chrome table and two red Naugahyde-upholstered booths, $500-$1,000; Yellow Cab collectibles, store display jars and cases for snack foods, eyeglasses and sunglasses; scales, antique kitchenwares, gumball machines, games of skill, trade stimulators, thermometers, barber shop items, and more than one dozen early telephones.
Stephenson’s Friday, July 29, 2022 Fab ‘50s and More auction will be held live at the company’s gallery, starting at 2 p.m. ET. Remote bidders may participate by phone, live online through LiveAuctioneers or by leaving an absentee bid. Goods may be inspected at the gallery on auction day from 12 noon till 2 p.m. Stephenson’s Auctioneers’ gallery is located at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton (Bucks County, metro Philadelphia), PA 18966.
For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail [email protected]. Visit Stephenson’s Auctioneers online at www.stephensonsauction.com. View the auction catalog online at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.