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SPECTACULAR VENDING AUCTION
It was called the Spectacular Vending Antique Advertising Auction. The auctioneer was James Julia Inc. With over 1100 lots, it rivaled the 1994 Sotherby's Dr. Smith Auction.
Instead of arcade machines, this auction featured 500 vending machines, primarily gumballs and peanut machines. There were also 200 antique advertising lots, 50 slot machines, and 60 pinballs (primarily from the 1930s). There were only 30 trade stimulators, half a dozen jukeboxes and just a few arcade machines. The other unique items included 18 music boxes, nickelodeons, orchestrions, fair ground organs and 40 Baranger motion figures.
The highlight of the auction was the Fey Liberty Bell Slot Machine, the first automatic cash payout three reel slot machine. Only three are known to exist. The estimated value was projected at $100,000 to $200,000. It sold for $153,000. The other auction highlight was a Gabel merchant peanut machine. It sold for $104,500, the highest price ever paid for a vending machine.
As with all auctions, many of the machines were missing parts or not fully working. It was critical to open the back of the machine and check it out very carefully. A low auction price frequently represents a machine with some problems.
Selected Auction Results
Below are some of the prices realized at the auction. (Most of the items listed below can be found in Bill Enes' book Silent Salesman Too.)
First the rare machines.
Buffalo Gum Vendor - $1,760
Caille Sunburst - $7,700
Freeport Twins - $33,000
Mills Little Perfection - $7,700
Red Star Peanut - $19,250
Huylers Chocolate, St. Nicholas
Pepsin Gum - $35,300
Some of the more common vending items:
Hilo Climax - $1,760
Advance Match (glass dome) - $935
Columbus Model A - $330
Pulver Cop/Robber, green - $935
Smilin Sam from Alabam - $3,850
Bulls Head Perfume - $3,685
Here are some slot machine prices.
Groetchen Columbia - $440
Misc Slots, not working - $1200-1500
Watling Treasury - $5220
Little Duke w. side vendor - $2,200
Bakers Races - $5,500
Caille Roulette Floor Model - $56,100
1909 Mills Liberty Bell - $6,875
Bally Reliance Dice Slot - $3,500
Mills Dewey Twins - $24,750
Gabel Leader color wheel slot - $8,250
Vest Pockets - $440 - $715
Wurlitzer Model 750 - $6,875
Wurlitzer Model 1100 - $3,850
Cardinal 5 reel - $525
Lion Puritan Baby Vendor - $550
Puritan Confection Vendor - $770
Other Coin Op:
Chicago Coin Basketball Champ arcade machine - $2,970
World's Fair Jigsaw Pinball - $1,980
1934 Rockola World Series Pinball (repainted/repaired) - $1,375
Other 1930's pinballs - $220 - $400
1896 Coca Cola Calendar - $38,500
Howels Orange Julip Dispenser - $2,470
By the way, all of the above prices include the 10% buyers premium, but does not include the sales tax or shipping/transportation costs.
Additional information on current pricing can be found in a number books that are available from the
Copyright: 1996 Ken Durham.
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