Greetings  Auction  Friends and Fellow Collectors,

We finished our best Fall Auction ever this past October. It was a huge success and everyone who participated had a great time.  Headlining the auction was the lifetime collection of Robert and Harriett Potter – a vast accumulation of firefighting memorabilia and other items, spanning 50-plus years; Part II of the outstanding lifetime pedal car and toy collection of Ed and Christy Ramsey; Session 5 of a great tobacco and cigar tin collection; and other items culled from estates and collections nationwide In addition to these collections we had the privilege of selling the Mechanical Music Machine collection of  Frank and Betty Rayle.


One of the headliners was a rare and desirable 1905 Wurlitzer Style 17 Piano Orchestra in excellent working condition soared to $120,000, and an equally rare early 1800s Ephraim Thayer hand-drawn, hand-operated fire pump with tied to Paul Revere realized $110,000. The  three-day sale was held on Oct. 5-7 at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Wurlitzer PianOrchestra (serial #10306) featured viola-cello, pipes, piano, mandolin, cymbal bass drum, snare drum, display, glockenspiel and 37 pipes, all housed in a monumental and handsome display cabinet measuring 94 inches tall by 69 inches wide by 34 inches deep. The PianOrchestra plays Style #17 rolls and came with about 40 rolls. It was the sale’s top lot.

Close behind, however, was the Ephtaim Thayer hand tub, named for its maker, who was an apprentice to Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere (whose own legacy at the Boston Fire Department was a result of his profession as a craftsman and coppersmith). Thayer went on to become a prominent fire apparatus builder in his own right. The hand tub sold was in fine shape.

IMG_1108In all, nearly 2,000 items came up for bid, with only 15 not selling because they failed to meet the reserve. “It was the best fall auction we’ve ever had,”    We had crowds of over 200 people each day. Over 1,500 people registered to bid online (through and More than 400 phone bids and over 1,000 fax’d left bids were also recorded. By the time the final gavel came down, the auction had grossed right around $2 million.

It was a very strong sale, when you take into account the fact that this is an election year and people are still very much concerned about the economy. But it didn’t seem to affect us at all. Serious collectors will turn out regardless of the economy.

Following are additional highlights from the auction…A circa-1880s Samuel Robb cigar store Indian figure, 78 inches tall (including the base) and boasting excellent color and patina, gaveled for $77,000. The figure had early professional repaint. Also, a tobacco and cigar store back bar and counter having a marble base with curved glass corner and beveled mirror, 120 inches long, in very good original condition, made $55,000.

Two lots posted identical prices of $15,400. One was a rare Campbell’s Soup porcelain thermometer, possibly the only one in existence, 7 ¼ inches by 12 ½ inches, in good condition except for some minor paint loss. The other was a dolphin cigar lighter with sterling silver trim and horn body. The piece was purchased from a museum and was in excellent all-original shape.

A 1925 American National Packard coupe kids’ pedal car, 57 inches long, one of only three made and in excellent condition, sped off for $11,865; a Pairpoint Rose Puffy boudoir lamp with 13 inch by 22 inch shade, in excellent condition, lit up the room for $11,300; a Beard Mfg. Co. salesman’s sample windmill (Model “M,” Angola, Ind.), 19 ½ inches tall, brought $10,200; and a Polar Bear tobacco tin store bin (the rare version with the word “SCRAP” on it) hit $4,200.

Our big Spring, 2013 auction will be held April 12-14, 2013, at the same place in Ann Arbor. Featured will be the lifetime, 40-year collection of Bill and Kathie Gasperino, Part II of the Robert and Harriet Potter Firefighting Collection and Part III of the Ed and Christy Ramsey Pedal Car and Toy Collection Also offered will be quality merchandise from over 100 consignors. It promises to be a diverse sale.

We are having a great time building our business and look forward to traveling for the next 3 months picking up items for the Spring Auction.

Our Spring Auction will be held on  April 12, 13 & 14, 201. Check out website for updates and  a sneak preview of our auction items.We will be gradually adding items so check back frequently!

See you in the Spring,

Mike and Lori Eckles