(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) – After skipping its customary live spring sale to conduct a catalog auction, Showtime Auction Services will return this fall to stage a remarkable three day event with the entire collection of Ron Wallace, a dedicated collector for over 30 years and former president of shipping giant UPS.
Mr. Wallace has turned his focus to opening a chain of Celtic Pubs and serving as Captain of the Alpharetta Police department. All of the Pubs are decorated with original antique fixtures and he has found that searching for these fixtures has replaced his desire to continue growing his collection of fine antiques.
In addition to this fabulous collection will be about 1,000 other lots of investment-grade antiques and collectibles from several other prominent collectors. The auction is scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 2-4.
The auction will be held at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Road in Ann Arbor, Mich., the venue of choice for Showtime Auction Services over the past several years. The firm only conducts two sales annually and they must be held somewhere commensurate with the size and importance of the auction. In the case of the Oct. 2-4 sale, no small auction hall would have sufficed.
Ron Wallace himself is a larger-than-life figure, with a 44,000-square-foot home in suburban Atlanta. It’s where he houses his massive collection of vintage advertising, gambling, saloon, brothel, country store and general store items – 800 lots in all. These are displayed in a mind boggling, full scale replica of Tombstone, Arizona as it existed in 1892.
Mr. Wallace enlisted Rick Clark who has done work for Six Flags of America to construct 14 facades (storefront replicas) for one wing of his home. It consists of over 200 running feet and stands 27 feet tall. Other great items will include a Brunswick Balke & Collander front and back bar, circa 1890. This is the desirable mahogany L.A. model, featuring two hand carved, full bodied nudes and matching liquor cabinet.
In addition to the collection of Mr. Wallace the sale will also feature gambling, toys, advertising, barber shop, country store, soda fountain, paintings, western memorabilia, coin-op, trade signs, folk art and many other surprises, about 1,800 lots in all. A crowd of between 400 and 500 people is expected (typical for a Showtime Auction). Phone, internet and absentee bids will be accepted on Saturday and Sunday but only live audience members can bid on Friday. Online bidding will be facilitated by iCollector and LiveAuctioneers.
One lot sure to turn heads is a Moxiemobile car, a later replica of the vehicles first created in 1915 by Frank Archer to advertise and promote the soft drink Moxie. Originally known as the Moxie Horsemobile, there were several Moxiemobiles on American roads in the 1930’s, mainly in parades. The example to be sold is a Rolls Royce version Moxiemobile with a Ford engine. It’s in excellent condition.
Advertising signs include a National Fine Beers tin sign (New Orleans, La.), made by Kaufmann & Strauss Co. and dated 1893; an exceedingly rare Jeweled Cigar trade sign with two-side light-up, quite possibly the only one of its kind in existence; and a hard-to-find Oldsmobile and Cadillac neon porcelain sign, two-sided, in excellent working condition. The sign is approximately 13 feet in height.
From the vintage toys group, expected top lots include An all-original Buddy L water tower fire truck, one of the rarest of the 1920s fire trucks, with a real working pumper that can spray up to 25 feet; a Sturdy Toy 1920s dairy tanker pressed steel tractor and trailer; an unusual 1920s Keystone pressed steel Packard tank truck with a yellow tank; and a toy 1954 Mercury convertible car with a travel trailer.
Other anticipated top lots include a rare Caille Centaur 50-cent upright slot machine with mahogany cabinet and nickel-plated trim, in excellent working condition; a Red Wing Grape Juice bottle topper boasting fabulous color and featuring graphics of a boy and a girl; and a rare Black Americana mechanical fishing boy. When it’s plugged in, the boy’s head nods and his eyes move back and forth.
A preview will be held on Friday, Oct. 2, from 8 a.m. to noon, with a free hot breakfast served from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The auction that day will run from noon to 5 p.m. for a live audience only, no Internet bidding. On Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 3-4), previews will be held from 8-9 a.m. The auction on Saturday, Oct. 3, will run from 9-5; on Sunday, Oct. 4, the auction hours are from 9-4. Internet, phone and left bids will be accepted on Saturday and Sunday.
People planning to attend the auction can get to Ann Arbor by flying into Detroit (DTW). The preferred hotel is The Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor, located about 25 minutes from the airport. Their phone number for reservations is (734) 769-2500. Room-hopping is encouraged. A flyer providing more auction details will be printed around Aug. 1, and a full-color, 180-page catalog with accompanying CD showing many of the items to be sold will be available around Sept.1, at a cost of $35. To order one, you may call Carol at 316-721-5236.
Showtime Auction Services is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, you may call Michael Eckles of Showtime Auction Services at (951) 453-2415. His e-mail address is [email protected]. To learn more about Showtime Auction Services, the Oct. 2-4 auction, and the estate of Ron Wallace, log on to www.showtimeauctions.com