OUT-OF-THE-ORDINARY COLLECTIBLES: Barrett-Jackson’s Automobilia Auctions go beyond gas pumps and neon signs

Credit: Original article published by Barrett-Jackson.

Written by Barbara Toombs

 

Among the more unusual collectibles featured at a Barrett-Jackson Automobilia Auction was this exquisite full-size transportation-themed carousel manufactured in Germany in 1957, which sold for $557,750 at the 2018 Scottsdale event.

 

This stunning bar created from a 1948 Chris Craft boat sold for $64,400 at the 2021 Scottsdale Auction.

At any given Barrett-Jackson auction, you’ll inevitably find people gathered in the area where the colorful automobilia items are displayed, reminiscing about something they perhaps once had, or how something reminds them of a special time in their past.

While “automobilia” by definition refers to automobile-related memorabilia, Barrett-Jackson’s offerings in this special category go well beyond that. “It’s not just car-related items we sell,” says Automobilia Director Rory Brinkman. “We sell unique and rare museum-quality pieces that create conversations and enhance a person’s car collection, evoking an era of time gone by, when the cars we now consider classics cruised the streets.”

This historically significant 1950s Donald Duck neon porcelain parking lot sign from Disneyland sold for $59,800.

Two of the highest-selling unusual pieces of automobilia in Barrett-Jackson history did, in fact, have an automotive tie-in: they were magnificent full-size transportation-themed carousels manufactured by Wilhelm Hennecke of Germany. Beautifully constructed with hand-built transportation-related vehicles, the carousels’ stunning colors and design made them truly incredible pieces of mechanical art. One, built in 1957, sold at the 2018 Scottsdale Auction for a jaw-dropping $557,750, while the other (from 1962) had its moment in the spotlight at the 2019 Scottsdale event, bringing in an equally impressive $506,000.

When it comes to repurposing a transportation-related relic, our hat goes off to an incredibly talented craftsman who decided to take a wooden 1958 17-foot Chris Craft boat, cut it in half lengthwise and create an exquisite home bar, complete with custom cabinets, built-in fridge, working lights and an amazing highly varnished finish. The one-of-a-kind head-turning bar did well at the 2015 Scottsdale Auction, selling for $34,500, so the builder did it again for the 2021 Scottsdale event, but this time with a 1948 Chris Craft model. The stunning creation, which brought in $64,400, will certainly be the centerpiece of its new home.

Among the other more unusual items to appear at a Barrett-Jackson Automobilia Auction are phone booths – particular those from the 1930s, which were beautifully built of wood. One exquisite example – an impeccably restored Bell Telephone oversized public phone booth with an amazing paneled interior – sold for $56,000 at the 2014 Scottsdale Auction.

An unusual Sinclair Oil “Mold-A-Rama” machine that saw duty at the 1964 New York World’s Fair sold for $115,000 at the 2021 Scottsdale Auction.

Those raised in the 1950s and ’60s undoubtedly have fond memories of piling in the family car and going on a road trip to a theme park or two back in the day. Barrett-Jackson has had a number of familiar figures that hailed from that era grace the stage, from three large Warner Brothers characters – Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck – to a historically significant Donald Duck neon porcelain parking lot entrance sign from Disneyland, which brought in $59,800.

At the recent 2021 Scottsdale Auction in March, one of the top sellers at the Automobilia Auction fell into the not-something-you-see-every-day category: A working Sinclair Oil 1964 New York World’s Fair “Mold-a-Rama” machine that produces molded Dino The Dinosaur figurines in 30 seconds with just the push of a button. The price tag on this rarity? A very respectable $115,000.

So when you’re looking for that perfect item to complement your car collection or simply a conversation piece from times gone by – which may or may not be automotive-related – spend some time perusing Barrett-Jackson’s incredible automobilia docket or wander among the items in the displays on-site. You just never know what treasures you may find!