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Auction Finds

Things that make me go “Wow!” and “Huh?”

Most of the time when I’m previewing items at auction – usually in the hour before the action starts – I amble through the aisles, stopping at a table here and there, picking up stuff or just moving one thing out of the way so I can get to another.

Sometimes, though, an item catches my eye, and I have no choice but to stop and examine it. That has happened to me quite a few times lately – the shape, the color, the whimsical nature of an item or its identity took hold of me.

And then I linger.

Today, I’d like to share with you some of the items I have come across lately at auction that were just plain lovely or were so mysterious and confounding that I had to find out what they were. See if you can figure out what effect each of these had on me: “Wow!” or “Huh?”

How would you characterize them? Wow! or Huh?

zenith cobra-matic record player

1950s Zenith Cobra-Matic record player and radio. Note the tone arm, whose narrow end resembles the head of a snake, complete with tiny grooved eyes on each side. The bar that holds the records on the spindle widens at the end to resemble a cobra getting ready to strike. The phonograph is made of beautiful Bakelite.


wooden hat press

Wooden hat brim press. I’ve seen wooden blocks in the shape of a hat but never anything that held a hat. This press apparently helped a flat brim hat to keep its form. Someone liked it well enough to leave an absentee bid (the green sticker).


cake carrier

I had no idea what this was, and then I opened it and found what looked like a matching metal cake knife. The container is too flat for a layer cake but could work with a large flat cake or some other baked item that needed cutting.


horse whip holder

I had no idea what this was, either, until I read the tag: Horse whip holder.


pedal police car

Vintage black and white police pedal car.


pedal race car

Classic ride-on red race car.


wooden old west sheriff

Wooden painted Old West sheriff. Usually, I only see carved wooden statues of cigar-store Native Americans.


coal heater

When I saw this heater with all of its details, I thought of some fancy apartment or home, not a commoner’s house. This Bonnie Sunshine double heater was made by the Reading (PA) Stove Works in the late 1890s. It was one of several heaters described in a trade magazine back then as “beautifully presented to the eye.”


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