Auction Lots We'd Love To Own: September 2017
From the Old West to the Overlook Hotel - here are the auction lots we'd smash through a wooden door with an axe to get our hands on this month...
1950s coin-op Band Box
Estimate: $2,000 - $4,000
These days you can pick up a portable Bluetooth speaker in the shape of almost anything.
But the idea of novelty speakers isn't a new one – and back in the 1950s, they were far cooler.
The Band Box was made by the Chicago Coin Machine Co. from 1950 until 1952, and marketed towards bars, diners and restaurants.
The box featured a tiny orchestra of model musicians, who would mime along in time to any song played through a connected jukebox.
According to the manufacturers, installing a Band Box could help you double or ever triple your revenue – although the adverts showing hundreds of customers queuing to stare in wonder at a six-inch plastic saxophone player were perhaps a little fanciful.
This original example has been restored to fully-working order, and comes with a price-tag of $2,000-$4,000. All you need to do now is figure out a way of hooking it up to your iPhone...
19th century ship figurehead
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Lord Horatio Nelson remains one of the most celebrated figures in British history, and is regarded amongst the most remarkable naval leaders the world has ever seen.
They don't just give anyone their own 170ft tall column over London.
Nelson's bravery and tactics helped the English Navy defeat the French and Spanish fleets during the Napoleonic wars, before he was killed in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar.
This English carved and polychromed wood figurehead dates back to the mid-19th century, and was likely attached to one of the dozens of ships named in Nelson's honour after his death.
Even with just one good eye, this beautiful carving has seen more horizons than most people can imagine during a life at sea.
Weathered by storms and lashed by waves, the figurehead now comes to auction with an estimate of $10,000 - $15,000.
Hindenburg side table
Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000
The Hindenburg disaster remains one of the most famous tragedies in aviation history.
On May 6, 1937, having crossed the Atlantic from Frankfurt to New Jersey, the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire during landing.
Thirty six people were killed, and many more injured, as the airship was rapidly engulfed with flames and crashed to the ground.
The disaster was captured by several newsreel teams, which brought the horror of the tragedy to a wide audience. Most famously, radio reporter Herbert Morrison was reporting the Hindenburg's arrival for station WLS in Chicago, and his emotional live coverage remains disturbing to this day:
"Oh, the humanity!... I... I can hardly breathe. I... I'm going to step inside, where I cannot see it. Charlie, that's terrible. Ah, ah... I can't. Listen, folks; I... I'm gonna have to stop for a minute because I've lost my voice. This is the worst thing I've ever witnessed."
The disaster marked the abrupt end of the Airship Era, as public confidence in the safety of zeppelin travel plummeted overnight.
Once the investigation at the crash site was complete, around 150,000 pounds of frame metal from the wreckage was sent to the National Bronze and Aluminum Foundry Co. in Cleveland, Ohio to be melted down for scrap.
The company won the contract based on one strict proviso: to prevent a market in morbid mementos, none of the metal could be used for "ash trays, book ends or any similar articles".
However, it seems that some of the foundry workers didn't get that particular memo, and small sections of the frame were secretly used to create souvenirs such as this side table.
Constructed from a length of triangulated and cross-braced aluminum girder, the table was fitted with a wooden base and top, and completed with a plaque made from smelted duralumin, also from the Hindenburg wreck.
This table may seem macabre to some, but for others it's a remarkable object from an event which changed the course of aviation history forever.
Frank James carved wooden gun
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
This simple wooden gun was hand-carved by the infamous outlaw Frank James, and gifted to the celebrated Wild West Show cowboy Buck Taylor.
Along with his younger, more notorious brother Jesse, Frank James was part of the James-Younger Gang which robbed banks, trains and stagecoaches throughout the South in the 1860s and 1870s.
During his later years, having never been convicted for his crimes, James returned with his wife and children to his old family farm in Missouri, where he gave public tours and told stories about his life.
It was during one of these tours in 1913 that he met Buck Taylor, and presented him with this hand-carved wooden revolver – a gift from one Old West legend to another.
William Levi 'Buck' Taylor was a simple Texan ranch worker until 1883, when Buffalo Bill Cody made him a star in his travelling Wild West Show.
Standing six feet four with dashing good looks, Taylor could rope steers with his eyes closed and ride the wildest stallions with ease.
Cody billed him as the 'King of the Cowboys', and he became one of the show's main attractions alongside Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull. And as the century drew to a close, he became the hero in a series of dime novels, with titles like 'The Prince of the Lasso' and 'Red Riders of the Rio Grande'.
Both James and Taylor were responsible for elevating outlaws and cowboys to the status of folk heroes in American culture, and this carved gun is a truly symbolic piece of Old West history.
Jack Nicholson's Shining jacket
Estimate: $39,500 - $65,800
Now that summer is definitely over, it's time to dig out those warm jackets and prepare for winter. Particularly if you've got a haunted hotel to look after for a few months.
Horror movie don't come much scarier than The Shining, and Jack Nicholson's performance as Jack Torrance is one of the most iconic in film history.
Nicholson was always Stanley Kubrick's first choice for the role, although author Stephen King was against the casting, stating that the actor was already pretty sinister to begin with, and nobody would be surprised when he went crazy as the film progressed.
King certainly had a point, but today it's impossible to think of anyone else playing the part.
Nicholson threw himself into the role, only appearing on the set in-character, improvising his own lines, scaring the hell out of Shelley Duvall – and to top it off, he wore his own jacket as well.
When he insisted the burgundy corduroy jacket would be something his character wore, Academy Award-winning costume designer Milena Canonero contacted the manufacturer and has several examples made especially for filming.
Nicholson wears the jacket in many of the film's most famous scenes, making it an instantly recognisable costume for film fans everywhere.
If you love horror movies, and you need to update your seasonal wardrobe, this jacket it the perfect auction lot for you.
However, if you're planning on visiting any hedge mazes this winter you might want to take a scarf as well. Just in case.
George Harrison's first sitar
Here's a true piece of rock history from a musical legend: the first sitar ever owned by George Harrison.
When expanding minds met Eastern mysticism in the early 1960s, the background drone of the sitar was the perfect soundtrack for many an acid trip.
But for most Western music fans their first taste of classical Indian music came in 1965, with The Beatles album Rubber Soul and the classic song Norwegian Wood.
It was during the band's U.S tour in 1965 that Harrison was first introduced to Indian music by David Crosby, and he quickly became a devoted fan of Ravi Shankar.
When he returned to the U.K he purchased his first sitar and began experimenting with it, but he was far from an accomplished player.
However, during the recording of Norwegian Wood the sound fitted perfectly, and the 'Sitar Explosion' was born.
For the next few years every self-respecting band had to show off their mystic Eastern influences, creating the new genre of Raga Rock.
Although earlier songs such as 'Heart Full of Soul' by the Yardbirds and 'All My Friends' by The Kinks had used traditional Indian sounds, 'Norwegian Wood' truly introduced the sitar to mainstream pop audiences.
Harrison would later travel to India to study the sitar as a pupil of Ravi Shankar, who advised him to return to his roots of guitar playing. "I decided ... I'm not going to be a great sitar player," Harrison later recalled, "because I should have started at least fifteen years earlier."
Through his religious beliefs and musical collaborations, Harrison would forever be associated with the spiritual sound of the sitar.
This instrument is where it all began. Authenticated by Harrison's former wife Patti Boyd, the sitar now appears on the market for the first time, with an estimate of $50,000+.
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