Memorabilia from Knott's Berry Farm sold for almost $800,000
Memorabilia from Knott's Berry Farm, America's first theme park, has sold for almost $800,000 at auction in California.
To celebrate the 75 anniversary of the park's famous Ghost Town attraction, historic items from the Knott's Berry Farm archive were offered to nostalgic collectors by Heritage Auctions.
The sale, which featured everything from theme park props and antique vehicles, to original artwork and vintage signs, was expected to fetch in the region of $500,000 – but ended up achieving a grand total of $788,892.
"Fans around the world turned out to celebrate the rich history of America's first theme park," said Jim Lentz, Consignment Director for Heritage Auctions. "It was an impressively large live audience for the sale and that only speaks to the enduring memories people have of this important, historical archive."
Topping the auction was an 1898 painting entitled 'Baldwin Wagon Train Under Attack' by Henry H. Cross, a renowned western artist who also worked for Buffalo Bill Cody and P. T. Barnum's circus.
Having been acquired by park owner Walter Knott in the 1940s, the large artwork had been displayed prominently in the Ghost Town attraction ever since, and sold for $71,700, setting a new artist auction record for the artist.
Amongst the leading lots were several vehicles exhibited at the park over the years, such as a 1940 Jennie KI steam-powered locomotive which sold for $40,630; a 1919 Model T car which sold for $37,045; a 1940s Seagrave-type Fire Engine which realized $31,070; and a historic 1800s antique covered wagon which sold for $9,560.
There were also notable prices achieved by a selection of antique coin-op machines, including a 1904 Caille Brothers Double Slot Machine which sold for $38,249, and a 'Voodoo Dance' Coin-Op Arcade Machine which sold for $10,456.
"The value of this extremely rare grouping of antiques and then tying it to Knott's? World class!" said Mike F. Harrah, an art collector and floor bidder at the auction. "It was not only fun but rewarding and adds value to a tremendous collection of American history."
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