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Bonhams Hollywood Carousel Figure, Mechanical Music and Automa Auction Great Success Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 04 December 2012


By Jannelle Grigsby

Los Angeles, CA International auctioneers, Bonhams, announced stellar results for the Antique Carousel Figure, Circus Memorabilia, and Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata auction held this morning, Dec. 4, on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The lively holiday sale featured property from the Collection of Helene Sutter from Belair, as well as other prominent collectors from Northern California, and one from Colorado.
 
The winter sale featured approximately 100 lots of carousel antiques and amusement memorabilia and mechanical musical instruments and automata motions. Works of note included whimsical slot machines, carved animals, horses and other quadrupeds dating from the turn of the last century as well as an important private collection of more than 20 French automatons from the late 19th/early 20th century.
 
Leading the holiday carousel was a handsomely carved and painted carousel Hippocampus by Daniel Carl Muller, circa 1905.  Often called a sea-horse, the fanciful creature is found throughout Phoenician, Greek and Etruscan mythology depicted as a horse in its forepart with a coiling fish-like hindquarter. Rare to auction, the exotic creature brought $50,000 (pre-sale estimate $35,000-45,000).
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This Muller hippocampus brought $50,000 at the Dec. 4 auction.

 
Brooke Sivo, Vice President and Director of American Furniture and Decorative Arts said of the animal, Bonhams was pleased to offer Mullers Hippocampus during this festive holiday sale. Rarely seen at public auction, this animal is highly collectible and garnered widespread interest from across the US and abroad.
 
A military-style carousel horse (pre-sale estimate $10,000-15,000, sold for $16,250) and an antique carousel tiger, both by Muller, from the early 20th century were also prominently featured within the winter auction. The tiger is currently one of only five known in existence (pre-sale estimate $10,000-15,000, sold for $31,250).

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The PTC tiger, top left, and Muller tiger, bottom left, both sold for over $30,000. The giraffe brought $20,000, and the flowered horse brought $15,000.

 
Additional items of note from the holiday sale included a carved and paint decorated carousel tiger by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, circa 1900-1910 (pre-sale estimate $10,000-20,000, sold for $36,250); a stunning carousel giraffe by Herschell Spillman, early 20th century (pre-sale estimate $10,000-15,000, sold for $20,000); a carved and paint decorated carousel rose horse also by Herschell-Spillman, early 20th century (pre-sale estimate $7,000-9,000, sold for $15,000) and a double eagle stander carousel horse by Gustav Dentzel, early 20th century (pre-sale estimate $12,000-18,000, sold for $12,500).
 
Important works from private collection of early and rare French automatons included a gymnastic circus performer by Gustave Vichy (pre-sale estimate $2,500-3,500, sold for $23,750); a minstrel banjo player, late 19th century (pre-sale estimate $9,000-12,000, sold for $21,250); a clown with fan and magic box (pre-sale estimate $7,000-9,000, sold for $15,000) and a child puppeteer by Renou with the head by Jumeau, circa 1900 (pre-sale estimate $5,000-7,000, sold for $11,250), among others.
 
Highlights from the Collection of Helene Sutter included a whimsical slot machine modeled after a showgirl by Ace Novelty Co., 20th century (pre-sale estimate $800-1,200, sold for $10,625); a cherry wood interchangeable 15" disc music box by Regina, late 19th century (pre-sale estimate $6,000-8,000, sold for $7,750) and a "Sun Chief" slot machine by Jenning's, early 20th century (pre-sale estimate $600-800, sold for $3,000).  

"Many a childs imagination has been stirred by whimsical and imaginative carousel figures and the vibrant merry-go-round music played as the animals circle and gallop. Bonhams was pleased to bring this enchantment to life for collectors of all ages," added Silva.

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