Antiques & Auction News 042712
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Published Weekly By Joel Sater Publicationswww.antiquesandauctionnews.net
VOL. 43, NO. 17FRIDAY APRIL 27, 2012
he catalog showed a topassessed value of$125,000 for a soda foun-
tain from 1893. But, as we know,in an auction, anything can hap-pen. And it did.
When bidding stopped, theprice was a spectacular $4.5 mil-lion. Im stunned, said LarrySchmidt, organizer of the auctionheld by the Schmidt Museum ofCoca-Cola Memorabilia. Wethought that maybe it couldgo for as high as $1million. But this isincredible.
But then, whos tosay what a piece ofhistory is worth? Thispiece certainly fit thatdescription. The sodafountain was built bythe Liquid CarbonicCompany for theColumbian Exhibitionat the Worlds Fair inChicago. Its actuallytwo pieces - a frontand back bar, bothmeasuring more than21 feet long and fea-turing exquisite mar-ble bases and counter-tops with alabastercolumns. The twosoda dispensers havealabaster basestopped with lightsfeaturing stained lead-ed-glass lamp shades.
The crafts-m a n s h i pon thisfountainis off thescale. Itis justi nc r ed i -ble, accord-ing to PhilM o o n e y ,head archivistfor The Coca-C o l aC o m p a n y .M o o n e yb o u g h tm a n yitems atthe auc-tion forT h eC o c a - C o l aC o m p a n yarchives -some ofwhich maygo on displayat the World of Coca-Cola - but did not bid onthe soda fountain. In addi-tion to the incredible crafts-manship of this piece, it speaksto a bygone era when Coca-Cola was only a soda-fountaindrink and was establishing itselfas the drink people around theworld love.
So, who did capture the prizelot? The soda fountain wasbought by an anonymous bidderwho did not attend the sale, butwas bidding by phone.
The two-day auction, March24 and 25, took place at the
Schmidt Museum of Coca-ColaMemorabilia in Elizabethtown,Kentucky, which houses the largestprivately owned Cokememorabilia collectionin the world. Aboutthree hundred peo-ple attended theevent, attendingfrom thirty U.S.states and twoother countries -
Online bidderswere regis-
t e r e d
from around the world- Australia, SouthAfrica, Japan, Israel,plus several Europeancountries.
This was truly aninternational eventbecause of its signif-icance, says GaryMetz, renownedCoke memorabiliaexpert whoworked with theSchmidt Museumon selecting auc-tion items andassessing their
v a l u e . T h e r e
h a s n tbeen an auction
of Coke memorabilia indecades that can rival whatthe Schmidts have done.What weve witnessed here
in Elizabethtown is truly historic.The total realized prices for the
two-day auction is $7 million. Thiswas the second auc-
held by the Schmidts. The first onetook place in September andbrought in $3 million. Proceedsfrom all the auctions will go to a
charitable foundation beingset up by the Schmidt
The sale was conducted byRichard Opfer Auctioneering, Inc.
of Timonium, Maryland,(www.opferauction.com).
While the soda fountain wasclearly a show-stopper and sales-
topper, there were other marqueeitems that brought in significantamounts as well.
A large outdoor neon signsold for $50,000, which
is the same winning bidthat took a small light fea-turing a multicolored lead-e d - g l a s s
Whatis just as sig-nificant isthat the auc-tion was aCoke collec-tors dream,because of
v o l -ume of
unique items -seven hundred -
and the fact thatmost were
sold at mar-ket value.
D e n n i sBardin ispresidentof theC o c a -C o l aCollectorsClub, agroup ofa b o u t3,000 pri-vate col-lectors. He madethe 12-hour drivefrom his home inDallas, Texas, toattend theElizabethtown auc-tion. If youexclude the bigitems, this auction saw realisticprices and some bargains here andthere, which is what Coke collec-tors want. Well be back for thenext one, thats for sure. TheSchmidts are planning a third auc-tion in September of this year.
The Coca-Cola Companybought more than 100 items at this
installment, plus more than 70 atthe previous auction. More than20 of these items from the firstauction are now on display at theWorld of Coca-Cola, the Atlantaattraction dedicated to the historyof Coca-Cola. These items fromthe Schmidt collection join morethan 1,200 other Coca-Cola arti-
facts at the facility, includ-ing the 125-year-old secretformula for Coca-Cola.
Some of the items pur-chased at the secondauction will likely
make it to the World ofCoca-Cola as well.
Theres no private col-lection that can top theSchmidts, Mooney says.
The unique and rare items wehave bought here showcasethe visual quality Coca-Colaput into everything it hasdone since the late 1800s.Weve purchased every-thing from a beautiful1901 poster with vivid col-ors to a 1950s bright yel-low delivery truck complete
with all the bottles and cases.This helps us create a Coca-Cola experience, not just amuseum.
The Schmidt family has arich history involving Coca-Cola. In 1901, Frederick
Schmidt opened one of the firstCoca-Cola bottling plants in thecountry at the corner of 9th andMain streets in Louisville,Kentucky. The plant would latermigrate to Elizabethtown. In the1970s, Bill and Jan Schmidtstarted the museum from theirprivate collection. Eventually,
the collection would grow to80,000 items. Last year, theSchmidts announced plans toclose the museum and sell all ofthe items in their vast collection.These are pieces that Coke col-lectors around the world want to
own, and its time toput these
p i e c e sb a c ki n t oc i r -
culation, says Larry Schmidt.For more information on the
collection, visit the SchmidtMuseum website, www.schmidt-museum.com. When you visit thesite, be sure to click on the Videosbutton to tour items offered inthe most recent installment of the
(Continued on page 2)
Theo u t -
s t a n d i n gsoda foun-
tain sold at theSchmidt auction
for $4.5 million. It waspart of the 1893 Columbian
Exhibition in Chicago and became apart of the Schmidt museum in 1976.
At left andupper right: Circa
1917 Coca-Cola paper windowtrim set - $15,340.
Large Coca-Cola blinking logo sign - $44,250.
Exceedingly rare 1898 embossed Coca-Colatin sign - $30,680.
1950s Coca-Cola porcelain and stainless neon sign$15,340.
An Electrifying Outcome For The Schmidt Museum Auction
APRIL IS NATIONALAUCTIONEERSMONTH
www.antiquesandauctionnews.net2 - - Antiques & Auction News April 27, 2012
auction. You can also sign upfor auction and catalogupdates. The Museum islocated at 109Buffalo CreekD r i v e ,El izabeth town,Kentucky. Phonethem at (270)234-1100.
Note: TheC o c a - C o l aCollectors Clubwas established in1974 to promotethe preservationand collection ofmemorabilia relat-ed to The Coca-Cola Company.The club is notsponsored by, orrelated to, TheC o c a - C o l aCompany, but isan independentnon-profit volun-teer-run organiza-
tion. Membership includes amonthly newsletter. For moreinformation, visit their website, www.cocacolaclub.org.
(Continued from page 1)
Premier circa 1922 Coca-Cola Four Seasons cut-out - $20,060.
1901 Coca-Cola paper poster - $38,350.
1942 Coca-Cola tin sign - $620.
Beautiful and rare 1913 Coca-Cola Festoon center piece -$16,520.
1913 Oval Coca-Cola changetray - $502.
1930s Coca-Cola Porcelain sign - $8,850.
Extremely rare 1900 Coca-Cola calendar - $18,880.
Rare Coca-Cola painted barn side from Marietta, Georgia. TheSchmidts were offered the side of the barn just before demoli-tion. The side was deconstructed, numbered and re-assembledand had been a prominent and integral feature in their collec-tion and in the Museum. It sold for $7,080.
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