Thursday, January 28, 2010

Royal American Shows Auction

I found this on the internet this evening. The Royal American Shows came to an end in 1997 with Norton Auctioneers conducting an auction at the Winter quarters in 1999.

Norton Auctions Off Royal American Shows Memorabilia For Big Dollars
By Tim O'Brien
Publication: Amusement Business
Date: Monday, May 10 1999

Auctioneer David Norton, came to Nashville for the OABA Board of Directors meeting directly from the Monday, April 26, liquidation auction of the legendary Royal American Shows, in Tampa."It was an amazing day," he told AB. "There were tears, there were smiles, and
there was a lot of interest in the memorabilia."

The show played its last dates in 1997, following an illustrious run that had earned it the title of the world's largest midway (AB, March 15). The show once traveled through the United States and Canada on 99 railroad cars and played the biggest of the state fairs and Canadian exhibitions. The remains of the carnival were sold by Norton Auctioneers, Coldwater, Mich., at the show's winter quarters near the Tampa airport. Carnival executives, employees, railroad and circus buffs from 26 states and two countries attended the sale.

"The auction ended an era that will not, nor could ever be, duplicated," Norton said. For decades, the show carried its own neon, wood, blacksmith, carpenter and plumbing shops. Much of that equipment was sold. Such famous side show acts as Gypsy Rose Lee and Sally Rand were featured in the show's girlie show revues, which featured Las Vegas-style costumes. A Sally Rand autographed program fetched $385 and Gypsy Rose Lee programs sold for $110 to $137 each, while assorted girlie show revue programs went as high as $440. Old revue show costumes from the 1950s brought in more than $6,000, despite their poor conditions, Norton said.

Only a few rides were left to sell. A Majestic trailer-mounted bumper car unit sold for $220,000, a Chance Merry-Go-Round went for $88,000, and Winky the Whale ride went for $19,800. One generator was hammered for $31,900.Norton was pleased to report that nostalgia seekers and memorabilia buffs were not disappointed in the many lots that offered a huge array of carnival collectibles. A PTC carousel rounding board sold for $22,100, an old wood ball toss game went for $3,300, and various carnival postcards went for up to $200 each.

Other highlights included the sale of several large gaming wheels that averaged $925 each. The show's old Caterpillar rubber treaded dozer was purchased for $4,400 and is heading for a permanent display at the Gibsonton (Fla.) Showmen's Museum. An old office trailer brought $17,000 and "is reportedly on its way to the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wis.," according to Norton. Old wagon wheels were sold from $175 to $275.

Old advertising items and novelties with the Royal American Shows logo, such as ash trays, lighters, jacket patches and key chains brought some of the day's most heated bidding, Norton said. The ashtrays sold for $197.50 each; the lighters, in lots of five, for $60 each; the jacket patches for $100; small lots of key chains for $38.50; a deck of playing cards for $55; and ball caps for $65.Nearly 400 showed up for the sale and nearly 200 ended up bidding.

Norton would not release the sales figures but said they far exceeded pre-auction estimates.

1 comment:

Hal Guyon said...

Wow Bob, I got a few of those smaller items, but didn`t pay anything near those prices for them. In fact a lot of them were given to me, lighter, key chain, letter opener, etc.