Last month The Milhous Collection went up for auction, with the two days of bidding on the 550 lots coming in just shy of the auction estimate of $40 million, reaching $38.3 million in sales.
The huge custom-build merry-go-round, considered the collection’s center piece, reached the estimated price range of old $1,000,000 – $1,500,000, selling for nearly $1.3 million. I think at that price, the piece deserves to be called a carousel.
While The Milhous Collection was most noted for its world-class vintage and antique instruments — ornately decorated orchestrions, theatre organs, and other mechanical musical instruments, the bids for these pieces came in lower than anticipated. Sadly, of the eight automated musical instruments with estimates of $1 million (or more), only three obtained bids of seven figures.
Lest you think the economics of space was on the minds of bidders, you should note that most of the 30 automobiles in the collection sold at or above their auction estimates. Among the high-horsepower Brass era cars, Indianapolis racing cars, and coachbuilt classics, it was the 1912 Oldsmobile Limited which fetched the highest price; as the only known surviving car of the model, it more than doubled its estimate, selling for $3.3 million.
Perhaps there’s always room for another classic car in the heated garage, but antique mechanical music pieces? Not-so-much.
Images via RM Auctions.