Porsche’s First Car Found After Being Left In A Shed For 112 Years

The first Porsche ever built has been untouched since 1902. Officially called the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton, this electric car from 1898 has ‘P1’ engraved onto all of the key components standing for Porsche 1, done by the then 23-years old Ferdinand Porsche himself.

See on jalopnik.com

The World’s Largest Model Railroad Gets An Airport

It took six years and $4,440,000, but now world’s largest model railroad set up has the world’s largest model airport!

Miniatur Wunderland

Called Knuffingen Airport, the model airport has 40 working aircraft that take off and land, as well as 90 vehicles which tour the grounds. The model is based on Hamburg’s airport which opened in 1911 and remains the oldest operational airport in the world. This wonderful display is part of Miniatur Wunderland, in Hamburg, Germany, and is now part of one of the most successful permanent exhibitions in Northern Germany.

Image via the story at The Daily Mail.

Authentic Antique Pioneer & Farm Homesteading Ephemera

Found here in North Dakota, this antique promotional booklet is an authentic piece of pioneering & homestead farming history! Compliments of Samuel Lange, a dealer in Farm Machinery, such as Buggies and Carriages, Cream Separators, Plymouth Twine, Defiance Listers & Plows, La Cross Disk Harrows, pioneer Buggies, Surries & Wagons, agent for Queen City Creamery Co. “Highest Paid Prices for Cream.”

Also noted inside the front and back covers, Mc Cormick Binders, Mowers & Hay Rakes, Plano & Mc Cormick repairs, Racine Cultivators & Plows, Wenzelman Steele Grain Dump, Empire Ball Bearing, Neck Bearing Cream Separator.

Inside, the little book from 1908 is filled with facts — from foreign currency conversion to census data, from color maps to business laws, and more. Plus, there are pages for the owner to write down addresses, notes, ledger details, and calender dates.

Booklet measures 5 and 3/4 inches by 3 inches and is available for sale in our Etsy shop. Also included, a small piece of handwritten ephemera which was found inside and we feel should remain with this lovely old piece.

Fargo’s Police Cars From The Past

I was driving through Downtown Fargo on August 2nd, on my way to drop something off for a client, and something shiny caught my eye. When I realized what it was, I hurriedly found place to park so I could go take a picture. This car was parked next to the Fargo Police Department’s offices, on 3rd avenue north:

This is a 1962 Chevrolet Biscayne, in police cruiser mode, decked out in full Fargo Police Department regalia. My first thought was that the car was some sort of promotional fun vehicle, made by the police department for public relations purposes, like Moorhead’s DARE Corvette, or to honor some anniversary. I checked the news to see if there was anything special going on that would require the presence of a vintage police car, but came up empty. So, I went to the source: I called the cops.

Deputy Chief Pat Claus is the man behind the wheel, but the special event this morning was nothing more than the installation of new tires. Claus explained that this patrol car is one of two that belong to the Law Enforcement Museum at Bonanzaville, and he was getting it ready for an appearance at Cruisin’ Broadway that night. He and his wife, Kim, also a police officer, take the car out for special events like Cruisin’ Broadway, West Fargo’s Night to Unite, the Battle of the Badges, and last Christmas they even delivered gifts — they are the “Claus” family, after all — as part of Random Acts of Christmas Cheer.

Both of the classic FPD cruisers are Chevrolet Biscaynes, the 1962 seen above and an also-restored 1967. The Biscayne was the low end of the Chevrolet line, with not quite as many bells-and-whistles as the similar Bel Air or Impala.  They were reliable and oriented towards the fleet market, which resulted in the Biscayne fulfilling the role of police car throughout the U.S. during the 1960s.

Claus’ cars did not belong to the Fargo police department, exactly: they were part of the Fargo Police Reserve, also known as the Fargo Auxiliary Police, a volunteer force trained in law enforcement who supplied their own equipment. The Reserve purchased the patrol cars for their duties, sometimes with a police officer riding along, patrolling the downtown Fargo area. Prior to urban renewal‘s messy reimagining of downtown in the 1970s, teens cruised Broadway in defiance of curfews and fights broke out in the bars along NP Avenue, giving the Reserve plenty to do. The Reserve was created in 1958, with their heydays during the 1960s, but by the 1970s there was some conflict between their duties and the regular police force, and by 1980 the choice was to revamp or eliminate the Reserve. Police Chief Anderson and Mayor Lindgren elected to disband.

The Fargo Police Auxiliary Association later packed up their garage, formerly located near the 7th avenue water tower, and moved it to Bonanzaville. It became the Law Enforcement Museum at Bonanzaville, a ‘museum in a museum’, according to Claus, operating somewhat independently,  with its own board of directors and with support from the Auxiliary Association and the Fraternal Order of Police. This is where the 1962 police cruiser sleeps most nights, in a part of the building that isn’t currently open to the public. The 1967 cruiser lives in underground parking downtown, and is the usual car Claus takes to public events because it’s easier to get to.

Although both cars are still largely in their original form — Claus said that, up until the police department went digital, even the two-way radios were still functional for police business — their age has required a little bit of restoration to stay in top shape. The cost of repairs has been covered through cooperation from the city, the museum, the Claus’ own contributions, and through the support of local businesses. Claus said that, when the 1967 car needed tires, Fargo Tire replaced them for free — and when he brought the 1962 car in today, he didn’t even have to ask; Fargo Tire replaced the tires pro bono. Claus refers to the cars as “ambassadors”, a friendly presence for connecting with the Fargo Police Department and the Law Enforcement Museum. He said that everyone loves seeing the old police car, and people who were around during the 1960s always have a story to tell about them. Claus joked, “but none of them have a story about themselves sitting in the back, of course.”

Classic Car Prices Music To Milhous Brothers’ Ears

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.

“As Fascinating As Chess; As Easy As Checkers”

I love board games, especially vintage ones. Bonus points for awesome graphics on game boards and boxes. And this unused, like new straight out of the 1930s, board game sure gets the bonus points!

Made by American Toy Works (ATWO) Products,  this vintage game box contains two games: Checkers and Avion, and aviation themed game. Again, unused and complete with all accessories. The box measures 9 1/4 by 11 1/4 inches.

Photo and listing via Grapefruit Moon Gallery.

Vintage Model Train Collection Photographs

Speaking of model trains, here’s a lovely set of five vintage photographs which show off a vintage model railroad collection. Each photograph measures 3 by 4 inches; dated August 1967 on the back.

Images from Lynnstudios.

The State Of Affairs In Model Railroad Trains

Back in November, I heard WDAY making the promo for that night’s broadcast — an alarming headline about model trains. I don’t recall word for word, but it was so alarming that I indeed remained glued to the station and watched the news especially for that report. While the headline sounded far more drastic (implying that something was preventing the manufacture of model trains or something), the segment (video here) was about the decline in model railroading membership and a decreased interest in model trains themselves. While it wasn’t particularly surprising, it was saddening… Even though we do not yet own a model railroad set.

Through the serendipity of the collecting gods (what some might call “luck”), we found ourselves days later in Wisconsin, visiting family, and there we discovered that the Lionel Railroad Club Of Milwaukee was having an open house — we transported ourselves there asap!

There were so many things to look at… Not just the trains, the engines and cars, but all the figures, cars, animals, and details in the layout. So much to take in, that even though there is a raised look-out spot for engineers and others to get a great “aerial” view, you really have to walk around — several times — to try to see everything.

And then you’ll need to make at least one more trip looking at the vintage railroad engines and cars displayed on the walls and on the side of the layout!

There’s an impressive 28-foot long, 250 pound, model of New York’s Hell Gate Bridge which spans above your head. You can see more photos and details on how it was made here.

The bubbling oil rig lights that look like vintage bubble light Christmas tree ornaments were a complete surprise.

The kids fell in love with the aquarium. I myself was completely smitten with the Lionel Madison Hardware Shop model — there was a miniature model train set in the miniature store window! Yes, the mini train worked too! Here’s a closer look:

As a family we greatly enjoyed the huge model train set-up. Being there just confirmed all the reasons why we want a model train set. It’s not just the rush of the choo-choos, the excitement of their woo-woos, but the chance to build the whole miniature world! I’m a girl who loves miniatures. And hubby’s a man with some model building experience — small toys and larger theatrical sets too. For both of us it’s a chance to get really creative!

The price of a model train set can seem steep. New, vintage, or antique, it’s not cheap. But if you consider the years you can take to build and grow your set, it’s achievable to do it piece by piece. And affordable when you realize this is a true hobby. Not to minimize collecting in any way (How could I?!), but model trains and railroads are about building, expanding, playing; these are not shelf-sitters.

The husband and I have wanted a train set for a long time; since visiting the railroad club open house we’ve grown not only more wistful but determined to make it a goal for ourselves. (Yes, you can expect more model railroad articles!) I’m sure the kids will climb on board once they see the train in action.

Vintage Fashion Link Round-Up

Secrets In Lace 2012 Collector's Calendar

I’m sure by now that you heard that the Elizabeth Taylor auction set new auction records, but there’s other things to read in the world of collecting and vintage fashion…

Did you know the swimsuit worn by Farrah Fawcett in that ultimate 70s poster was made by Norma Kamali? It was! And now it’s in the Smithsonian.

A Slip Of A Girl tells you all you all about the Measurements You Need To Know When Buying Vintage Lingerie. (Also very useful in any vintage fashion hunt.) She also presents vintage lingerie designers who haven’t been given their due: Helen Hunt Bencker and Ralph Monetenero (More on Monenero here.) And here’s a post about the Colura lingerie lable. For all her hard work, she’s simply asking for help in identifying who the old Frederick’s of Hollywood artist or artists were.

At Couture Allure, see the bubble dress by vintage fashion designer Norman Norell

My husband shares a “true auction story” as it was published in the newspaper in 1877. Things haven’t changed much!

Not specifically fashion, but I heavily researched former pinup, actress, fashion model Vera Francis. Just thought you might be interested. *wink*

Image Credits: Cover of the Secrets In Lace 2012 Collector’s Calendar, featuring pinups posing in front of actual WWII airplanes. You can still order it to arrive for Christmas in the continental US.

Cleans Deeper Than Street Sweeper

Magnetic Nail Picking Vehicle

My hubby, Derek Dahlsad (who I continue to try to get to write here at Inherited Values) had another one of his stories on NPR’s Dakota Datebook today.

Nail Picking In Langdon, 1931 is the early story of dirt roads and automobiles — and the magnetic vehicles used to keep the roads clean for tires in the 1920s and 30s. These maintenance trucks were also used to assist in wartime efforts during WWII.

Here’s a snippet:

The nail picking machine consisted of a one and a half ton truck with three electro-magnets mounted below the chassis. The magnets were powered by a generator mounted in the box. Each magnet had a lifting power of two hundred pounds per square inch, enough to pull iron and steel from deep beneath the road surface.

The driver of the nail picker would turn on the electro-magnets and make three passes over each stretch of road. Then the driver parked the nail picker over a tarp, the magnet was turned off, and all the scrap fell onto the tarp. Railroad tracks posed a special problem for the nail picker. The electro-magnets would temporarily magnetize the steel tracks when the truck passed over, pulling metal away from the picker and leaving the rails bristling with nails and iron.

To hear the story as it aired, click the “play arrow” at the top of the story, just below the headline.

Also: Derek’s first Dakota Datebook story: Boy Scout Saves Girl.

Image from Popular Mechanics, November 1928.

Vintage Indianapolis 500 Ephemera

Inside the February 1961 issue of Magic Circle, a publication of Perfect Circle Corporation, a contest to win tickets to the Indy 500 and/or a 1961 Thunderbird.

I’m guessing the original owner of this vintage magazine never entered — because the official entry form was still inside the magazine, unused!

PS Here’s another clipping from this issue.

Antique Street Sweeper Photograph

I just wanted to share this photo of an antique street cleaner because it reminds me of one of my fondest memories. Every Forth Of July, I love watching not the parades, but my dad‘s face. He always has such joy watching the street cleaners or street sweepers clean up all the crepe paper, bullet casings, horse poo, and other stuff left behind by the parade participants.

This antique film negative is of a street cleaner in Berlin, German, dating to the 1910s; found via bondman2.

American Restoration

The collectibles spin-off show I’ve been waiting for is here: American Restoration.

You may have heard about it, sometimes promoted or promised under other names such as Rick’s Restorations and Rusty Nuts (I prefer the title Rusty Nuts, but with the success of American Pickers, I guess the corporate guys figured American Restoration was more bankable).  This latest show to join the History Channel’s Monday night lineup for collectors follows the work of Rick’s Restorations, the Las Vegas business owned by Rick Dale.

You’ll remember Dale’s appearances on Pawn Stars; he’s the guy who’s restored such things as old gas pumps and soda machines.

Dale and his staff focus mainly on the classic restoration of vintage and antique mechanical Americana. I think I may have just made that category of collectibles up, so if you don’t know what I mean, it’s vintage appliances, motorcycles, radios, pedal cars, railroad memorabilia, candy dispensers, pinball machines, jukeboxes, barber chairs, bicycles, and all sorts of things made in the American Rust Belt — you know, back when we made stuff in the USA.

(Not that their work is limited to made in the USA only; but you will see a lot of what America once manufactured, both for retail as well as to sell items at retail, i.e. advertising, service tools, and salesmen’s stuff.)

Rick and his staff are a colorful bunch of personalities (something I’ve admitted I love about Pawn Stars), however it’s clear that they not only know what they are doing, technically speaking, but they know the importance of what they do: they are reclaiming the history of objects, both in terms of an owner’s personal nostalgia and the workmanship of yesteryear.

While it is made quite clear that what Dale and his team mainly do is classic restorations, restoring antique and vintage items to their former glory keeping the item’s integrity by keeping the item as original as possible using parts specific to the object, viewers of Pawn Stars will recall that Dale himself has pointed out that some items can and should be modified or customized to make them more usable.

The example that leaps most vividly to my mind was a Coke machine which Dale made more useful by modifying the old machine to dispense modern bottles. I recall being surprised because I’m so used to being told not to ruin a patina, let alone update such vintage things, especially if you want to resell the item. But when Dale explained, I totally understood it. This is exactly the sort of thing I want to learn more about, and why I’ve been looking forward to the show!

Along with seeing so many old things once made by hand &/or manufactured with pride, Dale does a nice job of informing us about the item, its purpose, and who made it. (You know I’m a sucker for such context!)

Dale also tells you the cost of what he and his team have done, as well as the retail value it now has; especially useful if you are considering or justifying the restoration of something you own.

But perhaps the biggest thrills (and bulk of the show) revolve around the actual restoration process of antiques and vintage collectibles.

If you aren’t the handy DIY restorative type, you’ll gain a better understanding of just how much work and man hours go into classic restoration.  Because the majority of the items are metal, there’s the removal of rust and old paint (do you use  sand blasting, walnut blasting or sodium pressure washing?), general body work, painting, recreating or replacing graphics and logos — and that’s not even getting to the mechanical parts!

This is what Rick Dale calls the “grunt work.” But there’s still the time and money spent searching for authentic missing parts. (And what can’t be found might have to be recreated too.)  Whew!

The amount of work shown in American Restoration may not inspire you to restore your own antiques and collectibles, but it will help you as a collector of mechanical Americana.  You’ll learn more about the collectibles you covet and how to appraise their condition; you learn to understand the price tags on restored collectibles and antiques as well as appreciate the fees charged by professional restoration companies.

If nothing else, collectors will enjoy seeing such classic and iconic Americana.

Slowing Down To Look At Vintage Hot Rod Ephemera

I know next to nothing about hot rods, dragsters, automobilia or even cars in general, but I do recognize the value of vintage car part catalogs, like these Almquist “Equipment of Champions” catalogs, to fans and collectors of such things.

And I’ll admit, looking at old hot rod custom sport bodies, kits, 3-D chrome emblems, classic flame decals, etc. is cool — even when it’s all in black and white. (If you think so too, click the images to see large scans.)

But after taking some time to page through the pair of catalogs from Almquist Engineering Co., Inc. of Milford, PA (founded by Ed Almquist), I decided I had to list them for sale (1959 catalog, 1960 catalog) for collectors in need. (And if you collect, you know it’s a need — you need to know what was made and when, the part’s official name and/or stock number, etc.)

However I won’t be selling what I found inside one of the vintage catalogs — sketches of what I presume, my dear Watson, to be flame-type designs for the former owner’s dream car.

I won’t be selling them because they have no monetary value: A) the former owner doesn’t appear to have any fame, 2) most collectors or fans of hot rods probably have their own similar drawings, and III) fans of such finds typically won’t pay for such things — they prefer to enjoy the serendipity of their own finds.

I myself fall into the third category, and so will enjoy holding onto the vintage drawings, ever wondering if the maker of these drawings got his dream hot rod… If so, after sketching did he realized “flames” were more difficult than the thought, and so he just purchased them, or paid for a custom paint job… Or if he still pines for the awesome hot rod of his fantasies.

Whao, Nellie, Antique Horse Drawn Vehicle Bars

These two old wooden pieces with metal hardware, which I believe were used to hook horses or mules up to wagons, carts or some such, were found at a local thrift shop.

Finds like this here in Fargo continue to surprise this former city girl from Milwaukee. At farm auctions it’s de rigueur to find such rustic things (where they are quickly snatched-up), but finding them at thrift shops still surprises me. I’m more used to finding them displayed on walls.