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“Salesmen Samples” Sell For Big Bucks
Working scale model farm tools that salesmen used to use to take door to door while plying their wares, have been hot sellers at recent antique auctions. They can sell for thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars. Leading antique auction house James D. Julia, Inc. has 2 auctions a year dedicated to advertising specialties, including salesmen samples.
  “Farm-related items are among the most popular,” says Andrew Truman of the Antique Advertising Division. “There is hardly a sale where we don’t have several of these items.”
  High demand items have included a 16-in. wide, 13-in. deep and 6-in. high reaper that sold for $10,665. It was made from brass and wood with fine-toothed gears, chain drive and working mechanics. Everything from the ground drive to working levers simulated the full-scale machine. It even came in the original carrying case and included a scale size wrench and a canister of loose parts.
  A walnut and cast iron baler designed to be powered by horses sold for $5,175, even though it wasn’t in working order. It included offset gear and cable mechanisms and windows on the sides of the chute so prospective buyers could see the process.
  One of the most expensive items sold recently was a road grader, a scale model of the Stockland 80 (aka Little Giant) made by the Stockland Road Machinery Company of Minneapolis, Minn. Made with brass, cast aluminum, wood and steel with a full range of movement and action, it sold for $23,000.
  A set of smaller samples, including 2 pitchforks (one with an original canvas cover, point protector and metal hang tag), toboggan, pulley, nesting tubs, wooden extension ladder, and axle sold for $2,070.
  Truman cautions FARM SHOW readers who own salesmen samples and are interested in selling them at some point to think before they restore any worn or damaged part.“There are two schools of thought on restoration,” he says. “Many buyers like them the way they came off the store room floor. If it has been restored, it may be hard to see if a part has been changed or replaced.”
  If you’re interested in buying, auctions are conducted in person, online, by phone and absentee with a staff person acting as a personal representative and bidding to a maximum value. “If a reader is interested in selling an item, I encourage them to contact us by email, letter or phone,” Truman says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Andrew P. Truman, Antique Advertising, Toy & Doll Division, James D. Julia, Inc., 203 Skowhegan Rd., Fairfield, Maine 04937 (ph 207 453-7125, toll free 800 565-9298; info@jamesdjulia.com; www.jamesdjulia.com).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6