The social platform for antiquers, collectors, and enthusiasts

What's Selling on eBay: September 2017

What's Selling on eBay: September 2017

by Deborah Abernethy and Mike McLeod
The following two items were sold on the same day by the same owner who reported these are considered the Holy Grail of sprinkler heads, and they were found in scrap buckets at an estate sale.
$3,750 (19 bids, 8 bidders): Antique Fire Sprinkler Vogel 16 Late 1800s, Extremely Rare Ceiling Nozzle Fireman.
H.G. Vogel of the H.G. Vogel Co. was one of the prime movers in the reorganization of the National Automatic Sprinkler Association in 1914. The firm established by H.G. Vogel patented a sprinkler in 1904, which was never used in the United States but marketed briefly in England under the name “Laconia.” For many years, the company-later acquired by Grunau Corporation-marketed the “Esty” sprinkler. Vogel served as President of the Association in 1923.

$3,750 (11 bids, 7 bidders): Antique Fire Sprinkler, Parmalee 5 Oct. 1874, Extremely Rare Ceiling Nozzle.

Henry S. Parmelee, or Parmalee, (c. 1846-1902), was president of the Fair Haven and Westville Street Railway Company and was a piano maker from New Haven, CT. He invented the first automatic fire sprinkler system in 1874, to protect his piano factory. While other patents for fire sprinklers predated Parmelee’s work, he is credited with the first automated sprinkler head. His piano company, Mathushek Piano Manufacturing, is credited as being the first building in the United States to be equipped with a fire suppression system.
DBA: These objects are so rare that I did not find anything documented selling as a “fire sprinkler” at auction or in any retail place on the Internet. However, I did find an active collector market on eBay, and surprisingly, most of these objects were sold for substantial amounts of money. While in many categories I see lots of things offered for sale that do not sell, this was not the case here. This should make anybody who spends time at estate sales, flea markets and so on to take note and keep their eyes open.
$720 (69 bids, 26 bidders): 1956 Vintage Authentic RKO Radio Re-Release KING KONG Movie Film Poster.
This auction is for a movie poster from an RKO-Radio re-release of the King Kong movie in 1956. Measuring 27 1/8 by 40 5/8 inches, this large authentic movie poster was professionally and properly mounted onto canvas backing. When this poster was mounted, a restorer finely in-painted the crease lines and folds, as well as two tears to the upper right quadrant.
(Photo: eBay seller wwolst12)

DBA: Movie posters are quite sought after, and this one is very popular. The original 1933 King Kong posters frequently reach six figures. The 1956 re-release is colorful and artistically desirable. I did find one for sale at $2,250. I would say the buyer got a good deal.
$2,167 (53 bids, 11 bidders): Huge 23.5-inch Antique Glass Banjo Disc Apothecary Jar Dakota Store Candy Ground Lid.
This jar measures 23.5 inches tall to the top of the lid and approximately 17 1/4 inches to the top of the jar with the lid removed. This is a wonderful antique jar. It has a ground lid, ground mouth, and guaranteed old! Overall, this item is in great condition. The ground lid has no chips, cracks, etc. The underside of the foot of the jar has a 7/8-inch bruise on one point of the base. There is also an approximately 1-inch bruise on the inside rim of the foot of the jar. (This one is pretty hard to notice). The jar has scattered bubbles and swirl marks (which is what you want to see on an old jar like this!), but there are no other chips or cracks. I consider this jar to be very clear, but a purist may say that there is a hint of internal haze.
(Photo: eBay miketaylor100, Stuart Bradley Antiques, Fredericksburg, VA)

 DBA: The seller got a good deal here. I found an identical one selling at auction through in 2015 for $500 (hammer price). There is an identical one offered through an eBay store for $1,200 at present. It is a beautiful candy jar.
$898 (21 bids, 14 bidders): 1866 Antique 19th Century Col. J. W. Robinson American Telegraph Co. Gold-Filled Cane.
The 1 1/4-inch diameter, gold-filled top on this 36-inch long antique cane is inscribed “Col. J W Robinson Supt Am Tel Co from his Operators Oct 1866.” After some research online, I found that J. W. Robinson was from Concord New Hampshire and was a superintendent of the American (Northern) Telegraph Co. who was influential in opening several additional lines to connect cities along the East Coast. I assume that the “Col.” before Robinson’s name means that he was a colonel in the Civil War, but I was unable to find info online. This 19th century cane was given to J. W. Robinson in 1866, and, as you can see, it is in very good original condition. There are a couple of small surface rubs to the 3/4-inch diameter ebony shaft, but there are no problems or any restorations to the gold-filled top.
(Photo: eBay seller wwolst12)

DBA: There are many people who collect canes, especially decorative ones. There are many presentation canes similar to this one. While I could find some real deals at auction sources, there were plenty selling for this price as well. This is what I would consider “market value” and a fair deal for buyer and seller.
Deborah Abernethy is a certified appraiser with the International Association of Appraisers. She can be contacted at 1-404-262-2131 or Her website is

What’s Selling on eBay: September 2017