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What's Selling on eBay: February 2015

What's Selling on eBay - February 2015

By Deborah Abernethy and Mike McLeod
$2,650 (37 bids): Big Red Kugel, Grape Shape.
Very good condition, commensurate to age. No damage at all. Gilded metal natural patina. One bottom side lost mercury.

DBA: The word kugel originally meant ball in German. The name today refers to a Christmas ornament. The early ones were made of heavy glass lined in silver and usually in shapes of globes, grapes, apples, pears, berries and pine cones. These are being made new today en masse. There are differences in the old and new ones: the old ones are much heavier, and the neck where the loop for hanging attaches looks different. The neck on the newer ones extends higher. The cap on the old ones is nearly flush with the surface.
While this is a high price for a Christmas ornament, this example is more unusual since it is larger, from the early 1800s, and in a fruit shape, which is harder to find.
$7,900 (40 bids): Sun Mfg. Co. Coin Op Bicycle Trade Stimulator Cigar Arcade.
This coin-operated machine was manufactured in the late 1800s (around 1896). The player would deposit a nickel in the slot, flip the handle, and the coin would drop down, striking the bell and land in an enclosed glass area. The bicycle wheels will then spin. When they stop, the player then adds numbers on the wheel and checks to see if he or she is a winner from the award card under the bicycle. The winner was paid in cigars.
Original finish, original award card. Works and operates as intended; however, the mechanism could stand to be lubricated (a little sluggish). The cash door is missing, as is the key. There is a chip in the top cabinet on the left rear side. The wooden rope trim is in great shape.
DBA: Bicycling was a craze at the time this trade simulator was made. I found where the Bicycle Trade Simulator by Sun Manufacturing sold for $13,000 (pre-2008). In 2012, a similar example sold for $9,200 at a toy auction. It is hard to say if condition played a part in the price of this object since these previous sales records do not tell the condition of the object. This is more ìthe going rate,î and these objects have sold for similar amounts for years.
$5,989 (50 bids): Wood & Brass Toy Boucher Live Steam Engine Ship Boat Pond Yacht.
This is a superlative circa 1930s live steam engine model steamboat. It is 37 inches long and has unbelievable detail and quality to the workmanship. I have seen some Boucher steamboats approaching this level, but this is really something to behold. It is made of wood with brass and steel details and is quite heavy. Nothing was overlooked. It has several lifeboats with the more elaborate one actually having a clockwork motor that powers the propeller of the launch/lifeboat.
The ship/boat itself also has electric wiring and lights in several locations, including a large spotlight in the upper bridge where there is also a telegraph and helm station. Behind the upper helm station near the brass smokestack, you can see the steam gauge and steam whistle. Underneath the pilot house is the steam engine with the large boiler under the grate on the roof and water tank under the aft cabin.
The boat is in good condition and mostly intact, aside from some railing and some of the rigging. The wood finish has some gatoring to the finish, but overall, it looks great. Propeller turns, and you can hear the little pop of the compression of the steam engine. Also included are two 4 x 5-inch period 1930s photographs taken by the builder of the boat with some of the info and builderís name on the back (Bill Coleman, Pasadena, Calif.)
DBA: Horace Boucher operated a store on Madison Avenue in New York City from 1905 to 1936 where he sold model boats, both fully made and kits. His company did sell some models that were professionally made. The skill of the individual maker had much to do with the quality of the finished model boat. The live steam had a fuel cell that, when placed in the boiler, would generate the steam to run the ship. This is a great buy as these ships do sell for large money, and the workmanship on this particular one is incredible.
$2,070 (17 bids): Muratti Picana Cigarettes Tin Manchester London.
A very rare and very early Picana cigarettes tin by B. Muratti Sons Co., of London and Manchester. An extremely difficult tin to find in any condition, and this one is actually in a very nice state of preservation. But what really makes this a neat item is what’s inside. Someone lined the tin in paper and attached several dried flowers on Tuesday, June 5th, 1900, to remember the celebrations of Pretoria Day, which signified the capture of Pretoria during the Boer War in South Africa.
A very neat piece of history! (Photo: eBay seller bluenoser85.)
DBA: There was discussion about this tin from a collectorsí group about this particular tin being finished off center. The print would be lined up and finished and then baked. This one is finished off center with a wider margin on the left side of the tin. An identical tin was sold in 2011 for 430 pounds (approximately $700 today). It is hard to say if the note inside is equally as valuable as the tin because we do not know any of those details. It could be that information made it more valuable. There are many collectors of advertising tins. Most are at a much lower price than this one.
Deborah Abernethy is a certified appraiser with the International Association of Appraisers. She can be contacted at 404-262-2131 or
Her website is