More than 100 automobiles and select memorabilia will be featured at the 2015 RM Sotheby’s Hershey auction, to be held October 8-9 at the historic Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania. RM’s 9th annual sale is a feature attraction of the AACA Eastern Division Fall Meet.
“Since its inception, our Hershey sale has been known as a great venue for offering Brass Era automobiles, and this year’s event provides tremendous choice for collectors drawn to early automotive design and engineering. It is certainly our strongest Hershey lineup to date, complete with some of the finest Brass and Classic Era motor cars in existence,” said Gord Duff, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s. “Each lot is very well-suited to both the sale and the AACA meet, and is sure to capture the interest of the hundreds of international enthusiasts and collectors that make the annual automotive pilgrimage to Hershey.”
The October event follows RM’s strongest Hershey performance to date in 2014, which totaled more than $14 million bolstered by the successful sale of two single-vendor collections, the Cars of John Moir and the Jeffrey Day Collection. The 2015 auction is set to build on this result, bringing two more private collections to the podium, including the Richard Roy Estate Collection, and a selection of vehicles from the Harold Coker Collection.
Richard Roy of New Jersey was a longtime member of just about every car club, and an attendee at the AACA Hershey Meet for almost four decades. A successor to his father’s farm equipment and feed company, he was a businessman for whom no search was too far or too ambitious if it meant locating the right car or piece of automobilia.
RM Sotheby’s will present Mr. Roy’s collection of 25 Early American and Classic Era cars at its upcoming Hershey sale. The collection focuses extensively on vehicles with local Sussex County, NJ or regional Pennsylvania ties, along with cars of particular originality or peculiarity. Mr. Roy purchased his first car in 1949 at the age of 17 — a 1929 Chrysler Series 75 Roadster known as “Blossom” which remains part of the collection to this day and is included in the offering (Est. $40,000 – $60,000). While he drove and showed his earliest acquisitions at club events, after the mid-1960s, access to his garage remained limited to his favored local community groups and select car aficionados. His family estimates that no more than a few dozen people saw the collection for an extended period. RM Sotheby’s is proud to finally unveil Richard Roy’s lifetime of collecting to the public, where it will be offered entirely without reserve.
Richard Roy Estate Collection highlights include:
- 1922 Mercer Series 5 Sport, formerly of the Frederick Crawford Collection (Est. $150,000 – $200,000);
- 1923 Mercer Series 6 Sporting, one of 10 surviving examples of the model, previously of the Alfred Ferrara and Bill Harrah collections (Est. $175,000 – $225,000);
- 1916 Pierce Arrow Model 38-C-4 Five-Passenger Touring, once owned by A.K. Miller (Est. $90,000 – $130,000); and,
- 1908 Holsman Model H-11 Touring, the first automobile sold in Sussex County, New Jersey, remaining there ever since (Est. $30,000 – $50,000).
RM Sotheby’s will also offer 10 cars from the Harold Coker Collection. A lifelong enthusiast, Harold Coker loved cars as long as he could remember. Starting with a Model T that he sold and bought back several times, he began purchasing nearly one car every year for five decades. His passion for the automobile led him to leave his position at B.F. Goodrich and start Coker Tire Company in 1958, filling a niche enthusiast market for rare and obsolete tires that today is the world’s largest supplier of collector car tires.
Harold’s own cars were described as part of the family, and all of them shown regularly and often awarded at AACA and HCCA events across the United States. He had a penchant for the usual as well, specifically for the Thomas marque, famous for winning the 1908 New York to Paris race. Highlights from his collection of pre-1916 vehicles slated for the Hershey stage include:
- Pair of Thomases, including a 1905 Flyer Model 25 Side-Entrance Tonneau, the only example known to have survived intact (Est. $375,000 – $500,000), and a 1907 Flyer Model 4-40 Four-Passenger Runabout, a sister car to the legendary winner of the 1908 race (Est. $450,000 – $600,000);
- 1911 National Model 40 Speedway Roadster, a twin to the car that won the 1912 Indianapolis 500 ($200,000 – $275,000);
- 1903 Columbus Electric Folding-Top Runabout, believed to have been owned by silent film star ZaSu Pitts (Est. $100,000 – $150,000); and,
- 1909 Petrel 30 HP Roadster, believed to be the only example extant (Est. $100,000 – $150,000).
The RM Sotheby’s Hershey sale also has a track record for offering Brass and Classic Era motor cars, and the 2015 catalog will be no exception. Among the featured offerings is the 1911 Oldsmobile Autocrat, chassis number 65877, known as the “Yellow Peril”.
The “Yellow Peril” was actively campaigned by its original owner, the wealthy and eccentric John Henry Greenway Albert of Baltimore. With racing in mind, Albert replaced the Autocrat’s tourabout body with aluminum coachwork of his own design, and installed a rudimentary fuel injection system that he developed with the family chauffeur and mechanic. He removed the car’s fenders and headlights for competition, later replacing them as he reinstated the Oldsmobile for sporting road use. Largely undefeated, “Yellow Peril” successfully raced on many dirt and board tracks in period, remaining in Albert’s ownership until his untimely passing in 1968. It has since been an active and popular participant on the HCCA and VMCCA tour circuit, while remaining one of the few Brass Era racing cars to retain original period-built bodywork and original mechanical components (Est. $700,000 – $850,000).
“Yellow Peril is an extraordinary machine, made all the more remarkable by the recent confirmation of its early history and original condition by our in-house research team,” said Gord Duff, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s. “At RM, we pride ourselves on the depth of research we undertake to authenticate and establish each car’s particular noteworthiness – a process that, within the automotive auction business, is entirely unique to our organization. In this case, our research team uncovered the documentation necessary to confidently tell the Autocrat’s story. We’re thrilled to present a car with such a fascinating history as the “Yellow Peril” in Hershey and look forward to welcoming collectors to Pennsylvania for what is always a great celebration of the hobby and its camaraderie.”
Added highlights include the 1913 Pierce-Arrow Model 66-A Seven-Passenger Touring, chassis no. 66667, one of 14 surviving examples. The largest and most potent motor car produced at the time, 66667 was acquired by the Minneapolis Fire Department and used as a “Chief’s Limousine” in the early 1920s, as they moved from a horse-drawn to a motorized fleet. The Pierce-Arrow has since been restored to its original form, and has successfully participated in more than a dozen long-distance tours in recent years (Est. $550,000 – $650,000).
Representing the Edwardian Era is a rare 1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Landaulette by Barker, chassis no. 25EB. Imported to the United States early in its life, the Silver Ghost was purchased by Helen Brice, a member of one of the wealthiest East Coast families of the era. Miss Brice used the car regularly until 1934, when she and her chauffeur, Francis Cox, thought it time to trade it in. Cox wrote a letter to Mr. Henry Ford, suggesting that the example of original coachwork on a great chassis would be an appropriate addition to his new museum, to which Mr. Ford agreed, displaying the Silver Ghost at The Henry Ford until 1971. Restored in 2004, it is one of few examples to retain its original chassis, engine, and coachwork, and was so well cared for that little restorative work was actually required (Est. $500,000 – $700,000).
The roster of Brass Era cars at RM’s 2015 Hershey auction are complemented by a selection of American classics, including a 1930 Cadillac V-16 Two-Passenger Coupe by Fleetwood, one of 98 examples built to this design. The car has been restored in period-correct colors of black and metallic pewter – the quality of which was acknowledged by a second in class award at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (Est. $450,000 – $600,000, offered without reserve). Also slated for the Hershey podium is a 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Convertible Coupe, formerly owned by model expert, Joe Morgan. Featuring a seldom-seen body style, this Imperial maintains its original chassis, engine and body, and sports a restoration in its original colors of Abbott Gray and Tonawanda Green (Est. $250,000 – $300,000, offered without reserve).
Additional entries at the 2015 RM Sotheby’s Hershey auction includes:
- 1915 Cretors Model C Popcorn Wagon, chassis 7539, formerly of Harrah’s Automobile Collection and offered with exhaustive documentation, including popcorn recipes (Est. $250,000 – $325,000, offered without reserve);
- 1924 Marmon Model 34C Two-Passenger Speedster, chassis B2-5001, pioneering American sports car boasting a nut and bolt restoration to concours standards (Est. $125,000 – $175,000);
- 1931 Stutz DV-32 Convertible Sedan, chassis DV-42-1383, called “one of the best original and unrestored examples in existence”, owned by the Pettit family for six decades (Est. $175,000 – $225,000);
- Selection of microcars offered without reserve, including Lot 152, a 1927 Austin 7 Coupe by Maythorn and Son, a one-off Nickel Era microcar believed to have been built for the Pulitzer Family (Est. $15,000 – $25,000); Lot 180, a 1938 American Bantam Roadster, an original American microcar (Est. $15,000 – $25,000); and Lot 250, a restored 1965 Volkswagen Type 2 ’21-Window’ Deluxe Microbus (Est. $80,000 – $100,000); and,
- 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, chassis 58E023213, the “finest authentically restored example available today” (Est. $200,000 – $275,000, offered without reserve).
In addition to the motor cars, RM’s Hershey sale presents a group of collectibles and automobilia. Highlights include 22 lots from the Richard Roy Estate Collection, including a trio of detailed, fully functional steam-powered Stanley models, original Peter Helck drawings depicting pivotal moments in motoring history, and three scale model replicas of World War II aircraft. Also on offer is a 1915 Pierce-Arrow Model 66-A-3 Engine, a fine spare or display piece for any collector of the Brass Era marque (Est. $30,000 – $50,000).
For more information on 2015 RM Sotheby’s Hershey sale, visit rmsothebys.com or call +1 519 352 4575.
[Source: RM Sotheby’s; photos: Darin Schnabel]