Milhous Collection, offered by RM Auctions in association with Sotheby’s

December 8th, 2011 by

The Milhous Museum, compiled over the past fifty years by brothers Bob and Paul Milhous, focuses on rare and important automobiles, mechanical music, and collectibles, boasting one of the world’s most notable assemblies of orchestrions, fair, dance and theater organs.  RM Auctions, in association with Sotheby’s, is delighted to offer the Milhous Collection in situ at auction on February 24-25, 2012.

The collection began in 1959 with Paul’s purchase of a player piano; meanwhile Bob honed his interest in desirable motor cars.  His first purchase was a 1934 Packard Eight Convertible Victoria, which won awards at all major concours events including ‘Best of Show’ at the prestigious 1976 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  Since then, they have accumulated over 30 fine automobiles – from high-horsepower Brass era cars to coachbuilt classics and Indianapolis racing cars – and over 100 mechanical musical instruments.

The latter group is highlighted by the renowned Weber Maesto orchestrion, an exceptionally large instrument replete with a Feurich piano, xylophone, drums, traps, and endless pipes (est. $900,000 – $1,200,000).  The Weber Maesto is also very rare, with only seven known to exist, four of which are in museums.  Perhaps one of the most decoratively appealing and whimsical of the instruments is the Ruth Style 32-B Fair Organ by A. Ruth & Söhne of Germany, with carvings of animated flute and guitar players, bell ringers, a bandleader, swans, satyrs, cherubs and angels playing herald trumpets (est. $1,000,000 – $1,200,000).

Central to the collection is the Illions-style carousel built over the course of four years for the Milhous Collection and featuring 44 intricate animal figures carved by hand from historically accurate designs ($1,000,000 – $1,500,000).  An extensive assortment of petroliana, neon and porcelain signs and rare and unique gasoline-powered tether cars and models adds to the collection’s variety.  Furthermore, the Museum features decorative pieces from Louis Icart, Alphonse Mucha, and Tiffany & Co., and ornate hall clocks, tower clocks and street clocks from makers like Seth Thomas & Howard and Black, Starr & Frost.

RM Auctions, in association with Sotheby’s, looks forward to offering the contents of the museum on premises this February.  For more information, please visit www.rmauctions.com/milhous.

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