In The News

A&S to auction extraordinary 65-year Roy Gay collection of railroad antiques, March 10-11 in Waco, Texas

February 2nd, 2012 by

This MoPac (Missouri Pacific) railroad lantern with ruby-colored glass is one of approximately 160 lanterns from various train lines in the Roy Gay collection. A&S image.

WACO, Texas – There is no more enduring symbol of how the Old West became part of the New World than the American railroad, with its steam-powered “iron horses” that linked East to West. It is the lifelong fascination with early trains and the culture that surrounded them that inspired the late Roy Gay’s 65-year collection of railroadiana, which will be auctioned in its entirety on March 10-11. A&S Antique Auction Co., specialists in Western Americana, will conduct the sale of the approximately 2,000-piece single-owner collection at its Waco, Texas gallery, with Internet live bidding through


“Mr. Gay, who passed away on January 11th of this year, gave his whole working life of 40-plus years to the Union Pacific Railroad. He was an auditor for the company and traveled a three-state region in the course of his job, so that opened all the necessary doors to acquire railroad relics. When a depot closed down, he would know about it and be in a position to buy the pieces he wanted,” said A&S’s owner Scott Franks.


Roy Gay’s collection of lanterns, railroad advertising signs, tableware, tinware, whiskey crocks and literally anything else that would have been part of a train journey from the late 19th- through mid-20th centuries grew to such size that an unusual step was taken.


“This was the worst case of a passionate collector I’ve ever seen,” Franks said with a chuckle. “When he retired, Mr. Gay bought the old railway station at Troup, Texas, and literally had it moved to his East Texas farm. Later, Mr. Gay spent $35,000 to restore the station, which is where he displayed his remarkable collection.”


Most of the items Gay collected are from the “golden era” of railroads – the 1880s through middle “teens” – with a smattering of later objects whose timeline ends around the 1970s.


Railroad sign whose design was in use from 1890-1930 to advertise MKT (Missouri-Kansas-Texas Lines), one of a multitude of signs in Roy Gay collection. A&S image.

The Waco auction gallery’s walls are a spectacle to behold with the massive sub-collection of approximately 160 railroad lanterns now on display. Many of the lanterns have green, ruby and amber colored glass panels; while a few were made with richly hued cobalt-blue glass. Franks noted that most are signal or switch-type lanterns made by Dietz or other manufacturers. Each is marked with the name of an American railroad.


Additionally, there are some very scarce inspectors lanterns with matching IDs on the casing and globe components, and one particularly rare presentation lantern. The grouping also includes many as eight brass firemen’s lanterns, which have a distinctive shape and large, rolled handles that prevented the user’s hands from getting burned.


“The lanterns will be accessible to every level of collector,” said Franks. “Their book values range from $50 to $700 apiece.”


Selection of blue and white historical-pattern china used in dining cars on the B&O (Baltimore & Ohio) line. A&S image.

Franks predicts crossover competition from antique advertising collectors for the scores of old railroad signs in the Gay collection. Highlights include a beautiful, all-original circa 1890-1930 MKT porcelain sign, conservatively estimated at $2,000-$3,000; and a 36-inch-diameter “buzzsaw” sign, referring to its serrated edges, which advertises Texas Pacific Lines on one side and Missouri Pacific on the other. Franks explained that the sign would be flipped over when a train crossed a state line where one or the other of the companies had jurisdiction.


A vast array of railroad tableware incorporates 200-300 pieces of marked china, including a rare dinner plate for the Great Northern Iron Mountain Route’s Sunshine Special, estimate $2,000-$3,000. Other railroad china comes from Missouri Pacific (including service plates), Texas Pacific, MKT, NY Central, Union Pacific and Southern Pacific. Additionally, there is a large assortment of blue china in B&O’s historical pattern.


Other food service goods include silver flatware and covered wares marked for dining cars or railroad companies; table linens, 65 railroad-marked sugar tongs, 2-cup pitchers for tea or coffee, creamers, sugar bowls, covered bowls, carafes, pedestaled dessert dishes, and salt and pepper sets.


The late Roy Gay prized this beautiful plate from the Great Northern Railroad’s Sunshine Special above all other china in his vast collection. A&S image.

Every train had a galley where beverages and other liquids were stored in crocks. One- and 2-gallon examples marked with railroad names are part of the Gay collection, as are more than 100 crocks marked for brands of whiskey and other alcoholic beverages; saloons and taverns.


“Right now, whiskey crocks are one of the hottest tickets in the auction market,” said Franks. “Mr. Gay’s crocks are marked with the name of a person or company, and also, in many cases, the location where the whiskey was distilled. They represent old-time whiskey companies from Texas all the way up to New York. We think collectors are going to really get excited when they see this selection.”


Decks of cards in the Roy Gay collection include this rare pack advertising the St. Louis Southwestern Railway’s Cotton Belt Route. A&S image.

Many items kept train passengers occupied on long journeys of a century ago, and nearly all were marked with the names of particular railroads. Among the convenience articles to be auctioned are ashtrays, playing cards (some with an African-American theme), dozens of paper hand fans with advertising, blankets and numerous cast-iron footstools that ladies and children would step onto when boarding a train.


Manly metal from the steam-train era will be front and center on auction day, with such contents as railroad-branded locomotive engine bells, spittoons, and brass railroad locks and keys; plus an extremely rare cast-iron stove made by Hart Mfg. of Louisville, Ky., and embossed with the word “Caboose.” Auctioneer Franks, who has handled numerous railroad items over the years, said it is the first of its type he has ever seen.


The ‘heavy metal’ section of the sale includes steam locomotive engine bells (as shown), spittoons, brass railroad locks and keys; plus an extremely rare cast-iron caboose stove. A&S image.

Framed decorative artworks from train stations of a bygone era are led by a spectacular panoramic, shadowboxed wildlife photo titled “An Elk Lodge in the Jackson Hole Country Reached via the Union Pacific System.” Measuring 48 inches wide by 12 inches high, the circa-1920s picture was taken on the Steven N. Leek resort lodge and ranch, an elk refuge in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Leek’s Lodge, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was destroyed by fire in 1998.


The auction offering contains many other desirable railroad mementos, such as caps from conductors, inspectors and engineers; railroad passes, railroad station thermometers that advertise train lines and various products, and 75-80 pieces of railroad-marked tinware for use with diesel cans and other containers.


Roy Gay’s 1929 emerald green Model A with camel upholstery and rumble seat. A&S image.

In addition to railroad antiques, the Roy Gay collection includes an extensive selection of early automobilia, 30 to 35 gas pump globes, an 8ft. Mobil Pegasus sign and other advertising; and even a beautiful emerald green 1929 Model A rumble-seat Ford. The car has always been garaged and is drivable.


The March 10-11 auction will be held live at A&S Antique Auctions’ gallery, 900 E. Loop 340, Waco, TX 76716, and will start at 10 a.m. Central Time each day. All forms of remote bidding will be available, including absentee, by phone or live via the Internet through For additional information call 254-799-6044 or e-mail Visit the A&S website at View the online catalog at

Sotheby’s London – The Collection of Giovanni and Gabriella Barilla

January 27th, 2012 by

From their Geneva residence, the collection of Giovanni and Gabriella Barilla, descendants of the famous dynasty of pasta makers, encompasses pieces for both the passionate and composed collector. Among one of the most important European collections of German and Italian porcelain, early Meissen by Böttger, Baroque commedia dell’arte figures by Kändler, and rare models and harlequins from the Wiessenfels group, mix happily with exceptional and very rare Capodimonte pieces, Buen Retiro, Vezzi and Fabrica Ferdinandea, Napoli groups and figures – altogether encapsulating the vibrance of ‘carnival’. Together with colourful Maiolica, Faenza and Della Robbia, these compliment and enrich the collection of elegant 18th century Venetian furniture and paintings, drawings, silver, works of art, books and 15th century manuscripts.


Sotheby’s New York – American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture

January 27th, 2012 by

Sotheby’s is now accepting consignments through February 5th for the American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture sale, to be held on April 5th, 2012.


O’Hara’s Gallery Auction at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers Achieves Over $1.5 Million

January 26th, 2012 by

Proving once again that global demand for the best and most unique property is as strong as ever, the sale of property from O’Hara’s Gallery realized $1,539,060 at Leslie Hindman.


Swann Galleries – African American Fine Art

January 26th, 2012 by
February 16, 2012
Features the first William T. Williams painting to appear at auction, a monumental 1971 acrylic on canvas titled Eastern Star. – American Antique Toy & Coin-Op Show

January 20th, 2012 by

Appraiser in Collectibles, Memorabilia and Toys to Appear at Old Greenwich Toy, Coin-Op Show

January 20th, 2012 by


HERSHEY, Pa – Organizers of the highly anticipated American Antique Toy & Coin-Op Show, just announced a new addition for the event that will allow attendees to bring their old toys to be appraised.

 Gary Sohmers, an expert in Pop Culture, Collectibles, Toys and Memorabilia, is scheduled to appear at the show to do Verbal Appraisal Values for Antiques and Collectibles, while occupying a 24 ft. by 8 ft. booth to display and sell merchandise, according to the show’s promoter, USA Theatres.

“Gary Sohmers has appeared as an appraiser in Collectibles, Memorabilia and Toys for 13 seasons on the PBS television program ‘Antiques Roadshow’,” said Ronald M. Vastola, Outreach Coordinator of USA Theatres.  “Mr. Sohmers’ appearance is an extraordinary addition to the show.”

The American Antique Toy & Coin-Op Show is set to debut on Saturday, March 3, at the Eastern Civic Center, situated within walking distance from the Metro-North Train Station in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

According to USA Theatres, the show will feature quality exhibitors buying, selling and trading an array of antique and collectible toys, such as character toys, tin toys, mechanical toys, banks, trains, actions figures, diecast vehicles, games, model kits, advertising items, and coin-ops (jukeboxes, slot machines, etc…).

Some of the high quality dealers who will be exhibiting at the inaugural show include Tom Miano, owner of Serious Toyz; Fred Franklin, owner of Rec Room Specialties; and Mike and Lauren Czajkowski, co-owners of Milo Toys & Collectables, to just name a few.

Additional dealers from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, who specialize in coin-operated machines and other related antique toys and collectibles, have responded to the show; including Dan Morphy, owner of Morphy Auctions, who is interested in utilizing 24 feet of exhibit space.

A variety of food and beverages will be available for purchase at the show, provided by Joemomma Foods, Inc. of Hershey, Pa.

General admission into the show is $10 for adults, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday; while early buyers are welcome Friday evening at 6:00 p.m. and also Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. for $20 per person each day.  Parking is free and children under 12 will be admitted for free, accompanied by a paying adult.

Exhibit space is currently available; however, exhibitors are encouraged to sign up soon as spaces are very limited.


For further information, call (717) 542-0567 or email

You may also visit the website,

Anyone wishing to reserve a hotel room should contact the Hilton Stamford Hotel & Executive Meeting Center, the official hotel of the American Antique Toy & Coin-Op Show.  The hotel is conveniently located just 1.4 miles, 4 minutes from the Civic Center.

Mention the show to receive a special room rate of just $79 per night (promo code:  AMA).  The hotel can be reached by visiting their website or calling them directly at (203) 967-2222.


Sotheby’s Wine

January 17th, 2012 by

Auction results online now at

Sotheby’s New York – Old Master Drawings

January 17th, 2012 by

Sotheby’s Old Master Drawings sales offer works created in Continental Europe between the 15th and the early 19th centuries using media such as pen and ink, chalk, metalpoint, brush and wash, watercolour and gouache executed primarily on paper supports, but also sometimes on vellum. Styles and subjects vary enormously, ranging from working figure and composition studies by Renaissance Masters such as Michelangelo, to designs for prints, stained glass, textiles or silverware, and independent landscape watercolours or natural history illustrations.

Our global team located in London and New York has overseen notable sales of work by artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn and Canaletto and Fragonard, amongst others. Learn more about this department in Records & Results.

Sotheby’s Old Master Drawings department conducts two main sales per year in early July in London, and in late January in New York. Both sales include a section of Early British drawings, watercolours and miniatures.

Sotheby’s – Important Americana: Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Porcelain, Prints and Carpets

January 17th, 2012 by

Welcome to Sotheby’s new catalogue app exclusively for the iPad. Complimentary catalogues for our 2012 sales are available in this exciting new format. Additionally, the full selection of our catalogues is accessible using your browser on our website,