22 May 2019
February 28, 2012 - Filed under: Auctions — Richard

If you sell an antique desk in Cumbria, you don’t tend to make a song and dance about it. However, you might if it sells for $3.3m. This was the top price paid in a recent Florida auction which, in total, netted $38.3m in sales. To celebrate, the vendors gathered round an antique organ for a sing-song while a carousel twirled in the background.

Estate sales tend to revolve around mundane things like Victorian dining chairs in Cumbria. In Florida, it’s safe to say that things can be a little more bizarre. However, in this case there was a reason. The eclectic sale, which included the carousel and organ, represented the entire contents of the Milhous Collection, a private museum which has never been opened to the public.

Bob and Paul Milhous, both in their seventies, made their fortune in the printing business, which they used to amass a unique collection of vintage cars and rare curios. Covering a 39,000-square foot floor space, the museum was only opened for private tours and charity events – giving a few lucky people the chance to see rarities like a vintage 1912 Oldsmobile, the only known example of its kind and the most valuable item in the auction. It sold for $3.3m – more than twice the auctioneer’s estimate. However, it must be remembered that the auction house will have taken a large commission.

Antique dining chairs were a little too ordinary to be listed in the sale of 550 lots, although there was an antique barber’s chair. Giant toy soldiers, vintage petrol pumps and a 1941 airplane were also featured. If you have unique items to sell, why not take them to a Lancashire antique dealer for valuation?

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