Over the years, there may have been more valuable collections than the one assembled by the Milhous brothers, but there were few more idiosyncratic. Its core consisted of vintage automobiles and mechanical musical instruments, but it also included such rarities as a full-blown carousel with 42 animals, and a 1920 peanut and popcorn machine once pulled by two horses. This past weekend it all sold at an auction joint hosted by RM and Sotheby’s for $38.3m. Highest price item: a 1912 Oldsmobile Limited Five Touring classic that fetched $3.3m, a new world auction record for an Oldsmobile.That price was more than double the $1.4-$1.6m estimate for the car. A 1933 Chrysler Custom Imperial 5-Passenger Phaeton realized $1.21m, and a 1934 Cadlillac Sixteen Custom Roadster sold for $1m. Another buyer paid $1.3m for a rare 1903 Ruth Style 38-B Fair Organ. And the carousel? The 46-foot device, which was custom made for the brothers and included a herd of hand-carved horses as well as an ostrich, a giraffe, tiger. and St. Bernard as well as its own 1953 Wurlitzer organ, sold for over $1.2m.
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