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Lot 163

1918 Herschell-Spillman 32' Carousel

Sold for $460,000

A wonderfully restored and operational example

The golden age of the carousel in America was the early 20th century, and indeed, many of the finest examples graced amusement parks and fairgrounds. In comparison to the more static European pieces, American carousels of the era featured elaborate animals, chariots, and decorations, which were all handmade by craftsmen who had extraordinary attention to detail.

The Cars of Dreams Museum carousel typifies this remarkable era and blends perfectly into the collection's overall appearance. While surrounded by engineering of the decades to come, the museum's carousel is an excellent centerpiece for the Staluppi Collection and is an outstanding example of the Herschell-Spillman Company's very impressive works.

The Herschell-Spillman Company was founded in North Tonawanda, New York in 1903, which would mark the first union in a series of companies in the community that manufactured carousels and other amusement park rides. They swiftly became the most prolific maker of carousels and specialized in producing transportable machines, which could be used by traveling carnival operators. The company produced over 3,000 hand-carved wooden carousels and out-produced all of its rivals in the carousel industry. Each hand-carved wooden carousel featured striking yet simple horses, many of its most traditional designs are, in fact, exemplified on the carousel offered here from the Staluppi Collection.

It is reported that this carousel was operated at the Big Top Market in Florida on Saturdays and Sundays for 10 years, 12 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. It features two animals abreast with 14 sweeps, and it also includes 16 large-sized, all wood, antique Alan Herschell jumping horses, circa 1920. There are six jumping baby-sized cartoon figures, circa 1950, with two spinning tubs and two carved chariots. The rounding boards are painted in a circus theme, and they also have mirrors in the alternate panels, which are well illuminated by the roughly 550 light bulbs that can be found throughout the circumference of the carousel.

Purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Staluppi for display and use in the Cars of Dreams Museum from the American Carousel and Novelty Company several years ago, this 1918 carousel is complete with six jeweled saddle horses, two leader horses with chopped manes, and eight Indian blanket horses, with one example stripped and varnished to highlight the original wood. Both of the chariots are also Alan Herschell originals and are heavily carved pieces, while the two spinning tubs are also newly painted and upholstered. The interior components all appear correct and in good, overall condition, with all aspects of the carousel appearing to operate proficiently and as one would expect.

It is accompanied with all expected items, including the custom built operator's booth that houses all the remote operating switches. As one could imagine, this lot will require professional removal and transport, and we encourage those interested in bidding on the carousel to contact a specialist from the RM Auctions staff in advance of the auction for further information.

This is truly one of the most interesting and dramatic pieces in the Staluppi Collection, and one can easily imagine falling in love with such a fantastic piece of historically important and magnificent memorabilia, especially when witnessing it at speed and adorned with enthusiastic adults and children.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby's in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born ... read more

Annette Abaci

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Ontario, Canada

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Kurt Forry

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Indiana, United States

Kurt Forry joins Auctions America with more than a decade of experience on the North American auction scene and a well-rounded knowled... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his ho... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more