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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.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
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

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
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

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

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

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
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

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more