Curtain rises on florida’s renowned milhous collection

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  • RM Auctions, in association with Sotheby’s, presents the renowned Milhous Collection, February 2012

  • Sale features an unprecedented selection of motor cars, mechanical musical instruments and collectibles meticulously assembled over five decades

BLENHEIM, Ontario (May 20, 2011) – Continuing its reputation as the specialists for private and estate collection sales, RM Auctions, the world’s largest collector car auction house, will lift the gavel on the renowned Milhous Collection during a multi-day sale in Boca Raton, Florida, February 2012. Featuring an unprecedented collection of automobiles, mechanical musical instruments and collectibles, the sale will be presented in association with Sotheby’s with whom RM Auctions has collaborated in the past.
RM is honored to have been selected by the Milhous brothers to represent their collection at auction. I’ve known Bob and Paul Milhous for many years and their museum is one of the finest private museums I have ever seen. Those that have had the privilege to tour the collection over the years can attest to its incredible significance, quality and presentation,” says Rob Myers, Chairman & Founder, RM Auctions.
In addition, it is always a pleasure to work with the Sotheby’s team and we look forward to working with them once again to present this magnificent collection,” Myers adds.
Personal, whimsical, brilliant, the Milhous Collection is a whirling circus of magical music-making machines, gleaming motor cars and the beloved paraphernalia of small town life in olden days,” adds David Redden, Vice Chairman of Sotheby’s.  “Who could visit this collection without being amazed, enchanted and suddenly very happy?”
Carefully amassed over the past fifty years by brothers Bob and Paul Milhous, the Milhous Collection reflects a lifelong interest and fascination in mechanicals, from automobiles to an impressive range of mechanical musical instruments. It also reflects the brothers’ meticulous collecting philosophy; items were handpicked from around the world, with an emphasis on the rarest and most desirable examples produced by the industry’s most prominent names. Now, after five decades of welcoming countless visitors to tour their impressive private museum, the Milhous brothers prepare to share the joy the collection has brought them over the years with other passionate collectors.
Exceptional Automobiles

For automotive enthusiasts, the upcoming Milhous Collection sale will present a superb gathering of over 30 automobiles, spanning 90 years of automotive history. From a selection of high-horsepower Brass era cars through to a superb roster of coachbuilt classics and historically-significant Indianapolis racing cars, it is evident that this grouping of motor cars has a strong emphasis on rarity and world-class quality. Notable highlights from the various genres include a 1912 Oldsmobile Limited, an early 1911 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, a 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial with stunning LeBaron coachwork and the 1949 “Rounds Rocket” Indianapolis Racing Car. The sale will also feature a Pebble Beach “Best of Show” winning 1934 Packard Standard Eight Dietrich Victoria, the first car acquired by the Milhous brothers and making its initial trip to the market after over 40 years. Other notable entries include a majestic 1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Sedan, a 1932 Marmon Sixteen LeBaron Convertible Sedan, and a stunning pair of Fleetwood-designed Cadillac Sixteens all of which are displayed in a faithful replica of the original Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Showroom within the private Milhous museum.

Mechanical Musical Instruments

The Milhous Collection boasts an unprecedented selection of mechanical musical instruments. Highlighted by the world’s most desirable and exceptional theatre, fair and dance organs, the examples on offer are among some of the rarest, largest and most mechanically complex and decoratively elaborate in existence, produced by such renowned names as Gaudin, Gavioli, Bruder, Weber and A. Ruth & Sohn. One of the many jewels of the prized collection is the original Wurlitzer Family organ, a 30 rank theatre organ formerly in the Wurlitzer home in Cincinnati, OH.

The sale also features the largest compilation of major orchestrion pieces ever to be offered at auction and a world-class selection of historic music boxes, faithfully restored and maintained by specialists. Among a long list of highlights is a magnificent Welte Wotan Brass Band Orchestrion, the largest model of the Welte line, originally from the immense Bob-Lo Island Dance Hall in Detroit, MI; plus an extraordinary Hupfeld Super Pan Orchestrion, considered to be one of the most significant Hupfeld products ever built.

Additional Collection Highlights:

Beyond the impressive range of motor cars and mechanical musical instruments, another jewel of the collection is a large, hand-built carousel. This exceptional piece features an extraordinary menagerie of horses and other animals plus two gondolas, all hand-carved in basswood, and was specially commissioned and constructed by the Milhous brothers over a four-year period.

It is a one-of-a-kind, fully-functioning work of art – an incredible example of custom craftsmanship, mechanical music and entertainment,” adds Myers.
The Milhous Collection is complimented by an eclectic assortment of collectibles, ranging from ornate hall and tower clocks to such decorative art pieces as Tiffany lamps and various artworks, as well as a diverse series of petroliana, neon and porcelain signs, unique gasoline-powered tether cars and models, and a large range of firearms from the late 19th century.
Further information on the auction will be provided later in the summer.
Media Contacts:

For further information, images and interviews please contact:

Amy Christie RM Auctions +1 734 649 9156

Lauren Gioia Sotheby’s +1 212 606 7176
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