Winter Premier Auction 2021


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/3/2021

Before the advent of television, attendance at sporting events was the most immediate way to witness the great athletic heroes of the day. However, in the 1930’s, those fans not lucky enough to get to games could still catch the action through the "magic" of the mutoscope. Working on the same principle as the "flip book", the mutoscope featured black-and-white, silver-based photographic prints on tough, flexible opaque cards that were attached to a circular reel, rather like a huge Rolodex. A reel typically held about 850 cards, giving a viewing time of about a minute. Mutoscopes were coin-operated. The patron viewed the cards through a pair of lenses enclosed by a hood, similar to the viewing hood of a stereoscope. The cards were lit electrically, and the reel was driven by means of a geared-down hand crank. Each machine held only a single reel and was dedicated to the presentation of a single short subject, described by a poster affixed to the machine.
This vintage, 1920's-30’s cast iron mutoscope machine features Joe Louis’ historic knockout of Max Schmeling from their 1938 bout at Yankees Stadium. Never has a knockout been received with more satisfaction in American boxing history. Schmeling, a decent man, entered the ring portrayed as Hitler’s champion of Aryan supremacy; Joe Louis, the first black heavyweight to win support of the entire boxing public, took him in the name of all democratic values. Just 124 seconds into their much-anticipated rematch, Schmeling fell victim to Louis’s cold fury, unleashing a night of rejoicing in both the black and white neighborhoods of America alike.
The entire event is recorded on this mutoscope’s original 10” reel. Remarkably, every other aspect of the machine is original as well, including paint, interior mechanisms, and the all important marquis at the top, displaying an original photograph. Seldom are mutoscope machines found in original condition. The insertion of just a penny brings the images to life, inspiring as much awe today as it did more than sixty years ago. Dimensions are as follows: 18x14x78


Originally sold for $33,000 at SCP/SOTHEBY'S in 2005.

$20,000 - $30,000+

Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $5,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $36,716
Number Bids: 18
Auction closed on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
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