On The Square

Three Cheers for Three Ring!

By Bidsquare

Jul 14,2016 | 20:00 EDT

No one can doubt the iconic status of Coney Island and its amusement parks. Launched in 1880, it reached a historical peak during the first half of the 20th Century, when, as the largest amusement area in the U.S., it contained three major players - Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park – all competing for the millions of patrons who visited yearly. Electric lights, roller coasters and baby incubators are among Coney Island innovations, and for a short while, from 1885 to 1896, the Coney Island Elephant was the first sight to greet immigrants arriving in New York.

On Saturday, July 23, Potter & Potter Auctions offers bidders a bridge to the golden age of Coney Island when they sell Lot 443 in their Three Ring sale. A 1920 antique wooden carousel horse with carved corncob at the cantle and American flags at its sides; in a former life this guy served as an outer row jumper on C.W. Parker’s Grand Jubilee Carousel. In great shape and comes with Coney Island Museum documentation.

Lot 16 celebrates the incredible life of P.T. Barnum, Americas greatest ever showman. Barnums ability to stage entertainment was unmatched in the 19th Century, and to this day he is best remembered for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus. This mounted color lithograph is a promotion for another Barnum enterprise, The Legend Car of King Rex and His Retinue of Comic Mardi Gras Attendants.

Lot 458 - the Penny Arcade Fortune Teller machine - has a charm lost nowadays in the era of video games. In the scene, a painted wooden Queen Cleopatra stands in the Egyptian-styled parlor. The players fortune appears in the fireplace in the rear, based on the spin of the wheel that moves in concert with the numbered brass dial mounted to the front; the fortune is also dispensed as a printed ticket. 

One of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, Buffalo Bill Cody performed in shows that displayed cowboy themes and episodes from the frontier and Indian Wars. He founded Buffalo Bills Wild West in 1883, taking his large company on tours in the United States and, beginning in 1887, in Great Britain and Europe. Lot 582 - a 12-sheet color lithograph billboard mounted on old linen as one unit, depicts one of the most popular features of Buffalo Bill’s show, the Virginia reel on horseback.

When it comes to the circus, no one left a bigger mark than the The Ringling Brothers. The childen of immigrants, the seven brothers transformed their small touring company of performers into one of Americas largest circuses in the late 19th Century. Lot 82 is an advertisement for their Grand Highway Locomotive "Hercules," with its capacity of over 120,000 lbs.

Potter & Potter Auctions Three Ring sale is set down for Saturday, July 23 and contains over 600 expertly curated lots including carousel horses, sideshow banners, circus posters, autographs, wagons, banners, wood carvings, signs and more.