The lifetime collections of Don and Joyce Blyth – an astounding assemblage of stoneware, sporting advertising, decoys, powder tins, bottles in several categories, Canadiana and more – will come up for bid in an online-only Canadiana & Sporting auction planned for Saturday, June 5th, by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd., at 9 am Eastern time.
Don and Joyce Blyth were both avid collectors until Don’s recent passing. Included in the auction is a nearly comprehensive collection of Guelph merchant stoneware and bottles, among other pieces of Guelph, Ontario memorabilia. Also on offer is Don’s collection of Canadian gun powder tins, decoys, sporting and firearms advertising and other rare items.
“To the Blyths, the thrill was in the hunt,” said Ethan Miller, of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. “The spoils of their eight-decades-long hunt are now available to a new generation of collectors, and the interest has been staggering. In Joyce’s book, The Guelph Merchants, she tells of the town’s earliest merchants through stoneware. All of the stoneware in her book is in this sale.”
Don’s collection of sporting advertising includes numerous posters advertising products from Remington, Union Metallic Cartridge Company, Dominion Cartridge Company and Winchester. The rare cartridge boards for Dominion Cartridge, Union Metallic Cartridge and Winchester are expected to dominate the list of top lots. All carry lofty estimates.
Three 19th century cartridge display boards – two from Winchester (1887 and 1884) and one from Union Metallic Cartridge (1880s) have estimates of $20,000-$25,000 (all prices quoted are in Canadian dollars). All boards are lithographed cardboard with an applied representation of Winchester’s line of ammunition and all are handsomely framed in oak.
Among the most highly sought and iconic American sporting advertising, Winchester’s cartridge boards are monumental historic displays. Few survived intact due to their size and the fact they were often displayed in store windows and areas exposed to light. Collectors pursue them because they’re large, graphically appealing and display nicely.
Also offered will be a Winchester Double “W” cartridge display board from 1902 (est. $5,000-$7,000); an early 20th century Dominion Cartridge Co. exhibition board, Canadian (est. $5,000-$7,000); a Dominion Ammunition store counter display from the 1910s (est. $4,000-$6,000); and a Dominion Ammunition calendar from 1919 (est. $2,000-$3,000).
Stoneware will be led by a rare three-gallon jug produced in the 1870s by F. P. Goold and featuring a race horse decoration in cobalt slip, made during Goold’s tenure at the Brantford pottery in Canada (est. $8,000-$12,000); and a two-gallon jug debossed, “Robt. Rutherford Guelph”, boasting an outstanding bird decoration (est. $4,000-$5,000). The jug appears on the cover of Joyce Blyth’s book, Jugs & Crocks of the Guelph Merchants.
Another F. P. Goold jug, this one a two-gallon example, 14 inches tall and debossed, “F. P. Goold Brantford”, having a few very small scratches or scrapes mostly on the front of the jug, has an estimate of $3,000-$4,000. Also, a two-gallon jug, debossed, “John Smith Grocer General Dealer and Produce Buyer Guelph CW”, with a rare, incised “sgraffito” decoration, pictured on page 65 of Joyce Blyth’s book, should command $2,000-$3,000.
Tops in the decoys category is a first quarter 20th century Burlington Bay canvasback by Ivar Gustav Fernlund (Hamilton, Ont., 1881-1933), hollow, with a structurally excellent bottom board, beautiful wet combed paint and a bold, elegant high head (est. $4,500-$5,500); and a diminutive circa 1900 bluebill drake by Donny Reid (1862-1920), an important Burlington Bay decoy in outstanding original condition (est. $3,500-$4,500).
A hollow bluebill decoy from the first quarter 20th century by Henry (Hen) Freeborn (Hamilton, Ont., 1882-1959), in excellent gunning condition and with strong paint, has an estimate of $2,500-$3,500. Circling back to sporting collectibles, a large Gurd’s Rifle trade sign from the 1880s, made from carved wood with forged iron hardware, originally from Gurd’s Sporting Emporium in London, Ontario, should finish at $14,000-$18,000.
Internet bidding for the 289-lot auction will be facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com, as well as the Miller & Miller website: www.MillerandMillerAuctions.com. Bidders can tune in to the live webcast on June 5th to watch lots close in real time. Phone and absentee bids will be accepted.
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. has two more auctions planned for June: a Watches & Jewels auction on Saturday, June 12th and an Advertising auction on June 19th. Both will be online-only.
To learn more about Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. and the Canadiana & Sporting auction scheduled for Saturday, June 5th at 9 am Eastern time, please visit www.MillerandMillerAuctions.com. Updates are posted frequently.