|By Jack Kelly
GRAYSLAKE, Ill. — While there wasn’t any snow, below freezing temperatures were the order of the day when the Chicagoland Antique Advertising & Juke Box Show opened Nov. 17-19 at the Fairgrounds Event Center in Grayslake.
Shoppers and sellers from multiple foreign countries mixed with people from all over the United States.
“It was a nine-hour flight from London for my first-time visit,” said 24-year-old shopper Steve Cooper of North London. “This show is a winner and well worth it!” He purchased several gum and peanut machines and a Jennings slot machine to take home.
Frank Zygmunt Jr. of Westmont, Ill., earned his reputation for the biggest slot machine selection at the show with a sprawling display of 60 machines priced from $500 to $50,000.
He pointed with pride to the priciest machine, the $50,000 countertop 1911 Watling Big Six nickel slot, one of only three known. Another crowd favorite at Zygmunt’s was a 1952 Jennings Sun Chief console slot, with original stand, that could be played at your home for a slightly lesser price — $4,500.
“This is mind-blowing,” said one browser walking up to the massive collection of early coin-op machines shown by Tom Tolworthy of Grandville, N.Y. Many stopped to gawk and point at his pair of turn-of-century countertop penny-operated chewing gum machines with full- figure clockwork moving figures inside, one of them being Uncle Sam. They were priced at $7,500 and $9,500 each.
Lavishly restored – and expensive – coin-operated arcade rides were admired by visitors of all ages at the booth of Mike Hasanov, Vintage Coin-Op Restorations of Barrington, Ill.
A flashy brightly painted and chromed 6-foot-long coin operated Space Patrol Battle Ship, fashioned after a 1950s TV show, featured churning bouncing action, with whirling lights and sirens plus actual wind in your face. All for just one coin – and $25,000.
Those with a slightly thinner wallet checked out a lavishly restored 5½-foot-long Chris Craft action-filled motor boat priced at $17,000.
Three buyers squared off just 5 minutes into the show, all wanting to purchase a working 1914 cast-iron shoe shine machine from dealer Paul Hindin of Mequon. Wis. The bulbous 70-inch- inch tall device with porcelain advertising sign on top could shine your shoes for $2,499. A coin flip decided the lucky buyer.
“You know you’ve made it when a big company manufactures a special edition 1015 jukebox line with your name on it,” said one shopper, pointing at the booth of John Papa, National Juke Box Exchange, Mayfield, N.Y.
“It’s a wonderful legacy in my career,” said Papa as he pointed to a brand new Rockola jukebox he said was “made with many special premium sound features and light-up center section stating “Rockola Special Signature Edition for John Papa.”
Although Papa owns serial no 1, others could own the special edition juke playing 45 rpm records at home for $9,999.
Meanwhile, those that wanted an antique juke checked out his “100 percent original” Wurlitzer model 950 priced at a hefty $40,000.
Many who own or will own jukeboxes need records, and Steve Hoff known as “Jukebox-Steve-In-Indy,” brought more than 15,000 records, both 45 and 78 rpm, from Indianapolis – and priced them to sell, from 25-cents to $100 each. The dealer said he has been buying and selling records for more than 20 years and spread his offerings over two full booths at the Chicaoland show.
A pair of totally restored — chromed and professionally painted — “cottage racer” single and twin 1938 outboard motors were perched at the booth entry of BJ Pawlaczyk, Au Gres, Mich., priced at $1,500 each. The dealer said he sold six other outboards just after the show opened, with two going to Texas and two more overseas to Holland.
Toy collectors hovered over the offerings from Jason Ostrowksi, Riverside, Ill., with many checking out his 25 different bobbing head “nodders” priced from $75-$200 each. More serious nodder collectors admired his 17-inch-long flocked covered papier-mache full-sized growler toy, circa 1910, that could entertain you for $2,200.
A massive 50-by 50-foot floor space was covered with more than 300 advertising signs brought to the show by Dale Robinson, Time Warp Antiques, Genoa, Ill. Robinson, who is a member of the family that owns the massive Kane County Flea Market, priced the signs from $20 to $1,500 each.
“It’s hard to find in this amazing condition,” said 25 year show veteran Steve Mumma, West Des Moines, Iowa., pointing to a 3 foot square embossed tin Coca-Cola 6-pack-carton advertising sign tagged at $3,200. Cash register collectors tested and admired a group of turn-of- century brass cash registers offered at $650 to $1,300 each. Other items in his booth were priced at $200 and up.
And finally if there was an Honest Collector Award at Chicagoland, it would be given to 85-year-old Roger Beecham of Lombard, Ill. The advertising match book collector said he attended the spring Chicagoland show and purchased a cigar box filled with matchbooks – and when he returned home, he discovered a handful of various tiny collectibles on the bottom of the box which he didn’t think were rightly included in the purchase. Beecham returned to this year’s fall event and traced his steps back to multiple booths he remembered visiting – finally finding the right dealer – returning the tiny stash!
The spring Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot Machine and Jukebox Show will be again held at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center, Grays Lake Ill., April 17-19.
For more information call (847) 244-9263 or visit www.chicagolandshow.com.