Collectors interested in owning a genuine Guinness World Record item, ranging from the world’s smallest bicycle to the world’s largest pinball machine (Atari Hercules) to a coin-operated animated electric chair exhibit, will get their chance in an online-only auction of items previously displayed at the now-closed Guinness Museum of World Records in Niagara Falls, Canada. Every item in the auction is accompanied by an official certificate of authenticity.
The auction is being conducted by Ripley Auctions in Indianapolis and the catalog is online now, at www.ripleyauctions.com/online-auctions/. Bidding ends on Friday, February 12th, at 5 pm Eastern time and is available thru LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be taken. The preview is virtual, at www.ripleyauctions.com.
The auction is officially titled Ripley’s Remarkable Rarities Presents Guinness World Records Museum of Niagara Falls Auction. Ripley Entertainment, Inc., which is not affiliated with Ripley Auctions, owns the Guinness World Records brand. It has operated the museum in Canada since its grand opening in 1978 until its closing in September 2020, making the exhibit items available.
“In less than twenty hours since the posting of the catalog online, we’ve generated over 500,000 lot views and $200,000 in early bids,” said Dan Ripley, president and owner of Ripley Auctions. “We encourage everyone to watch and bid live, while enjoying a unique and entertaining live-stream event. The live-stream production is unique to any live auction event I’m aware of.”
The auction features over 100 lots of oddities, circus sideshow items, arts and entertainment memorabilia, music and sports collectibles, museum displays, coin-operated interactive exhibits, sculpted characters, artifacts, and even smaller items such as record wall plaques. All interested parties can subscribe to Ripley Auctions emails on the home page for updated auction details.
The world’s smallest wheeled, rideable bicycles were built and ridden by entertainer Charly Charles in his Las Vegas act at the Circus Circus Hotel. The one in the auction has an estimate of $500-$1,000, as does the world’s smallest camera – a round model made by the Petal Optical Company, manufactured in Occupied Japan in 1947-1948. A roll of film is included. A candidate for top lot of the auction is a Wurlitzer Model OMT 1015 jukebox, restored (est. $4,000-$5,000).
The Atari Hercules pinball game, which holds the record for world’s largest pinball game, carries an estimate of $1,500-$2,500 and includes a painted sign of the game and several wall plaques. The coin-operated, animated electric chair exhibit, complete with fog machine for smoke effect, features a life-like electric chair execution of an animated character. Included is a pedestal where the coin acceptors are located, plus wall plaques for criminal justice records (est. $1,000-$3,000).
A 49-inch-tall fiberglass character dedicated to Shigechiyo Izumi, billed as the World’s Oldest Man (1865-1986), includes backlit panels with historic facts that occurred during his lifetime, dating back to the Civil War (est. $1,000-$2,000). Also offered is a life-size sculpted character of Pauline Musters, billed as The World’s Smallest Woman, with a 22 ½ inch by 17 inch framed photograph of Ms. Musters with a heading and text giving facts about her life (est. $400-$800).
A custom sculpted, 68-inch-tall character portraying The Tattooed Lady – Krystyne Kolorful – who had 95 percent of her body surface tattooed, with a 32 inch by 49 inch “Most Tattooed Lady” PVC sign, should bring $1,000-$2,000; while a custom sculpted, 65-inch-tall portrayal of sword-swallower Martin Henshaw, who was able to swallow an astounding 14 swords at once, with a PVC sign (“The World’s Hungriest Sword Swallower”) has an estimate of $500-$1,000.
Sports offerings will include an official signed Wayne Gretzky Hespeler hockey stick and Edmonton Oilers hockey puck (est. 2,500-$3,500) and a signed Dan Marino Miami Dolphins jersey with two signed photos (est. $1,250-$2,000), both with COAs; and a 42-inch-tall sculpted caricature of Gordie Howe, with a “Longest Hockey Career” record card (est. $1,000-$1,500).
The contents-only of a large cabinet of bugs, creatures, critters and interesting collectibles – with many rack cards for items ranging from the world’s largest bat to the world’s largest tortoise, plus taxidermied creatures like a gerbil, giant stick insect and giant tarantula – should sell for $500-$1,000. Also, a wooden CN Tower model, with a record card (for “Tallest Towers”) and many other record cards for Skydome, space flight and astronauts, has an estimate of $300-$500.
The Guinness World Records Museum was an attraction landmark in Niagara Falls, Canada for 42 years, entertaining visitors old and young and operating as a franchisee of the world-famous brand while serving as a tribute to the best-selling copyrighted book of all time, The Guinness World Records book. Over the years the museum was known for lavish events that featured decorated Guinness World Record holders, and aspiring record breakers seeking their own fame.
Opening Day attractions at the museum on June 16, 1978 included Henry LaMothe, who staged a daring skydive from 40 feet into feet of water, and Sandy Allen, the World’s Tallest Woman. Over the years, the tradition continued, with visits from record holders such as Gary Shawkey (Fire Walker), who performed for guests laying on a bed of nails, while staff stood on his chest.
Others included Edward “Count Desmond” Benjamin, (sword swallower) Michael Kettman, (most spinning basketballs balanced), Fran Capo (The World’s Faster Talker), Edward “Fast Eddy” MacDonald, (holder of numerous Yoyo records), Mike “The Pancake Man” Cuzzacrea, (record holder for pancake flipping, while running marathons), strongman Rev. Kevin Fast (holding records for pulling everything from fire trucks to airplanes), Thomas Blacke,(Record Holding Escape Artist) and David “The Great Throwdini” Adamovich (Fastest Knife Thrower).
To learn more about Ripley Auctions and the Friday, February 12th Ripley’s Remarkable Rarities Presents Guinness World Records Museum of Niagara Falls Auction on Friday, February 12th, the inaugural auction for Ripley’s Remarkable Rarities, please visit www.RipleyAuctions.com.