Late last week, Knott’s Berry Farm auctioned off a wide array of items that once dotted the famed amusement park. From paintings to coin-op amusements to animatronics to even a covered wagon, fans of Knott’s could view the items prior to the auction, then try their luck at bidding in the live auction.
We attended both the preview and the auction, because some of the items were incredible pieces of history, including items from attractions long since gone. But since I know most of you come here for my outfit posts, I’ll first share with y’all what I wore to the auction, followed by image of the items, and share with you what some of those amazing pieces went for!
I actually made this Knott’s Berry Farm themed parasol last summer, for those hot days during Ghost Town Alive, but it somehow manage to never get photographed!
Keep reading to see images from the auction!
I’ve always been a fan of antique mechanized coin-op amusements, and these were among some of the first things Walter Knott put in the park to have it make money, as Ghost Town was free to enter and walk about until 1968.
I had really hoped to snag this original and very iconic Deadwood Dick tombstone. The tombstone has since been replaced over the years, but the one in the park looks very much like the original. This gem sold for a shocking $4,200!
The above painting, titled “Baldwin Wagon Train Under Attack” by Henry H. Cross, painted in 1898, was incredible. It’s also massive! E.J. “Lucky” Baldwin’s wagon train was attacked by Native Americans during their journey to California. Baldwin commissioned Cross to paint the event according to Baldwin’s description. Walter Knott purchased the painting in the early 1940s and displayed it within Ghost Town. Cross himself was a famous painter, and was called “the greatest painter of Indians portraiture of all times” by Buffalo Bill Body. Cross also worked as an artist for P.T. Barnum’s circus. The piece of both western history and Knott’s Berry Farm history sold for $60,000.
Knott’s Bear-y Tales was an attraction that was beloved by many, but it was after my dad’s time, and before mine. However I know many people who have fond memories of it, and loved being able to see the above animatronics from it again. Thankfully, all three of these animatronics went to the same home, and each sold for $2,600 to $3,000.
I’ve always found antique hearses, especially the early horse drawn ones hauntingly beautiful, and honestly begged Patrick to bid on this gem, but to no avail, and rightly so…I mean, seriously, where would we put this? Not to mention it sold for $17,000.
Now, while many of the items were amazing to look at, I was most interested in the painting known as The Transfiguration. A larger than life painting of Jesus, painted on glass, it once hung in the Little Chapel by the Lake. As guests walked in, they saw a pair of closed doors, after hearing a description of what Jesus looked like, the doors opened, and a fantastical lighting affect of gradual transition from incandescent light to fluorescent light made it appear as Jesus’ eyes opened.
The Transfiguration debuted just eight days after Pearl Harbor was attacked, and you can imagine made quite the magical impression on guests. So successful was it, that Knott’s Berry Farm created a take home, glow in the dark version for guests. Knowing that owning the piece, as it measured over nine feet tall, was out of the question, Patrick was able to locate one of take home versions on Ebay, and bought it for me. If you follow me on Instagram I shared of a video of it recently. But I plan to include it in a vintage Knott’s Berry Farm ephemera post sometime in the future. Shockingly enough, The Transfiguration only sold for $1,100.
Sadly, Patrick and I walked away empty handed, so I turned to Etsy and Ebay for some consolation prizes of vintage Knott’s Berry Farm souvenirs, which should be in the mail soon!
To view all lots and what they sold for (although you do have to join their website to see the final prices) visit Heritage Auction’s website.