With Heritage’s Inaugural Automobilia Signature Auction fast approaching, we sat down with Karl Chiao to give us the inside scoop on its featured lots and his passion for the automobilia category. 

 By Kelly Kopa

“I am a huge car enthusiast and have a large collection of automotive periodicals dating back to the 70’s, along with having gone through a lot of cars in the past 20 years as well,” says Karl Chiao, Acting Director of Automobilia at Heritage Auctions. Previously to joining Heritage, I managed the Bentley Maserati Rolls Royce dealer in Dallas because of my love for the automobile. So when Heritage came across a collection of automobilia last year, I was tapped as the person to deal with it because of my background. One year later, we are having our first Automobilia Sale.”passing of the horse

On May 29, the nearly 300-lot auction will offer high-grade scale models, porcelain signs, and rare original art relating to the world’s love affair with the automobile.  Leading the auction is the Passing Of The Horse, a bronze sculpture by Stanly Wanlass documenting the turning point of human transportation as a brass era touring car passes a horse and rider (pictured right).

Karl_suitOther featured items include Arie Luyendyk’s IMSA racing suit that he wore at the 1992 12 Hours of Sebring driving the Nissan GTP car that finished second overall. It was made by Stand 21 and has all the original patches (est. $1,500+, pictured left with Karl Chiao).   Additional fine art lots include works by renowned illustration artist Geo Ham, including the original art for his 1937 poster Aerobatic Loops (est. $15,000+), and Le Pilote, a rare lithograph featuring race car driver Robert Benoist in a Bugatti Type 57. Additional Ham collectibles include the stylistic 1935 Motor Club of France poster (est. $750) and a rare Goodrich Tires “Sécurité” double sided porcelain enamel advertising sign, circa 1930s, featuring the bright and colorful tire-boy illustration (est. $3,000+).

“Collectible cars have grown tremendously,” says Chiao.  “Major auction houses that sell collectible cars do not really focus much on Automobilia, only cars themselves…which is why Heritage is the perfect place for automobilia.  No cars, just the items related to cars.”

The auction will take place on May 29 at Heritage’s Dallas location.  Click HERE for more information.


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