Part 2 of the Sy and Ronnie Margolis Collection -- Plus Other Fine Automobilia from Larry Frye


  • Live Online Auction: Friday, September 9, at 11:30 PDT
  • Online Preview: Through September 9

Turner Auctions + Appraisals is pleased to present the Sy and Ronnie Margolis Collection, Part 2, featuring 1932 Olympics Automobilia; plus other fine automobilia from Larry Frye.  The sale features 110 lots related to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, including car mascots, radiator badges, license plates, banners, maps, pennants, booklets, tickets and ephemera.  Other fine automobilia includes two Ferrari sculptural works, signed 20th-century automobile artworks, vintage posters, and a range of American and European car mascots.  Turner Auctions + Appraisals begins its online auction on Friday, September 9, at 11:30 am PDT; sale items can be previewed online now until the sale starts.  The online auction will be featured live on LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable. 

Sy and Ronnie Margolis began collecting in the late 1980s as an enjoyable hobby the couple could share.  During that time, Mr. Margolis, an art aficionado and enthusiast of fast Italian cars, and his wife attended an Avanti owners’ outing at the Nethercutt Collection near Los Angeles.  Touring the acclaimed automobile museum, the couple was struck by the history and charm of the car mascots. And so began a collecting passion that continued for several decades, until Mr. Margolis passed away in 2008. 

In their quest for intriguing car mascots, both beautiful (for him) and whimsical (for her), Mr. and Mrs.  Margolis acquired a number of hood ornaments and other items of automobilia from the 1932 Olympics.  Set in the sprawling Los Angeles, these famed sporting events required spectators to drive to the venues.  As the birthplace of car culture, fans showed their Olympic support by adorning their cars with mascots, badges, decals and more. 

For Mr. and Mrs. Margolis, the 1932 Olympics theme thus became a natural offshoot of their collecting efforts, for several reasons.  First, the 1932 Olympics were held in Los Angeles, near the Margolis’s home in Orange County.  Second, the 1932 date was in keeping with the general era of much of their car mascot collecting – the 1920s and 1930s.  Third, some key Olympic events were held in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, home to the Trojans football team of the University of Southern California (USC), from which their son graduated.  Finally, the Olympics expanded the Margolis’s collecting interests, adding diversity and additional excitement to their hunt.  

The 1932 Summer Olympics were officially known as the Games of the X Olympiad.  Held during the worldwide Great Depression, many nations and athletes were unable to afford the trip.  (Even President Herbert Hoover didn’t make it.)  Nonetheless, 37 nations competed in 117 events in 14 sports.  There were 1,332 participants – 1,206 men and 126 women – including Babe Didrikson, who won a gold medal in both the javelin and hurdles.  China competed for the first time, with just one athlete.

In addition to the Margolis Collection of the 1932 Olympics, this sale also include other fine automobilia from Larry Frye, a long-time sports car aficionado.  He began collecting – and restoring – cars in 1988 with a 1972 Ferrari Daytona coupe.  He continued with others:  a 1952 Jaguar XK 120, a 1967 Jaguar XKE, and a 1953 Siata 208S Barchetta Spyder previously owned by Steve McQueen.  Along the way, Mr. Frye’s automobiles earned numerous awards at the prestigious California cars shows during Monterey Car Week, highlighted by the “Second in Class” trophy at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1997 for his 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Spyder.

Mr. Frye says he has enjoyed cars since he was a little kid.  His enthusiasm grew when his parents bought him a 1971 Opel GT as a junior in high school.  It continued in college, when he purchased a 1962 Cadillac limousine from a funeral home, a notable car on campus at Stanford University.  Cars may have also impacted his studies there:  as an undergraduate, he obtained a degree in thermodynamics, the study of energy and engines.  In a business school investment class, his thesis focused on investing in old Ferraris.  Not only did he do well on the paper, but also some of his work was later published in the “Ferrari Market Letter.”  Through the years, he has enjoyed the car culture – restoring, driving, rallies and camaraderie – as exemplified by his 25+ year membership in the Candy Store car club in Burlingame, California.  Now in a new home with less storage space, Mr. Frye is downsizing, keeping only one sports car in his garage – a red 1967 Corvette 427 convertible. 

Over time, Mr. Frye’s passion for sports cars spilled over into related automobilia, acquired from both auctions and the artists themselves.  Of note in the September sale are the Ferrari ‘Cavallino Rampante’ (‘Prancing Horse’) trophy; and a bronze sculpture of Enzo Ferrari by Larry Braun.  There are also signed prints by Larry Shinoda; Carroll Shelby, Bob Bondurant and Pete Brock; and others. Original posters include a Bugatti Type 35 print by Roger Soubie and a Geo Ham print of the 6ème Grand Prix Automobile in Monaco; plus artwork, photographs, and works by Jay Koka.

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