Join Our Newsletter

America’s First Theme Park: Knott’s Berry Farm Archives Offered for the First Time by Heritage Auctions

$6.3 Million Sold at Heritage’s First 2017 Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature AuctionFrom the early years of the world-famous Ghost Town attraction, the iconic Knott’s Berry Farm Theme Park is opening its archives for a special public auction to be held March 31 by Heritage Auctions. This is the first time since the popular theme park opened in 1940 that it has offered its historic items in a public auction to thank it’s global legion of fans, said Jim Lentz, Heritage Auctions’ Director of Animation.

“This auction showcases the history of Knott’s Berry Farm with rare items from Ghost Town, the famous Chicken Restaurant, Knott’s Scary Farm, and even the fan favorite, Knott’s Bear-y Tales Ride,” Lentz said. “From the park’s humble beginnings as Walter Knott’s berry stand to the theme park that now attracts more than 3 million people per year. This special event celebrates the 75th anniversary of the famous Ghost Town.”

hacomics3-9-17All of the items come directly from the park, which Walter Knott started in the 1940s after he and his family started selling to the public harvested berries from a small roadside stand located 22 miles south of Los Angeles on California State Highway 39.

Nearly 225 lots of rare signs, props and artwork celebrating its Ghost Town attraction are on offer as well as items from the past 75 years of the park. In 1940, Walter Knott began constructing a replica Ghost Town on the property where craftsmen demonstrate the arts of the blacksmith, woodcarver, glass-blower, sign cutter, and spinner. In addition to the rich history of the park’s Ghost Town attraction, the auction will feature items from the famous Chicken Restaurant, Camp Snoopy and the Knott’s Scary Farm.

Highlights include rare Ghost Town memorabilia, including California or Bust Ghost Town panorama painting, circa 1940s-50s (est. $25,000) by artist Paul von Klieben, who worked directly with Walter Knott as his primary art director during the early years of the park; the two collaborated on the 151-inch-by-57-inch mural of a wagon train that became synonymous with the attraction. Additional von Klieben artworks include Under Attack(est. $5,000) a circa 1940s-50s painting for the Ghost Town exhibit; Through the Desert (est. $5,000) and On Schedule, from 1953 (est. $15,000).

Klieben’s famed 1941 Jesus, The Transfiguration, 1941 (est.  $25,000) –  a fluorescent portrait of Jesus Christ on heavy glass that used a black light set-up to make it appear as if Christ’s eyes were opening.

The auction also offers several vehicles such as the classic 1800s antique Knott’s park-displayed covered wagon (est. $5,000); a 1940 Jennie KI steam-powered locomotive (est. $15,000); a 1965 “tricked out” Monster Halloween Haunt 1965 Hearse (est. $10,000); a 1940s Seagrave-type Fire Engine (est. $5,000) and a 1919 Model T car purchased by Walter Knott in 1956 for the Ghost Town display, (est. $5,000).

Familiar signage on offer ranges from a 1954 “Haunted Shack” Ghost Town Sign (est. $2,500) to a 1960 Calico Mine Ride sign from the first major ride at the park (est. $2,500).

hacomics3-9-17b

The sale has one of the largest coin-operated antique player pianos and coin-operated games to come to market in recent memory. Props include a rare games, such as a 1910 Washington Scale Caille Bros. coin-op machine (est. $5,000), a selection of antique player pianos, such as a 1910 Creamona coin op Player Piano (est. $5,000) and standing music boxes, on offer are early 20th century carnival games, strength testers and more.

Contemporary props include an Evil Jack in a Box Scary Farm prop (est. $1,000) and Scary Farm canvas paintings as well as animatronic bears and signs from Knott’s Bear-y Tales Ride from 1975 (est. $1,000).

Memorable lots include, but are not limited to:

Heritage Auctions’ special presentation of the Knott’s Berry Farm Archives kicks off with a public viewing March 30 with the auction day set for March 31 at the park, 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, California, 90620. Learn more at HA.com/7151.

News by Company & Category

Featured Auctions

(*) Indicates Auction in Progress
(*) Heritage Sports: May 31 - June 22
(*) 44 & More Auctions: May 20 - June 23
(*) The Collector Connection: June 5 - June 23
(*) Greg Morris Marketplace: June 10 - June 23
(*) Icons Auctions: June 18 - June 23
(*) Pristine Auction: June 17- June 23
(*) PWCC Marketplace: June 13 - June 23
(*) Queen City Cards: May 25 - June 23
(*) REA: June 13 - June 23
(*) Classic Auctions: May 31 - June 25
(*) MeiGray Auctions: June 1 - June 25-27
(*) Auction of Champions: June 20 - June 26
(*) University Archives: June 6 - June 26
(*) Eaton & Brennan Auctions: June 13 - June 27
(*) Goldin: June 18 - June 27
(*) Sirius Sports Cards: June 17 - June 27
(*) Sterling Sports Auctions: June 13 - June 27
(*) Goldin: June 14 - June 29
(*) Lelands: June 9 - June 29
(*) 44 & More Auctions: May 26 - June 30
(*) Fat Apple Auctions: June 14 - June 30
(*) Greg Morris Marketplace: June 17 - June 30
Icons Auctions: June 24 - June 30
(*) Pristine Auction: June 1- June 30
(*) PWCC Marketplace: June 20 - June 30
(*) Queen City Cards: June 5 - June 30
(*) Fanatics Auctions: June 18 - July 1
(*) MeiGray Auctions: June 13 - July 2
(*) Alt Liquid Auctions: June 21 - July 4
Goldin: June 25 - July 4
Iconic Auctions: June 29 - July 6
MEARS Auctions: June 28 - July 6
(*) MeiGray Auctions: June 17 - July 8-9
(*) Clean Sweep Auctions: June 13 - July 10
(*) RR Auction: June 21 - July 10
Goldin: July 2 - July 11
(*) MeiGray Auctions: June 17 - July 11
Sirius Sports Cards: July 1 - July 11
(*) Heritage Sports: June 21 - July 12-13
The Collector Connection: July 13 - July 13
(*) Goldin: June 12 - July 13
Infinite Auctions: June 22 - July 13
Fanatics Auctions: July 2 - July 15
Alt Liquid Auctions: July 5 - July 18
(*) RR Auction: June 18 - July 18
Goldin: July 3 - July 20
Sirius Sports Cards: July 15 - July 25
Iconic Auctions: July 17 - July 27
Pristine Auction: July 1 - July 28
Fanatics Auctions: July 16 - July 29
Eaton & Brennan Auctions: July 17 - July 31
2024 Full Auction Schedule