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Need some help, Sharp Arrow Automobile company


alioopman
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I’m new to the forum and this is my first post. I have the original “minutes” book of the Sharp Arrow automobile company along with the general accounting ledger. The minutes book contains meeting minutes, information, Document of Incorporation, board of directors, stock information and signatures of the founders along with other legal documents and records of the company which was established in 1908. The general accounting ledger (cash book) lists all the cash flow of the company including parts, salaries and even the entry of railroad freight (to Trenton, NJ) of the returned crashed car in which William Sharp was killed in 1910. I would like to find out they have any value and if so what are they worth? Can anyone help or suggest where I might find out some info? <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

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Fred Hoch is the proprietor of Schaeffer and Long in Magnolia,NJ, one of the formost restoration facilities in the country. He also is an authority on Mercer Automobiles, having acquired all available material from the company from the family and/or ex-employees. He also owns several including the unrestored 14 speedster at Hershey. I think if you contact him he might be interested or at least can steer you in the right direction.

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While what you have may be "Rare" their REAL true value is in their historical information that they contain.

There may be some connection to later Mercer raceabout autos also built in the same Trenton NJ factory ?

There are likely very few Sharp Arrow autos in existance, In fact I myself do not know of any that exist today... Perhapps others here may know the true number of surviving Sharp Arrow autos known today ? I suspect few exist today ~~~ IF any ?

Value is always based on Supply & Demand ~~~

The items are one of a kind so supply is very limited~~~

BUT~~~

Demand is VERY limited also.

For this reason I do not think it will be very easy to find any buyer willing to spend Thousands on your Sharp Arrow documents~~~

Hundreds~a thousand~~~ Maybe ?

Who really knows !

As I stated before the REAL value is in the historical early auto information that they contain~~~

For this reason they belong in an auto museum ; or with a possible owner of a Sharp Arrow auto IF one exists today ! ?

Please condsider donating these Sharp Arrow documents to an auto museum. I do not think you are going to find many willing potential buyers who will pay BIG $$$ money out there !

These early rare documents need to be saved for future history and research !

Questions to AACA Forum readers~~~

Are there any Sharp Arrow autos known to exist today ???

If so~~~ Who owns a Sharp Arrow auto ?

West Peterson may be able to tell you if any still exist & who may own a Sharp Arrow ~~~

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Jim is correct there is at least one Sharp Arrow auto that exists today !

I did a quick web search and found that the Seal Cove Auto Museum sold their 1908 Sharp Arrow at auction a few years ago~~~ (Perhapps as a result af that Lawyer/Director legal mess they were involved in some years back ?)

Only about 25 Sharp Arrow autos were ever built before Mr. William Sharp was tragically killed in a racing accident along with his riding mechanic.

There is also a connection to the later famous Mercer raceabout built by the Roebling family in Trenton NJ.

Perhapps some Mercer Raceabout owner , or the buyer of the one known Sharp Arrow may be interested in your documents ?

I am sure others will update us with more information on the Sharp Arrow auto !

Who owns the one known Sharp Arrow today that came out of he Seal Cove Museum auction ?

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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What Brad says is spot on. There may be one interested buyer out there, and he may be interested in it at the $1,000 level that Brad mentioned. Other than that, an appropriate auto museum may be interested. I think it would be more appropriate to donate it to an automotive Library (especially if you need any tax write-offs), specifically the AACA Library. I'd give AACA Librarian Chris Ritter a call and find out how he can help you. 717-534-2082

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If your books were to go to auction, they would probably fetch $500-1,000. Only a very interested party would step up for such a rare, obscure automobile. Similar Bentley, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce items typically would bring much more. While most museums and libraries would love to have it, most do not have a budget that would allow them to purchase your -or any- collection. The only known Sharp-Arrow in existance is the car that Bonham's sold in 2008, and is the same car that came from the Seal Cove Museum. I inspected the car at the sale with the thoughts of purchase, but we went for a Stoddard-Dayton instead. I do not know who purchased it, and the auction companies typically do not give out such information.

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If your books were to go to auction, they would probably fetch $500-1,000. Only a very interested party would step up for such a rare, obscure automobile. Similar Bentley, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce items typically would bring much more. While most museums and libraries would love to have it, most do not have a budget that would allow them to purchase your -or any- collection. The only known Sharp-Arrow in existance is the car that Bonham's sold in 2008, and is the same car that came from the Seal Cove Museum. I inspected the car at the sale with the thoughts of purchase, but we went for a Stoddard-Dayton instead. I do not know who purchased it, and the auction companies typically do not give out such information.

Yup, that auction was the September 27, 2008 auction of The Richard C. Paine Jr. Collection.

Selling price was $183,000 though they were hoping for closer to $200,000.

I would suggest that the real value in the books might be with descendants of those mentioned as having been on the Board of Directors of the company. A piece of family history like that would indeed be something of importance to pass down within any family.

Jim

Edited by Jim_Edwards (see edit history)
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Very interesting how these original books have survived, yet nothing like that from the Mercer Automobile Co. has survived. Sharp Arrow had nothing to do with Mercer, in spite of the opinions of recent authors. The 2 both came from Trenton NJ, but that's it. These books in question should shed a lot of light on how the Sharp Arrow company got started, where they got their money, and what happened after they started to move the company to Stroudsburg PA. So, yes, I am interested in them.

It'd be fascinating to know how they have survived, too.

Tim Kuser / gtr80083@cs.com

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Hi, West,

Mercer cars were built in what had been built as a brewery, starting in March of 1909. Before that, the Walter Automobile Co. of NJ had built cars there starting in 1906.

The Trenton Times newspaper of 10 Oct 1908 reports that the Sharp Arrow race car was built "in local machine shops and at his [Wm. Sharp's] home on South Clinton Ave." On 24 Oct, the same paper reported "most of it [was] built under their personal supervision and the whole assembled in the back yard at their studio on South Clinton Avenue." The Sharp brothers were professional photographers and had been racing boats on the Delaware River before they got involved with cars, so they already knew how to get horsepower out of engines.

In 1997, I interviewed a man who was the son of one of 2 men who had helped the Sharp brothers assemble cars. He told me they built about 15 cars, plus 1 race car.

A proper history of the Sharp Arrow venture has not yet been written. For a short while, they had everybody's attention, as a result of their performance in the Garden City Sweepstakes races, the preliminary races for the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup, on 10 October 1908.

Tim Kuser / gtr80083@cs.com

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Very interesting how these original books have survived, yet nothing like that from the Mercer Automobile Co. has survived. .....

That may or may not be the case regarding the Mercer Automobile Co. Think about it, this collection just surfaced. Who knows what treasures are yet to be discovered by unsuspecting people as folks pass away and leave behind items long forgotten. :)

And it doesn't surprise me that this collection has survived in such good shape. There are folks that from childhood take very good care of the things they are in charge of. One of my brothers has many items in mint condition from when he was young. What has amazed me is that recently several of the items he has are now being produced again and advertised as "retro" toys. :)

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You have a couple of very interesting items alioopman. I think most of this has already been said but I wanted to make a quick pitch for donation to the AACA museum for a couple of reasons:

1) The off economy and limited market for these items, as interesting as they are, may result in your selling them for less than you expect to get, perhaps making not worth your while. For example, the values of some more "main stream" collectible items I have for sale are off considerably due to the economy. not as rare, but very nice examples of popular automobilia - a wider market. This will no doubt impact interest unless you hit that "one perfect buyer" Brad and West allude to as the market for these items is smaller.

2) While a collector may appreciate these as would a decendant of someone on the BOD at this company, they would be accessable to any interested party permanently at the AACA museum. AACA just celebrated it's 75th year, and the organization and museum are not going anywhere.

3) You may get a tax deduction out of it, of course that depends on your situation and what Chris Ritter tells you.

4) Any organization equipped to write the Sharp history would be AACA, and with the proper resources, the chances of that happening are a lot greater. You could have a direct influence on that happening, how many people can drive the recording of history even if it is a bit obscure?

So, hopefully you give that some thought. Very cool find, please keep us posted on it regardless of what you end up doing.

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As to the often mentioned possible connection of Sharp Arrow and the later Mercer~

Could the owner of these Sharp Arrow Company documents tell us if there is any person with the last name of Roebling or Kuser, listed in your documents; possibly on the list of members of the Board of Directors; or officers of the company President, Vice Pres. Secretary Treasurer, etc ?

This might help to finally make or break any possible & now disputed Mercer historical connection !

If I may also ask?

Where and How did you obtain these rare Sharp Arrow company record documents ?

From Family members ?

Tim~ Do you have a direct family connection to the Mercer company; as I suspect you do ?

Do you also own a Mercer Raceabout ?

I hope this is not too personal a question to ask ? But I have always been interested in the Mercer Raceabout and it's history !

The Mercer has always been my favorite Brass-era auto~

A car in it's day that you could drive on the road and then race successfully on the race-track !

I remember first seeing Ralph Buckley's great Mercer Racabout as a chld in the Philadelphia & New Jersey area car show circuit in the 1950s.

Dad & I also visited his shop and early car collection. Ralph was a geat guy indeed !

My late 92 year old Father who just passed away knew Ralph Buckley quite well !

They went fishing together in Ocean City NJ on my dad's old wooden inboard boat the "We Three" & both men, along with others helped start the annual Ocean City NJ antique car show & boardwalk run which is still heald each year after running 60 years straight !

I have always hoped to one day have a ride in a Mercer Raceabout !

I rode in several of Ralph Buckley's autos ~

But never in his spectacular Mercer Raceabout !

AND~

I Hope to one day possibly own a genuine Mercer Raceabout !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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For those of you interested in the history of the Mercer Automobile Company, check out the book sold by the Roebling Museum that we wrote for the Mercer Centennial Reunion July of '09. This booklet has the most factual accounting of the events surrounding the formation and eventual demise of the company. Written with input from Mr. Kuser and Mr. Hoch, the 25 page book is loaded with information from what was a Roebling side venture. Visit the Museum in Roebling, NJ or call to have a copy sent. RoeblingMuseum.Org 609-499-7200 Despite the plethora of published misinformation we maintain that the Sharp-Arrow was not the predecessor of the Mercer (Raceabout). It is conceivable that the Sharps interacted with the Roeblings and Kusers however there is not a scrap of evidence that they were in any way commercially involved.

Karl Darby

Roebling Museum

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It would indeed be interesting to look at these new Sharp Arrow documents to see if any of the Mercer founder, director & investor names are ever mentioned.

And perhapps workers names that may have worked for both Mercer & Sharp Arrow.

This would finally put that old connection debate to rest once and for all time.

I am sure the Mercer historians & collectors already know the real true facts as stated by Karl Darby above~

Some of the Mercer Collector/owners & Historians today are directly related to the Mercer Automobile Company's founders, officers, directors & original investors . If they don't know the real true historical facts~~~

Who does ?

BUT STILL ~~~

Who knows what long lost secrets & insights those long lost rare Sharp Arrow documents still hold ?

Sharp Arrow was a rare and early New Jersey auto builder and early winning race-car~

The documents are a great & rare find indeed and perhapps should belong in the Roebling museum in New Jersey along with the known existing Mercer & Roebling history & information !

I do hope that these Sharp Arrow documets eventually find a home in the Roebling NJ museum !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Some additional information regarding some of the questions that have been asked :

The documents list the incorporation officers with the following shares of stock:

William H. Sharp (50)

Job R. Farlee(50)

Fred W. Bennett(5)

Isaac F. Giles(2)

Arthur M. Yetter(1)

Fred J. Sharp(1).

The capital stock with which the company will commence business was $10,900.00. Incorporation date was December 10, 1908. The officers elected on the first meeting were

William H. Sharp – President

Arthur M. Yetter – VP

Fred W. Bennett – Secretary

Job R. Farlee – Treasurer.

On December 2,1909, the company was sold to The International Boiler Works Co. and the existing officers all resigned and the following officers were elected:

W.B. Easton – President

C.S. Hebard – VP

C.R. Turn – Treasurer

William H. Sharp – General Manager.

In 1909 it was voted on by the officers to stop the construction of the new building in East Stroudsburg, PA and continue to manufacture cars at the Trenton, NJ facility.

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The RUMOR of any Possible direct connection between Sharp Arrow & Mercer has finally and , once-and-for-all, been put to rest !

The list of Sharp Arrow stock investors & officers published in these rare factor documents above seems to finally put to rest the often published RUMORS that Sharp Arrow was in some way connected-to, or evolved into, the Mercer Automobile Company!

It just goes to show again that you cannot always believe the "History" you read some automotive writer's books !

The Mercer historians & family members of Mercer's original Owners & Founders have been telling us that there was no real connection between Mercer & Sharp Arrow all along !

These two very similar & historic racing style raceabout & speedster auto company designs just happened to both be built in Trenton, Mercer County New Jerey at approx. the very same time period !

No other direct connection seems to have EVER existed !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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West:

I understand completely ~~

I put great faith in your automotive history information and writing~~~

I was only speaking about OTHER automotive book authors, and so-called automotive "history" website writers on the internet !

This possible Sharp Arrow & Mercer connection rumor has been around for decades !

It is posted all over the various internet auto "history" sites .

~~~

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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  • 11 months later...

G'day from the very Deep South.

I am interested to know if the books show if any of the runabouts were sent to Australia. I have made contact with a bloke in South Australia who has a Sharp Arrow hubcap. I recently purchased one from New South Wales. I have been told that the Welsh dragon emblem on the cap represented the flash of the photographer - after all William Sharp was a professional photographer of Celtic background.

Frank

Brisbane

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I looked at all 14 of my antique Sharp-Arrow images, and none of them show any markings on any hubcaps. Mostly, they are taken at too sharp an angle to show the hubcaps well, anyhow. The one photo I have of a 1909-1910 Sharp-Arrow touring car is a side view, but is both too distant & too grainy to show anything.

The 1910 US Census shows that the Sharp brothers' father was born in England, and their mother in Pennsylvania.

In the only photos I have of the one surviving Sharp-Arrow car (in Antique Automobile, Aug 1959, pp.257-259), the hubcaps look plain, with no name or design on them.

The Trenton newspapers said that the cars were hand-made in the small shop at the rear of Wm. Sharp's photo sutdio, which was then at 942 S. Clinton Ave, in Trenton. There is still a building there, with a shop at the rear, but there is no shop door large enough for a car to pass thru. The structure may not be original.

It sure would be nice to see a photo of the hubcap(s) that have shown up "down under"!

Tim

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  • 3 months later...

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