Superstorm Sandy stopped outside the arcade door in Seaside Heights, N.J., but not before tossing the pier’s iconic roller coaster into the Atlantic. Eleven months later, fire destroyed much of the boardwalk. But the arcade lived on, sheltering the magnificent 1910 carousel that has graced the Jersey shore for 82 years. Now the rare Dentzel carousel is under a different threat: It is up for sale, and if a buyer is not found by October, it will be auctioned off horse by horse.
In the early 1900s, about 5,000 carousels twirled around the United States. But as amusement-park owners installed more thrilling rides, their numbers dwindled to about 150. Today some 130 U.S. carousels are protected, operating in cities or museums, with the remaining 20 or so in private hands. The Seaside Heights carousel—with 58 intricately carved horses, camels, a tiger, and chariots arranged in four rows—is one of the grandest, and may fetch up to $3 million. Restored a few years before Sandy hit, the landmark still spins to music from its original Wurlitzer organ. And it will continue to do so until it is sold.
Estimate: up to $3 million. Sale: Guernsey’s is fielding offers before setting a sale date in October to auction individual pieces; 212.794.2280, www.guernseys.com