The Coney Island Mangels Mechanical Shooting Gallery

Coney Island pic
Coney Island
Image: coneyisland.com

As owner of the Elizabeth Street Gallery, Allan Reiver maintains a unique inventory of unusual items such as cast iron mirrors and bronze doors. Allan Reiver’s gallery also features items from Coney Island, including an original working shooting gallery manufactured locally by William F. Mangels, who invented thrill rides such as the Tickler and the Whip.

Well known in the carnival industry, Mangels patented numerous shooting gallery targets from the early 20th century to the 1960s. His 8th Street shop continued to produce such targets long after most manufacturers of shooting galleries had gone out of business.

Today, Mangels’ mechanical shooting galleries in excellent working condition are extremely rare, as they were largely sold off as scrap metal or broken into smaller pieces by collectibles dealers. A single target can go for more than $1,000, while a complete gallery, such as the one heiress Doris Duke owned, can fetch a significant premium at auction.

A vintage 1940s Mangels shooting gallery made the news in 2013, when it was installed on Surf Avenue as part of a project to bring back a sense of tradition and history to Coney Island.

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