Old Toy Soldier Auctions chalks up ‘best sale to date’ as Thompson, Graham collections score top pricesJuly 16th, 2010 by admin
PITTSBURGH – Ray Haradin’s Old Toy Soldier Auctions operates in a world of miniature antiques, but prices on top lots were strictly big league in the company’s May 1 auction featuring the collections of John Graham (part III), brothers Bill and Don Thompson, and other consignors.
“At $229,000 with 99 percent of the lots sold, it was, by far, our best sale to date,” said Haradin. “I was thrilled with the result.”
The 645-lot auction inventory featured an extraordinary toy soldier collection that was established in the 1940s by two brothers from Chicago, Don and (the late) Bill Thompson. When their family moved to California in 1947, the boys’ carefully wrapped and boxed toys made the journey as well, but they would remain in quiet storage until 2009, when they were unwrapped and assessed for auction purposes.
“We got terrific prices on the Thompsons’ soldiers because they were very desirable, early pieces in fabulous condition,” Haradin said. “I think condition was the reason there were so many new bidders for this sale. I suspect many of them were younger people, too, since 47 percent of the purchases were made through the Internet.”
Among the highlights from the Thompson collection was an exceptionally rare version of Britains’ 1937 Coronation Coach Set #1476 containing a single figure of the uncrowned King Edward VIII. The 28-piece boxed set, which also included grooms, footmen and Yeomen of the Guard, topped its high estimate to settle at $5,015 (all prices quoted in this report are inclusive of 18% buyer’s premium).
Another lot with an Edward VIII connection consisted of a figure of the British monarch in his purple, ermine-trimmed Coronation robes. Made by Britains prior to the King’s abdication, the figure came in a box with both a yellow manufacturer’s label marked “King Edward VIII” and a Marshall Field department store $1 price sticker. In Old Toy Soldier’s sale, it concluded its bidding run majestically at $3,422.
There was widespread interest for a Haffner (German) 21-piece military set featuring Frederick the Great with mounted troops, two drummers, a flag bearer and other figures. The very rare ensemble mustered a winning bid of $3,186 against a presale estimate of $1,200-$1,500.
Competition was keen, as well, for knights produced by the British firm Courtenay. A signed and numbered (XX1) hand-painted figure known as “Le Borge de Prie” was pushed well beyond its $400-$600 estimate to close at $1,062.
An early production by the still-active British company King and Country depicted a dashing corps of Seaforth Highlanders in foreign active service dress, complete with piper and mounted officer. The 26-piece set garnered a within-estimate price of $590.
Unlike W. Britains, whose origins date to the mid-Victorian era, King and Country was a late entry on the toy soldier playing field, Haradin said. “They started in the early 1980s but didn’t become popular till the mid-1990s. Now they rival Britains in sales and maybe even surpass them. There’s a very dedicated following for this brand when it’s offered in our auctions. Newer collectors want to buy the pieces that came out before they got into the hobby.”
Speaking of the playing field, bidders came from all directions to pursue a seldom-seen Cherilea postwar baseball set featuring 11 figures, including a black-suited umpire. In its original, colorfully lithographed box and with each of the pieces still tied in place, the like-new set estimated at $1,800-$2,400 crossed home plate in championship style at $4,425.
Other notable boxed sets in the auction included a Britains 8-piece prewar “Los Rurales de la Federaction” Mexican Infantry Set #186, $1,770; a 1937-1941 British Army Active Service Display Set #1328, also by Britains, $1,298; and a postwar Mignot (French) 6-piece “Gardes du Corps du Roi” set #294 featuring an officer, trumpeter and standard bearer, $325.
“What impressed me most about this sale was that it was strong across the board. We made sure we catered to every type of collector, and we didn’t note softness in any category,” Haradin said.
Old Toy Soldier Auctions is expanding its operations. Joe Saine of Toledo, Ohio, an expert in both new and old toy soldiers, is joining the company’s staff to assist with future sales. Additionally, OTSA will conduct its first-ever two-day sale over the weekend of Nov. 20-21. The auction will feature part I of the late Fred Wehr’s collection, which contains many rare, early Britains, approximately 140 King and Country sets, German-made Heyde figures, and an extensive selection of figures by Bill Hocker, a boutique manufacturer from California whose contemporary toy soldiers are often favorably compared to Britains.
Michaan’s Auction in Alameda, California is pleased to announce their partnership with decorative arts expert, Reyne Haines. Their first auction will be held in November and includes 20th Century Decorative Arts, Furniture, Jewelry and Fine Art from the Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco and Mid-Century periods. They are currently accepting consignments for the inaugural sale.
Ms. Haines founded Houston’s eponymous Reyne Gallery, as well as The Finer Things in New York City. These two firms emphasize fine 20th century design in art glass, pottery, furniture, fine art and jewelry. Ms Haines expertise ranges from vintage watches to art glass to decorative arts. She has written for and has been interviewed extensively by publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Home and Garden, Traditional Home, and 002 Magazine. She is the author and contributor to a number of books about auctions, appraising and collecting.
Michaan’s Auctions is the leading full service auction house on the West Coast. Specializing in the appraisals and sale of antiques and fine art, Michaan’s has specialists in the fields of Furniture and Decorative Arts, Modern, Contemporary Art, European and American Paintings and Prints, Books and Manuscripts, Jewelry, Asian Works of Art and Ethnographic Art.
Established in 2002, Michaan’s Auctions holds up to thirty sales each year attracting a broad base of buyers and consignors from all over the world. With one of the largest facilities in Northern California and the Bay Area’s lowest buyers premium, Michaan’s offers buyers and sellers the opportunity to preview and bid on many unique and desirable property. Some of these pieces realized world record prices. In 2005 A.D.M. Cooper’s oil painting, “Three Graces 1915” sold for a record $21,060 and an Eduard Gaertner oil “German City Street Scene 1831” sold for $266,000.
Michaan’s has built its reputation on its ability to accept single items, groups or entire estates with its “no risk consignment policy” free of hidden fees and charges. Michaan’s specialists are dedicated to staying current on the latest issues and developments in the market and are committed to providing personalized and professional attention throughout the entire auction process.
For more information, additional photographs or to consign your own fine property contact Reyne Haines at 713.253.7505 or email@example.com. For a complete listing of Michaan’s other Fine and Estate Auctions visit: www.michaans.com
Press Office Contact:
Fairfield, Maine, June 22-23, 2010 – For the few weeks leading up to their auction, the Julia firm was filled with pride, anticipation, and trepidation. Pride because they had been told on numerous occasions that their upcoming glass and lamp auction was perhaps the largest, finest, and most diverse grouping of this type that had ever been offered at one auction anywhere in the world for the last couple years. Anticipation because they had a considerable amount of monetary value and the potential for doing well. Trepidation because this is a different world today and the world economy and collecting fraternities of the world are not what they were three years ago. This is a buyer’s market, not a seller’s market. It is exceedingly difficult to predict what is going to happen. They of course knew that because this was such a high profile auction, a great number of collectors would be watching the performance. If they were successful, it would bode well for their company and for the glass and lamp world as a whole. Healthy prices create confidence in buyers, and the positive cycle continues. Poor sales results exacerbate doubt and insecurity in the market. The auction was a cross-section of the art glass marketplace, consisting of objects found in the booths and shops of leading dealers throughout the world. As such, the value ranged from a few hundred dollars to $100,000+ and included art nouveau, 20th Century American art glass, paperweights, KPM plaques, lamps of all types, miniature lamps, French and English cameo glass, Fairyland Lustre, and more.
When the smoke cleared, it was clear the market was still healthy and active. Just over 1,000 lots were offered and the low estimate of the items sold of approximately $1.6 Million with a final selling price of just under $2 Million. This was over $300,000 over low estimate and certainly a statistic to be proud of.