Toys

Bidders spend $610,000 at Morphy’s well-attended June 1 Antique Advertising Auction

June 17th, 2013 by

Puss in Boots Fortune-Teller fulfills its prophecy of success, sells for $21,000

DENVER, Pa. – A storybook cat with a talent for prognostication leaped to the top of prices realized at Morphy’s June 1st auction of antique advertising and coin-op machines. Made by Roover Brothers sometime between 1897 and 1904, Puss in Boots the Fortune-Teller was encased in a glass, wood and metal penny arcade machine and offered complete with 100 fortune cards. The psychic feline garnered a winning bid of $21,000 and led the day’s lineup of 537 lots, which grossed $610,000. All prices quoted are inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.

Pace’s “Kitty” slot machine in vibrant primary colors on metal, $7,200. Morphy Auctions image.

Although one of Morphy’s smaller events, the specialty auction drew “a packed house,” said company CEO Dan Morphy. “Advertising signs attracted the lion’s share of bidding,” he added.

There was strong interest in a scarce circa-1910 to 1920 Phoenix Pure Paint curved porcelain corner sign with the image of a Native-American boy holding a hand mirror and applying paint to his face. The colorful sign exceeded its presale estimate and closed at $15,600.

An 8-piece Coca-Cola prototype window display depicting Rip Van Winkle and the Jolly Elves “pausing for refreshment” was bid to $7,800 against an estimate of $3,000-$4,000. In the breweriana section, a 1900-1910 framed poster advertising Lorelei Beer of Helena, Montana, with an image of the fetching mermaid-like maiden of nautical lore, achieved an above-estimate $3,900.

Other signs that finished well in the money included an appealing Eveready Flashlights/Batteries/Mazda Lamps figural flange sign, which doubled its high estimate in realizing $6,000; and a self-framed tin sign advertising Frazer Axle Grease, with a wonderfully detailed image of two horse-drawn wagon drivers discussing a wheel mishap, $4,800. Another standout was a Boston Locomotive Works 4-color chromolithographed builder’s print, dated 1858, with the image of a steam-powered passenger engine. It sold for $4,200.

More than 150 gambling, vending and other coin-operated machines were offered. A Pace’s “Kitty” slot machine in vibrant primary colors on metal reached $7,200; while a beautiful Wurlitzer Model 71 countertop jukebox made the midpoint of its estimate range at $5,400. Manufactured around 1940-1941, the Model 71 in Morphy’s sale played selections correctly and, according to Dan Morphy, “had a great sound.”

Morphy’s next auction featuring antique advertising will be held on August 6th. A General Antiques auction is slated for August 20th, and a major Toys & Sports Memorabilia sale will follow on September 7th. For additional information, contact Morphy Auctions by calling 717-335-3435 or e-mailing serena@morphyauctions.com. Visit Morphy’s online at www.morphyauctions.com.

Five collections converge to add variety and quality to Mosby & Co.’s June 8 Toy & Advertising Auction

May 8th, 2013 by

700-lot sale features Coca-Cola, rare petroliana and ‘book-example’ vending machines

FREDERICK, Md. – Elements of five outstanding but very different collections add diversity and fun to the 700-lot lineup in Mosby & Co.’s June 8 Toy & Advertising Auction. The event will commence at 10 a.m. Eastern time, and those who cannot attend are encouraged to leave an absentee bid, sign up for a phone line, or bid live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers or Proxibid.

Embossed and chromolithographed 1901 Coca-Cola calendar featuring model Hilda Clark. Mosby & Co. image

“Collectors like a good mix. It heightens the curiosity factor and often leads to the discovery of great cross-over items,” said Mosby & Co.’s owner, Keith Spurgeon. “This is probably one of the most widely varied auctions we’ve produced to date. There are lots of toys and a tremendous selection of antique advertising, from early Coca-Cola to seven very desirable Stan Lee comic book signs made to display at Comic Con.”

The auction will open with country store and advertising, led by a fine collection of approximately 30 early Coca-Cola items. Among the Coke highlights are a beautiful 1903 serving tray, a 1901 calendar, and two rarities from the 1930s: a double-sided porcelain fountain service sign and a new/old stock embossed tin sign with in its original Coca-Cola shipping crate.

Two very rare promotional items issued by the Pure Oil Company (USA) date to the 1930s. “One is a figural radio shaped like an English cottage, which is what the Pure Oil gas stations looked like during that period. The other item is a figural cottage-shape birdhouse, wood with an enameled tin roof,” Spurgeon said.

Next up will be five Buddy Lee advertising dolls, which the manufacturer customized with advertising for the companies that commissioned them. The dolls are all original and complete. The rarest dolls in the group are the one advertising Coca-Cola and the doll dressed in Lee coveralls with a railroad conductor’s cap, made for Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railroad.

Several European tin and porcelain signs are among the fascinating items in a steamship collection to be offered by Mosby & Co. Also included in the grouping are two circa-1900 reverse-on-glass promotional items for North German Lloyd steamship line – a thermometer and a barometer.

One of the finest signs in the sale is a colorful and profusely detailed tin sign advertising Thomas’ Inks and Mucilage. Its busy embossed image depicts a cat tipping over a jar of red ink. “These signs, for some reason, usually have extensive flaking, and most that I’ve seen were in very poor condition,” said Spurgeon. “This is the nicest one I’ve come across personally.”

A lineup of early gumball machines includes a number of book examples from Bill Enes’ respected reference titled “Silent Salesmen Too.” Among the rarities are a very nice Rex machine and a Digesto vendor. The same collection was the source for a Watling Twin Jackpot penny slot machine, which is entered in the sale, as well.

Rare Digesto Gum vendor, book example Bill Enes’ reference book ‘Silent Salesmen Too.’ Mosby & Co. image.

A wealth of desirable advertising smalls will be offered within the country store section of the sale. There are numerous peanut butter tins, cooking range-related items and several toys and other pieces pertaining to C.D. Kenny grocery store chain.

Toy buyers can bid to their hearts’ content in this auction, as the choices will be varied and plentiful. The headliner is a single-owner collection of 12 gas-powered tether or rail cars from California, including several types very seldom encountered at auction. The cars are from the acknowledged “golden age” of the 1930s-1950s, by manufacturers such as Dooling, McCoy, C&R and others. Some measure 17-20 inches long, and their estimates are generally in the $1,000-$4,000 range.

Several pressed steel automotive toys will be offered, as will a rare 1934 Buddy ‘L’ pressed-steel Golfer. Ex Dick Keats/Buddy ‘L’ Archive collection, it is the only known Golfer that retains its original box.

The toy parade continues with celluloid toys, scores of tin wind-ups including a mint-boxed Eberl Topsy Turvy Tom toy, and an appealing TootsieToy Speedway set. Additional toy highlights include a Converse private-label horse-drawn wagon produced for a dairy in the Charlottesville, Va., area; 5-6 rocking horses, and a Eureka Bugatti tourist model pedal car with fenders and opening door and trunk.

A mixed selection of bisque- and china-head dolls is joined by children’s crockery and ABC plates. Also featured in the nursery section are four lithographed-tin high chair trays, American and dating to the 1870s. Each tray is decorated with a charming scene typical of its period of production. One of the trays depicts elegantly gowned young girls dancing around a maypole. Another has a vibrant scene of children playing animatedly, with steamships and ocean liners on the water in the background.

“Within the scene, children are firing off a toy cannon and cap gun, and a boy has slipped firecrackers under a gentleman’s formal jacket as a prank. The artwork includes an American Flag and quite likely represents a holiday, perhaps the Fourth of July. This is an item that firecracker and holiday collectors might really like,” said Spurgeon.

The auction also includes part two of a ceramic bank collection, plus a few cast-iron mechanical banks. The top lot amongst the mechanicals is a superb short-sleeve version of the “Dinah” bank.

Pop culture fans will immediately appreciate the desirability of a set of seven different 5-by-3ft foam core signs made specifically to display at Comic Con 2010. The main sign, which includes Stan Lee’s face within the artwork, is flat, while the other six were created in relief. All promote “Stan Lee’s Super Seven” comic book, which never saw the light of day. “The comic book project was shelved because of a copyright issue. The idea may be revived at some point in time, but if it is, it will be released under the title ‘Mighty Seven’ and not ‘Super Seven,’” Spurgeon explained.

Mosby & Co.’s Saturday, June 8, 2013 Toy & Advertising auction will commence at 10 a.m. Eastern Time at the company’s gallery at 5714-A Industry Lane, Frederick, MD 21704. Preview hours are 4-7 p.m. on Friday, June 7; 8-10 a.m. on auction day, and by appointment during the week prior to the sale. Catered food service will be available.

All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com and Proxibid.com. Printed catalogs are $24 to US addresses; $35 outside the USA. For additional information, call 240-629-8139 or e-mail keith@mosbyauctions.com. Visit Mosby & Co. online at www.mosbyauctions.com.

Exceptional European and American toys, banks and advertising await bidders at Bertoia’s May 3-4 ‘Toy Picks’ auction

March 28th, 2013 by

VINELAND, N.J. – Bertoia Auctions’ May 3-4 ‘Toy Picks’ auction features the pick of the crop in dozens of popular collecting categories. In addition to a vast array of vehicles, European clockwork toys and comic character favorites, the sale lineup also includes dollhouses and miniatures; trains, steam engines, banks and Part I of the late Bill Bertoia’s superb collection of occupational shaving mugs, which will be auctioned during the second session.

The late Bill Bertoia (1950-2003) was a leading light and indisputable expert in the field of antique toys and cast-iron banks, but few realized he was an advanced collector of occupational shaving mugs.

Although Bill’s mug collection would have been welcomed at any major American art museum, it was never publicly exhibited. A very personal collection amassed over a 15-year period, it was displayed with pride in the antique-filled home Bill shared with his wife, Jeanne, and children Michael and Lauren.

On Saturday, May 4, Bertoia’s will auction Part I of Bill’s shaving mug collection. Approximately 50 mugs will be offered, ranging from pristine examples of more-common mugs – conservatively estimated at $100-$200 – to rare, highly desirable mugs in the $5,000 range.

Bertoia Auctions co-founder and owner Jeanne Bertoia said her late husband regarded shaving mugs as “one of the greatest forms of Americana…He was fascinated by the hand-painted images of various occupations, many of which no longer existed.”

Jeanne recalled that no matter what he collected, Bill was a stickler for quality, condition and originality. “He was very particular when buying toys and banks, and he took the same approach with his mugs. He especially liked mugs with images of people engaged in their work, and hand-applied details, like gilt trim and a person’s name,” Jeanne said.

Every mug in Bill’s collection was a source of enjoyment to Bill, but he had a few special favorites, Jeanne said. “He was very proud of his mug that showed a stockbroker with ticker tape (est. $2,500-$4,000), but I think he was most excited with the mug he bought at an auction in South Jersey that has an image of a distinguished man in a derby hat, walking two very grand Boston terriers ($2,000-$3,000).”

Bill Bertoia’s occupational shaving mug collection covers a broad variety of themes: automotive, horse-drawn, nautical, storefronts, sports. Some of the more unusual mugs include: lunch wagon, $3,500-$5,000; clothing store, $800-$1,200; barrel stake truck, $1,000-$2,000; chefs at work in a busy kitchen, $1,000-$1,500; marble arch cutter, $1,000-$1,500; dump truck, $1,000-$2,000; delivery wagon builder, $800-$1,200; and horse-drawn hearse with open curtain. $800-$1,200.

German and French wind-up toys will keep the keys busy during Bertoia’s preview. An outstanding collection of Lehmanns, many of them boxed, has been consigned by a longtime Bertoia Auctions customer. “Quality and condition are evident throughout this collection,” said Bertoia’s auctioneer, Michael Bertoia. “The owner always stepped up to the plate to pay the price for the best examples.”

The Lehmann collection includes many autos, including a rare, yellow 12-inch Baldur; two motorcycles – a boxed Echo and a Halloh with litho’d box lid – a Heavy Swell, Ski Rolf and Ikarus. A boxed Masuyama and an equally desirable Man-Da-Rin with its rare and beautifully lithographed original box also occupy top slots in the collection.

Alongside the Lehmanns are several scarce French-made Martins, including a Gendarme and a Parisian gentleman in top hat with cane and cigar. “This is only the second time we’ve seen this particular toy,” said Michael Bertoia, referring to the wind-up gentleman.

Forty European penny toys are entered in the sale, with themes that cross several categories, including transportation and people. Among the colorful tin novelties to be auctioned are a double Irish mail cart, sledding boy, skier and Chinese man with parasol.

Several impressive toy boats will sail toward new harbors on auction day. Among the coveted Marklins are a restored 46-inch first-series Battleship Maine, a second smaller-size (32-inch) first-series Battleship Maine in all-original condition, and an especially attractive 20-inch first-series Battleship Sperber. Additionally, Bertoia’s fleet includes several other battleships, cruisers and boats by Carette and Fleishmann.

Early hand-painted cars include an all-original red Alfa-Romeo No. 2 racer by CIJ, a yellow 4-door Marklin Torpedo open car, and a Bing steam-driven Spyder. Around 10 other French automobiles by Citroen and JEP also join the auction selection. Other European toys include two exquisite Ferris wheels attributed to Doll et Cie.

The auction also features the Tom Palumbo pressed steel collection, comprising 40 to 50 vehicles primarily by Sturditoy. “What makes this collection so attractive is the fact that the toys are 100 percent original,” Michael Bertoia noted.

The large assortment of European and American trains and accessories includes both live steam and clockwork examples. Leading the group are a very early Volt-Amp loco and tender; a gauge 1 Marklin 1021 steam-outline loco and tender with cast-iron frame, a Carlisle & Finch suspension bridge, and many Marklin trains and cars. Of special note are Marklin’s gauge 1 Pabst Blue Ribbon and Schlitz advertising cars, and a well-detailed chicken transport car with functional cage doors. Rounding out the railroad bounty are productions by Bing, Schonner, Carette and Knapp; as well as a train station by Marklin.

Between 80 and 100 cast-iron banks will be waiting to show off their tricks. Standouts include a circa-1889 Kyser & Rex mechanical Globe Savings Fund bank, a Lighthouse and Girl in Victorian Chair (both semi-mechanicals); and several excellent still banks – a small Boston Statehouse, Ives Palace and rare Arcade Eggman.

Bertoia’s is known for offering fine figural cast-iron doorstops, all personally vetted by Jeanne Bertoia, a renowned doorstop authority. The selection Jeanne has prepared for the May auction incorporates florals, people, animals, houses and whimsical shapes. A few Fish designs are included, e.g., a Deco Messenger and Rhumba Dancer. Also in the mix are clowns, a Rabbit Pushing a Wheelbarrow, and a Lobster.

Cast-iron automotive collectors will find many excellent racers, motorcycles, taxis and work vehicles waiting to exit Bertoia’s garage. Around 40 horse-drawn cast-iron toys have been consigned, as well. Three Dent productions – a fire engine, horse carriage and hook & ladder – exhibit near-mint condition and are believed to have been originally purchased at the Dent toy factory by legendary collector the late Covert Hegarty.

Just in time for spring cleaning and redecorating, Bertoia’s sale features 65 lots of miniature furniture, including designs from Gottschalk and Rock & Graner; plus 20 upscale dollhouses and room boxes, most by top German makers.

Approximately 150 country store and advertising items add early American charm to the auction list. There are several salesmen’s samples, around 20 glass showcases, advertising signs, apothecary jars, and tea and coffee bins.

Bertoia’s Toy Picks Auction will begin at 12 noon on Friday, May 3; and 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2013. All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, by phone or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. To contact Bertoia Auctions call 856-692-1881; toys@bertoiaauctions.com. Online: www.BertoiaAuctions.com.

No free rides on pricey Marklin carousel in Noel Barrett’s $1.3M Winter Auction

February 1st, 2013 by
Marklin Toy Carousel

Exquisitely detailed circa-1910 Marklin carousel, crank or steam driven, top lot of the sale, $218,500. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

NEW HOPE, Pa. – It took more than a brass ring to claim ownership of an exquisite Marklin carousel that topped prices realized at Noel Barrett’s $1.3 million Winter Auction. The circa-1910 German-made toy commanded $218,500 at Barrett’s Nov. 16-17 event, selling to a US buyer against stiff competition from collectors on both sides of the Atlantic. All prices quoted in this report include a basic 15% buyer’s premium; additional for Internet.

A toy fit for royalty, the carousel had surfaced during the disposition of an estate in Phoenix, and to Barrett’s great surprise, was in “astoundingly original condition.” Lavishly festooned with colored glass balls, mirrors, pennants, cartouches and metal embellishments, the cloth-canopied carousel could be operated either as a crank or steam-driven toy. It featured eight girl and four boy riders on diminutive hide-covered horses and in vis-à-vis chariots. Entered as the star lot of the sale, it carried a pre-auction estimate of $75,000-$100,000.

A rare and most impressive toy, the carousel will be in good company alongside a folk-art “Amor L Jones” loco and tender that was offered together with a photo of a young girl for whom the train may have been created. Selling price: $907.50. “The same person bid successfully on both the carousel and the Amor Jones train. He likes to buy the best of every category, and although the train was not one of the more expensive toys in the sale, it was definitely the best train in the folk art category. To me, this approach to buying proves the buyer has an eye, not just a pocketbook,” said Barrett.

Several train-related lots landed in the top 10, including a circa-1909 to 1919 Marklin PLM coupe-vent passenger set with pictorial box, which sold for $46,000. It had been shipped to Barrett’s gallery from Buenos Aires by the nephew of the original owner, who received the train as a young girl around 1920. “Apparently she preferred playing with dolls, so the train was packed up and stored away. It spent the next 90 years virtually untouched. It was in near-mint condition when it arrived to us,” said Barrett.

Althof Bermann Santa in Sleigh

Althof Bermann hand-painted tin Santa in Sleigh, one of only two known examples considered 100% original, $97,700. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Other train highlights included a lithographed tin Grand Central Station made for the American market, $28,750; and a fully functional 89-inch-long live-steam model of the Empire State Express, whose detailed construction was covered in the May 1976 issue of Live Steam Magazine. It was bid to $27,600. A Carette 2350 gauge 1 live-steam loco and tender that appeared in the manufacturer’s 1911 catalog with the description “Latest design (an original scale model)” changed hands for $16,100; while a Marklin Washington Pullman observation car more than tripled its high estimate at $13,800.

One of the most popular toys in the 932-lot sale was a wonderful Althof-Bergmann Santa Sleigh drawn by two goats wearing royal blue and gold saddles with matching pairs of bells. For years the only known examples of this particular toy were those belonging to pioneer collector Bernard Barenholtz and another trailblazer of the toy hobby, Leon Perelman, founder of the Perelman Antique Toy Museum in Philadelphia. A third Althof-Bergmann Santa Sleigh with goat team was later confirmed in the collection of the Margaret Strong Museum. The sleigh in Barrett’s sale became the fourth, and quite likely will be the last, Santa Sleigh to emerge, Barrett said, noting that only the Barenholtz sleigh and the one in his sale are considered totally original. An iconic toy with immense charm, the sleigh sold for $97,750.

The auction included a fine array of high-end European and American toys, bolstered by selections from the renowned

Gerald Wingrove 1924 Hispano-Suiza No. 3 (top) 1933 Derham Tourster Duesenberg.

Gerald Wingrove hand-made scale models of a 1924 Hispano-Suiza No. 3 (top) and a 1933 Derham Tourster Duesenberg. Auctioned for $16,100 each. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Athelstan and Kathy Spilhaus antique toy collection and the Rick Ralston collection of trains and trolleys. The two anchor collections were complemented by numerous attic discoveries and choice single pieces from several consignors.

A cloth-dressed clockwork Tambourine Player from a series of four African-American clockwork toys produced in the last quarter of the 20th century by Jerome Secor easily surpassed its estimate to ring up $17,200. Another American beauty, The Pittsburgh House was an extravagantly detailed circa-1890 architectural model formerly in the collection of the Toy Museum of Atlanta. It achieved $18,400 against a $6,000-$10,000 estimate.

Cast-iron mechanical banks made their mark in Barrett’s sale, as well. An excellent to near-mint J. & E. Stevens Clown on Globe made $18,400 against an estimate of $6,000-$8,000; and an exceptional example of a Stevens Cat & Mouse bank streaked past its $3,000-$5,000 estimate to settle at $9,775.

Other highlights of Noel Barrett’s Winter Auction included Gerald Wingrove hand-made scale models of a 1924 Hispano-Suiza No. 3 and a 1933 Derham Tourster Duesenberg. Each was estimated at $7,000-$9,000 and each realized $16,100.

After the sale, Barrett commented that it had been “quite the international event. We shipped toys to sixteen countries. A brand new customer from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe bought twelve items, and two pieces from the top ten were purchased by collectors who knew me but who never laid eyes on the toys they bid on. They felt confident that our descriptions were accurate and thorough.”

Phone bidders were responsible for 40% of the gross, Internet bidders 24%, and absentee bidders just under 10%. The remaining 25% of the $1.3 million total was attributable to bidders in the room.

To contact Noel Barrett Auctions, call 215-297-5109 or e-mail toys@noelbarrett.com. Visit Noel Barrett’s website at www.noelbarrett.com.