Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

JULIA’S RECENT TOY, DOLL & ADVERTISING AUCTION RESULTS

It was obvious from even before the very first lot hit the block that this was going to be no ordinary sale. In an auction world that is very much absentee and internet bid driven, Julia’s Fairfield, Maine auction facility was brimming with one of the largest crowds seen at a Julia toy and doll auction in many years. When the auction began, it became clear that this was going to be one for the record books. The very first lot, a group of cast iron toy signs, was estimated at $800-$1,200 and sold after a brief, but brisk bidding battle for $1,207. The very next lot, a near mint rare Arcade flat top green cab that doubles as a bank, estimated for $3,000-$4,000 sold for a record $14,350. Then the next, a flat top yellow cab, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 hammered at $3,450. And so it went all the way to a very impressive total of $1.3 Million, reflecting twelve new World Auction Records and a performance of the sold items of 63% over low estimate. Department head, Andrew Truman was pleased, saying, “These are the best results for a Julia Toy & Doll Auction in the last two and a half years. Despite the declining economy, the market is strong for quality goods that are reasonably and conservatively estimated.” Part of the success of Julia’s is a result of some decisions made in early December of last year. In a meeting involving all management and department heads in the Julia firm they discussed how to proceed in this new economy. One possibility was to do as 90% of all U.S. businesses had done in the past few months (i.e. let a significant portion of their staff go, cut back on services offered to their clients, ensure their commission charges would produce profit, etc.). But the Julia firm decided upon an entirely different approach. Jim Julia stated emphatically that his current auction company team was the finest that had ever worked for him and literally every employee was valuable to their success. Hence, he made a commitment to all the employees after that meeting that they would all be kept on full time and there would be no intention of cutting any positions. As a result of the meeting, an aggressive ad campaign was developed including what was referred to as the “Julia Stimulus Plan”. The “Plan” outlined a host of benefits and features to be provided to consignors in the future. Foremost was the 0% commission fee on expensive items. The theory of the Julia team was to charge less, give better service, and work harder and smarter. In tough economic times such as these, consignments to auctions drop off precipitously so Julia’s reasoning was that by being overly competitive he would make less profit but make it up by stimulating maximum consignments. This new approach has proven to be exceedingly successful for the auctioneer, buyer, and seller. There can be no question that their formula is working. The spring firearms auction this year grossed an incredible $11.5 million dollars, one of the highest ever in the firearms auction industry in the world (Julia’s set the world record in March 2008 at $12.7 Million). Their glass & lamp auction, a week earlier, was the finest most diversified offering of its type in the world this year and generated approximately $1.8 million in sales. In addition, as stated above, this toy & doll sale was a terrific success with a re-sale estimate of goods sold of $796,000. The final gross was $1.3 million (almost double the estimate). To date, their new business model is performing admirably in an economy that would normally dictate an entirely different approach.
It of course doesn’t hurt when the collection is as rich in condition as it is in rarity as that of the late Larry Seiber. The fortunate few who had the pleasure of knowing Seiber were familiar with this very private and somewhat eccentric individual’s insistence on the highest quality, condition, and rarity. He began collecting long before it became fashionable and was able to obtain key pieces before the world had been picked over by the current cadre of toy collectors and dealers. After a break-in several years back, Seiber, concerned with losing his cache, squirreled away the toys, rarely taking them out to enjoy them. So literally hidden away for many years, seldom seeing the light of day were treasures unknown to most of the collecting world. A quiet collector, Seiber amassed a splendid array of rare cast iron automotive toys, including a number of examples that are believed to be one of only one or two in existence. A phenomenal Arcade clockwork “Say it with Flowers” delivery cycle has been one of the most highly sought after toys in history. Consisting of an Indian motorcycle with rider affixed to a delivery van back end, it contained a powerful clockwork motor to propel the heavy cast iron body. All original and painted in brilliant aqua, finished with delicate floral decals and embossed details, it became the top seller of the auction selling for a massive $63,250 against a presale estimate of $50,000-75,000.
Collectors who thought they had seen it all were delighted with an Arcade utility truck, believed to be the only known example in existence. It featured a detailed red truck body on steel wheels with a green platform that ratchets to different levels by a hand lever on the side. Faithful to the actual truck after which it was modeled, and in marvelous condition, it sold for a record $22,425 against expectations of $10,000-20,000. Another rarity, even desirable in its standard red and green coloration, the Arcade Ingersoll Rand compressor truck is always a sought after piece. Seiber was fortunate to have found an unusual and only known example in orange with black trim. Originally owned by Jake Brubaker (worker at Hubley) and then purchased by Julian Thomas, Seiber acquired the truck in all original and in phenomenal condition. It finished up at $17,250, nearly five times its $3,500-4,500 estimate.
Taking to the skies was a selection of cast iron airplanes. Also formerly of Jake Brubaker’s collection, a Hubley Lockheed Sirius in red and black embossed “Lindy NR-211” across the wing was in incredible original condition and soared to $9,775 above an estimate of $4,500-6,500. A brilliant blue and yellow Kilgore TAT with ribbed fuselage and wing landed at $8,625 above its $3,500-4,500 estimate.
Other rarities included a phenomenal and vibrant Arcade bullet nose racer in yellow with nickel trim, green plastic windshield, and dual nickel drivers. Occasionally seen in reference books, is has actually been seen in person by precious few. It stood alone in the winner’s circle and set a new record, selling for $17,825 versus a pre-auction estimate of $8,500-12,500. A scarce Checker Cab in yellow with black roof and running boards, considered the quintessential and elusive vehicle, had the unusual embossed lettering above the front windshield, which was eventually ceased for buyers who preferred the Yellow Cab line. This rarity brought $23,000, exceeding a $15,000-20,000 estimate. A desirable rubber stamped Arcade Hathaway Bread & Cake truck in truly remarkable condition cooked at $8,050, burning its $5,000-7,000 estimate. An extremely rare cast iron Arcade armored car made for Brinks in the 1930s with a cast iron bottom, gun turrets, and was embossed with the Brinks logo in gold on the sides is one of only three or four known to exist on the planet. Perhaps the finest example available, it sold for $23,000 within an estimate of $20,000-30,000.
Construction vehicles included a scarce Hubley “Truk Mixer” consisting of a red truck body, green tank, and white balloon tires. Sharing the same Brubaker provenance, it finished up at $12,650 against an estimate of $6,000-8,000. Very seldom seen was an Arcade scoop on a four-wheeled base, further enhanced with chain caterpillar tracks. With paint as bright as the day it was made, it ignored a $1,500-2,000 estimate to sell for a record $10,925. An Arcade Mack high bed side dump truck in brilliant red and yellow set a new World Auction Record at $13,225, more than tripling its $4,000-6,000 estimate. Condition was also a factor in a large red Arcade Mack wrecker bringing a record price of $8,912 against expectations of $2,000-3,000.
The variety of variations expanded to the realm of buses. Included was an Arcade “Yellow Coach” bus that sold for $7,475 against expectations of $3,500-4,500 while a scarce red and white “Mack” bus brought $8,625 against an estimate of $3,000-4,000. And an Arcade “White” panel moving van in white with red trim, side mount rubber tires, and great form hit the block with a $6,000-8,000 estimate and moved into the better neighborhood of $9,775.
Joining Seiber’s collection was an impressive selection of other fine toys from a range of collections and estates. A last minute addition of a rare “Are You a Buffalo” bell toy by Gong Bell that depicted a full bodied bison that would rotate atop a globe found an eager buyer willing to pay $6,325 despite an estimate of $3,500-4,500. A large German papier maché candy container portraying Father Christmas was a great find. Fresh from a New England home and full of character, this piece sold for $4,600 against an estimate of $3,000-4,000.
For a new up and coming generation of collectors were some fantastic Baby Boomer toys from one Rhode Island collector who long ago vowed to buy nothing but the best in quality and condition. This grouping included over 40 boxed Japanese tin toys encompassing fanciful battery-op space toys and a number of rare pressed steel trucks including near mint, never been played with examples. Highlights included a scarce Katz Grand Central Station windup toy with its original box that pulled in at $2,242 against a $1,500-2,500 estimate. A Japanese battery operated space station by S.H. was the earliest version the company created and was designed when space travel was just a fantasy. Showing five illuminated rooms with TV and radar screens and rotating radar dish, it sold for $2,875, exceeding an estimate of $900-1,200. Other battery-op toys included a lot of two amusement park themed toys of Japanese manufacture, a Coney Island rocket ride and a sightseeing plane ride reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower. The duo sold for $2,012 nearly tripling its $700-900 presale estimate while a traveling carnival truck topped with a double spinning Ferris wheel with bright lithography and its original box sold for $1,380 against the same estimate.
Adding to the diversity of the sale was a collection of salesman samples from the collection of the late John Woods of St. Louis. Julia’s has offered salesman samples in prior auctions with great success, but no one was prepared for what was to come with this collection. The range of the collection was impressive. The quality unmistakable. And the prices were tremendous. Topping the list was a 48” miniature Old Town canoe. Featuring deep emerald green paint and all-original decals, it sailed past its $5,000-10,000 to land at $18,400. Woods’ grouping of farm related salesman samples saw much active bidding over the phone and via absentee. One bidder in attendance drove 18 hours from Indiana just to attend the sale, and was awfully glad he did. After seeing the items firsthand, opinions on some of the items went up, others went down slightly. In the end, he bought 10 models. “The staff at Julia’s was fantastic,” he said. “They were very accommodating, and the whole experience was worth every minute.” Of the several farm plows in the auction, one stood out among the rest. A walk-behind plow by Gale of Albion, Michigan in original old red paint quickly surpassed its $3,000-4,000 estimate to sell for $9,487. Other examples included a similar example of an Oliver chilled plow that sold for $6,612 against a $3,000-4,000 estimate. A brass sample of a planting machine with two formed seats, two large wheels in back and two smaller wheels in front, a rotating spacing disc, and a wooden box for holding seeds brought $10,350 versus an estimate of $1,500-2,500. A brass, wood, and nickel sickle bar mower attributed to Adriance, Platt & Co., featured various levers and gears including idle switch, and was exact in nearly every detail as its full sized counterpart. It cut through its $4,000-6,000 estimate to sell for $8,625. A small push mower with rotating blades and its seldom seen original wooden box also saw heavy action, finishing up at $4,025 over expectations of $500-1,000. The collection also contained some desirable windmills including a handcrafted Monitor windmill with its original carrying case that doubled as a display stand. It blew past a presale estimate of $2,500-3,500 to sell for $6,325. And a Rockford IXL windmill on an oil derrick type base sold for $7,475 against the same presale estimate. From a separate collection came a salesman sample road machine by Acme Road Machinery Co. of Frankfort, New York that consisted of a wooden horse drawn wagon body with crank activated conveyor belt that would scoop gravel into the segmented bed via a series of grates to separate by size. Complete with its original carrying case, it sold for $17,250 within expectations of $12,000-18,000.
Often holding appeal to collectors of salesman samples are U.S. Patent models, miniatures that inventors used to have to create when applying for a patent. Like salesman samples, these miniatures show the talent of bygone craftsman and provide a window into the past. This auction included selections from renowned U.S. Patent model expert and collector Alan Rothschild’s collection. Included was a marvelous model of an early forging machine that retained its original patent tag and sold for $5,750 against a pre-auction estimate of $3,500-4,500. And an improvement in weighing apparatuses brought $4,600, just above expectations of $3,500-4,500.
This sale also included exquisite and charming French bisque and German character dolls for varying collecting levels. From the latter category, a lovely and petite 15” BSW “Wendy” with striking and well molded features sold for $15,525 within a $14,000-16,000 estimate. A rare all-original Simon & Halbig 1358 black doll that came fresh from a Maine home, having been passed down through the family finished up at $6,325 against expectations of $4,500-6,500. And for the astute bidder, there were certainly bargains to be had. A rare and highly sought after 26” E.J.A. French Bebe produced by the Jumeau firm in the latter part of the 19th century with pale bisque, delicate mauve eye shadowing, and threaded amber paperweight eyes sold for $16,100 against an estimate of $17,500-22,500. A 21” 10 (over) E.J. Bebe with blue paperweight eyes and closed mouth was another beauty who came to the block with an estimate of $11,000-13,000 and finished up at $10,350.
The diverse offering of dolls also included a select grouping of Chinese Door of Hope dolls, made under the guidance of American missionaries from approximately 1902 until 1939. The purpose of the mission was to rescue girls, giving them a safe haven, teaching them knitting & other skills thus preventing the possibility of them being sold into slavery or entered into prostitution. Among the offering that has been packed away for the last 40 years was perhaps the most sought after character, a rare and elusive Manchu woman, with fancy carved headdress and delicate features, which sold for $8,050 against an estimate of 4,000-6,000. A priest, attired in an olive green cotton gown over blue shirt and pants with white cotton undergarments, and retaining its original import tag brought an impressive $2,875 against an estimate of $1,000-1,500.
For collectors of rare advertising was a varied offering of signs and displays, some of which seldom see the public marketplace. An outstanding Victorian-era lithograph entitled “View of Canada Southern Train Passing Niagara Falls”, a panoramic view of one of the world’s most visited natural wonders, exhibited excellent detail and color. It sold for a robust $11,500 beating out its estimate of $5,000-10,000. From the same time period was an exceedingly scarce and humorous tin sign that advertises Standard Shirts. It portrayed a quartet of men bathing in a country pond taken unawares by a passing group of attractive young ladies. Fortunately for both parties, the quick-thinking men are able to cover their nakedness with their Standard shirts, and disaster is averted. The piece more than covered its $3,000-5,000 estimate to sell for $5,175. A select grouping of Coca-Cola included a Tiffany-style leaded glass hanging lamp shade with the desirable embossed tin leaf edge bottom. In outstanding condition, it sold for $5,175 versus a $3,500-4,500 estimate. And a Winchester print by H.R. Poore depicting four large hounds had been found recently in an attic in its original mailing tube. Because of a lack of exposure to daylight, the colors were just as vibrant as the day it was made. And again, condition means everything, bringing this piece to $4,600 against an estimate of $2,000-3,000.
Fresh from a Bangor, Maine collector was a massive array of pre- and postwar Lionel trains and railroad memorabilia that literally filled his basement and attic. This much anticipated collection received tremendous response from bidders in attendance and on the phone. Expected to bring a total of approximately $55,000-85,000, the final tally was in excess of $98,000. The railroad memorabilia focused on Maine, but also included many national lines. It was comprised of a wide assortment of large locomotive bells, headlamps, station accessories, porcelain and wooden junction signs, silver service pieces, uniforms, lanterns, etc. One of the highlights was a railroad ticket cabinet with a tambour front door revealing interior compartments full of 1950s Maine Railroad tickets. Manufactured by Stromberg Allen & Co., Chicago, it went out at more than seven times its $500-750 estimate for $3,565. A lot of 14 porcelain junction signs from around Maine also brought $3,565, beating out its estimate of $600-900.
The sale was rounded out by a selection of coin-operated arcade and slot machines as well as a grouping of music boxes and other miscellaneous items. The coin-op category was highlighted by a scarce 1937 World Series baseball game by Rockola. Featuring many star athletes of the day, the game’s action was far superior to other games of the period. Estimated for $30,000-35,000, it hit a line drive right up the middle and sold for $33,350. A Baker-Troll 13″ Swiss interchangeable cylinder music box with burl veneers, ebonized wood with floral swag inlay and mother of pearl medallions was accompanied its original and equally elaborate matching table. It sold for $8,050 at the upper end of its $6,500-8,500 pre-auction estimate. And a collection of antique pencil sharpeners from the John Woods collection exhibited early ingenuity and form. A scarce and highly sought after Chelsea sharpener consisting of green cast iron trough with rotating vertical disc affixed with sandpaper went right to the point, selling for $3,162 (est. $2,500-3,500). And an exceedingly rare President, although simple in design, exuded elegance and charm. Consisting of a round cast iron trough base and a cast brass finger grip top that revolves around a circular file center, it brought $3,680 against an estimate of 1,500-2,500.
Julia’s upcoming auctions include their fabulous end of summer antiques & fine art extravaganza in August. Always the highlight of the New England summer auction season it will feature approximately $5 Million in spectacular merchandise. Julia’s important firearms and military memorabilia auction will take place in October. Julia’s next toy & doll auction as well as a rare lamp & glass auction will take place in November. Julia’s is currently accepting consignments for these and other upcoming auctions. Call immediately for inclusion in these exciting sales. For more information, contact their offices at 207-453-7125. James D. Julia, Inc., P.O. Box 830, Dept. PR, Fairfield, ME 04937. E-mail: [email protected].