Premier Pennsylvania auction house Pook & Pook and veteran toy auctioneer Noel Barrett will jointly host a treasure-filled auction of American and European antique tin toys, trains, dollhouses and vintage objects of interest on Friday, Sept. 15. The 500-lot sale will take place at the historic Pook & Pook gallery in Downingtown, Pa. (suburban Philadelphia), with all forms of bidding available, including absentee and live via the Internet through Bidsquare or LiveAuctioneers.
Several advanced collections are featured, including the Stephen Sachs cast-iron toy collection (Part II), and book examples of Kenton automotive toys from the Bill and Stevie Weart collection. The Sachs consignment includes airplanes, Vindex farm toys, and motorcycles. Taking the spotlight alongside the 20th-century cast-iron toys is a significant grouping of horse-drawn pieces from a Pennsylvania collector. The eclectic offering is rounded out with dollhouses, generously outfitted room boxes, dollhouse miniatures, a group of artist dolls and marionettes; Baranger Studios animated jewelry store displays, and a collection of Christmas toys and decorations.
The ultimate in German toy manufacture can be summarized in one word: Marklin. The Sept. 15 auction includes a beautifully accessorized Marklin craft that’s sure to please nautically minded collectors: a 29-inch painted-tin clockwork riverboat Jolanda. In all-original condition and retaining its factory anchor, wheeled cradle and painted-tin American Flag, Lot 335 comes to auction straight from the first owner’s family. Its pre-sale estimate is $15,000-$20,000.
Another brand favored by connoisseurs of European antique toys is Carette. Leading the Carette parade is Lot 324, a #2350 clockwork 0 gauge passenger train set. Comprising an English-profile 4-4-0 locomotive with correct matching tender, postal/baggage car and passenger coach, this train model was depicted in a 1907 toy, train and steam catalog issued by Georges Carette & Cie. Estimate: $15,000-$18,000
Lot 347, a superb example of Lehmann’s clockwork tin “Mandarin” is elevated to an even higher level of condition by the inclusion of its original pictorial box and two background scenery panels. Consigned by the original owner, who never played with it, the ultra-desirable German-made toy is expected to make $3,000-$4,000. Another European treat is Lot 345, a rare German painted-tin hot air balloon with a jointed trapeze artist figure. Similar to a toy pictured in David Pressland’s The Art of the Tin Toy, it will cross the auction block with a $2,000-$4,000 estimate.
A comprehensive array of cast-iron toys runs the gamut of transportation, from Hubley motorcycles of various forms – including an Indian Traffic Car, $600-$800 – to a fleet of Arcade Yellow Cabs, moving vans and delivery trucks. The auction hangar is filled to capacity with cast-iron airplanes by Dent, Kilgore and Hubley; while a number of scarce Kenton cars and trucks from the Bill and Stevie Weart collection are also lined up and ready for their close-ups.
The supply of European automotive toys boasts some real beauties, including Lot 331, a JEP Hispano-Suiza touring car, $800-$1,200; a French hand-built T35 Bugatti model race car, and a stylish 12¼-inch Carette open touring car with original chauffeur and passenger figures, $1,500-$2,000.
Adjectives are in short supply when describing the marvelous detail seen in Lot 348, a 38-inch-wide by 20-inch-deep diorama of a German town. Translations of its various Dresden scrap-decorated signs indicate the display was constructed to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Frederich I, Grand Duke of Baden (1826-1907), and his grand duchess, Princess Louise of Prussia, in 1906. The entire town is constructed of lithographed card-stock buildings, bridges, people, rivers and trees, with beaded pin and garland decoration. An incredible display housed in a period glass and wood case with hinged lid, it is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.
Other highlights in the lithographed-paper category include a Theatre Francais consisting of a highly decorative stage with a cast of dozens, a W.S. Reed set of “Uncle Sam’s Regulars” toy soldiers, lithographed battleship, and an Art Deco 3-D Empire State Building puzzle with original box and brochure. Early optical toys are led by a French Polyorama Panoptique, and a Milton Bradley “Whirligig of Life” animated praxinoscope.
A virtual neighborhood of fine architectural examples includes several dollhouses, Christmas garden houses, and Lot 473, a circa-1900 German kitchen attributed to Christian Hacker and brimming with crockery, cookware, canisters and other culinary accessories, as well as three small china dolls. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000. A smaller Christian Hacker kitchen room box with accessories carries a $600-$900 estimate.
Two ever-popular jewelry store motion displays made by Baranger Studios of Pasadena, California, include electric-animated depictions of “The Diamond Cleaners” busily repairing an oversize diamond ring; and a delightful 1950 design titled “The Wooden Soldiers.” Each is expected to reach $5,000-$6,000.
Lot 380, an original marionette of Howdy Doody from the famed 1950s children’s TV show, is estimated at $12,000-$16,000. While it was never actually seen onscreen, the marionette was produced by the show’s prop man and is identical to those that were used on camera. Also in the category are showgirl art dolls by Van Craig, a Bill Baird stick puppet of a gangster, and a faithful replica of Wayland Flowers’ character “Madame.”
The Sept. 15 selection is rounded out by African American toys, French painted composition parade costumes depicting horses, wooden acrobat toys, Christmas candy containers and decorations; Disney soft dolls and other comic character pieces. An appealing item within the category is Lot 365, a scarce Japanese porcelain miniature canister set with numerous whimsical depictions of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Estimate: $200-$400.
The Sept. 15, 2017 Antique Toy Auction will be held at the Pook & Pook gallery, 463 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, Pa., commencing at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Preview from 10-4 Mon.-Thurs. of the week prior to the auction, or from 8-10 a.m. on auction day. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through Bidsquare or LiveAuctioneers. For additional information on any item in the sale, call 610-269-4040 or email [email protected].