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Marklin Battleship “Boston” - This classic 40in battleship is from Marklin’s acclaimed second series of toy boats. These realistic yet toy-like boats were made between 1906 and 1918, and were offered with electric- or steam-powered options. This excellent example has a live steam power plant that operates the twin screws. Play value includes two operating cranes for the lifeboats. Marklin boats of this quality are seldom seen at public auction. Estimate: $50,000-60,000.
Marklin Station - This gauge I station is one of the very first stations made by Marklin. It appeared in the company’s 1895 catalog, their first such booklet to contain stations. Eventually Marklin incorporated embossed tin into their station designs, but the earliest examples – this one included – were made of flat tin with trompe l’oeil detailing to create a sense of depth. One of only two known examples of this model, the station is estimated at $25,000-35,000.
Scratch-built Train Model - This amazing train model was made in the last quarter of the 19th century. Kimball acquired it in the 1940s, from the grandson of its creator, Samuel Medary Wilson. Wilson worked in the offices of the master mechanic for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad during the period that the 700 series locomotives were made, and the skill he employed in detailing this model is a testament to both his talent and patience. It is powered by live steam and is in perfect scale, down to the miniaturized diamond plate on the boiler walkways. Estimate: $25,000-30,000.
Marx Mickey Mouse Circus Train – To Mickey Mouse collectors, this set is one of the “holy grails.” The clockwork engine with animated Mickey stoker pulls three colorful lithographed tin circus cars. This example, remarkably, has retained its complete set of full-color punch-out pieces: tent, Mickey truck, gas station and tickets, as well as the elusive composition Mickey “barker” figure. Estimate: $8,000 to $10,000.
Bing Jupiter Passenger Set - This gauge III Jupiter passenger train is one of the most impressive trains in the sale, both in detail and size, not to mention rarity. Made by Bing, circa 1903, it is powered by a functional live steam engine. The engine/tender measures 23in long, and each of the three coaches is 20in long. The roofs are hinged to reveal detailed interiors, e.g., the dining car has tables and chairs. A wonderful European profile set, it carries a $30,000-35,000 estimate.
Rock & Graner Station - This two-piece station set was one of the most amazing pieces from Ward Kimball’s European layout. Near mint and extremely rare, it was made by Rock & Graner, known since 1813 for its fine carriages and dollhouse furniture. Near the end of the 19th century, they became manufacturers of toy trains and accessories, prior to being taken over by Marklin. This station is one of their grandest train accessories. Estimate: $30,000-40,000.
Marklin “Circus” Train - This wonderful set is comprised of a live steam American profile engine and tender, and three of the most highly prized “goods” wagons made by Marklin. Loaded into each of the drop-sided gondola cars are three circus wagons: a transport wagon, a Hagenbecks Menagerie cage wagon and a Circus Oriental caravan, outfitted with a gloriously handpainted bedroom. The set, as such, never appeared in Marklin catalogs. The cars were sold separately, so this is how the set will be sold at auction. The cars are estimated at $12,000-15,000 each, and the engine/tender, $8,000-10,000.
Marklin Congressional Limited Passenger set. This set is one of the finest gauge I sets made by Marklin for the American market. The engine has a robust clockwork motor with forward and reverse gears, and a brake. The motor is strong enough to pull the three beautifully hand-enameled cars: two coaches and a combination coach and baggage car. Each car has a hinged roof for access to the interior seating. The observation platform has opening side gates and a hinged door between the car interior and the platform – detailing that is typical of Marklin, a company whose craftsmen spared no effort in perfecting their products. Estimate: $20,000-25,000.
George Brown Horsedrawn Omnibus - This toy represents in miniature the earliest form of mass transit in New York City. Before the trolley or the subway, New Yorkers crowded into horse-drawn coaches to travel to their downtown work places. The clockwork motor, patriotic shield decorations, and the New York City destination signage make this omnibus toy one of the finest of its genre. Estimate: $25,000-30,000.
Converse Station and Train – Ward Kimball liked all trains, whether hand-enameled gems by Marklin, standard gauge behemoths by Lionel or heavy cast-iron models by Pratt & Letchworth. He also fancied the very colorful lithographed paper-on-wood trains made by the American companies Bliss and Reed. This scarce station and train set falls in this latter category, and is exceedingly rare in such complete and excellent condition. Estimate: $7,000-8,000.
A LIFETIME OF TOYS - from Disney Animator Ward Kimball go to Auction!
Ward Kimball Train & Toy Collection
On Nov. 19 and 20 at the Philadelphia Airport Ramada Inn, Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions, Ltd. will sell part one of the lifetime toy and train collection of legendary Disney animator Ward Kimball.
A spectacular and unique collection known to enthusiasts throughout the world, the Kimball trains and toys are unmatched in their synergy of quality, quantity and diversity – so much so that it will take two separate events of approximately 800 lots each to auction them all. The second sale will be held on Memorial Day weekend, May 27-28, 2005.
To understand the motivation behind Kimball’s interest in collecting trains and toys, one needs look no further than the career path chosen by the man himself. Whether you were born a decade ago or a century ago, your life has been enriched by the unrestrained creative genius of Ward Kimball. One of the inner circle of revered Disney animators known as the “nine old men,” Kimball spent his life immersed in a world of multifaceted amusement. Remember the Firehouse Five Plus Two, the Dixieland jazz band on TV’s original Mickey Mouse Club? That was Ward Kimball on slide trombone.
Active in the Disney organization from 1934 until his passing in 2002, Kimball spent 39 of those years as an animator, or directing animator, of such Disney classics as Fantasia, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio and Peter Pan. Other Kimball credits include Cinderella, Mary Poppins and The Three Caballeros.
Ward was the inventor of Pinocchio’s “conscience,” Jiminy Cricket. He also was the artist whose pen changed Mickey Mouse from a ratty, pointy-nosed rodent to a friendlier-looking, more plump-faced character. Among the many accolades he received during his life were two Academy Awards, for the Disney shorts Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (1953), and It’s Tough to Be a Bird (1969). This was a man who knew how to blur the lines between work and fun.
The tribute to Kimball appearing in the New York Times immediately after his death in July 2002 included a quote from a 1978 interview with the artist. He said of his early days with Disney: “We thought we were always going to be 21 years old. We thought we would always be putting goldfish in the bottled drinking water, balancing cups of water on the light fixtures, changing the labels on cans of sauerkraut juice. We were 21 years old. Walt (Disney) was 30, leading the pack. Working there was more fun than any job I could ever imagine.”
Off duty, Kimball’s greatest passion was trains, and from day one, there was always room for blue-ribbon European brands. “He bought European trains when a lot of American collectors weren’t paying much attention to them,” Barrett said. “As a result, he was able to amass an amazing collection when rare European trains were still available.”
When it came to trains, however, Kimball left his options wide open, choosing not to narrow his buying focus. “It’s an extremely broad collection. A lot of collectors will buy only standard gauge, 0 gauge, cast-iron or early track trains. Ward loved it all. His collection was like an encyclopedia, the way it was arranged. To visit his collection was to see the story of toy trains in America. On his property in San Gabriel, California, he had one big building divided into two rooms, each filled with layouts of American and European trains. And the walls were covered with trains, too – all arranged in a very organized way. It was staggering to behold.”
In one of the rooms of his “train shed,” Kimball housed his Marklins, Carettes, Bings, Issmayers and other Continental and British makes; in the other, he kept his prized American trains, from manufacturers like George Brown, Voltamp, Lionel and American Flyer. In addition to trains, Kimball acquired rare Marklin stations, glass-domed platforms and wonderful railway accessories. “Being an artist, he had a great eye, which is reflected in the choices he made as a collector.”
Not only did Kimball revel in watching his trains speed down straightaways and veer around sweeping curves, he also took pleasure in engineering his own life-size, fully functional live steam locomotive in his back yard, a three-acre orange grove. “He would fire it up and drive the short distance from his train shed to a replica Victorian train station that was used in Disney’s (1949) film So Dear to My Heart,” said Barrett. “Then he’d go into the train building and run his toy trains.”
In addition to railroadiana, Kimball also collected antique and vintage toys – anything from delicately scaled American tin horse drawn trolleys to oversized nautical vessels, like Marklin’s hefty 39 inch live steam battleship Boston. “As a founding member of the Train Collectors of America, Ward was well known for his trains, and admittedly they were his real love, but he also had a very large toy collection and was a 35-year member of the Antique Toy Collectors of America. He liked many types of toys – cast iron, tin, paper litho on wood, comic character – one category led him to another.”
Kimball’s passion for trains and toys often was shared in the form of feature articles appearing in books, periodicals and Train Collectors of America quarterlies. He also was known as a gracious host who delighted in showing his toys to visitors from within the collecting community. Barrett recalled, “More than 25 years ago I took my family on a cross-country train trip and we visited many sights including San Simeon and the Grand Canyon, but the highlight, even for my 10-year-old son, Barker, was our visit with Ward Kimball. His door was always open to anyone who found their way out to the L.A. area. He was so generous. The end result was that his became one of the best-known collections in America.”
The camaraderie Kimball enjoyed with his fellow collectors is the reason his family resisted offers to sell the multimillion-dollar collection privately and as a whole, Barrett said. “Ward always said he wanted it all to go back to the collectors, and he only wished he could see their faces when they had a chance to buy his treasures. There are so many rare items, and it’s such a famous collection, we expect a much larger crowd than we can accommodate at our usual venue in Lambertville, NJ. This is why we needed to move the sale to a large hotel ballroom. The Philadelphia International Airport location will be easy for people to fly to from anywhere. The Ramada offers the amenities of complimentary airport shuttle service as well as ample parking for those driving in.” said Barrett.
He also noted that a bonus sure to be appreciated by bidders is that no sales tax will apply to purchases made at the Kimball auction; “There’s no sales tax on single-owner estate sales in Pennsylvania.”
Both the November and May auction sessions will feature selections from Ward’s European trains and stations, the early American track trains (Voltamp, Knapp, Carlisle & Finch, etc.), as well as early floor trains – American tin and cast iron. The first sale will also include all of Ward’s classic period Lionel and American Flyer standard gauge trains. As for the toys, selections from most categories will be offered in both sales, with the exception of the Disney toys and dolls, all of which will be in the November inventory. The May sale will feature all of Wards’ Ives track trains and related accessories as well as a selections from his railroadiana collection.
Those who cannot attend in person have the option of lodging absentee, phone or fax bids, as well as bidding live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com in association with eBayLiveAuctions. Two to three weeks prior to the sale, the fully illustrated auction catalog will be available to view online, either at www.LiveAuctioneers.com or Noel Barrett’s website: www.noelbarrett.com.
“But I think most people are going to want a copy of the auction catalog,” Barrett said. “It’s bound to become a classic reference book for collectors.” Each catalog for the November auction will come with a bonus preview DVD. Admission to the sale and preview is by catalog only, with two admissions permitted per book. The catalog costs $45 postpaid to U.S. addresses, $50 to Canada and $55 overseas. Order by mail, phone, fax, email or through Noel Barrett’s website. Accepted methods of payment: U.S.-dollar check, Visa, MasterCard, American Express or online through PayPal (www.paypal.com).
A special room rate at the Philadelphia Airport Ramada Inn – located at 76 Industrial Highway, Essington, Pa 19029 – has been arranged in conjunction with the event. To qualify for the reduced rate, reservations must be made by Nov. 1, with a mention of Noel Barrett Auctions. For reservations, call (610) 521-9600.
The auction will commence at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19 and 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20. Preview hours are: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18 and Friday, Nov. 19; and 8-10 a.m. on Saturday.
For additional information, phone (215) 297-5109, fax (215) 297-0457, email or write to Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions, Ltd., P.O. Box 300, Carversville, PA 18913. Website: www.noelbarrett.com.
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