One of the many Mechanical Bank highlights, a pristine Mule Entering Barn example selling at demonstrated the ever increasing demand for quality.
Punch and Judy glistened with color and condition finally hammering down an price tag for rights to a new collector shelf.
Uncle Sam stood prominently well suited in like new attire, which brought intense bidding action at . The Bertoia April Sale displayed some remarkable bank examples, and this coming November… well, they promise to deliver even more!
The late Arnie Hed collection featured an outstanding selection of J.M. Harper banks, and this rare Possum & Taters bank caused collector interest to the tune of .
A more familiar figure, Santa Claus with Pack, by Harper, caused its own wave of paddles and brought when its new owner decided it was safe to place the paddle down.
For Horse drawn toys, the scale of this oversized Welker Crosby Dray must have appeared overwhelming to a child. It brought , and seemed to have the same impact on collector’s today.
Another oversized favorite, the Ives Hansom Cab with Walking Horse, .
A beautiful clockwork Walking Horse with rare original box, hand painted and made of composition with cast legs sold for three times estimate at .
Very rare Horseless Carriage, have you ever seen another one? A happy new owner can now say that every day for .
Vindex Pick-Up Truck, an almost impossible find, showed respect for it’s rarity at .
Hubley Packard surprised many bringing . Ray Burgess as shown here, did have a great eye for quality.
A little ice cream. This Bordens sold for .
An American National Packard in stunning condition;
The very rare red Buddy ‘L’ Tugboat sold for .
Coal truck …with doors, an exceptional piece for any serious pressed steel collector, and a serious price tag, .
Antique toy collectors have a drive to search for new and exciting finds for their shelves, and the popular question is always, how is the toy market doing these days? Bertoia’s April 29, 30, 2005 Rare Fun Sale, which featured three very prominent collections, answered the market question, and delivered some very exciting new finds. Two million dollars of buyer approval crossed the Vineland New Jersey based podium, and with a room capacity crowd awaiting each lot with intense anticipation, it seemed as though the good old days of toy interest was alive and very well.
From the moment auctioneer Tim Luke hammered down lot one, an Acrobat mechanical bank, to a final Railway Express pressed steel truck, auction action was at peak focus among the huge crowd of toy aficionados on hand, and the bidding paddles waved long and steady for the entire two-day, 1400 lot event. Rich and Jeanne Bertoia, coordinator and owner of the Gallery, were simply ecstatic with the results of the sale both for the consignors, and for the enthusiasm displayed by the large attending crowd of collectors. They both echoed sincere gratitude and glowing smiles with each of many congratulatory compliments for a sale well run. Jeanne was quick to note that the upcoming fall sale will also be big, and she looks forward to working on the tasks of presenting yet another extraordinary event to be shared by toy collectors in search of great items.
While everyone awaited their particular field of interest, whether it be the Disney, comic character toys, cast iron toys, still banks, mechanical banks, early American toys, doorstops, pressed steel, or the diversity of toy mix in between, collectors were never at a loss creating highlight prices in each and every field. From a Buddy ‘L’ Tugboat in the coveted red version, selling at $ 30,800, to an American National Packard Fire Chief’s car at $24,200, to a still bank example of Billy Possum for $8800, to a remarkably rare palm held tin Fortune bank equaling the $8800 mark, the sale was packed with surprises both in example and pricing. The only item demanding more attention then the toy groupings were having a seat to call one’s own, because the Bertoia auction room was quite the place to be for this outstanding April sales event.
The importance of the collections came by way of Mr. Ray Burgess of Michigan, the late Mr. Arnie Hed of Minnesota, and Mr. Mel Feldman of New Jersey. Each combined years of note worthy toy collecting experience with unique interests covering some of the more major groupings of antique toy collecting. Categories ranged in prominence from Mel Feldman’s Mickey Mouse and company collection, featuring examples worth a highlight film in itself, to Arnie Hed’s cast iron toys which really panned the spectrum of quality and toy history by cart, to Ray Burgess’ pressed steel collection of conditioned excellence and rarity in transportation representations. Collectors applauded the years of collecting and the true sharing and passing of the toy gavel, and the overflow of parked cars was a visual statement of the collector acceptance.
Friday night’s session featured a grouping of mechanical banks, a standard staple at Bertoia’s auctions, and across the board examples brought some respectable figures, with the highlights yet to continue in Saturday’s session. The buzz for horse drawn examples started early in the sale, and a clockwork Chariot drawn by three horses at $2100 seemed to get the bidding paddles at a steady gallop for two full days. The sheer numbers of Mr. Arnie Hed’s cast iron toys was amazing: talk about a room with a view, the preview room was definitely a collectors happening with educated toy conversation’s from many of the seasoned collectors mingling, sharing information, and fostering the next generation of toy collectors along, like teachers a school room. Beginning collectors were amazed by the turn-out of notable collectors, and no doubt, helped in the understanding of why a Wilkens Mower sold for $1870, a Welker Crosby 15” Surrey reached $3850, or the always popular Royal Circus Giraffe sold for $8250. As if not enough to look over 200 horse drawn examples, Arnie’s talented toy eye helped in a sharing of nearly 30 early bell toys. The whimsical, Man and Raccoon bell toy with repainted figure, retained attention to a bid of $3025, while an equally amusing Boy Fishing toy with nice original paint landed at $3300. Short and sweet, the session quickly changed mediums from cast to tin, and the European tin toy entries commanded some strong action. One of the highlights, an Air Travel carousel, complete with hot air balloons and airplanes twirled to the tune of $5500, while an amazing Large scale Ferris Wheel attributed to German makers took its turn to ride a new wave of paddles finally selling for $9350.
Early American entries which soon followed saw a few highlights in the way of Girl Skipping Rope Toy at $6050, Old Aunt Chloe for $5225, and yet another Ives marvel, the Mechanical Cake Walk Dancers, repainted base but strong figures, at $5225.
Throughout the many fields of toy interests, collectors walked back and forth from the auction room to the preview room awaiting their own special wants, and the Gallery was booked with activity. While many gazed upon a prized Mickey and Minnie on Motorcycle, which later sold for $55,000, or an immaculate Buddy L Water Tower at $19,800, the sale overwhelmed even the most discriminating of collectors. But the real camaraderie was sensed over and over again as the crammed showcases became the lunch rooms of many a toy discussion.
Highlights were many; an understatement at best, but covering a few is as follows: Mule Entering Barn Mechanical Bank, $7700; Clown on Globe Mechanical Bank, $9350;Bull Dog Savings Bank,$8250;Uncle Sam Mechanical Bank,$6050;Hubley Spider Phaeton, $3575;Dent Three Horse Transfer Wagon, $3850; and a Horseless Carriage, rarely even seen by collectors, for$6,050. These prices reflect the question of cast iron’s never ending demand by collectors seeking the unusual in toy design, and certainly answered the question of how much can the collecting community absorb. With over 250 horse drawn entries alone, collectors seemed thrilled with the potential toy quests, and many expressed a resounding … hope we can do it again soon, attitude.
Bertoia’s Gallery was well suited for the task of displaying the abundance of quality items offered, and received welcomed reviews, both by consignors and attendees. Tim Luke, Bertoia’s main auctioneer, called a very focused sale with his usual style of professionalism to attendee interaction, while Kathie Elkie, now in her second appearance at the Bertoia podium, helped the important sale along smoothly, adding her own mix of light humor and attentive bid calling.
Internet bidding was again fast and furious, as well as the phone bidding table participants, creating added action on most lots, and together with multiple absentee bids, the auctioneers deserve a special round of applause for keeping the sale at such a comfortable pace for those in attendance.
And speaking of main characters, the sale held a special spotlight for some very important Mickey Mouse and comic character toys, holding everyone’s attention at a stance for the much awaited session. It received world-wide attention in fact, with many European collectors and places even further, waiting to participate trans-continent by telephone. And the wait to own a piece of Disney history had some paddles fanning away with excited enthusiasm. As stated, the rare motorcycle led the bidding battles but was tailed closely by the exceedingly rare Mickey Slate Dancer at $14,300, and a Distler Mickey Walker at $14,000. A Mickey Mouse Humming Top toy with box brought $3,850, while a beautiful Mickey Running on Pluto celluloid toy with box finished at $4950. The collection came by way of Mr. Mel Feldman, and this was only part I of the collection, with part II scheduled for November of 2005. Comic character toys, also a favorite of Mr. Feldmans, demonstrated strong action with highlight pieces such as Blondie’s Jalopy at $8,250; Dagwood the Driver with box at $4,125; Uncle Wiggly Crazy Car at $3300; Howdy Doody Clock-A-Doodle with box at $3300;Smoking Popeye with box at $4,950;Popeye Overhead Puncher, $6,050;and Shadow Boxer at $4,125.
Very strong showings for Mickey, Popeye and the host of comic characters offered, proved that condition and diversity do matter in today’s collectables market.
The cast iron auto market also showed that great items still bring great collector attention and plenty of waves from bidder’s paddles. Ray Burgess assembled an enviable grouping and it was rewarded with one of the strongest collector showings at Bertoia Auctions Gallery to date.
Demand for quality was soon recognized as a large Borden’s Ice Cream Truck hammered to $8,800, just before a red and black White truck stopped at $6,600, and an American Oil Co. by Dent in excellent condition soared at $7,150. Arcade, well represented in the collection, captured it’s own headlines with a large White Moving Van at $8,250, boxed set of small trucks at $4,400, and two Reo Coupes in varied colors each bringing $3,575. Other notables included a gorgeous Hubley Packard Straight Eight Sedan, selling for $24,200, and a 1927 Buick Coupe in 81/2’ size for $4,400.
The cast iron set the stage for pressed steel trucks which was a much anticipated event in itself. Considered a collection loaded with collector’s wants, the auction was anchored by prime examples from Buddy L, Structo, Sturditoy, Kelmite, keystone, and others. Collectors were offered some extraordinary examples and the prices fetched echoed the gratitude for the sharing. Doored trucks were but a few of the special Buddy L’s offered and the Coal model in black became the favorite with a price tag of $12,100, compared to Ice Truck with doors at$$8,250, and Express truck with doors at $6,050. The Red Baby with doors, well that needed $17,600 to be able to park it on a new shelf, but next to a prototype for a Shell truck at $5,500, showed there are still some bargains at large sales. The popular white Ambulance, made by Sturditoy, neared the close of the sale, but the action was all but finished as it left the building for $10,450, and that was before the elusive red Tugboat pulled everything to the finish with what is now a possible new record.
In addition to the many highlights for- mentioned, Bertoia’s, known by many as the center for quality doorstops, once again recorded some interesting action for eye appealing examples. A real honey of a doorstop, the full figured Honey Bear stood above all others at $8,250, while a similarly scaled Pekinese full figured example sold at $1,870. The session contained a nice mix of multi-themed examples, and the casting effects once again captured much collector attention. Collectors have come to expect an array of doorstops at the Bertoia Gallery, and Jeanne is hard at work on her second book.
The importance of the April sale brought collectors together in a showing of toy interests that allowed many an opportunity to take the trip to the Vineland New Jersey Gallery and participate in an auction event worth repeating in the future. Collectors normally reserved to phone or absentee bidding found the experience of attending a Bertoia Auction like a new discovery in collecting quests. Professional, exciting, the friendliest and most toy knowledge helpful people I ever encountered were but a few of the many compliments thrown at the entire staff during the two-day sale. And while two million in toy sales can only generate positive market trends, when collectors say ‘ I’ll be back” …is priceless.
Bertoia now readies for a mega three-day sales event this November 18, 19, 20, which includes European autos, boats, early paper on wood toys, a mix of quality toys, large collection of mechanicals and still banks, Mel Feldmans part II collection of Disney, and Bernard Kuehnle’s collection of trains. Advertising and further information will be forth coming in Antique Toy World and other publications. The Gallery can be reached at 856-692-1881 for future consignment inquiries. Website can be viewed at www.BertoiaAuctions.com
For future sales or confidential consignment inquiries call : Tel 856-692-1881 or Fax 856-692-8697
Early in the preview, the room was a more like museum setting just waiting for the crowds of collectors to study their favorite picks.
Auction attendees were actively previewing, and the Bertoia staff did an amazing job attending to any specific auction questions.
A chance photo at just one of the walls containing pressed steel trucks and assorted transportation toy examples. The room was filled to its maximum with quality toys from three very important collections.
The auction room neared capacity for the two-day sale, and auctioneers Tim Luke and Kathie Elkie handled the podium duties with true professionalism.
For the truly desirable in tin lithography with character, Mickey and Minnie on Motorcycle by Tipp & Co. sold for . The Disney and comic character collection was culled by Mel Feldman, and only representes the first of two parts which continues this November at the Vineland New Jersey Bertoia Gallery.
Mickey Mouse and company was well represented in the sale, together with a host of scarce and elusive comic character toys. Pictured is the Blondie Jalopy selling at .