In all her singularly cast glory, a fantastic Halloween Girl doorstop with the original Littco Products label, held by Owner Jeanne Bertoia, sold over the phone for $72,800.
This spectacular two-sided 7 ½” Dresden sunburst with smiling embossed faced brought many more smiles at $2,400.
Striking scale, Santa Riding Reindeer Clockwork example measuring 24” high sold for $29,120 bringing huge applause of approval from collectors.
A former Bill Norman example, this boxed Hen and Chick Mechanical Bank by J & E Stevens - $5,880.
Uncle Wiggly Crazy Car at $3,080; colorful and zany, saw plenty of bidding action and interest.
Ultimately rare and desirable papier-mache figure of a Black Drummer Boy with an intriguing drumstick regulated clockwork sold for $17,920.
The epitome of American Folk Art dolls, and in exquisite condition, this 17” Barefoot Izannah Walker sold for $22,400.
Very rare in bold color scheme and lithography, this Toledo Bull Dog Mack Circus Truck sold for $13,440.
A beautiful 11” c. 1906 Carette Open Roadster with levers, headlamps, and all the toy fixin’s came to a halt at $10,800.
The only one known to exist in the doorstop world, this lovely Bradley and Hubbard Flapper girl is breathtaking at $11,200.
November 17, 18, and 19th falls one week before a special holiday, but Bertoia Auction participants were already giving bidding thanks for three incredible days of buying opportunities. The sale, billed as the “Off the Shelves” sale, was indeed, stocked with surprise entries, and nothing could have been more electrifying, then to see a Halloween Girl Doorstop, featuring original tag, and absolutely no excuses condition, opening a new world record price door at $72,800.
Bertoia Auctions certainly kept true to there motto, not just another auction, but an event, exceeding the two million dollar final tally, with great finds in several fields of interest, keeping buyers at an attentive high for the entire three days. From Santa Riding Clockwork Reindeer for $29,120, to a charming Mother Pig Washing Her Piglet Automaton for $25,760, to a Lehman Boxer Rebellion toy for $19,040, and a Boxed beauty of a Charleston Trio for $6,600, the sale was a no blinking allowed event from start to finish. Nearly 2500 items paraded the podium and Friday’s session got things under way with a barrage of cast iron still, mechanical, auto and horse drawn examples, just before the evening’s highlight doorstop session.
Collectors’ demonstrated high demand for condition in farm toys, such as Vindex John Deere Combine at $6.720, and John Deere Tractor ‘D’ Model at $2,800. Autos joined in the criteria with Chrysler Airflow in original box bringing $5,320, and a made for Sears, scarce Kenton Sedan in glistening paint for $1,904. Bertoia Auctions has presented some incredible cast iron in the past few years, and the enthusiasm for the highlight pieces never dulls at time of auction. As Rich Bertoia remarked during the auction session, “everyone thinks the market for cast iron has softened lately till they see what great examples still bring at our auctions; it’s always wise not to flood the market with extraordinary examples at one auction, but it never fails, clients keep calling us to know what’s next in line for our podium. This demonstrates our loyal following, and just as importantly, the intensity of our buyers.” November’s prices upheld the comment, and buyers were definitely calling about future auctions. Friday contained the usual suspects of autos, trucks, coupes, sedans, farm, and accessories, and a few Taxis in the near mint category displayed eager interest at $1,568 for an Arcade Yellow Cab, only overshadowed by now popular promotional vehicles including: 1954 Mercury at $560, and 1954 Lincoln Cosmopolitan at $532.
But anticipation could be felt in the auction room, even the buzz from the phone lines, as the piece de resistance neared its podium debut. The now famous Halloween Girl Doorstop by Littco, quieted the room in world record shattering form, and the applause was an approval heard in the next county. Quite simply stated, the best is still the best, in any field, and this example defined that adjective nicely. Jeanne Bertoia, who authored the running reference book on Doorstops was perhaps as delighted as the new owner, knowing that a field she helped pioneer with her late husband Bill Bertoia, was recognized far beyond just another collectible, and far into the realm of true American Folk Art. With heart pounding excitement, Bertoia employee Colin Maier placed the final bid for Canadian phone bidder Ydessa Hendeles of The Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation of Toronto, Canada, while Tim Luke, Bertoia’s head auctioneer attempted to secure the paddle number. What ensued was auction pandemonium, centered on the stunning piece with results to match - $72,800. Ydessa was thrilled, noting “… the documentation perfectly portrayed the item. Indeed … even more enchanting, as I hoped it would be in actuality.” The sale did continue, and strong prices became the norm as evidenced by a Witch example flying to $5,600, a charming Puss and Boots form bringing $4,480, a stunning Bradley and Hubbard Flapper Girl Doorstop (the only one known) $11,200, and a wonderful form, the Dutch Boy posed to a bid of $6,720.
The bank selection included a Hen on Nest mechanical with partial original box at $5,880, a striking Pirate Lion still bank, bringing $1,456, a very scarce Crown bank in white for $1,344, and a Boy Stealing Watermelon ending a short recap at $4,480.
Saturday’s session created its own bidding wars over some very special pressed steel entries. Most from American National and Toledo, the distinguished grouping included green and orange Bull Dog Mack Circus truck at $13,440 a Toledo Bulldog Coal truck in red and blue at $6,160,
American National Stake in red and blue at $10,360 and American National Tanker in orange and blue commanding a respectable $10,640 figure. With the larger toy trucks rolling to new highs, the tin and smaller pressed steel showed some renewed market interest with a host of examples from Wyandotte, and Marx. For the diminutive toy seeker, penny toys were a plenty. A rare Optical souvenir Penny Toy created $1,008 worth of interest, an Equestrian toy by Meier $1,064, while a scarce Toy Town Garage with box and three penny trucks fetched $1,008. There were over fifty penny toy entries, and collectors welcomed the offerings with innumerable bidding waves.
One of the all time tin toy favorites, Lehmann toy ingenuity made its presence known at Bertoias’, and the session was bid-action packed with interest. The marquee was the rare Boxer rebellion Toy bringing $19,000, together with the following highlights: Tit-Bits Bank $5,600, Snik Snak at $6,720, Luna Hot Air balloon with box, $6,440, and the classic Happy Family, dog in tow, at $7,840. it was presented as a superior collection, and collectors were quick to realize its importance as a perfect opportunity to own an elusive example. Both Jeanne and Rich Bertoia were pleased to present the special offering of Lehmann’s, as many of these are simply not found at any price in today’s market place.
The sale moved on with paper litho over wood toys, which included some very unusual Bliss and reed examples. Mother Hubbard’s party Game sold for $952. while Mother Goose pull toy rolled to $560. Noah’s Arks, always a favorite were featured in a small but varied grouping of sizes and designs. Early American Tin also proved a worthy adversary, proving that quality is the key and these beauties are hard to find with original paint in tact - almost impossible. A Fallows jockey on rocking horse in Excellent Condition sold for $3,080, and a Merriam c. 1860 two horse platform toy sold for $2,800.
Comic character toys from Popeye Express at $2,520, to Topsy Turvy Tom at $840, paraded with Mickey Mouse items for a large and diverse session. The Bertoias have stated they are never at a loss for quality tin character entries, the market is very strong, lots of interest, and we hear the spring auction will contain the same diversity again… can’t wait! If the Charleston trio example with box at $6,600 was any indication, expect another block buster event.
With over 2500 items there is much to report, and it is truly amazing that the auction house is always able to handle ten phone lines, multiple absentee bids, and still keep the live floor bidders at such a comfortable pace. Hats off to experience, which now exceeds the twenty years of amazing events for Bertoia Auctions, and no stopping in sight. Jeanne remarked about the amount of personal service given to customers, she stated, “we never wanted to be the biggest, just the best; it takes an all out effort by the entire staff, and the only way we have always known to get there is by realizing that our consignors and clients… are the business. We consider ourselves fortunate to have such a great list of clientele, and every compliment we receive is taken genuinely serious; we are the ones who feel honored to present an event of this caliber,”
Again, much to report, and train entries rode the toy tracks to end Saturday’s session in style. With only a seemingly small crowd of train enthusiast in sight, collectors previewed in earlier weeks placing their bids ahead of time, or participated on the phones. Rich Bertoia sees this as a growing trend, he states, “Collecting today is serious, and it only makes sense someone can cover multiple auctions on the same weekend, and sometimes without ever leaving home if the preview was done in advance. While I still encourage live participation, it’s just another evolution in the antiquing hobby.” Case in point, Carlisle and Finch Loco and Tender sold for $7,280. on the phone line, Voltamp Train set sold for $7,280, to a floor bidder, and Ives No 40 Loco, sold for $1,792 to an absentee bidder demonstrating the multiple bidding formats, and who knows what is in the future. If an optical toy was needed to look into a changing world, chances are, it was in the Vineland, NJ Gallery. Bertoias featured the Don Curran collection of Magic Lanterns and slides. Across the board, early hand painted slip slides and marvelous Kaleidoscope slides went well within auction estimates. An Adams of London Biunial held the interest position, finally selling at $5,600. The collection contained Stereoscopes, and viewers from varied makes and models. It was a truly diverse offering with hundreds of whimsically painted examples.
A fine assortment of Skittle sets were presented prior to the auction’s final category and Holiday send-offs. The grouping highlighted an impressive early French made Bleriot model. Complete with hand painted pilots, selling for $9,520. It was closely followed in interest with a rare musical minstrel troupe selling at $2,800 and an extraordinary occupational figure set at $3,360. Maybe the most whimsical of the lots, and a crowd favorite, a Clown container body with performing horses and Ringmaster hammered to $5,040, ending a quite remarkable session.
And then there was Christmas. Eye opening bidding surprises once again showed not all that is Holiday spectacular comes from the North Pole, there was seasons greetings from the south…south jersey that is. From Kugels, cotton ornaments, glass entries, Dresdens, Large Belsnickles, and we mean large, to Reindeers, some with the man himself, Santa, at the harness, to elaborate chalk ware and Holiday everything, the Bertoia gallery was stocked to the top of the showcases. A recap: Goose monger cotton ornament, $896; Dresden Indian Warrior, $4,480; Dresden Stage with Actors, $4,760; 23” Pennsylvania Chalk ware Belsnickle, $11,200; 18” German paper mache Belsnickle in red, $10,640, and in silver $8,400. The ornaments created a stir, and the grouping of Belsnickles, at last count nearly fifty, just wowed the large crowd. The catalog is already a mini reference guide for anyone wanting to explore the diversity of Holiday collectibles…much recommended. And when the barrage of Holiday bidding had settled, the final session, Dolls and Automata were hardly thinking they were going to go unnoticed.
Noticed they were, as an early entry, a fabulous Black Drummer Boy, measuring nearly 30” high, para-diddled to a tune of $17,920, only to be out done by a show stopping Pig in Washtub at $25,760. Considered a close relative of collecting interest, Dolls in an array of fashion, china, and painted cloth waited for the ending to an unbelievable auction event before finding many new homes. The prize of the runway was an early Izannah Walker Doll which brought a very respectable $22,400 figure followed by a Simon Halbig “151” Character Doll in beautiful facial expression at $4,200, Pink Lustre China Head Doll with upswept doo at $3,920, Jules Steiner “A-7” Bebe Doll and Tete Jumeau S.G.D.G. at $3,080, and a lovely Emile Jumeau at $4,480. Over two hundred entries sold during Sunday’s session, and collectors seemed quite appreciative for the offerings.
For a complete recap of prices, visit www.BertoiaAuctions.com, and note the schedule of the upcoming spring auction. For confidential consignment inquiries, please feel free to call the office at 856-692-1881. Bertoia Auctions will be featuring more of the same quality toys, Doorstops, Mechanical banks, and related collectible fields of interest during the 2007 spring and fall events.