DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. — Pook & Pook issued a news release early this spring announcing it would celebrate Christmas in July at the auction gallery on the 15th of the month. And they did just that, offering a collection of toys dominated by a selection of trains and stoves, with a few banks, some dolls and other playthings. The sale, comprising 554 lots, brought in $210,420, including the buyer’s premium, with 27.8 percent of the lots selling online. The estimate ranged from $151,600 to $247,050.
Much of the material in the sale was from the estate of Marion and Donald Woelbing of Franklin, Wis., passionate collectors who put together large collections in the many areas in which they had interest. Stoves, both toys and salesman samples, took up a great deal of display space at the auction gallery, and examples by many well-known makers, including Acme, Great Majestic, Uncle Sam, Baby, Cora, Buck and Little Fanny, were offered.
Tables were weighted down with trains, individual pieces and sets, by makers including Lionel, American Flyer, Kenton, MTH and Richart. A selection of pressed steel toys was represented by Buddy L, Keystone, Kelmet and Sturditoy, and a number of the tin buildings came from Marklin factories.
Donald Woelbing eventually went to work for his father, Alfred, who in 1937 started a small company that eventually became Carma Laboratories, the manufacturer of Carmex lip balm. With the success of Carma Labs, the Woelbings built Thorntree, their home in suburban Milwaukee, and in time filled it with Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century American antiques and furnishings, as well as various toys and collectibles.
Ron Pook, after visiting Thorntree, said, “The place was filled to capacity and in the cellar were rows of showcases filled with lots of trains and all sorts of toys, as well as the stove collection.”
Jamie Shearer, specialist for toys and dolls, began calling the auction at 10 am and one of the first dolls offered was lot 5, a French Tete Jumeau bisque head doll, inscribed “Depose Tete Jumeau Bte S.G.D.G.8,” with a jointed composition body, fixed eyes and a closed mouth. It measured 19 inches high and sold for $3,120, just over twice the high estimate. It was followed by the first of many toy and salesman’s sample stoves, a Phillips & Buttorff Manufacturing Co. cast iron and nickel Model Enterprise salesman sample stove, 13¾ inches high and 16 inches wide, that sold for $246, under the $400 low estimate.
James Pook shared the calling of the auction and Ron Pook was returning from a short vacation when his car broke down in Pittsburgh and he did not make it back, via a rented vehicle, until the sale was over.
A selection of cast iron mechanical banks was up front in the auction, starting with a turning head owl by J&S Stevens Co., 7½ inches high, that went just under the low estimate, selling for $185. A cast iron mechanical bank, I Always Did ‘Spise a Mule, also by Stevens, brought $277, within estimate; a Punch and Judy by Shepard Hardware Co., 7½ inches high, sold for $492, over the high $300 estimate, and the eagle and eaglets mechanical bank, also by Stevens, went over the high estimate of $300, bringing $480. The most popular mechanical bank was the cast iron organ grinder and dancing monkey, manufactured by Keyser & Rex, 5¼ inches high, for $1,722 against a high estimate of $1,500.
A Lionel standard gauge four-piece train set, including a #408E engine, a parlor car, an observation car and a dining car, went for $1,320, just over the high estimate. It was painted green. A phone bidder and the Internet battled for a set of 12 carved and painted wooden soldiers in blue jackets and red hats, each measuring 6½ inches high, with the phone bidder winning out at $2,880. The high estimate was $150.
Lot 54, an American Flyer wide gauge four-piece 1927 President’s Edition train set, in purple, included a #4687 engine, an Annapolis observation car, a West Point passenger car and a United States mail car, together with the original boxes, five sections of track and a 1927 catalog, sold just over low estimate at $3,120. It was followed by half a dozen stoves, including a Buck’s Stove & Range Co. cast iron and nickel Buck’s Brilliant salesman sample measuring 20 inches high and 20 inches wide. It was sold, together with a tea kettle and a pot, for $900.
Three Buddy L pressed steel trucks came next, with the Express Line delivery truck bringing $523, the International Harvester delivery truck at $584, and the ice delivery truck, in yellow and black paint, selling for $720. Each exceeded the high estimate by a few hundred dollars.
Twenty-two sections of Christmas tree fence, 5½ inches high, went under estimate for $210; two Hubley cast iron spaniel doorstops brought $270; a large contemporary Milwaukee Road train engine, 29 inches long and tender model, sold for $660, and a Kelmet pressed steel White Big Boy ladder truck, 27 inches long, made $480.
Things moved fast at this sale, with lot 171, two reproduction Buddy L pressed steel train cars, together with a steam shovel and a crane, selling one hour into the sale at $615, just over the high estimate. A Lionel standard gauge five-piece train set, including a #51 engine and tender, a lake Shore Gondola, a #54081 boxcar and a #4351 caboose, went for $540, and a grouping of six Lionel tin houses, four bungalows and two villas, brought $240.
Three cast iron doorstops, including the figure of George Washington, a Native American 10 inches high and a rabbit with carrot, 9½ inches high, went for $180; a carved and painted horse pull toy, 9½ inches high, sold for $246, and a cast iron windup pig, 6½ inches long, did $554. The single Noah’s Ark in the sale, German origin, circa 1900, with about 60 animals and figures, 10 inches high and 22½ inches long, realized $984.
Lot 293, a McCoy Manufacturing Co. Lionel Lines standard gauge five-piece train set, an engine and four Williams reproduction passenger cars, sold for $390, just over estimate, while a Richart standard gauge five-piece train set, including a #8501 Cascade engine, a New York City Club car, a San Diego observation car, a Denver dining car and a Los Angeles mail car, went for $2,160, exceeding the $1,200 high estimate.
Much interest was shown for lot 368, a Lionel standard gauge No. 1 electric rapid transit trolley car that had a high estimate of $600, and sold for $4,182. A Bliss paper litho dollhouse, 12¾ inches high, went for $480, while the next lot, another Bliss paper covered wood dollhouse with some furniture and accessories, 13¼ inches high and 9 inches wide, brought $900.
A Detroit Stove Works cast iron, nickel and tin Jewel Range Jr toy stove, 16 inches high, 18¼ inches wide, sold for $1,353. A reproduction MTH Ives standard gauge Prosperity Special five-piece train set, including engine, tender, club car, parlor car and observation car, carried a $900 high estimate and sold for $1,560.
A walnut coin-op Dutch Pool tabletop game, circa 1900, 9½ inches high, 25 inches long and 15 inches deep, went slightly double over the high estimate, selling for $2,640. It was followed by a Dent cast iron Amos N Andy Fresh Air Taxi cab, 7 inches long, $523; a Kilgore cast iron dump truck, 8 inches long, $308; and an Arcade cast iron sand loader, 8½ inches long, for $1,080.
A Lionel standard gauge eight-piece train set, including engine and tender, cattle car, lumber car, two gondolas, oil car and caboose, sold within estimate for $1,320, and two Lionel Electric rapid Transit trolley cars, one nonpowered, brought $1,599, well over the $600 high estimate. The sale ended with lot 554, a Keystone pressed steel Coast-to-Coast bus, no. 84, 31½ inches long, selling over estimate at $2,160.
For additional information, www.pookandpook.com or 610-269-4040