Published: December 10, 2019
Review and Onsite Photos by R. Scudder Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Bertoia Auctions
VINELAND, N.J. – “What’s happened here, did the cleaning people forget which direction the chairs should face,” I asked when I walked into the gallery. Jeanne just happened to be at hand and quickly answered, “Doesn’t it look fine, the room looks a bit smaller and more inviting with additional display cases, while the lunch room is behind the bidders. The phone bank was just moved across the gallery.”
Three days of active bidding got off to a good start with a collection of both still and mechanical banks. Leading the way was a Harper Basket of Corn still bank that lived up to its estimate selling for $2,700. At 3¼ inches in diameter, it was in excellent to pristine condition.
J&E Stevens Darktown Battery Bank, circa 1888, with exceptional bright colors, of three boys playing baseball, brought the rating of excellent to pristine condition. It sold for $2,040, at low estimate. Rolling along to automotive toys, Kenton’s Hupmobile Coupe, very scarce, was once sold as being repainted, but today’s blacklight UV shows that not to be true. Once in the collection of Dick Ford and cited in The Golden Age of Automotive Toys by Ken Hutchinson, it is 8 inches in length and in excellent condition. Going under low estimate, it brought $1,800.
A super Hubley HFD Fire Engine Pumper, circa 1932, all in red paint with original nickelplated boiler and disc wheels, has original rubber hoses. HDF (Hubley Fire Dept) is embossed in gilt on the sides and the license plate on the front is embossed 7292. An original decal is at the rear. It is 14 inches long and the only repair is a front bumper crack that has been repainted. Its new owner wore a smile, as purchase price was $1,325, under the low estimate.
Double Humpty Dumpty Head Cap Shooter is activated by shaking the handle causing the clown’s nose to trigger the caps which are placed in the other two clown mouths. This is a rare double head version, 6 inches long and in very good to excellent condition. It brought $1,560, over the high estimate.
A large bright red lobster doorstop with its claws stretching up is 13 inches high and in excellent condition. It sold for $2,360, over the high estimate. And soon after, a mechanical Razor-Back Hog Desk Bell, circa 1870, of cast iron with glass eyes and in its original gilt paint, 6½ inches long, brought $2,360, way over the high estimate of $600. The bell was listed as in excellent condition. In a short while a large Ives Locomotive Lion, 12 inches in length and clockwork driven, a restored early piece, brought $2,400, just over low estimate.
A nice array of Slate Game Boards was displayed just below the phone bank and as bidding moved along, a particularly colorful framed one with a yellow and black checkerboard encircled with red and green borders caught the eye. It was 22 inches square, in very good condition, and brought $480, below low estimate. A Penny Toy, Meier Military Motorcycle, 4 inches long and in pristine condition brought $2,400, double the high estimate. The cyclist in helmet with greenish khaki outfit, red backpack and yellow boots was bent forward ready to race.
Another Meier Penny Toy, Rabbit on Egg, rocks the egg back and forth. Vibrant colors make this 3¼-inch-tall toy appealing. High end estimate at $1,500, it sold for $1,800. A Dister Touring Motorcycle with Sidecar, a bright green cycle with red and blue sidecar and yellow figures, is 6½ inches in length. The rear wheel of the bike has been replaced with some trimming to fit. It is listed excellent condition and sold for $2,400, slightly over low estimate.
Gunthermann’s Minstrel Musicians, hand painted and lithographed, work their instruments from a clockwork concealed in the base. There is some flaking to this 9-inch, all original toy that is in very good to excellent condition. Price was $3,000, just under high estimate.
A Musical Automaton of Girl with Bouquet and Fan with Jumeau head, beautiful beige satin and lace dress, nods her head up and down under the coordinated hat to smell the bouquet of flowers in her hand while holding a fan in the other. On a red velvet base, she is 22 inches tall and in excellent condition. This beautiful doll sold for $3,000, at the low estimate.
Märklin Blue Kaiser Car With “T” Trucks Gauge 1 is in beautiful condition with thick paint and great colors. In pristine condition at 10½ inches long, it brought $4,500, below low estimate. Lionel 00 Scale Presentation Set, referred to as the crown jewel for prewar Lionel collectors, sits as though untouched in pristine condition in its case of 15½ by 20½ inches. The locomotive and tender measure 15 inches long. Other cars and track all sit snugly fitted in slots. This set which carried a high estimate of $9,000, came in under at $7,200.
The original 29-inch American National Packard Fire Chief Car has been restored with some replacement parts. Even so, the estimate stood at $1/2,000 bringing in $1,680. A German clockwork Bing Live Steam Fire Pumper has four removable firemen, with three being replaced. Rubber tires and front hose have been replaced and possibly the front kickboard. Rated in excellent condition, it brought $2,700, over the high estimate.
Oh what a ride this would be. Märklin’s Medium Sized Limousine has a large clockwork mechanism under the rear seats, driving the rear axle. The steering wheel turns the front axle and is notched to set car to run in circles if preferred. Having been professionally restored, it was once in the Donald Kaufman Collection. At 11 inches in length, it brought $2,700, under low estimate.
Märklin Pullman Passenger Set, a live steam, gauge 1, 4-4-0 locomotive with tender at 21 inches long, pulls three cars and caboose, which has a door missing from the end ramp. Celluloid windows are missing. Rated at excellent condition, it sold under low estimate at $3,900.
Just before the holiday items were about to come to the block, some shaving mugs were being sold. One, an Early Truck Occupational Shaving Mug depicting a loaded truck bed was illustrated on a “Felda” blank. Having no damage and only 5 percent loss of gold, the mug brought $1,320, over the high estimate of $800. Another, RR Steam Shovel Occupational Shaving Mug, showing the shovel at work. With a slight crack to foot of base and 30 percent gold loss, it is still noted very rare. Selling for $1,080, it was above low estimate.
It’s All About Popeye
When you finish perusing the Annual Fall Sale at Bertoia Auctions you wonder how Popeye lands close to three dozen lots in the catalog. Could it be that he muscled his way in to get noticed? In any case, he presents himself as a trick pilot, with box, for $1,020, and two lots later he is on the basketball floor shooting baskets for $2,040.
To take home Popeye Heavy Hitter he will swing his hammer for $3,000, and run errands about town on his trike for $2,400. He is also known as a fast roller skater at a better price, $540. And there are times when he will step out of his original box and entertain by blowing bubbles for $1,320.
There are all kinds of things Popeye does to show his strength, such as using his Metal Tapping Set for $1,080 or without hands, spins his best girl, Olive Oyl, seated in a chair that’s balanced on his head. For that show of strength he will step out of his box for $2,160.
Olive Oyl has called an end to the antics of Popeye and popped out of her star-decorated original box to show her ballet talent. And not for a bad price, just $780.
Bertoia followed this auction with a basic auction on Thursday, December 5, and a full schedule of auctions for 2020 will be announced soon. For information, www.bertoiaauctions.com or 856-692-1881.
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