Published: June 18, 2019
Review and Onsite Photos by R. Scudder Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy of Bertoia Auctions
VINELAND, N.J. – Shortly after 10 am on May 23, Tim Luke, the longtime auctioneer for Bertoia, wrapped up the rules and regulations of the auction and went right into day one of the Annual Spring Sale with 1,274 lots. When the hammer dropped on the last lot, a Comet 5-cent slot machine at $780, a little over $1.3 million had been spent.
“The spring and fall sales are always filled with a variety of objects,” said Michael Bertoia, adding that “the auction was an overall success.” He noted that 28 percent went to the internet, 34 absentee bidders and phone bidders totaled $560,000, a higher percentage than usual.
The first category that was sold was still and mechanical banks, with a total of 290 lots from the collection of the late Ned Bauer of Ohio. The third lot was a Kenton green round duck still bank, pristine condition that went for $840, followed shortly by the Fortune Ship still bank, also pristine, at $4,800. A rarely seen bank, the Water Wagon Car still bank, in good condition, went for $2,400. A large Statue of Liberty, by Kenton, green painted and 9 inches long, was in near mint condition and brought $6,000.
Among the mechanical banks was a Jonah and the Whale in excellent condition, all original, which brought $2,400; Magician Bank by J.&E. Stevens Co., brought $4,500; a Reclining Chinaman, also by Stevens, in excellent condition, sold for $3,600; and an Uncle Sam mechanical bank, circa 1886, Shepard Hardware Co., Buffalo, N.Y., brought $600. Towards the end of the mechanical banks was Mammy and Child by Kyser & Rex, circa 1884, that brought $2,700.
Additional still banks included an 1882 Church, painted, Kyser & Rex, pristine condition, that went for $4,200; a large blue battleship Maine by Grey Iron Casting Co., 5 inches high, pristine condition went for $720; and the Eggman still bank, Arcade, 4 inches high, sold for $3,300. The bank section closed with a Bungalow Cottage with Porch still bank, in excellent condition, that went for $210.
An Ives Single Oarsman, a durable clockwork toy with realistic arm rowing action, was patented by Nathan S. Warner in 1869. The boat measures 13 inches long and it sold for $1,200. Several lots later a Landing of Columbus Bell Toy, scarce multicolor example with the original wooden box, sold for $2,700. This toy is in excellent condition and the provenance lists the Stewart Collection.
A selection of cast iron doorstops covered four pages in the catalog, with a Hubley Modernistic Cat, 10½ inches high, Deco style, a piece with great design, sold for $3,100. Bradley & Hubbard were represented by the Whistling Jim doorstop, a full figure standing barefoot on grass with hands in pockets. Jim measures 16¼ inches high, pristine and near mint condition and sold for $3,900. The second grouping of doorstops included a snake, circa 1870s, painted in the design of a rattlesnake, that measured 21¾ inches long in excellent condition and sold just over high estimate at $1,700. A Pheasant doorstop, full figured with long flowing tail feathers, measuring 9½ inches high, finished above high estimate at $3,000. It is in pristine condition.
A collection of trucks, tractors, motorcycles and tow trucks were sold between the two collections of doorstops, including a large Arcade Mack Truck Wrecker, 13 inches long and in pristine condition. It went over high estimate selling for $2,750.
Various shapes of Schoenhut animals, including reindeer, a polar bear, poodles, an alligator, a pair of giraffes, and at the end of the Schoenhut pieces was a Band Wagon, 32 inches long, drawn by a single horse with the band players in the wagon, which brought $1,200 against an $800 high estimate.
Four pages in the catalog illustrated 26 bears, including a Steiff 10-inch Cinnamon Bear with black button eyes. The eyes, nose and pads are all original with the wonderful classic Steiff look. It sold for $1,300, just slightly over the high estimate.
The collection of Halloween filled just over ten pages of the catalog and included an early Halloween Arcade Lantern, a yellow smiling face, in the original paint with candle insert at the base, which measures 7 inches high, very good to excellent condition and sold for $3,000, over the $2,000 high estimate.
A group of 11 die cut Halloween table pieces, between 3 and 4 inches high in excellent condition, sold for $1,000, just double the high estimate.
A bid of $2,700 took a Steel Craft Mack Dump Pedal Truck, circa 1835, with the original deep red paint and details, and very complete for its age. Following was an American National Giant Coal Truck, a hard-to-find and very desirable truck that maintains the original pull rope. It was in excellent condition, 25 inches long and sold $1,000 over the high estimate at $6,000. An unusual red Steel Craft Zeppelin, Sundial Shoe decal, 25 inches long and in very good condition sold for $1,680, just under twice the high estimate.
An American National Giant Chemical Fire Truck, a very fine example in original red paint with nickel tanks and details, is 29 inches long. It is in excellent to pristine condition and sold for $5,100. A beautiful Tonka No. 5 Fire Ladder Truck in excellent to pristine condition with gilt lettering and design sold for almost double the high estimate at $900.
Ending the first day of sales at 6:45 pm, a yellow and red Henry Katz Pathfinder Airplane with a 22-inch wingspan and in very good to excellent condition, just passed the high estimate to sell at $600.
Auctioneer Tim Luke began the second session on Friday morning at 10 am offering a red painted Pinard Salmson Racer with its original box. Front headlights work with a battery placed underneath the frame. Fourteen inches long and in excellent to pristine condition, it sold for less than the low estimate at $1,920.
Eight lots later, a 13-inch large Carrett Open Touring Car which sported a trunk and supplies in the back seat and with a replaced driving figure brought $1,080, which was below the low estimate. A Hans Eberl “The Big Store” Delivery Van, once owned by Donald Kaufman, was 7½ inches and in excellent condition, selling for $1,920.
A Martin Horse-Drawn Sleigh, circa 1892, “Le Traineau Russe” with clockwork activation, has much repaint to the figure in the sleigh who is cracking a whip over the galloping horse, which also has repaint. The sleigh has original litho. This toy sold for $3,000, almost double the high estimate. A Lehmann Doll in Swing, a scarce example of a bisque doll rocking in the swing is 8 inches long. In excellent condition it brought $3,300. A Lehmann Dreadnaught Dancing Sailor with its original box, standing at 7½ inches tall, in near mint condition brought $3,000.
Kico Touring Motorcycle by Wilhelm Krauss & KiCo is a very desirable example for collectors. This one at 8 inches long and figure with an orange jacket and cap on a blue cycle is in excellent condition and brought $2,048. A Meier Spanish Military Cycle Penny Toy, an extremely rare variation, 4 inches long and rated in very good to excellent condition, even though its headlight and handlebars have been replaced, brought over high estimate $2,040.
Gunthermann Clown Riding Lion Plink Plank Toy is 8¾ inches high and has been professionally restored. The lion has a galloping motion as the wheels move along. This toy brought $1,020. A Victor Bonnet-Style Woman Cyclist pedals her bicycle, turning her head left and right controlled by a wind up motor, 8 inches in length and may have replacement parts. Maker is unknown. The toy brought over double the high estimate, at $3,900. A Gunthermann Seated Minstrel Musician in multicolors plays a tune while the players strum and nod heads. At 9 inches long and in excellent to pristine condition, this toy brought $2,100 which was under low estimate.
A German toy, Distler Man With Three Faces, lifts his hat and his face changes from Asian to black to white faces. He is 9 inches long in pristine to near mint condition, and brought $3,000. A Karl Bub Split Windshield Limousine, 11 inches long, in excellent condition sold for $1,680. A Rico Three Bears Motorcycle, Spain, sports spoke wheels rather than the usual discs and has initials RSA on the gas tank with an airship image. This toy is 9 inches long and sold for $2,700.
Doll Co Airplane Go-Around carousel with airship gondolas hanging from canopy above cars with figures is painted white with decals and in pristine condition and brought $2,280.
Royal Mail Biscuit Tin, made in England, reads G R Mail on all sides. It measures 7 inches long, is in excellent condition and sold for $1,920, way above the $600 high estimate. Soaring to seven times over the high estimate, the Hughes Cake & Biscuits Telegraph Tin brought $4,200. It has a working dial knob with faux buttons. It measures 5 inches long and is in excellent to pristine condition.
Linemar Howdy Doody Piano Band, 5½ inches long and very colorful in excellent to pristine condition, went just shy of double the high estimate for $2,700. A Marx Popeye The Champ with its original key in paper wrapper and the original box, is in pristine to near mint condition. Going over high estimate it brought $2,280.
A Boxed Charles Rossignol Passenger Set, O gauge, circa 1910, with locomotive and tender, measures 11 inches in length and has two colorful cars. The selling price of $3,600 was well above high estimate. Lionel #433 Twentieth Century Limited Set, standard gauge with three cars, locomotive and tender, 30 inches in length, is all original in green with cream windows. One car could possibly be from another set. In excellent condition, the set sold for $4,800.
The auction schedule for the rest of 2019 is as follows:
Thursday, August 22:
Summer Bertoia Basics Sale
An enormous grouping of European and American standard gauge trains, cast iron banks and automotive toys, comic character tinplate toys, German steam engines and accessories and much more.
Friday, October 11:
The Tony Annese Collection
The Gentleman’s Collection is made up of high-quality Marklin trains and stations, German and French figures/soldiers, cast iron autos, Christmas and Holiday items, and phenomenal paper on wood toys.
Friday and Saturday, November 15-16
Annual Fall Auction
With the second half of the world class Samuel Downey Jr Collection standing on its own day, fine European tinplate will certainly be the highlight of the weekend. Accompanied by selections of pressed steel and cast iron toys, mechanical and still banks, comic character toys, doorstops and more.
Friday, December 6:
Winter Bertoia Basics Charity Sale
With a very exciting collection spearheading the sale, this will be a Bertoia Basics sale all collectors will want to watch. Categories will include still and mechanical banks, cast iron automotive toys, tinplate windups, Schoenhuts and more.
For additional information, www.bertoiaauctions.com or 856-692-1881.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm