Published: November 18, 2016
Review and Onsite Photos by R. Scudder Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Bertoia Auctions
VINELAND, N.J. — When you have 2,194 lots of cast iron automotive, horse-drawn toys, mechanical and still banks, comic character toys, penny toys, steam plants, Lehmann’s, Schoenhut, Santas and Christmas items, Easter and Halloween, American and European trains, advertising, pressed steel toys and doorstops, then you need a full three days to auction it all. And that’s just what happened at Bertoia Auctions over November 11–13, the dates of its annual fall auction with a little bit of everything and something for everyone. In the end, the sale weighed in at $1.9 million.
With about 25 people in the gallery, the internet turned on and the bank of phone bid takers in place, auctioneer Tim Luke, now in his 19th year with Bertoia, got the show rolling with a Hubley coal truck, cast iron and overall black paint, yellow spoke wheels, that went for $206. That was the first of 742 lots sold on Friday, starting at 10 am, with a final total of $606,000. Saturday’s count was 870 lots, starting at 9 am, $931,000, and 582 lots were sold on Sunday, back to a 10 am start, achieving $369,000. At the end of the day on Sunday about 150 box lots filled with various holiday ornaments are auctioned only to those attending the sale and in the gallery. “We do it just for the people who have come out for our sale and we do not allow phone, absentee or web bidding,” Jeanne Bertoia said.
All prices noted in the review include the buyer’s premium.
About 125 lots of cast iron trucks, cars, motorcycles, buses and plane filled the first part of the auction, with an Arcade Mack dump truck in blue, dual rubber tires, 12 inches long, going for $1,298, an Arcade 1927 Buick sedan in red with nickel-plated spoke wheels, 8 inches long, at $944, and a Kenton Willys Knight sedan, green body, painted wheels and spare tire on the rear, surpassing the $1,000 high estimate, selling for $1,534.
A Kilgore low boy hauler with plane, circa 1931, blue and cream-colored hauler with red flat bed trailer and yellow and orange plane sold within estimate at $1,770, and a Kenton City Telephone truck, in red, green and orange, with white rubber tires, 9½ inches long, ex Donald Kaufman Collection, opened at $2,000 and sold for $6,490, just over the high estimate, to a phone bidder. Several lots later, a Kilgore cycle with sidecar, scarce example in blue, nickel spoke wheels, clicker band on base, 6 inches long and in excellent condition, went over estimate, selling to a phone bidder for $1,180.
A selection of cast iron doorstops included a B&H girl holding dress, large-scale casting, 13 inches high and in near mint condition, brought $2,006; the wine merchant, 9¾ inches high, excellent condition, was $2,655, just over estimate, and a detailed casting of “Monticello,” Jefferson’s home by Albany Foundry, pristine condition, had a high estimate of $800 and sold for $2,006. A large lobster doorstop, 12½ inches tall, pristine, went for $2,950, over estimate, and the Caddie in checkered brown pants and red coat, holding golf bag filled with clubs, 8 inches high and pristine, brought $1,888, just over the high estimate. For the most part, the doorstops went to either the web or the phones, with one phone bidder’s number coming up frequently.
The selection of mechanical and still banks totaled 252 lots, starting with a blue Newfoundland by Arcade selling for $206, followed by Old Dock Kyak, also by
Arcade, pristine, at $ 1,062 to the web. A Smile and Save Santa still bank, England, excellent condition, 7½ inches high, went just over estimate at $826; the Water Wheel still bank, red painted wheel, sold within estimate at $944; the Kenton Army Navy still bank, excellent condition, sold for just over double the high estimate at $2,655, and the large Statue of Liberty by Kenton, green overall, pristine, went over the $1,200 high estimate, making $1,888.
The Leap Frog mechanical bank by Shepard Hardware Co., circa 1890, very good condition, went over estimate at $1,298; the Acrobat mechanical bank by J&E Stevens Co., Cromwell, Conn., 1883, all original with no cracks, brought $2,655, over estimate; Calamity Football mechanical bank, also by Stevens, all original, sold over estimate for $15,340, and Boy Stealing Watermelon mechanical bank, Kyser & Rex Co., circa 1894, very good condition, exceeded $1,500 high estimate, bringing $2,006.
On the dot of 9 am, Tim Luke took gavel in hand and opened the second day of the auction with lot 801, a Yale Princeton Whoopee car by Louis Marx, lithographed tin, excellent condition, that went for $147, below the low estimate. However, a few lots later, selling over estimate was a boxed Popeye Basketball Player toy, with the original box, Linemar, Japan, 9 inches tall, for $1,416. A Strauss Santee Claus, Ferdinard Strauss Corp, lithographed tin depicting riding in an open sleigh pulled by two reindeer, fetched $767, above estimate, and a Popeye Cyclist by King Features Syndicate, depicting a lithographed tin Popeye riding a three-wheeler, clockwork working, went over estimate at $708.
A bid of $5,045, surpassing the $3,750 high estimate, took a Lehmann boxed Baker and Chimney Sweep toy, Germany, circa 1900, lithographed and hand painted tin, depicting a baker driving his cart while a chimney sweep attempts to hit him with a broom. It is rare to find the box with this toy. Fernand Martin Little Cook, France, hand painted figure in chef’s clothing and knife in hand, clockwork driven, 14 inches high, went over the $1,500 high estimate, selling for $1,770.
Man Riding “Express” Cycle penny toy, Meier, lithographed tin, 3 inches long, sold over estimate for $1,298, while a large deluxe Carette Limousine with beveled glass windows, three passengers in the back seat, four original lamps and rubber tires, 16 inches long, excellent condition, opened for $3,250 and sold just shy of the high estimate for $8,850. A bid of $5,310, against a high estimate of $3,000, took a boxed Yonezawa Champion Racer, late 1950s, a tin plate version of Troy Ruttman’s Indianapolis 500 winning race car featuring chrome steering and suspension, full exhaust and detailed paint work. Measuring 18 ½ inches long, it was in excellent condition.
Selling for $14,160, a hair over the high estimate, was a boxed black Imperial by Ashi Toys, Japan, 15 inches long and in pristine condition. Selling within estimate for $23,600 was the Marklin Battleship New York, Germany, 1910, with hand painted hull in brown and white and New York on the bow and stern. It measures 12 inches long and has four lifeboats on deck. A boxed Marklin Jolanda, Germany, tin luxury nautical toy, matching scale and detail to the original yacht, white with green hull, simulated wood finish deck, clockwork driven, 11 inches long, went well over the $2,000 high estimate, bringing $15,635.
Lot 1246, a Mecavion Flying Fortress with box, Germany, kit airplane with four propellers at wings, off white with red trim, 21-inch wingspan, went for $472, followed a few lots later by a Joustra Air France with box, a four-prop passenger plane with battery operated light, 20½-inch wingspan, pristine condition, $767.
A Distler Standard Oil truck, Germany, marked Standard Motor Oil on the doors and the company logo Dapolin on the radiator and tank, clockwork driven, 11½ inches long, went for $1,770, within estimate, and a Fischer limousine, Germany, lithographed tin, open tourer with cloth canopy, yellow body with red striping, 12 inches long, went over the $1,600 high estimate, selling for $3,245.
A selection of steam engines from Paul Hale of Australia was included in this sale, starting with lot 1303, a boxed Marklin steam plant on a blue pressed steel
platform, horizontal boiler, features a dynamo and flywheel, complete with all gauges, for $1,652, just over the high estimate.
It was back to the 10 am starting time on Sunday and Tim Luke opened the session with lot 1701, a Marx Sunny Side Service Station with Auto, battery-operated glass globe pumps, car ramp with red coup, 10 by 14 inches and in very good condition, sold for $295. A boxed Marx Silver Dash tin racer done in silver finish by Buffalo Toys, 13½ inches long, went for $649, just over estimate, and a Marx Mail Airplane, lithographed tin, bright colors, dual propellers nickel plated, 18-inch wingspan, went over estimate at $384.
A Hercules Coal Truck, lithographed tin, in black and green, reads “Hercules Coal” on the sides, balloon wheels, sold for $590, above estimate. It was tail-gated by a Hercules Racer, large scale with seated driver, red body with yellow exhaust pipes on hood, number 8 on the sides and powered by windup action. In excellent condition, it measured 20 inches long and sold within estimate for $1,534.
A Buddy L One Ton Huckster Flivver, late 1920s, pressed steel painted overall black, hard top canopy over high stake body, 14 inches long, sold just under the low estimate at $2,655, while a Buddy L One Ton Express Ford Flivver, pressed steel with enclosed cab, open low side bed body, painted black overall, spoke wheels with red painted center, 15 inches long, went for just over twice the high estimate at $1,554. A couple of lots following, a Buddy L catapult airplane with hangar, circa 1932, pressed steel, gray painted hangar with double doors opening, orange and black airplane, original box, fell just shy of the low estimate, bringing $1,003.
Another Buddy L toy, a tank line truck, circa 1920s, enclosed doorless cab painted black, dark green tank body, aluminum wheels with red centers, 21½ inches long, sold for $3 over the high estimate at $1,003. A selection of fire fighting vehicles included a Keystone Water Tower Truck, pressed steel painted red overall, elevating water tower, water tank, two ladders, bell on hood, rubber tires and measuring 32 inches long. In excellent condition, it brought $1,416, just over the $1,200 high estimate. A Gendron Blue Streak pedal car, circa 1920s, painted yellow with green running boards, bell on hood, dummy lights, 41½ inches long, went over the high estimate, selling for $1,888.
Buddy L toys kept showing up at frequent intervals during the auction, such as lot 1860, a P.S. Highway Maintenance set, 1940s, International tractor with lowboy trailer and steam shovel, painted yellow and green, 31 inches long and selling for close to double the high estimate at $3,835. Buddy L once again, this time an Allied Van truck and the original box, orange and black with “Allied Van Lines, Inc” on both sides, opening rear doors and rubber tires. It sold just under the low estimate at $1,003.
A bid of $1,298 won a Chicken Nine Pin Holder, all original and colorfully painted, pristine condition, and a cat Skittles Set, Germany, great detail to mother holding nine kittens, all composition, ex Atlanta Toy Museum, measuring 18 inches long and selling within estimate for $2,242. A Reed Polar Bear cage Wagon, rare example, lithographed paper on wood wagon, animated bear and trainer, seated driver and pulled by two large horses. It is 14 inches high and 26 inches long, selling over estimate at $1,770.
Selling for $826, over the high estimate, were two Easter bunnies, the large one composition with glass eyes and the smaller one with flower in lapel, both candy
containers, and for Halloween a Bobble Head Pumpkin Lady, Germany, composition figure of blue eyed woman, big red lips, green felt ribbon in her hair and standing 6½.
A rare Uncle Sam Santa Squeaker Postcard depicting Santa as Uncle Sam with a basket of toys on his back, decked out in red, white and blue, excellent condition, brought $767, and going for $2,360, over estimate, was a Santa Claus figure riding a nodder donkey. From Germany, a Heubach Child on Snowball, hand painted face, spun cotton body, hat with Dresden stars, holding a feather tree sprig and sitting on a cardboard snowball that opens to retrieve candy went nearly triple the $700 high estimate, realizing $2,006.
A Dresden baby pram ornament, Germany, silver coach with simulated leather bonnet, pink silk trim, delicate spoke wheels, 7 inches long, went for $1,003, and a Swedish Gevalia Santa Claus coffee tin, litho image of Father Christmas holding a lantern and walking stick, 5 inches wide and 9¼ inches high, went close to the low estimate at $531. A silver gilded Elephant with Howdah ornament, Dresden, blue silk curtains in the howdah, sold over estimate at $2,360, while four impressive-looking glass ornaments, including boy clown with hands in his pockets, child in a shoe, snowman with children dancing around him and frosted two-face Santa, high estimate $300, brought $1,062.
The auction gallery is at 2141 DeMarco Drive, Vineland, N.J. For additional information, www.bertoiaauctions.com or 856-692-1881.
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