Published: January 16, 2007
Bertoia Auction bidders were giving thanks a week early for the offerings that came up at the firm’s November 17–19 “Off The Shelves” sale that was stacked with surprise entries and exceeded $2 million in sales.
A highlight was the top lot, a Halloween Girl doorstop by Littco featuring original tag that opened a new world record price door at $72,800. Other lots that did well included a Santa Riding Reindeer for $29,120, a Mother Pig Washing Her Piglet automaton for $25,760, a Lehman Boxer Rebellion toy for $19,040 and a boxed Charleston Trio for $6,600.
Nearly 2,500 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 a Vindex John Deere combine at $6,720, and John Deere tractor D model at $2,800. Autos joined in with a Chrysler Airflow in original box bringing $5,320, and a made for Sears, scarce Kenton sedan in glistening paint for $1,904.
“Everyone thinks the market for cast iron has softened lately till they see what great examples still bring at our auctions,” said Rich Bertoia.
Anticipation built until Halloween Girl took the podium. 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, joined the realm of American folk art. Canadian phone bidder Ydessa Hendeles of The Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation of Toronto, Canada, prevailed and was thrilled that the item lived up to and exceeded its documentation.
Doorstops continued to do well with a witch example flying to $5,600, a Puss and Boots form at $4,480, a Bradley and Hubbard Flapper Girl doorstop (the only one known) at $11,200, and Dutch Boy that realized $6,720.
Saturday’s session created its own bidding wars over key pressed steel entries. Most from American National and Toledo, the grouping included a green and orange Bulldog Mack circus truck at $13,440, a Toledo Bulldog coal truck in red and blue at $6,160, an American National Stake in red and blue at $10,360, and an American National tanker in orange and blue commanding $10,640.
Tin toy offerings saw favorites by Lehmann attract interest. The marquee was the rare Boxer Rebellion toy bringing $19,000, together with the following highlights: Tit-Bits Bank at $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.
The sale moved on with paper litho over wood toys, which included some unusual Bliss and Reed examples. Mother Hubbard’s party game sold for $952 while a Mother Goose pull toy rolled to $560. Noah’s arks were featured in a small but varied grouping of sizes and designs.
Early American tin proved that quality is the key with a Fallows jockey on rocking horse for $3,080, and a Merriam circa 1860 two-horse platform toy 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
Showing the multiple bidding formats, a Carlisle and Finch loco and tender fetched $7,280 on the phone, a Voltamp train set sold for $7,280 to the floor, and an Ives No 40 loco, realized $1,792 from an absentee bidder.
Skittle sets included an early French-made Bleriot model complete with hand painted pilots for $9,520 and a clown container body with performing horses and ringmaster for $5,040.
Leading holiday offering, including a grouping of nearly 50 Belsnickles, was a 23-inch Pennsylvania chalkware Belsnickle at $11,200.
A black drummer boy, almost 30 inches high, fetched $17,920, only to be outdone by a pig in washtub at $25,760. Doll highlights included an early Izannah Walker doll that brought $22,400, a Simon Halbig 151 character doll at $4,200 and an Emile Jumeau at $4,480.
Bertoia Auctions is at 2141 DeMarco Drive. For information, 856-692-1881 or www.bertoiaauctions.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm