Published: August 21, 2001
BOLTON, MASS. – Skinner, Inc., held an auction of toys, dolls, and collectibles on July 21. A diverse sale marked by some very strong prices, the auction offered nearly 600 lots, including approximately 50 lots of advertising and ephemera, 250 lots of trains, banks, and other toys, and 300 dolls, doll house accessories, and stuffed animals. The doll portion of the sale proved particularly strong, grossing nearly $200,000, and selling almost 90 percent of the lots.
The top-selling doll was a Figure C Jules Steiner bebe from the original family that soared to $10,350. A Tynie Toy doll house from the home of its original owner sold unfurnished for $17,250, eliciting the observation from several people that their first real house was bought for less. The original furnishings were rich in Tynie Toy pieces as well, as the owner had been a child in Providence, R.I., where the house and furniture were produced in the 1920s. Two lots of furniture, one including a doll family, realized $2,070 and $2,990 respectively.
An assortment of handmade and commercially manufactured primitive cloth dolls and accessories were offered, and attracted interest from both doll collectors and collectors of Americana. A black handmade stockinette lady fetched $2,300, while a very well-loved Izannah Walker with painting to her long sausage curls elicited strong bidding competition before closing at $3,105, despite substantial wear elsewhere and the loss of arms and feet.
Highlighting the French dolls, a Bru bisque swivel head lady doll with wardrobe brought $5,462.50, a Bru smiler bisque swivel head lady doll $3,335, and a Bisque swivel head lady doll $2,530. German bisque dolls remained steady with examples by Kestner and Simon Halbig showing the strongest prices. A very large early Twentieth Century Kestner Hilda character baby sold for $3,860, a Kestner 143 character doll closed at $1,265, while an 8-inch example brought $862.50. Three small all-bisque googly-eyed dolls with impish watermelon mouths each brought $862.50.
A group of Steiff teddy bears and soft toys also was offered. Leading the selection was a 20-inch white Steiff teddy bear from pre-1910. Obviously treasured within the original family from which he was sold, he brought a solid $12,650, despite early repairs to the ankle. In addition to a large selection of animals, a charming pair of 10-inch Steiff school children sold for $1,610.
Topping the selection of toys was an Ives Boy on Velocipede from the 1870s that garnered $17,250. “This velocipede was a really unusual find. It was from a family estate, and in good, original condition,” noted department director George Glastris.
The selection of trains featured a group of Marklin offerings, all found in an attic, led by an H.J. Heinz Co. Box Car that sold for $6,037.50, a Gauge I Congressional Limited Parlor Car that realized $5,462.50, a No. 2047 Goods Station that reached $4,600, and a Gauge I Bridge that went for $2,070.
Nineteenth Century toys included a wood Union Pacific Floor Train with Panama locomotive and two dumping cars that brought $2,875, a Little Pet No. 50 Steam Launch that reached $3,105, and a Mother Hubbard’s Nest of Blocks by McLoughlin Bros. that sold for $2,875.
Banks included a Dentist mechanical bank by Stevens that sold for $5,462.50, a Mason Bank by Shepard Hardware that went for $4,600, and a Darktown Battery Mechanical Bank by Stevens that fetched $3,737.50.
Late Nineteenth/early Twentieth Century games and toys by Parker Brothers from an old family collection, loaned to the company for exhibit until the business closed included “Sunny Monday Washing Set” that garnered $402.50, “The Amusing Game of Kilkenny Cats” that sold for $316.25, and “Our Pets Picture Blocks” that reached $201.25.
Advertising and ephemera was highlighted by a lot of Poland Springs-related rdf_Descriptions that sold for $3,335. A pair of General Tom Thumb Route Books owned by Thumb’s road manager realized $1,092.50, and a group of printed store displays for Welch’s Grape Juice brought $862.50.
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