James D. Julia’s June 22′3 auction showed such strong competition among bidders for the more than 500 diverse lots of antique toys, dolls, advertising and coin-op that those in attendance were aghast by how high the bids were reaching. When the final hammer dropped, the sale realized more than $1.1 million, more than 46 percent above the firm’s preauction estimate of approximately $750,000.
One of the centerpieces of the auction was a rare cast iron Arcade armored car made for Brinks in the 1930s that was likely never offered commercially but made specifically for the Brinks firm.
Arcade’s trucks normally had a tin bottom, but to suggest the greater security of the actual trucks, this truck was made with a cast iron bottom, featured gun turrets and was embossed with the Brinks logo in gold on the sides. One of only three or four known to exist, it sold for $34,500.
Though bargains were few and far between at this sale, a few pieces slipped through the cracks and gave bidders a brief reprieve. One such bargain was a highly anticipated Wilkins tedder. One of only five or six known, it is perhaps the scarcest of all Wilkins toys. The toy with its intricate mechanism moving the rear arms to churn the hay saw active bidding up to $6,325. A surprise following this lot †and helping to complete the four-piece farm set †was a Wilkins horse-drawn plow. In very good condition, its recast plow was evidently forgivable as it climbed to $5,175.
German toys made a strong showing. A Steiff Felix the Cat on an Irish mail cart was a hit, bringing $10,350. The largest Marklin Brougham ever produced, spanning a 44 inches long, and including its original hollow-bodied tin horse, sold for a solid $24,150.
A variety of pressed steel offered some fresh-to-the-market pieces. From one collection rich in Buddy L trucks came a rare coal truck with door in near excellent condition, which sold for $6,325.
A selection of dolls was also offered, culled from collections and estates from across the United States. Among the many subcategories was the increasingly popular Chinese Door of Hope dolls.
First created in the early 1900s, the dolls were a result of American missionaries wanting to help young Chinese women establish marketable skills. A rare policeman with tasseled pointed cap sold for $5,175, while a 6-inch Door of Hope kindergarten child brought $4,025.
French and German bisque dolls made bidders take notice. An exceedingly rare Figure “E” Steiner bebe with deep blue-gray paperweight eyes, finely painted features, long blonde wig and original fully jointed body sold for $23,575. Perhaps even more scarce and desirable was a Simon & Halbig 1303 character doll of an East Asian lady made for the French market. Olive tinted bisque with amazing detail and dressed in an exotic costume of multilayered fabric, she climbed to $25,300.
A select grouping of trains made a showing, including some seldom seen Biaggi passenger cars and a mammoth 32-inch Biaggi Crocodile locomotive. These Italian giants fetched $6,095 for the engine and $3,220 for the five-passenger cars. Other European trains included a number of Marklin pieces, such as a rare Marklin O gauge Eagle set that finished at $6,900.
The auction also contained a generous assortment of antique advertising items. A rarely seen Coca-Cola three-dimensional display depicting a revolving door looking into a circa 1940s diner had been found in the log storage bin at the estate of a prominent Little Rock, Ark., family who owned the largest soda fountain in town. Captioned “The Pleasantest Place in Town,” it pleased the consignor at $40,250.
A variety of music machines included two Reginaphones that play both metal discs and records. The mahogany cases accented with heavily carved lions’ heads at the corners sold for $12,075 apiece over their individual $6/8,000 estimates. For more modern tastes, a Wurlitzer Victory model 1080 jukebox was a surprise. Having seen better days, this rare machine received considerable Internet interest and ultimately brought $6,325, far above the house’s expectations of $700․1,000.
The sale was rounded out by coin-op and arcade items. Included was a rare Freeport Dragons peanut vendor. A candidate for restoration, this intricately cast front vendor with its original front and side glass panels had been in storage for many years before being consigned to auction. It brought a solid $10,350. A French cast iron postal card dispenser with a sensational front casting of a young Victorian woman giving a post card to Cupid sold for $12,650.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
Julia’s next toy and doll auction, as well as a rare lamp and glass sale, will take place this fall. For information, 207-453-7125 or www.jamesdjulia.com .