Published: January 17, 2023
Review by Z.G. Burnett, Photos Courtesy Milestone Auctions
WILLOUGHBY, OHIO — Milestone Auctions rang in 2023 on January 7 with its New Year’s Vintage Toy Spectacular sale, offering antique and vintage toys of all kinds, consigned from a “lifelong collection.” The sale offered American, European and Japanese examples, many with their original packaging and sold all of its 900-plus lots. “The market’s strong, it’s fantastic,” said Miles King, co-owner, auctioneer and toy collector, himself. “It’s great to see the common stuff going… Anyone can sell a toy of which there are only three in the world, but we control the middle market that way.”
The top lot was a true showpiece, a K&O Models Inc boat motor store display in original condition and fully operational. The display advertised five miniature outboard motors, including the Mercury 6, Small Mercury, Evinrude Big Twin, Johnson Sea Horse and Evinrude. Each of these were electrically powered and would rev up by the mount’s push buttons. Bridging the model, toy and vintage advertising categories, the display sold within estimate for $4,920. Other outboard models also did well: a Clarke Twin for $1,620 ($1/2,000) and an Evinrude Elto Cub for $1,440 ($1/2,000).
Second in price was an all-original Hercules Royal Blue Line Bus that bid up to more than its high estimate to $2,880. More commonly found in the company’s eponymous blue, this example was a scarce yellow and red version. The bus was made by the Chein Hercules toy company circa 1927-28, modeled after the sleeper buses used by the Royal Blue Express Services, which was founded in Bournemouth, England, and operated from 1880 until 1986.
Tearing up the catalog in third place was a Marx Jetspeed Racer with its original box, more than doubling its high estimate at $2,220. Both the box and the battery-operated car were in excellent working condition. The racer was followed by two Bandai vehicles with similarly favorable results. An all-original blue and white tin friction Citroen DS19 with tortoiseshell-patterned upholstery bid to $1,860, and a pink Cadillac convertible with green interiors with its original box also achieved $1,860.
The top-selling train was a Lionel standard gauge Passenger Train set that sold for $2,100. The set included its 390E locomotive and tender, three 1766 passenger cars and a 1767 baggage car, all painted in two-tone red. Each of these was in original condition, with some issues and parts missing but retaining their boxes. The lot also contained Lionel switches, a track and other accessories in “as-is” condition.
Another toy automobile in the upper listings was a Marx Charlie McCarthy & Mortimer Snerd Private Car in excellent condition with a working windup function, which sold for $2,040. The two puppet drivers were the creation of Edgar Bergen (1903-1975), who was celebrated for his ventriloquist act, achieving almost as much celebrity as his dummies with radio, stage and film appearances, in addition to the weekly The Charlie McCarthy Show (1949-1956) program. These jokers were joined by a “highly desirable” Marx Big Loo Robot with most of its original accessories and a functional talking mechanism for $1,980.
Marx also delivered some spooky good fun with a battery-operated “Hootin’ Hollow” tin haunted house in great original condition. Tested and in working condition, only the back of the house had a few fixable loose tabs. With great graphics and colors, the house made a great addition to the buyer’s collection of toys and Halloween decorations for $1,860.
Prices are quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. Milestone Auctions’ Advertising, Radios, Coins & More sale will occur on February 11, with a Toy Extravaganza auction on February 18. For information, 440-527-8060 or www.milestoneauctions.com.
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