Published: September 19, 2023
Review by W.A. Demers; Photos Courtesy Old Toy Soldier
PITTSBURGH, PENN. — Heraldic knights created by master sculptor Richard Courtenay galloped across the block in Old Toy Soldier’s September 8 auction. Courtenay was widely considered to be the premier maker of these models that are collectors’ favorites. One such collector, Jack Jones, was on a personal mission to assemble at least one figure of every pose Courtenay had made. He nearly made it but, sadly, passed away before reaching his goal. He was, however, able to state that he had one of the rarest and most desirable of all Courtenay figures — the iconic Rocking Horse, aka Sir John Beauchamp, which is pictured in Peter Greenhill’s book Heraldic Miniature Knights and was the cover lot for this sale. Only two of these figures were ever produced, said Ray Haradin, founder of Old Toy Soldier Auctions. Comprising the lower half of the H4 rider and the top half from the M2 man with a King Henry V head, featuring a movable visor and rider separate from the horse, this is the Holy Grail of Richard Courtenay’s heraldic figures. As such, it brought the highest price of the 273 lots offered, finishing at $15,000, going to an American Midwest collector.
Old Toy Soldier Auctions conducted another auction over the weekend, Hooked on Soldiers, which was conducted September 9 with the cover lot, Sacul’s Peter Pan and Captain Hook soaring to $2,400, against a $600-$1,200 estimate. Haradin said the two sales reached a combined total of $230,000, both white glove events. There were 371 online bidders, 12 phone bidders and 52 absentee bids.
In the September 8 sale, a rare special figure crossing the block was that of John de Clermont, marshal of France. Lord of Chantilly and of Beaumont, he was killed fighting in the Hundred Years’ War at the Battle of Poitiers. Marked S3 and incorporating the bottom half of a position 1 and top half of a position 8A with movable pig visor, the figure was signed by the artist on the underside of base and captured $1,320.
Another rare Courtenay special figure, Adam de BlencoveWe, a Fourteenth Century landholder, soldier and magistrate, bore the banner of benefactor Lord Greystoke, having served the baron in the French Wars as his standard bearer. The figure, commanding $2,760, incorporating the top half of a Men at Arms figure to the seated lower half of a rider on a Joan of Arc Horse. The left arm was modified to grip the flag at a downward angle.
Rendered in a scarce position, a foot knight, Sieur de Moreul, had a moveable visor and despite some old glue and discoloration to the underside of base battled its way to $2,640. And fetching $1,800, Jean, Bastard de Bourbon held the banner of Bourbon. Signed by the artist on the underside of the base, the sword arm was bent inward.
The top highlight of the Hooked on Soldiers sale on September 9 was a group of Egyptian temple statues, wall and workmen that rose from an estimate of $100/250 to a final price of $3,000. In near mint condition, the unboxed set contained 33 pieces. Haradin said he was unable to identify a manufacturer for the set but buyers seem to like sets that combine figures with buildings that can create backdrops.
Britains are a staple of any toy auction, and in this sale a #436 US monoplane and seated pilot flew to $1,680. The round winged version was in excellent condition, with all decals present (wheel axle is bent) and came with three standing pilots (two Britains and one Crescent holding orders).
Finally, a 30-piece, unboxed set comprising the Roman Senate, Caesar and Romans left the gallery at $1,920. While the figures were in mint to near mint condition, the Senate columns had broken loose from the top and bottom of the building.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. The firm’s next sale is October 6-7, and a November 9-10 sale will comprise primarily a single-owner collection. For additional information, 412-343-8733 or www.oldtoysoldierauctions.com.
December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023
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