Published: December 13, 2016
Review and Onsite Photos by R. Scudder Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Pook & Pook
DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. — It looks as if the latest partnership in the world of auctions, Pook & Pook and Noel Barrett, was made in heaven, or at least is off to a good start. Their December 2-3 sale of toys, trains, banks, carousel figures, vintage advertising and theater fixtures, a total of 824 lots, brought in $747,000, including the buyer’s premium.
“We were very happy with the sale, there were a couple of soft areas that we expected, but all in all, it went very smoothly and according to schedule,” James Pook said. He also mentioned that “we have already scheduled a second sale with Noel for April 1 and Jamie Shearer left here two days after this first sale to pick up a collection of cast iron toys in St Louis for the next one.”
Noel Barrett also noted a “smooth-running auction with less moving the objects about,” a routine he was once saddled with. “When I held my auctions in space rented in a firehouse, I had to pack things up to go there, unpack them for a preview, pack up again to take home the objects that were sold by phone, the internet, or passed, unpack them again and then pack some of them up to be shipped to the new owners,” Noel said. He quickly added, “That can be very tiresome.” As for this sale, Noel cited a few soft spots, such as the “Schoenhut figures; only the really rare ones are selling well, but the boats, that was shocking. Interest in them, the paper litho on wood, really set sail with no thought of sinking. And it was nice to see as that market had been hurting.”
The auction kicked off at 6 pm on Friday with 78 lots of Schoenhut offered. Some of the lots did extremely well, such as the half rolly dolly sheep with glass eyes, pictured, and two painted wood African natives, each with a two-part head, 8 inches tall, that sold over the high estimate for $1,680. Five painted wood animals with painted eyes, including a burro, bulldog, goose, cat and sheep, also went over estimate, selling for $1,140, and Humpty Dumpty circus tent, 27 inches high, also performed well, going over estimate to $1,680.
Every toy auction has to have a Noah’s Ark, this time an elastolin composition example with Noah and his wife, nine pairs of animals and various single animals. It went within estimate for $480. A W.S. Reed paper lithograph doll’s highchair with images of Little Boy Blue and Mary had a Little Lamb, along with an alphabet chair, 12½ inches high, provenance including the Museum of Atlanta, went over the $250 high estimate, bringing $480.
The market is still well when it comes to Steiff bears and Halloween pieces, such as a lot of six composition candy containers, including a pumpkin head owl, a squash man and a cat on a jack-o-lantern, for $840, again over estimate.
The Friday session of the two-day auction ended with a selection of dolls, and then Saturday it resumed at 10 am with a collection of Lehmann toys, including a tin lithograph clockwork Ikarus airplane, 11 inches long, for $1,200, above estimate. Also in the Lehmann toys was a tin lithograph windup Masuyama, 7¼ inches long, that went for $1,320, over the $800 high estimate.
Lot 221, an Argentina tin lithograph windup fox pushing a cart with a hen house, 4½ inches high, sold for $600, more than doubling the $250 high estimate, and a Nifty tin lithograph windup Barney Google riding Spark Plug, copyright by King Features Syndicate Inc, brought $780, almost twice the high estimate. Also selling above estimate was a Martin hand painted tin clockwork climbing fireman, 19¼ inches high, at $1,320, and a Little Orphan Annie and Sandy, by Marx, 5¼ inches high, a tin lithograph windup with box, went for $480, close to twice the high estimate.
The tin lithograph Moxie advertising horse car, copyright 1916, sold for $840; the Rich Toy Company painted wood and tin tractor trailer delivery truck, National Biscuit Company on the side, brought $420, and 14 Marx lithograph “Home Town” play sets, including meat market, savings bank, firehouse, movie theater and grocery, went over estimate at $1,200, and all three lots went to the internet.
A section of both still and mechanical banks, a total of 44 lots, included among the stills a painted Shellout cast iron, that brought $360, and a large cast iron Property of Equitable Loan & Savings Ass’n. Dayton, Ohio, 10½ inches high, at $600. Selling over estimate was the mechanical bank by J&E Stevens of an Indian shooting a bear at $2,280, followed a couple of lots later by the performing bear with clockwork action mechanical by Keyser & Rex at $1,800, again over estimate.
Two hours into the sale a cast iron Wild Mule Jack bell toy by Gong Bell Mfg, 8¼ inches long, sold for $420 and an Althof Bergman painted tin and cast iron two-horse gig with painted composition figure with tin hands and boots, both horses retaining strong original paint, went past $3,000 high estimate, bringing $3,840. A Bliss paper lithograph Rough & Ready no. 2 two-horse drawn ladder truck with two drivers and two ladders, 30 inches long, brought $3,600, above the $2,000 high estimate, and a paper lithograph train engines and cars, probably Bliss, sold for $900.
Paper lithographed boats proved to be a popular section of the auction, with the Ocean Queen paddlewheel riverboat by W.S. Reed bringing $1,920, above the $800 high estimate, and the Oregon, a large paper lithograph over wood battleship, sold for $1,680, twice the high estimate. The Terror no. 279 USN battleship, probably by W.S. Reed, 30 inches long, more than doubled the high estimate, going for $2,880. A total of 14 such boats were in the sale, including the City of New York paddlewheel riverboat, pictured.
A popular toy was an unusual painted tin soldier cap-shooting push toy holding a gun with a roll of caps in his chest cavity, 17 inches high, ex the Museum of Atlanta collection, at $2,880, almost twice the high estimate, and a German Doll & Cie painted tin Ferris wheel steam toy accessory with six gondolas and composition riders, 15¼ inches high, sold for $2,400. A few lots later, a French painted tin and white metal firefighting set by E.V., in the original box with burning building, horse drawn pumper, 26 firefighters and more, brought $4,600, well over the $1,500 high estimate.
Among the advertising pieces were an Old King Cole composition display for Keene’s Corn Cure in foot form, with a large face on the sole, 17½ inches high, selling for $2,160 and a few lots later a papier mache standing lamb was an advertisement for Lamb Knit Sweaters 100% Pure Wool, with lettering on its side. The lamb measured 15 inches high, 17 inches long, and went for $1,440. Both lots sold well above the high estimate.
A Bishop Aukland fire pumper model in finely detailed wood, with brass and copper fittings and a brass placard inscribed “Nelson” on the front, more than doubled the $2,000 high estimate with a $5,760 bid, and an elaborate craftsman made model of a circa 1900 horse-drawn fire pumper, complete with hoses, gauges, steel-trimmed wheels and a maker’s plate on the boiler inscribed “F.W. Balcom 1955,” realized $18,000, with the same high estimate.
A polychromed tin train station sign, circa 1900, double sided, 15 by 73 inches, read “Positively No Smoking’ and is ex Donal Markey Collection. It sold within estimate for $2,640, and bringing $3,600 was a trade sign for Bennett Overalls and Shirts, Warranted Not To Rip, 10½ by 22¾ inches.
The last couple of hundred lots in the auction were a mixture of cars, trucks and airplanes, with a wide selection of trains at the very end. Among the vehicles were a Kingsbury pressed steel clockwork rumble seat coupe, 13 inches long, $2,640; a Kingsbury pressed steel clockwork bus #788, with rubber tires, for $1,140; Kenton cast iron Buckeye Ditcher, 5 inches high, for $840; an Arcade cast iron flatbed car carrier with three cars, 24½ inches long, $960; a Wyandotte pressed steel coffin nose card coups, 13 inches long in yellow and red, $390, and a Steelcraft pressed steel Lockheed Sirius airplane with rubber wheels and teardrop fenders, wingspan 22 inches, for $900. All of those lots went over the high estimate.
Just prior to the trains, a few Buddy L vehicles crossed the block, including a restored pressed steel milk delivery truck, 24 inches long, $540; a restored pressed steel coal truck, 25 inches long, $720; a restored pressed steel baggage line truck, 26 inches long, black with yellow back portion, 540, and a pressed steel oil truck with opening doors and rubber tires, 23 inches long, at $780. Again, all of the trucks exceeded the high estimate.
The trains got off to a Buddy L outdoor loco and tender start, 40 inches long with a couple of pieces of track, at $960, over estimate, followed closely by a Lionel standard gauge Blue Comet nickel trim passenger set with an oil tender, a Westphal car, Faye car and observation car, selling at the low estimate, $6,000. A Marklin gauge sleeper train car, Mitropa no. 19431 car, with fully outfitted wood and tin interior, sold within estimate at $2,160, while a bid of $1,080 took a mint Marklin gauge Mitropa no. 1933 sleeping train car, hand enameled coach with outfitted interior.
It took a bid of $6,600, over estimate, to buy the Marklin O gauge no. 2924 Ithaca Pullman train car, 12-wheel electric coach, 10½ inches long, and a Bing O gauge motorized LNER passenger train set went for $900.
The auction ended at 4:40 pm with a German lithographed tin train set in box, eight-piece oval track, selling within estimate for $240.
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