Published: December 18, 2018
Review and Onsite Photos by R. Scudder Smith
DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. – About two dozen people were on hand Friday, December 7, at 6 pm to bid on the first session of the toy auction put together by Pook & Pook with Noel Barrett, Antiques & Auctions Ltd. On Saturday the auction started with lot 283, and by the end of the day, 744 lots were sold out of the 772 lots offered (96.4 percent were sold).
The grand total for the sale was $621,530, including the buyer’s premium. In-house, absentee and phone bidders numbered 127, while about 700 bidders registered online. Forty-seven percent sold online.
An important part of this auction was 290 lots from the Morton A. Hirschberg Collection of steam toys. A long time collector of cast iron toys, Hirschberg changed direction in 1982 when he was introduced to steam toys. From then on he bought from dealers, auctions and at shows, and he readily admits to being an aggressive buyer. He learned as much as possible about steam toys and ultimately wrote a book about his collection, Steam Toys – A Symphony In Motion. The toys offered on December 8 is part one of two auctions at Pook & Pook with Noel Barrett.
Things got rolling with a selection of folk art, including a painted wood scissor trade sign, mid-Twentieth Century, for $183, and a few lots later a painted iron and giltwood pocket watch trade sign, Nineteenth Century, $1,464.
The first toy offered was a unique Philadelphia painted tin and wood carousel wind driven toy with painted wood figures and painted iron figures, all mounted on a bicycle rim. It measures 51 inches high, 24 inches in diameter and the provenance lists Bernard Barenholtz Collection. This toy sold for $1,220, less than estimate.
An exceptional salesman’s sample horse-drawn walking plow, Nineteenth Century, excellent condition, went well over the $1,500 high estimate, selling for $7,930, and another model, a brass and copper fire pumper, Twentieth Century, went for $3,660, within estimate.
A scarce Hubley cast iron Beach Patrol surfer boy pull toy, 7½ inches high, the rider in a blue swim suit, brought $3,904, within estimate, and a Tom Schloff cast iron 1935 Chrysler Imperial Airflow coupe, with the original box, 10¼ inches long, went for $610, above the high estimate.
Lot 104, a Carpenter cast iron horse-drawn ladder wagon with cast iron drivers and two cast iron fire buckets, 27 inches long, went over the $600 high estimate selling for $2,318, while the following lot, a Carpenter cast iron Fire Patrol with driver and three firemen, 17 inches long, brought $3,172, above the $500 high estimate.
The Game of the Visit of Santa Claus, in the original box, includes the game board, the cardboard spinner, 33 cards, and a wooden game piece. This game is by McLoughlin Bros and measures 15 inches wide. It sold over estimate for $2,440. Several lots later a painted wooden horse-drawn Schoenhut milk wagon, labeled H.P. Hood & Sons Dairy Products, 23 inches long with a joined wood driver in original clothing brought $1,342, just over the high estimate.
A hand-cranked, animated musical cat organ grinder, probably German, retains the original FAO Schwartz paper label. In excellent condition it went over the $800 high estimate for $1,586. Three musical figures lined up on one page starting at left with Jumeau Lambert musical bisque head mandolin player automaton, late Nineteenth Century, with a painted bisque head and fixed eyes, closed mouth, pierced ears and a composition body with bisque lower arms. It brought $2,928 above the $1,600 high estimate. The middle figure by Simon & Haldig, a bisque head French Ballerina, late Nineteenth Century, measures 22 inches and sold for $1,098. To the right a drinking boy musical automaton with an unmarked bisque head and fixed blue glass eyes. It measures 19 inches overall in height and sold for $1,952, over estimate. All three of the figures were sold to phone bidders.
Session two on Saturday started with an Orobr Bleriot-style painted tin clockwork airplane with painted pilot, measuring 11 inches long and selling for $1,952, just slightly over three times the high estimate.
It was 10 am when the first lot of the steam toy collection was offered. A German painted tin airplane ride steam toy accessory, geared two-tier ride on wood base, 11 inches high and in very good to excellent condition. It sold for $1,830, three times over the high estimate of $600. Several lots later, an Ernst Plank painted live steam toy complete with six gondolas, each with two painted composition dressed sailors, two flags, stepped platform base and a hand crank on a fly wheel. It measures 15-5/8 inches high and went for $1,708. The next lot, a Doll & Cie painted and embossed tin Ferris wheel steam toy with six gondolas, each with two composition painted riders. Fifteen inches high, it brought $1,464, within estimate.
Lot 424, a Schoenner painted tin horse carousel steam toy, circa 1875, in original condition with four horses and two candle holders on rim. It measures 12 inches high, 5½ inches in diameter and brought $2,928, just under the high estimate. Lot 431, a Doll & Cie painted tin flying carousel steam toy with tilted canopy and three airplane swings, measuring 11 inches high. It is in excellent condition and sold within estimate for $1,037.
Several birds were flapping their wings and chirping from internal bellows in a painted tin roundabout steam toy, 9½ inches in diameter, with sporadic paint loss. It sold for $732, within estimate. A page illustrating boats followed that section of steam toys, with a Bing painted tin clockwork armored cruiser ship, outfitted with five movable gun turrets and two masts with crow’s nests observation platforms. It measures 20 inches long and sold over estimate at $1,037. A Calwis Industries Orkin Craft pressed-steel clockwork cabin cruiser yacht, finely detailed, 32 inches long sold for just over the high estimate for $976. The provenance listed Bill & Stevie Weart Collection.
Train sets proved to be popular; this Marklin painted tin 1020 five piece clockwork train set, circa 1902, 0 gauge includes a locomotive, tender, coach, baggage and gondola. It is listed as very good to excellent and sold for $1,464. Four lots later a French painted tin clockwork floor train included the locomotive, tender, two coaches and a gondola with hinged roof. It is in working condition and sold over the $600 high estimate at $4,148.
Several luxury cars were offered, including a Tippco lithographed tin and “Mapsauto” limousine with lithographed driver and figural dog radiator cap. It is 15¾ inches long and sold over estimate for $1,708. A French Citroen tinplate clockwork clover leaf boat tail racer, with the original box, 12¼ inches long, brought just under the high estimate at $1,464. The next page, a wood and aluminum model of a 1927 Hispano Suiza Lightning with flying goose radiator cap sold for $3,660, just above the high estimate.
Another antique toy auction will be held in the spring, again with Noel Barrett joining Pook & Pook, Inc. The upcoming auction schedule for Pook & Pook includes January 11 an 12 when Americana & International will be offered. Decorative Arts will be sold online only on January 14. For more information, 610-269-4040 or www.pookandpook.com.
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