Published: September 8, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Cyber Toy Auctions
PITTSBURGH, PENN. – “There’s no physical showroom for most of our sales and we don’t really do a printed catalog – it was always designed for toys to be bought online,” said Ray Haradin, when asked if Cyber Toy Auctions had a crystal ball that foresaw the rise of online sales in the pandemic era. The company started holding sales in 2016 with its first two-day sale on August 29-30 standing in as the firm’s 13th auction. As many collectors have gladly or begrudgingly taken to internet bidding to get their fix throughout the pandemic, the company found itself primed for takeoff with more than 1,100 lots that went 100 percent sold, producing a total gross of $276,000. The firm’s online registrants have doubled since March, rising to more than 1,000 bidders.
With online sales at heart, the firm’s model is geared towards affordable toys, Haradin said. That even extends through to the purchasing process: flat-rate shipping is included on the invoice and buyers can pay with just two clicks. The objects typically arrive in four or five business days thereafter. “We aren’t as fast as Amazon, but we’re pretty close,” he joked.
The auction’s volume included the second stateside offering from an Italian collector, a Pan Am airlines toy collection, a space toy collection and two other consignors who contributed iron material.
The Italian collection made its debut at RSL Auction Co., in April of this year with more on tap at that firm’s September 12 sale. Haradin said the bulk of the collection was focused on transportation and was largely acquired in the 70s and 80s.
“The collection is almost exclusively European,” Haradin said. “There were a lot of toys from Italy and Spain that you don’t generally see on the market. They weren’t $20,000 toys, they were just unusual. That was nice, because the sale was accessible to every level of collector.”
Leading the Italian collection were two German tin litho carriage toys. At $1,476 was a circa 1930s young woman pushing a carriage in very fine condition, followed by a similar example with an older woman made by CKO, with a wood balloon rising out of the carriage that sold for $1,216.
Spanish toys were found from companies like JYE, RSA, Paya and Rico. Leading them was a JYE scooter with woman rider, including the original box and key. It was in excellent-plus condition, the figure missing a foot, and it sold for $1,098, tripling estimate. Without a rider, though also with its original box, was a windup Spanish Ves Pita toy of a scooter, which followed behind at $854. Racing to $960 was a La Flecia de Oro racecar from RSA, 22 inches long and made in the 1930s. It had some oxidization to the body but the form was strong.
The Paya company had 12 toys in the sale spanning the company’s timeline of production, which began in 1902 and continues to present day. In the 1980s, the firm began reissuing its old toys with the original tools, dies and molds. The firm noted the modern toys and bidders did not seem to like them much: a tin litho fire trolley car from the 1980s sold for only $38 on two bids. Bringing more money were the originals, found in a 1920s “Que Ardo” clown cart that brought $549. The firm wrote, “‘Que Ardo’ translates to ‘I’m Burning,’ as there is a flint mechanism at the rear of the cart.” At the same price was a 1968 sedan windup car that the firm said was in poor condition with missing headlights, door and driver and two detached wheels. Bidders did not mind.
Among the Italian toys were colorful examples by companies Ingap, Costanzo and Biaggi & Co. Represented at the top from Ingap was a tin windup toy of a harlequin, circa 1920s and missing an arm, which sold for $384. For $218, one bidder walked away with Auto Series 2020, an automobile set with ten plastic cars and original box from the 1950s. Rising to $768 above a $100 estimate was the Costanzo speed boat made of red-painted wood with tin accents.
The largest prices in the sale came from its offering of cast iron mechanical banks. At the top for $8,960 was a Picture Gallery mechanical bank, Shepard Hardware Co., 1880s, featuring a red front panel with green and yellow outlines and some paint restoration. Just behind at $7,680 was an Uncle Remus, Kyser & Rex, 1880, in excellent-plus condition with all original paint. The auction house said there are probably less than 25 known examples of J&E Stevens’ Bismark Pig and that almost none were all original like the example they offered, which brought $3,936. The auction house noted, “Press the pig’s tail and Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of the German Empire, pops out of the pig’s body. The imagery of the pig is political satire that stems from Bismarcks’ restrictive tariff for the import of American bacon and other pork products.”
A former employee of Pan Am dispersed a collection of material from that airline.
“It started with him buying the things as he traveled, seeing Pan Am souvenirs,” Haradin said. “But then it continued for years after the company collapsed, he liked antiques shows and markets. It featured parts of uniforms and specific things that he got when he worked there.”
Chief among the 29 lots were two complete Pan Am Tootsietoy sets in near pristine condition with original boxes that sold for $448. A number of single model planes sold, including the Schuco Elektro Radiant 5600 with box, $416; a Pan Am DC-8 Jet made by the Asahi Toy Company, 12 inches long, $338; and a Pan Am Strato Clipper airplane with stairs, $179. Among the employee artifacts was a Pan Am metal briefcase that included a Velometer, noise canceling headset, handheld guiding lights and a rain coat that brought a modest $58.
Haradin said many of the things sold to a single collector in Florida.
Offered over seven lots was a pressed steel Buddy L train consigned from its original owner. The set included the engine and tender, a steam shovel train car, a box car, tank car, caboose car, coal car and cattle car. All seven lots sold to one collector for a combined $6,592.
Haradin and Bre Day run the channel Ray and Bre Live on YouTube, and their video promoting this sale, titled “A New Dawn…,” was probably one of their best yet. “We’ve been told it had high production value,” Haradin said as the two connect from outer space, promoting some of the space-themed toys in the auction.
Leading that collection was a Moon Patrol Space Division Number 3 by Japanese company Nomura that sold for $832. A similar vehicle by Linemar from the 1960s sold at the same price. At $768 was the Television Spaceman in the earlier metal version, produced in Japan.
Haradin said interest came from all over, though the majority of the space toys were purchased by American buyers and many were underbid from international collectors.
Overall, the sale produced about 350 winning bidders.
All prices include the buyer’s premium. For more information, www.cybertoyauctions.com or 412-343-8733.
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