The auction of the Robert Lesser robot and space toy collection went out with a bang in a phone and online sale conducted by the Smith House Toy & Auction Company. The sale ended May 10, breaking house records for length and website hits, and attracting bidders from across the United States and overseas who would not let it end.
The jewel of the auction was a red Diamond Planet Robot, with its original box, which went for a winning bid of $50,850.
Tremendous Mike lived up to his name, drawing dozens of bids and eventually selling with its box for $25,425. Also revving up collectors was the Space Patrol Super Cycle, which came with its box, rider and the only known existing example of the rider’s space helmet. The toy sold for $20,905.
The popular Chime Trooper, with its scarce box, rang in at $17,515. Two members of the Gang of Five robots also did well: Radicon brought $17,515 and the Target Robot scored $16,385. The hard-to-find Mighty 8 Robot with box earned a strong $14,972. A Hook Robot in pristine condition with box brought $13,560.
A rarely seen toy, the Flying Space Saucer, a little robot manning a double-barreled missile launcher, also saw a lot of action. “Because it surfaces so infrequently, no one knew what to expect,” explained Smith House owner Craig Thompson. It brought $12,995.
In the same range were the Astro Scout with box at $13,560 and X-27 Explorer with box at $12,995.
Among the midrange toys bringing unexpected prices were the Nomura/Sonsco Spaceman with box at $8,531; the Nomura Batman with box at $6,780 and the Interplanetary Explorer with box at $6,328.
The announcement back in September that Lesser was letting go of his collection, which had been exhibited at museums in New York and Chicago, sparked a buzz of anticipation in the international toy collecting community. The sale opened for bid on April 24 and the closing date was posted as May 9 at 11 pm. But it did not quite go that way.
The Smith House policy is, once it hits the deadline, to keep the auction active until there are no bids over a span of 15 minutes. But the bids just kept on coming. At 10:30 am on May 10, the span was tightened to five minutes. The auction finally closed at 11:43 am, the longest auction in Smith House history.
Close to half of the toys were won by overseas bidders, Thompson said, reflecting the large base of Smith House bidders outside the country.
All prices include the 13 percent buyer’s premium. The next Smith House auction will begin in late October and end Friday, November 14.
For more information, www.smithhousetoys.com or contact Thompson at 215-721-1389.