Published: April 4, 2017
Review by R. Scudder Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy RSL Auctions
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — “It’s 10 o’clock, let’s get started,” auctioneer Rick Opfer said on Sunday, March 19, and lot 1, a ferry boat by Nifty Toy Company, Germany, circa 1920s, crossed the block at $300. That was the start of a 618-lot RSL auction of toys and banks that, combined with the day before, grossed $532,500, including the buyer’s premium. (A review of the March 18 auction appeared in last week’s paper.)
Several lots later The Merrymakers Band by Louis Mark Company, New York City, circa 1920s, made of tin, sold for $720. It was listed in very fine condition and sold just over the high estimate. Spic the Drummer, another Louis Mark Company toy, circa 1925, tin and in excellent condition, went for $840.
Included in the sale was a collection of toys by Ernst Paul Lehmann, one of which was the Anxious Bride, Germany, 1915, that sold for $1,200, the low estimate. Another Lehmann toy, Adam the Porter, circa 1920, tin and in pristine condition, sold within estimate at $1,680.
Hans Eberl of Germany, circa 1920s, manufactured the Clown Car, 7½ inches long, tin, excellent condition and in good working order, which sold just shy of low estimate at $2,160. An Echo Motorcycle by Lehmann, circa 1918, pristine condition, sold for $2,040. This is a superior example in great working condition.
Selling within estimate at $2,160 was Pitt and Fox, the two boxers with box, German, circa 1920, in very good working condition. Great interest was shown in lot 593, White Bear-blank button by Margaret Steiff, Germany, circa 1902, measuring 14 inches tall. According to the catalog the “blank button” in the bear’s ear symbolizes the first year of production by Margaret Steiff. Of mohair and stuffing, excellent condition, the bear sold well over its $1,800 estimate, reaching $3,900.
One of the popular penny toys, lot 603, Boy at Strength Tester by George Levy, Germany, circa 1920, sold for $510 to a phone bidder after a battle with a web bidder. This toy is of tin and listed in fair condition. A nice selection of tinplate automotive toys included a Terra Saloon car by E.P. Lehmann, Germany, circa 1920s, measuring 10 inches long. It retains its original flag on the hood, works well, very fine condition, and sold within estimate for $840. Lot 670, an Ocean Liner by Fleischmann, Germany, circa 1947, 20 inches long, in tin brought $950, the high estimate. It works well, but the masts and flags have been replaced.
A selection of mechanical banks included Mama Katzenjammer Bank by Kenton Hardware, Kenton, Ohio, circa 1910, cast iron and in fine condition, sold for $4,800, within estimate. The Chocolate Menier by L. Revon & Company, Paris, circa 1910, sold within estimate at $2,280. The catalog notes that this bank is one of the best examples that RSL has sold and it is of tin and metal alloy, pristine-plus condition, from the Stanley Sax Collection. Always popular is the Girl Skipping Rope mechanical bank by J&E Stevens Company, Cromwell, Conn., circa 1890, that sold within estimate for $10,200. The condition of this cast iron bank is listed as very good.
Lot 740, the Horse Race mechanical bank with straight base, J&E Stevens Company, circa 1871, sold within estimate for $6,600. The bank is of cast iron and painted tin, excellent condition and a rare japanned example of the bank. Bank on Uncle Sam, a musical bank by Paul J. Howard Company, American, opened bidding at $1,200, the high estimate. This circa 1940 bank, in excellent condition, works well, measures 6 inches in diameter and 6½ inches tall, lead composite, brought $1,800.
Lot 757, Dinah Bank, short sleeves, John Harper Ltd, Willenhall, England, circa 1911, sold for $1,320, within estimate. It is of cast iron, pristine condition, and has great teeth, as noted in the catalog. Selling at $7,800, just shy of the low estimate, was the Confectionery Bank by Kyser & Rex, Philadelphia, circa 1881. It is of cast iron and very fine condition.
A selection of nine occupational shaving mugs included Paper Hangers by T&V, Limoges, France, circa 1895, porcelain and in pristine condition, $450, within estimate. Other mugs included Carpenters, Masons, Bird Hunters, Pool Players and Bakers.
Folk art included lot 793, the Lusitania boat model, American, circa 1920, measuring 54 inches long, of wood, fine condition and sold within estimate for $1,560. It was followed a few lots later by Black Dandy Ball Toss, German, circa 1895, made of papier mache, cardboard and wood. This colorful seated figure, measuring 25 inches tall, sold just under estimate at $4,020. Lot 806, Preacher in the Pulpit by Ives, Blakeslee Company, Bridgeport, Conn., circa 1880, 10 inches tall in excellent-plus condition, brought $2,760, very close to the high estimate. This figure is made of wood, brass, papier mache and cloth and is mounted on the original wood box.
Lot 811, a very rare oversized Two-Horse Surrey, 19 inches long, circa 1880, went for $6,600, over the $5,000 high estimate. This toy is of tin, iron, cloth and brass, with the horses painted white and black and the surrey red. Among the cast iron toys was a bright yellow version of Friendship Seaplane by Hubley, 12½-inch wingspan, rubber tires and in pristine condition that sold for $2,760. A cast iron and sheet tin Two-Horse Dray by Wilkins Hardware, New Hampshire, circa 1890, 14 inches long, excellent condition, went for $840, just under the high estimate. Several lots later, Santa Sleigh by Hubley 16 inches long, very fine condition with the original Santa, sold over estimate at $2,160.
Toward the end of the sale there were 81 silver and silver-plate banks from the collection of Michael Goldstein. These banks were generally made in the period of 1890–1920 and symbolized wealth. A German Running Bull, 7½ inches long, pristine condition, sold over estimate of $315, and a seated pig, German, 5¼ inches long, pristine condition, sold over the $300 high estimate for $420. Lot 898, Nymph at Well, German, 5½ inches tall, circa 1890s, brought $510, exceeding the $300 high estimate.
Cast iron still banks, bubble banks and architectural still banks brought up the end of the sale, with a Rooster, rare in blue paint by A.C. Williams, circa 1920, excellent-plus, brought $960, just over twice the high estimate. A Hairy Buffalo by Ober Mfg Co., Chagrin Falls, Ohio, excellent-plus condition, went over high estimate at $960, and Baseball on Three Bats, Hubley, circa 1914, very fine condition, went over the high estimate for $840. That bank is from the collection of Tim Steckbeck.
Selling for $6,600, just over the high estimate, was lot 1078, Bank Building with Eagle Atop Orb, unknown manufacturer, American, circa 1890, in pristine-plus condition. A multicolor Domed Mosque Bank by Grey Iron Casting Company, Pennsylvania, circa 1910, sold for $840, over the $600 high estimate. This bank was also from Tim Steckbeck.
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