The Donald Kaufman collection is headed for the auction spotlight at Bertoia’s, Vineland, N.J., starting with a 1,500-lot offering on March 19-21, 2009. Kaufman, one of the founders of K-B Toys, is considered a pioneer in the toy hobby, having started his collection nearly 59 years ago.
Thursday evening’s 6 p.m. session will serve as a comprehensive “sampler” of all categories to follow in the full-day sessions on Friday and Saturday. “We’ve chosen some wonderful pieces for a panoramic overview on Thursday,” said Bertoia Auctions’ owner, Jeanne Bertoia.”
The Kaufman sessions will open on March 19 with a factory sample of Hubley’s Royal Bandwagon, followed by nine more factory samples from the same series, including a very rare Monkey Cage, formerly in the Perelman Museum. The cast iron continues with a Carpenter Engine House (ex L.C. Hegarty collection), an Ives Fire Engine House, and an Ives General Grant Smoking a Cigar.
A selection of more than 100 Lehmann toys will be offered, including examples of all five of the tinplate motorcycles produced by the Nuremberg firm: Pilot, Quex, Roon, Echo and Halloh. The latter two are boxed. Other Lehmann lots include a Primus (roller skater), three large-size sedans, boxed delivery trucks, a Lo and Li (clown accordionist and dancer), a Snik Snak (man walking dogs) and perhaps the finest known example of a Miss Blondin tightrope walker.
In the Kaufman collection is the rare 1909 circus road train with clown riders known as “Fidelitas.” One of the rarest and most identifiable of all European “connoisseur’s toys,” it will be joined by productions from other manufacturers of the golden era of toy-making, like Bing, Tippco, Distler, Hans Eberl and Charles Rossignol.
French autos dating to the turn of the 20th century are expected to garner keen interest. Among them are an Edmond Falure Automobile Vivant runabout with its original box, and a 17-inch-long circa-1908 French town car with open chauffeur’s compartment.
The opening session also includes an assortment of figural automotive-theme biscuit and candy tins, including a rare De Andreis racecar and a Lu trolley; airplanes, rare, boxed TootsieToys, and some of the rarest of all racers produced by Gunthermann.
On March 20, the first full day of buying will start with the remainder of Don Kaufman’s Lehmann toys, followed by early cast-iron runabouts by Kenton and Harris, and cars made by A.C. Williams, Kilgore, Arcade and Hubley. Kaufman’s Hubley clockwork Mack dump truck may be the only extant example.
Next up will be a representation of taxis and farm toys, with Caterpillar-type tractors by Hubley and Arcade, some boxed. A selection of boxed Japanese tin friction cars includes a 1957 Alps yellow and orange Chrysler Newport, a striking Yonezawa Lincoln with orange body and pink roof, and a boxed set by Bandai comprised of a Cadillac, Rolls-Royce and Nash Rambler.
Bidders will have their choice of rare biscuit tins, prewar Japanese cars and planes, an extensive motorcade of Marklin open roadsters, Bing trucks and racers from as early as 1904, and Continental autos such as a 17-inch-long French double-phaeton of unknown manufacture.
A series of racers includes variations of the Kingsbury Bluebird and Golden Arrow (gold, violet and white), a few boxed 1950s Japanese Atom racers, and a boxed French Super Racer similar to the famous Agajanian.
The Arcade taxi rank include a 1932 Checker Cab that every specialist collector seeks. Other Arcade rarities in the collection include a painted-brass prototype REO coupe that came straight from the factory, a David Storage delivery van, and a 16-inch Kenton Speed Truck.
The cast-iron motorcycle section contains a near-mint Hubley Hillclimber in orange with black rubber tires; a Harley-Davidson ’cycle with sport (civilian) rider; a Hubley Indian with sidebar, sport rider and woman passenger; and a Hubley Schaber’s Cycle Shop delivery van. The blue ribbon goes to the rare Hubley clockwork “Say it with Flowers” van, formerly a highlight of the Hegarty collection.
The second session concludes with colorful Marx tin trucks and a fleet of European tin racers and luxury autos. Leading the latter lineup are a Marklin Torpedo open tourer and a Bing tonneau with seated tin figures in period attire.
The March 21 auction session will commence with European autos, limos and work vehicles. Among the standouts are a Bing limousine with taxi meter and one of Don Kaufman’s most treasured toys – a Spanish-made Hispania limousine measuring 20 inches long.
Test driving is allowed, if you’re small enough to fit into the seat of any of the 40 pedal and oversize pressed-steel cars in the sale, including examples with provenance from the Harrah and Ray Holland Collections.
The sale inventory then takes a turn toward friction automotive, with toys from Dayton, D.P. Clark, Converse, Cor-Cor and Kingsbury. Some examples are boxed.
Those who favor advertising trucks will see many Metalcraft private-label productions, including a few Art Deco-style vehicles, with boxes. A few of the truck entries include those with company logos for Decker’s Iowana, Goodrich, Toy Town Grocery, and Kroger. Each retains its original box, and the Kroger truck features its own interior grocery store display.
The pressed-steel offering continues with a panorama of vehicles by Keystone, Structo and Buddy ‘L,’ including the latter company’s tugboat, Popular bus, and one of the finest Outdoor Railway sets ever offered. The railway set contains a caboose, cattle car, boxcar and other cars.
Jeanne Bertoia remarked, “There is only one Kaufman collection and we want this auction to be an event that will always be remembered.”
For information or to order catalogs, call 856-692-1881 or e-mail Toys@BertoiaAuctions.com. Visit Bertoia’s online at www.BertoiaAuctions.com.