Nearly 2,500 lots of American, European and Japanese toys will take the spotlight Nov. 7-9 at Bertoia Auctions’ gallery. Automotive collectors will be treated to more of the late Bob Smith’s friction and pressed-steel toys. Holiday enthusiasts will be invited to take a third helping from the Fred Cannon and Mary Lou Holt collections. There will be still banks from the collection of the late Dick Sheppard, European toys from the late Steve Olin and his wife Diane, and a private collection of horse-drawn cast-iron toys of every imaginable discipline.
Friday’s session opens with still banks depicting fine painted examples, especially buildings with cupolas. Among the top pieces are a rare Boston state house, house with bay windows, and both slotted-roof and painted versions of the rare Old South Church.
The mechanical bank section features examples that include elephant and three clowns; Paddy and the pig; a Presto bank; Chief Big Moon; globe; Trick Dog banks; and a fine coin-registering bank that Bertoia’s owner Jeanne Bertoia predicts will be a “high-ticket item.”
A collection of horse-drawn cast-iron toys highlights Friday’s session. Bertoia’s associate Rich Bertoia remarked: “These toys will continue to gain popularity after the new book on the subject comes out,” he said. Three of the top pieces are a beautiful Oxford trap, a 4-seat Hubley brake, and a Pratt & Letchworth ladder wagon with original box.
Continuing with toy vehicles will be nearly 150 cast-iron autos and trucks, as well as racers, busses, motorcycles and Vindex farm toys. The Vindex selection incorporates nearly the entire range produced by the Illinois firm.
Closing out Friday’s session are figural cast-iron doorstops. Among the top lots are Little Red Riding Hood with the Wolf; a very desirable sailor; guitar player; and tropical woman with fruit basket. The latter three doorstops were probably all manufactured by Littco of Littlestown, Pa. “They may be the best examples of those three designs ever to come to auction,” said Jeanne Bertoia, a renowned authority on cast-iron doorstops.
Saturday’s session opens with part two of the late Bob Smith’s friction toy collection, featuring Dayton Hill Climbers, D.P. Clark pressed-steel vehicles and Hercules tin toys. Nearly 100 examples of pressed steel are entered from the Smith collection, including rarities by Buddy ‘L,’ Hoenes, Keystone and Structo.
In the folk art/advertising section, bidders will find an Indian princess cigar store figure, several well-carved carousel horses, and a three-dimensional carved-wood fish sign once used outside a fishmonger’s shop. Other pieces include a shooting gallery with two blacksmith figures, and a tin self-framed advertising sign touting Brookfield Rye Whiskey, featuring a woman in lingerie – “risqué for its day,” according to Rich Bertoia.
Offered on Saturday will be cast-iron stoves and early German toys: battleships and oceanliners; autos of all types, penny toys, whimsical clockwork circus-theme toys, and Lehmann tinplate windups. Lehmanns include boxed examples of the baker and chimney sweep, tut-tut, Mars hot air balloon, and naughty boy.
Four complete, boxed Heyde sets in excellent condition will be sold, as will trains and accessories by Marklin, Carette and Bing; and antique vintage games and magic sets. Within the latter category are German, American and French boxed games, some of them sports themed. Collectors will recognize the desirability of the Stanley in Africa game, the French-made Fishing Pond with lead figures, and the large Hide and Seek game. Approximately half of the games have a black Americana focus, like The Bogie Man and Cakewalk. “There should be great crossover interest in those games in particular,” said Jeanne Bertoia. Saturday’s session also includes celluloid and comic character toys.
Sunday leads off with Schoenhuts, led by a boxed Teddy Roosevelt Adventures in Africa set. This rare set includes lithographed cardboard scenery, an optional purchase at the time of the toy’s original retail release. “When the set first came in and I opened the box, I simply could not believe the condition,” said Rich Bertoia. “It was just extraordinary, with immaculate paint.
Automata will follow, with the headliner being an 18-inch-tall Vichy rabbit, covered in rabbit fur and with a cabbage concealing a monkey inside. The session continues with German shops, rooms and dollhouses, including a including a huge Victorian dollhouse with kitchen wing from the late Flora Gill Jacobs’ collection.
Dolls in the sale include French fashions, 24-inch (and larger) bisque-head dolls, china-head dolls, and teddy bears, including a few scarce early Steiffs. Bertoia’s X-rayed the especially rare “rod” bear and confirmed that it contains interior rods that function as “joints.” The presence of these rods validates that the circa-1903 bear is one of the rarest of Steiff production.
The auction concludes with a Christmas display comprised of part 3 of the Fred Cannon collection and an array of Christmas antiques from the Mary Lou Holt collection. The sale features Dresden ornaments, vintage stuffed Christmas stockings, glass ornaments, Santa-on-reindeer displays and candy containers, a large Father Christmas chalkware figure, and an electrified reindeer with seated Santa.
Bertoia’s Toys for All Seasons Sale will start at noon on Friday, Nov. 7; at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8; and at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9. For more information call 856-692-1881, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bertoiaauctions.com.