Cypher toy collections lead 1,200-lot lineup in Noel Barrett’s Nov. 15-16 auction

On Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 15-16, Noel Barrett opens a treasure chest of rare and unusual childhood antiques in his Fall 2008 auction of ‘Toys & Other Things.’

We’ve become accustomed to the Houdini-like ways with which Barrett is able to unearth exquisitely rare toys, even within a collecting landscape that has been well trodden. Just when collectors think “all the good stuff” is accounted for, along comes a great surprise, together with a hefty price realized. A recent example of the unexpected consignments that can turn up in a Barrett sale is the original Monopoly “tie set” with hand-colored oilcloth roll-up board that was auctioned on April 12, 2008, for $46,750. Now in its new home – the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y. – it is typical of the rarity and desirability consistently seen in Barrett’s sales.

At his Nov. 15-16 auction event at the Eagle Fire Hall in New Hope, Pa., Barrett will present toys from several consignment sources, including the lifetime collections of a revered New England couple, the late Stan and Priscilla Cypher. “Stan was the grand old man of the toy hobby,” said Barrett. “He was historian of the ATCA, and he and Priscilla were very knowledgeable and well-liked dealers. The fabulous cast-iron airplanes in this sale, as well as the best of the Marklin 1 and 0 gauge trains, are from Stan’s collection.”

Several other highly refined collections will contribute to the well-rounded auction offering. Boats, tinplate toys and beautifully lithographed paper-on-wood toys, games and puzzles have come from the Andy Lukach collection and one other private collection, while Tucson-based Bernie Resnick’s collection filled out many categories, from Metalcraft pressed-steel trucks and cast-iron toys to Japanese celluloid and comic character toys.

“The variety and quality of Bernie’s collection is very impressive, especially considering he bought most of the toys right there in the Tucson area. Bernie has gone to a few shows over the years, but for the most part he has flown under the radar.” A nice bonus, Barrett noted, is that Tucson enjoys a year-round dry climate, which has been conducive to the “great condition” seen in the Resnick toys.

Adding compatible variety to the auction lineup is the fine selection of advertising and folk art from the estate of the late Ernie and Ida Long. “Within it is an amazing grouping of Long’s Covered Wagon Syrup tins and a three-dimensional cardboard advertising display of two horses pulling the covered wagon with Long’s advertising on it,” said Barrett. As far as we know, the smallest of the Long’s Syrup Tins in this collection is the only one that has ever surfaced at auction.”

In terms of individual sale highlights, a top entry is the tinplate double Slate Dancer by Wilhelm Krauss. Marked W.K., the toy features two separate, identical figures of the dancing Mickey Mouse figure. “It’s an unbelievable toy that turned up in Canada,” said Barrett. “I had never seen one before that had the double dancers.”

Another star lot is an Ives Mechanical Boxers toy, with its original box and paper label. “Again, it’s a toy in unbelievable condition, and one that turned up in an unexpected place for an early American toy – Australia,” said Barrett. “We think it will sell for $8,000 to $10,000.” Other Ives toys of note in this sale include a scarce see-saw with boy and girl figures, and a live steam launch with box. 

Skittles have always enjoyed a strong following in Noel Barrett sales, and collectors may recall the rare and very charming set comprised of a camel with Arab-figure skittles that Barrett auctioned in one of the Mary Merritt Toy & Doll Museum sessions. In the November sale, Barrett will offer another camel skittles set, but with a difference: the camel’s head nods. The set was made in Germany and has retains its original paper label denoting the country of origin.

The spare but graceful lines of early American tin appeal to many collectors. The November sale will feature a grouping of these desirable toys, highlighted by a Merriam ‘Express’ wagon.

Collectors will be spoiled for choice over the two-day period. “It’s sort of a cliché to say there’s something for everyone, but it’s an apt description this time,” said Barrett. “There are many mint/boxed toys, Japanese tin, American clockwork, fabulous German trains, a Bing and two Radiguet boats; and a 3ft.-long model of the Mauritania in a museum display case. Additionally, there’s a nice selection of penny toys, a few slot machines, and a large assortment of reference books on toy, train and airplane topics.”

In the automotive section, there are trucks by Smith-Miller, Chein, Hafner and Metalcraft, along with cars by Carette, Knapp, Kenton, Arcade, Tipp and Marusan.

Noel Barrett’s ‘Toys & Other Things’ Auction will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 15-16, at the Eagle Fire Co. Hall, 46 N. Sugan Road, New Hope, PA 18938. Both sessions will commence at 10 a.m., with an all-day preview on Friday, Nov. 14 starting at 11 a.m. Additional previewing time will be available from 8-10 a.m., prior to the actual auction sessions.

A fully illustrated color auction catalog is available for $35 postpaid ($40 to Canada, $45 overseas). Noel Barrett Auctions postal address for catalogs purchased by mail is: P.O. Box 300, Carversville, PA 18913 USA.

The electronic catalog may be viewed online at www.liveauctioneers.com approximately two weeks before the sale. All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, phone, fax or live via the Internet through www.ebayliveauctions.com.

For additional information or assistance, call 215-297-5109 or e-mail toys@noelbarrett.com.

View Noel Barrett Auctions’ Web site at www.noelbarrett.com.

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