Japanese automobile toys lead online May-June antique toy auction

A superb collection of Japanese tin automotive, very special space toys, prewar and post-war celluloid, top-shelf battery-ops, and selections from the great toymakers will be featured in the spring sale of Smith House Toy & Auction Company.

The phone and online auction, which opens May 27 and closes June 11, will offer seldom seen toys in several categories and many familiar favorites in pristine condition with extremely rare boxes.

Leading the group of 50 Japanese automotive toys is a classic, red 1952 Cadillac by ALPS in its box.

What distinguishes the car is the identification of a local Philadelphia dealership on the trunk, signifying that the piece was used as a promotional item, no doubt in a very limited edition. Another great find is a 16-inch, 1958 Oldsmobile by Yonezawa in the box an impressive addition to any garage and a Standard Coffee delivery truck in excellent condition.

The out-of-this-world space toys coming up in the spring auction include robots, vehicles and weaponry.

One piece falls into all three categories: the Aoshin Flying Space Saucer. The battery-operated toy advances as its robot gunner blinks and shoots wooden missiles. Adding value to this example, one of only a few known to exist, is its provenance it comes from the museum-quality collection of legendary toy expert Robert Lesser.

Heading the list of robots in the Smith House sale are a Tremendous Mike with its box and the scarce Hook Robot, also with box. The space vehicles include the Robby Space Car with box and the Mobile Space TV Unit with box. The hard-to-find space arms are highlighted by the menacing Rapid-Fire Space Rifle with box, the Space Ruler Machine Gun with box, and the Big X Machine Gun, with its Japanese packaging.

The comic character toys in the auction include a grouping of Buck Rogers rayguns in perfect condition with crisp, complete boxes.

The Buck Rogers Liquid Helium Gun, one of the most beautiful space weapons, comes with its extremely scarce box. The streamlined Flash Gordon Signal Pistol also will be on the block with its rare box. Other character toys in the sale are the Juggling Popeye and Olive Oyl by Linemar with its box, the 1930s Popeye Boat Fleet by Transogram in the box, and a battery-operated Batman Robot in his box.

The Louis Marx toy company is well-represented in a variety of categories, including a gang of boxed motorcycles, the Busy Bridge, Main Street and Big Parade in their rare boxes, the elaborate Ring-a-ling Circus, the musical Merrymakers, Tidy Tim, and the Charlestown Trio, all with their boxes.

A chorus line of Lindstrom walkers led by the Dancing Doll, Dancing Clown, Dancing Betty, and Dancing Mammy in two versions, will be offered in the sale. A dozen Schuco figures, including clowns and black-face musicians, will be available as well.

The 100-plus boxed, battery-operated treasures in the auction include the Light House, Ball-Playing Bear, Western Bad Man, Snake Charmer and Lucky Crane. One of the more unusual pieces is the Test Pilot made by Masudaya, a toy with strong graphics in the tin litho and on the box lid.

A fine selection of 50 Japanese celluloid and tin toys made from the 1910s through 1950s rounds out the eclectic auction.

Smith House Auction 76 will open for bidding on May 27 and close June 11. Catalogs for the phone and online sale will be available in late May.

To order a catalog, send a check or money order for $25 U.S./$45 foreign to Smith House Toy & Auction Company, P.O. Box 129, Telford, PA 18969. For a preview of Auction 76, go to www.smithousetoys.com. For information, contact Craig Thompson at 215-721-1389, or e-mail smithhousetoys@comcast.net. ?

Photos courtesy Smith House Toy & Auction Company


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