VINELAND, N.J. – A circa-1912 Marklin live-steam fire pumper blazed to the top of prices realized in Bertoia Auctions’ Sept. 25-26 sale of the Donald Kaufman antique toy collection, part II, achieving $149,500 (inclusive of 15 percent buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $40,000-$50,000. An exciting event that drew scores of overseas bidders, the 1,129-lot auction concluded with a two-day gross that brushed the $3 million mark.
The top lot, considered by many German toy experts to be the ultimate in Marklin craftsmanship, was a masterpiece in detail, from its bright, hand-painted open frame with exposed boiler to its intricate gear work. Fewer than five examples of the highly prized 18-inch-long pumper are known to exist. The one purchased at Bertoia’s will now reside in Europe.
Runners-up in the sale included an early 1930s boxed Tippco (German) Mickey and Minnie Mouse on Motorcycle clockwork toy, which flew past its $40,000-$60,000 presale estimate to finish at $71,300; and a circa-1904 Bing (German) four-seat touring car, which soared to a $59,800 selling price – more than twice its high estimate.
Bertoia Auctions’ owner, Jeanne Bertoia, commented on the outstanding result: “Bridging the $3 million mark and topping the high catalog estimate, the Sept. 25-26 sale proved that great collections and great presentations trump any economic forecasting,” she said.
Part III of the ongoing series of auctions exclusively featuring the Donald Kaufman collection will take place on April 9-10, 2010. The series of semiannual sales is expected to span two years or more. Part I, which was held over March 19-21 of this year, garnered $4.2 million.
A full post-sale report will be available soon. Visit Bertoia Auctions online at www.bertoiaauctions.com.
Photos courtesy Bertoia Auctions.