One of the foremost collections of toy robots will be offered by the Smith House Toy & Auction Company in October, highlighted by pristine examples and rarely seen variations of the best mechanical men and their fantastic boxes.
The phone and online auction, which opens Oct. 15 and closes Oct. 30, features over 400 lots, including robots, space vehicles, space banks and ray guns, from the shelves of Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen, the New Jersey collector renowned for his acquisition of the highest quality pieces, whether they be sports cards, coins, Hess trucks, or space toys.
The first section of the Rosen toy auction was held last May and sold a dazzling array of space rockets, flying saucers and other extraterrestrial vehicles.
Very advanced, intermediate and novice robot fans will marvel at the depth and breadth of Mr. Mint’s collection, and will appreciate his ability to find examples in superb condition. Nearly every toy is also boxed, and the boxes, too, are clean, crisp and carefully preserved. Some of the pieces came from the legendary F.H. Griffith and Paul Lipps toy collections.
Always at the top of robot world are the Masudaya Gang of Five. Four members of the clan — the Target, Sonic, Radicon and Lavender robots, each with its original box — will be up for sale.
Extremely scarce members of the beautifully lithographed Naito Shoten robot line will be on the block: the South Pole Explorer and the B17 Spaceman, also known as the Electric Blue Spaceman.
Also in the seldom-seen category is the blue version of Robot 5 (only a handful are known to exist) and the gray rendition of the toy. A silver windup Robot Space Trooper, a color variation that few collectors have held, also will be sold.
“There are many commonly known robots, but in uncommon color variations” in the Rosen sale, explained Smith House proprietor Craig Thompson.
The hard-to-find colors include the silver Mechanized Robot, green and blue Smoking Space Man, green Space Conqueror, blue and gray versions of Ranger Robot, silver and red-faced renditions of Nando, and four color variations of the Robot with Spark, including pink and red.
Other toys in the Rosen lineup are distinguished by their unusual boxes, such as the Shudo Astronaut in the box intended for the Japanese market; 8 Man in the Japanese box; and a robin’s egg blue, D cell Piston Action, aka Pug Robby, in the illustrated box.
Familiar names in a variety of appearances include Mr. Atomic in both blue and silver; great litho renditions of Sparky and Zoomer, the Easel Back line, including the Domed robot; the Irwin Man from Mars in five color schemes; about 50 different robots by Horikwawa, including the Forklift and Busy Cart workers; and, of course, many incarnations of Robby.
Other rare favorites include the highly prized Jupiter Robot, Tulip Head, Change Man, Musical Drummer Robot; Hook Robot; S Astronaut, who looks like a noseless Tetsujin; Golden, Lantern and Powder Robots; Telephone Robot, Buzzer Robot, Winky, Space Explorer, Mighty 8, Thunder Robot, Ranger Robot, and the skirted Mystery Moon Man and Radical Robot.
There are many plastic mechanical men in the October offerings, including Crystal, or Looky, Robot with its scarce box; Mr. Astronaut, Moon Explorer, Mr. Lem, Zero of Space, and See-Thru Robot.
The top-shelf space vehicles riding to auction include the Moon Car, with and without drivers; Robby Road Roller, VW Space Patrol Car, V-2 Space Tank, and the Martian Supersensitive Jeep.
Smith House Auction 75 will open for bidding on Oct. 15 and will end on Oct. 30. Catalogs will be available in early October. To order a catalog, send a check or money order for $35 U.S./$45 foreign to Smith House Toy & Auction Company, P.O. Box 129, Telford, Pa., 18969. A preview of the toys can be arranged by appointment. Contact Craig Thompson at 215-721-1389, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. An online preview of the collection can be found at www.smithhousetoys.com.
Smith House Toy & Auction Company has been dealing in fine toys and nostalgia since 1986. Craig Thompson expanded the bidding to the Internet in 2004, while retaining the personal service for which Smith House has always been known. Smith House is looking for consignments for future auctions, whether it is one quality item or an entire collection. For information, contact Thompson at 215-721-1389, or e-mail email@example.com.
Photos courtesy Smith House Toy & Auction Company.