Old Town Auctions presents collection from now-closed West Coast doll and toy museum

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The Dionne Quintuplets were the first identical quints known to survive past their infancy. Their birth in 1934 inspired a wave of merchandise over the years to follow, including this set of dolls to be auctioned in Old Town's June 14-15 sale.

MYERSVILLE, Md. – The summer season isn’t a time usually associated with major toy-buying opportunities, but Matt Protos and Keith Spurgeon’s Old Town Auctions will soon be filling that void. Their June 14-15 no-Internet auction featuring 1,000-1,200 lots will offer a mix of antique and vintage dolls, toys, dollhouse miniatures and cast-iron stoves. The will take place at the Fire Hall in Myersville, Md.
 
“The fire hall is a brand new, full-service facility with a food concession and ample parking,” noted Old Town’s Keith Spurgeon.

armand marseille boy dollHighlight of the June sale is the inventory of 400-500 dolls from the now-closed Museum of the Fantastic, in Sisters, Ore. “Collectors will be very pleased with the variety, which runs the gamut from antique to the 1960s,” Spurgeon said. Among the types of dolls to be offered are very nice examples of bisque, porcelain, wax and hard plastic, as well as 25+ china-head and several mid-20th-century wood dolls. Most will be auctioned individually, with the remainder in multiple-piece lots.

This Armand Marseille A5M bisque-head boy character doll in period clothing is one of hundreds of dolls consigned to the auction with provenance from the now-closed Museum of the Fantastic in Sister, Oregon.

“Many of the best known and most desirable doll brands are represented,” said Spurgeon, “including Kammer & Reinhardt, Kestner and Armand Marseille. Among the best dolls in the collection are an Armand Marseille A5M bisque-head boy character doll in period clothing, a couple of SFBJ French dolls, and a very nice Kammer & Reinhardt no. 116 doll, which a lot of collectors like.” An addition is a French-made milliner’s wax torso and head, marked Made in France at the back of the head.

Of a more contemporary vein, a near-mint Bild Lilli doll – the 1950s inspiration for Barbie – dressed in pegged pants and sweater and with its original plastic stand marked Bild Lilli, comes packaged in its original plastic tube. Another Barbie-themed lot to be auctioned is an in-house hairstyle drawing for the quintessential teen doll, created at the Mattel studios. Rounding out the category are six large-format color prototype paintings of Barbie in different gowns and hairstyles. Painted in the 1980s, the unique artworks will be auctioned individually.

Antique and modern dollhouse miniatures will be offered. Collectors will be able to choose from a wide array of miniature tea sets, dishes and furnishings made expressly for dollhouses, including a mini Hoosier. A beautiful Erhard miniature gilded birdcage with wax bird is “of super-high quality,” Spurgeon observed. When the lid opens, a tiny bird emerges, flaps its wings and whistles.

Standing out within the miniatures section are tiny paintings on tin, a 19th-century toast rack with toast, and a boxed set of German glass ornaments for use on a feather tree. The holiday set has never been taken out of its box, according to Spurgeon.

german made tinsel christmas treeShown here is one of several dollhouse miniature feather trees, complete with tiny Christmas ornaments.

Approximately 200-250 lots of toys with crossover appeal to doll dealers and collectors, including some “boys’ toys,” will cross the auction block in the June sale. There are 19th and early 20th-century games, a few German-made stables with animals, and a near-mint Converse Red Robin Farm, complete with its usually missing weather vane. Doll and children’s prams features examples of both wood and wicker, and date from Victorian times through the Art Deco period.

A grouping of 25-30 miniature cast-iron stoves consists of both toys and salesmen’s samples. Several of the stoves were manufactured by Bucks, while another was made by Quick Meal. All are well-detailed, desirable examples with removable hotplates.

A Midwestern collection produced a Victorian painted-wood sled that Spurgeon called “the best one of its type that I’ve ever seen. It’s very colorfully painted and stenciled with two images – a winter scene and a horseshoe. It displays beautifully and is the top lot in our selection of sleds and wagons.”

The auction includes porcelain figures and figural groups from English and German manufactories. A hard-paste trio of women, probably English, dating from the early to mid-19th century, is a highlight, as is a Dresden figure of a woman with two children and sheep that was used as an apothecary display to advertise the British toiletries firm Yardley’s.

For additional information or enquiries about sale lots, call Keith Spurgeon at 781-771-3998 or e-mail sales@oldtownauctions.com. For hundreds of illustrated, regularly updated key lots, as well as consignment information and prices realized from previous sales, visit www.oldtownauctions.com.

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A European consignor was the source for this repoussé cast-metal musical birdbox. The miniature bird emerges when the lid is opened, then flaps its wings and whistles.
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As many as 30 miniature cast-iron stoves - both toys and salesmen's samples - will be offered at the Old Town auction. Several of the stoves were manufactured by Buck's, like this Buck's Junior model.
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Complete with its original wood box, this remarkable lithographed paper on wood toy made by the American manufacturer Reed replicates the Gigantic Circus and Mammoth Hippodrome.
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Several distinctive Skookums dolls depicting Native-Americans are included in the doll inventory from the Museum of the Fantastic.
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Old Town's Keith Spurgeon described this Victorian painted-wood sled as "the best one of its type I've ever seen." It is stenciled with a winter scene and a horseshoe.

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