This article was originally published in Antique Trader
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HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Approximately 200-250 lots from the collection of Bill George, the original editor of Femme Fatales magazine whose now-closed private museum in Baltimore was devoted to horror film and B-movie “scream queens” is featured in Old Town Auctions‘ Nov. 18-20, 2011 sale. The collection is one of several groups of old toys and 20th-century pop culture items available during the sale, scheduled to be held live and online.
The George collection contains numerous monster-theme Aurora model kits, movie posters, collectibles from Universal monster films, and original artwork from the genre. Additionally, there are many B-movie starlets’ autographs and related items of ephemera; sci-fi and horror toys and collectibles – including some fairly rare Marx productions – action figures, and an extensive selection of promotional items that were available only to industry insiders.
A special inclusion in the George consignment is the collection of original sculptures and paintings by Daniel Horne, known for his fantastic cover art on the magazines Dungeon and Dragon, and other projects. Among the subjects depicted are Frankenstein, Wolfman and Space Monster. Resin monster figures by other artists will be sold, as well. Many were produced in limited editions of 200 or less, and some are artist’s proofs.
Another featured collection in the Nov. 18-20 auction consists of pressed-steel automotive toys amassed over many years by Jay Kaufman of Scottsdale, Ariz.
“Jay is a well-known collector of fine classic and vintage cars. His mindset has always been attuned to perfection, so just like his full-size cars, many of his toys are beautifully restored – he thinks like a car guy,” Old Town Auctions owner Matt Protos said. While most of the toys to be auctioned have been restored, many others are in all-original condition.
The Kaufman collection includes all of the big names – American National, Buddy ‘L,’ Keystone, Structo, etc. Highlights include a coveted Buddy ‘L’ Tugboat and a complete Buddy ‘L’ Outdoor Garden Railway.
Nautical toys also found a welcome place to dock in the Kaufman collection. There are many large-scale, highly detailed boats and ship, including a 37-inch Orkin battleship, a few boats by Fleischmann and some large wooden clockwork dreadnoughts.
An immense variety of other toys appealed to Kaufman, including airplanes and aviation items, tin wind-ups of all kinds, boxed battery ops, Western toys and a toy gun collection that includes BB, space-theme and cap guns. Watching over the collection was an eye-catching life-size Popeye store mannequin made of heavy composition, with movable arms and head, and dressed in a cloth sailor suit and hat.
The auction will feature a choice collection of die-cast vehicles, including early mint/boxed Matchbox, Dinky, Hot Wheels and Corgi toys. Slot cars and sets, and an estate collection of 120+ plastic promotional cars will cross the auction block, as well. “These sorts of promotional cars were given out at automobile dealerships,” Protos explained. “This collection contains some really good ones that you don’t see every day.”
Another tightly focused collection consists of more than 100 high-quality, complete Erector and construction sets. Among them are robot sets, a boxed Zeppelin, and early truck, carnival and circus sets, plus some Erector store displays.
Also of interest to the scientifically minded bidder is the collection of early Apple computers and other primitive computer items. “Computers from Apple’s early days have become extremely collectible. There’s no shortage of people looking for them, and prices for rare models are increasing rapidly,” Protos said. Along the same lines, the auction will feature a computer-driven Heath Kit robot, complete and never assembled.
A large selection of antique and vintage tin wind-ups will be offered, including Lehmann and Marx toys; plus smaller-scale automotive toys, aviation toys including a Blue Angels display with airplanes still affixed; Occupied Japan figural pieces, a grouping of Marx playsets and a collection of James Bond 007 and other spy toys from the 1960s.
The auction action will start revving up when a collection of miniature gas-powered engines is introduced. The mini engines, which include Chevrolet V8, Harley-Davidson and racing motors, are in full working order. Some are farm-style hit-and-miss engines.
A unique piece is a 1967 all-metal electric-powered monorail made for display at Expo ’67 in Montreal. The actual monorail car is 6 feet long and runs along 100 feet of track. It is complete and comes with custom-fitted storage cases. “We’ll have this set assembled and operating at the auction,” said Protos.
One of the most intriguing items in Old Town’s June sale was the funky folk robot from creator Steve Heller’s range of “techno art.” This time around, Old Town will offer Heller’s rendition of a robot girlfriend named “Marilyn” for the previously auctioned robot, plus a rocket ship – for a robot honeymoon, perhaps?
A mini collection of six musical instruments easily qualifies as American folk art. The instruments and their cases are skillfully hand-painted – some with automotive themes – and are branded “Kollege Kids.” The collection – whose origin is a mystery – includes a violin, banjo, drum and other instruments.
Among the many other categories represented in the Nov. 18-20 event are: exonumia and medallic art – some with a transportation theme and one designed by Norman Bel Geddes – several coin-op machines including a Wurlitzer 1015 jukebox and speakers, a few figural animated store displays (e.g., giraffe, seal), a small selection of black Americana, and American Indian sterling silver souvenir spoons.
The discoveries will be plentiful both before and after each sale session, as uncataloged and late-entry lots are offered to in-house bidders only. “This has become a very popular feature, and it’s one of the reasons why some people will travel long distances to attend our sales. They know we cater to the live-auction crowd. We’re going to keep on giving the people what they want,” said Protos.
Old Town’s Monsters, Wheels and Girls on Film auction will be held at the Grand Venice Hotel in Hagerstown, Md., and will start at 5 p.m. Nov. 18; 10 a.m. Nov. 19; and noon Nov. 20. A preview will be held two hours prior to each auction session.
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