VINELAND, N.J. – Many say the holiday season officially begins the day after Thanksgiving, when Christmas parades are held in major cities across the U.S. But ask toy collectors and they’ll tell you the season begins at Bertoia’s annual November toy auction, including toys, trains, banks and holiday antiques.
This year Bertoia’s year-end auction event will be held Nov. 8-10, with 2,000 lots of select consignments sourced primarily from private collectors.
The first two days feature three highly regarded collections: Part II of the late Bill Bertoia’s occupational shaving mug collection, the automotive toys of the late Judge Glenn McDonald of Louisville, Ky.; and the early American tin toys and trains amassed by Frank Loveland of Gettysburg, Pa.
Accompanying these important headliners are additional fine toys from other advanced collectors. The late Tom Fox’s renowned holiday antiques collection is the centerpiece of the festive Sunday session.
The Friday and Saturday sessions reveal a wealth of pressed steel, Lehmann and other European tin toys; early trains, cast-iron horse-drawn and automotive toys; and two Marklin ships. A Vindex Mike the Speed Cop with sidecar and policeman passenger is as perfect as the day it left the Vindex factory.
“It even has its original factory sample tag and should make $12,000 to $15,000,” said Bertoia Auctions associate Rich Bertoia.
A classic cast-iron Carpenter Tally-Ho rated good to very good is estimated at $7,000-$10,000.
Guests at the November toy auction will be greeted by two showcases brimming with doorstop animals, people figures, buildings and whimsical characters – each evaluated by Bertoia Auctions’ owner, Jeanne Bertoia, a top authority on doorstops. Many of the doorstops are from her own collection.
“I don’t think any doorstop collector would argue that, in terms of provenance, a doorstop has reached its pinnacle when it’s chosen by Jeanne for her personal collection. She has a great eye for color and condition, and of course she knows rarity when she sees it,” said Rich Bertoia.
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The early American tin toys from Frank Loveland’s collection are of a caliber not often seen at auction. Highlights include a George Brown fire pumper and other early horse-drawn hose, reel and ladder wagons. A large, rarely seen Whitaker’s Patent two-horse push toy with both trotters on a wheeled platform is expected to bring $4,000-$5,000.
The Friday session then moves into mechanical banks – including a Milking Cow, Circus bank and nicely restored Girl Skipping Rope – followed by a grouping of still banks replicating safes, buildings, animals and people, including General William T. Sherman.
Saturday also presents a host of European, American and Japanese comic character opportunities, led by a classic 1930s Mickey & Minnie on Motorcycle toy estimated at $22,000-$25,000; an ever-popular Tippco Santa car, and an even more elusive CK prewar Japanese version of a Santa car.
The session also includes 1950s/60s Japanese cars, European automotive and tinplate character toys, and a diverse grouping of penny toys that includes cycles, a zeppelin roundabout, both standard and luxury autos; and other imaginative forms.
The diminutive treasures will be followed by Part II of a Lehmann collection that Bertoia’s introduced in its May sale. The toys are of “exceptional quality,” said Rich Bertoia, and include several highly desirable examples: a Boxer Rebellion, Snick Snack, and boxed versions of both the Luna hot air balloon and Baker & Sweep.
It will then be time to launch two Marklin boats – a 42-inch George Washington ocean liner, est. $40,000-$50,000; and a 35-inch Battleship Cincinnati described by Bertoia as “a knockout attic find.” It is estimated at $40,000-$70,000.
Train aficionados have been eagerly inquiring about the contents of Frank Loveland’s train collection. It’s a premier assortment that includes such brands as Carlisle & Finch, Voltamp, Knapp and Howard. The most valuable of Loveland’s trains is an 18-inch-long Boucher Blue Comet set in matched blue and cream motif, manufactured in 2-inch scale to run exclusively on Boucher track.
“Collectors who are into early American trains are well aware of Boucher’s existence and modern-day importance, but very little is known about the company itself,” Bertoia said. “A book about early American trains is currently in the works, and a photographer is coming to Bertoia’s specifically to photograph the Blue Comet and other important trains entered in this auction.”
Waiting in the wings to close out the session are approximately 23 pedal cars, some restored and some very early ones in their original state. Among the highlights are a restored American National fire pumper wagon, a water tower, and a ladder truck.
Day three features antique Christmas ornaments of every imaginable form, as well as belsnickles, Santa trade stimulators, Halloween goodies and a dazzling array of 19th-century American toys. Crowning the Nov. 10 session are the renowned holiday antiques collection of the late Tom Fox and a continuation of the Frank Loveland 19th-century toy collection.
“Frank’s remarkable collection of paper litho on wood toys would impress even the most sophisticated collector,” Jeanne Bertoia observed. “There are trains, wagons, panoramas, coaches, nautical toys and beautiful Ives toys, including tenpins, trolleys, and a Santa with reindeer.”
Special highlights include a Mexican Central Railroad, an extremely rare warehouse, and an open-front US Capitol Building that has an ingenious function. The domes on the Capitol can be hand-turned to provide a panoramic view of various American Presidents. It is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.
Jeanne described the Noah’s Ark in the sale as “a museum-quality showpiece,” adding, “It is almost certainly an English production. Reportedly, it was used as a display piece at the prestigious Harrods department store in London.”
The Tom Fox collection includes exquisite Dresdens replicating forms from A to Z. “Dresden collectors aren’t going to believe what’s in this collection. Tom was a very successful interior designer in New York City and had an incredible eye for art. He was an active member of the Golden Glow of Christmas Past and was very well liked and respected within the collecting community,” said Rich Bertoia. The list of Dresdens includes many rarities – a hot air balloon, a sailboat with rolled-up sail, trolleys, trains, yachts and both Cupids and Arabs riding camels. Other animal forms include lobsters, a monkey on a greyhound dog, and two stabled horses with a cart.
Delicate cotton batting ornaments are highly sought after. Bertoia’s will offer collectors many fine choices: a drum major, girl on skis, Santa seated on a reindeer, a clown on a tricycle, and a girl holding a bird. Glass ornaments include Brownie figures, a turnip head and a mushroom head.
Halloween collectors can choose from an assortment of vintage jack-o-lanterns and watermelon lanterns, skulls, devil heads and other memorabilia from their favorite holiday. Many holiday antiques having a patriotic theme will be auctioned, as well.
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As has become a tradition at Bertoia’s annual November auction, the final session will close with box lots of mixed Christmas and holiday goods. Only those present in the gallery will be able to bid on the boxes, whose contents are hand selected with great care.
“Our box lots are always very popular with collectors because we make sure each and every box has something nice in it,” Jeanne said. “There was a large selection of high-quality pieces from which to choose in preparing the boxes this time because the Tom Fox collection is so extensive. The boxes will contain paper, celluloid, glass ornaments and kugels; decorative items, advertising, large Easter eggs and quite a few Dresdens.”
Bertoia’s Nov. 8-10 Toys & Holiday Auction will begin at 12 noon on Friday, Nov. 8; 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9; and 10 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Preview 9 a.m.-5 p.m. any weekday during the week preceding the auction, and one hour prior to each of the three sessions. All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, by phone or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. To contact Bertoia Auctions call 856-692-1881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.