Bergmann clockwork Santa, Marklin ship expected to lead major antique toy auction

FAIRFIELD, Maine — James D. Julia Auctioneers has announced a June 30-July 1 auction that will include an exceptional array of antique toys, dolls, advertising items, rare coin-op, salesman samples, and more.

Topping the list of offerings is a rare and desirable clockwork Santa and sleigh by Althof Bergmann (formerly of the Bernard Barenholtz collection and prominently featured in his book, “American Antique Toys, 1830-1900,” Abrams, 1980). This unusual and large piece features the jolly old elf at the reins of his elaborate tin stenciled sleigh driven by two galloping goats. All the more amazing is his original crepe paper attire is in remarkable condition; to have survived for over 120 years is nothing short of astounding. This clockwork bell toy is one of only a couple known to exist and comes to the block with a presale estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.

Among the many classic fire toys is another central piece, actually the very cover shot horse drawn fire pumper on Bernard Barenholtz’s renowned book “American Antique Toys 1830-1900.” This clockwork piece with large tin boiler, full bodied horses, and driver at the front and fireman at the rear is expected to sell for $8,000 to $12,000.

Other highlights include a large and rare tin “Pegasus” locomotive attributed to Stevens & Brown. What is unusual about this piece is its articulated driver who rocks and rings the bell announcing his approach. Illustrated in the Barenholtz book and is one of two known it comes with a $15,000 to $25,000 estimate.

Of great significance and worthy of attention is the largest offering of horse drawn clockwork omnibuses to ever come to auction. This unprecedented and incredible offering includes a fantastic polychrome example by Ives pulled by two gold japanned articulated horses. The enclosed carriage has great form and is completed by decals of cherubic figures on either side. This piece carries a presale estimate of $12,500 to $17,500.

Sometimes toy companies produced toys for export. Such is the case with a truly phenomenal Stevens & Brown Victoria clockwork omnibus whose name implies its production for the British market. This toy consigned from a separate collection has a most interesting history. Over the years it made its way to India and has recently returned to its country of origin. Its yellow body is highlighted by marvelous red hand stenciling and is pulled by two white horses. In all-original, as-found condition, and purported to have once belonged to the Maharaja of India, it comes with a $30,000 to $40,000 estimate. The offering includes terrific examples in a variety of styles by George Brown, Bergmann, and Hull & Stafford.

Another unmatched offering will be a stellar grouping of tin paddle wheelers and ferryboats including one of the largest American tin boats ever manufactured. Bergmann’s America is the only known example and features twin smokestacks and pilot house atop a two-decked double paddlewheel. This stunning boat is expected to fetch $12,500 to $22,500. Two similarly styled wide base Bergmann ferryboats, Niagara and Columbia carry estimates of $20,000 to $30,000 each. They join examples by George Brown, Hull & Stafford, and others. Directly from a New Hampshire attic is an untouched first series 34-inch Marklin battleship “New York.” This toy has never seen the public marketplace and this astounding find is for the collector of rare and highly sought after Marklin toys. It carries a presale estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.

The Deisenroth Collection continues to amaze with a parade of tin platform and bell toys, many of which are the very examples in Barenholtz, Perelman, and Hertz books. One by Bergmann featuring a boy on a wheeled platform pushing a larger than life hoop is one of the rarest and most sought after of all early American toys. Pictured in Barenholtz’s book, it rolls in with a $5,500 to $7,500 estimate. A scarce George Brown clockwork hoop toy in which the boy carries an American flag and stands between two offset wire wheels hopes to run circles around its presale estimate of $12,500 to $17,500.

In addition to Deisenroth’s phenomenal collection of tin toys will be other quality consignments such as a single owner private collection of mechanical banks, rare coin-op, fine dolls, salesman samples, antique advertising, and more. A fresh to the market selection of goods includes other fine toys to complement the previous offering. An outstanding Ives Horse head perambulator with clockwork motor driving a papier mache headed lad in his three-wheeled vehicle. An unusual component of this highly sought after toy is a delightful decal of a watermelon on the rear ledge. Directly from a house in Quarreyville, Pennsylvania, in allover stunning condition, this piece is expected to sell for $14,000 to $18,000. An exceptional Carpenter Burning Building consists of a wooden building with a cast iron façade engulfed in flames. The brave fireman scales the ladder with the pull of a string, bringing the distressed damsel down to safety as another fireman attempts to quell the flames. This outstanding piece comes with an estimate of $20,000 to $25,000. A rare 17-inch Ives “Osceola” train engine in black and red with gold stenciling comes with an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000.

German innovation has long been a favorite among collectors of antique toys. Among the offering at Julia’s is a gorgeous Mohr & Krause motorcycle with sidecar. It depicts a gentleman in riding clothes taking his lady along for a sunny outing in their vibrantly colored motorbike. Original and delightful in every respect, it carries an $11,000 to $13,000 estimate.

A large troupe of approximately 100 cast iron mechanical banks will help spice things up. Predominantly from one western collection, it is joined by a small selection of choice examples from across the United States. Highlights include an outstanding scarce Kenton Mama Katzenjammer bank. Inspired by the comic strip of the early 1900s, it features the amply proportioned namesake flanked by the troublesome twosome Max and Moritz. Placing a coin in the slot at the rear of the bank makes Mama’s eyes roll foolishly. This rare bank was bought new off the shelf and has resided in the same family since its original purchase. One of the better examples available condition-wise, it is expected to sell for $15,000 to $20,000.

Collectors will be delighted with a marvelous selection of fine French dolls and automatons including some exquisite examples from a Midwest collector. Seldom seeing the market is an outstanding 19-inch articulated fully jointed wood body French fashion with trunk and many outfits. With piercing blue paperweight eyes, she is expected to sell for $12,000 to $16,000. An exceptional and large 34-inch wood body French fashion with blue paperweight eyes, close mouth, fine modeling, and a darling embroidered silk dress is estimated for $20,000 to $25,000.

In addition to the variety of toys will be a grand selection of coin-op arcade, vending, and slot machines. Directly out of a Kentucky barn, an all-original, as found untouched 5-cent Caille Double Detroit slot machine with its original music will be offered. The added benefit of an internal music box entertains you while gambling your nickels away. It features cherubs on each of the two wheels, walnut case, and highly carved accents. Seldom found in such untouched condition, it has been in the same family for nearly 50 years and will be offered expecting $45,000 to $65,000.

A fine grouping of antique advertising helps to close out the sale. An unusual reverse on glass light up countertop display for South Bend watches shows one of their pocket watches frozen in a block of ice as a testament to the strength of their product. It hopes to hit its $3,000 to $4,000 estimate. A scarce figural clock in the form of a Nebo cigarette emblazoned with the face of a smiling balding gent. Manufactured by the Gilbert Clock Company, it carries an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000.

A single owner collection of reverse proofs from the famed Charles Shonk lithography company includes a wide variety of products from beer, to spirits, to household goods. With colors as crisp and vibrant as the day they were made, it presents a rare opportunity to own some amazing works of art, many of which don’t appear to have been produced commercially. They carry estimates from the low hundreds to approximately $1,000.

More information on the Julia auction can be obtained by going to their website at or by calling 207-453-7125. Auction previews, as well as the auctions themselves, will take place at the James D. Julia auction facilities on Rt. 201 in Fairfield, Maine. ?

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