Famous mechanized holiday scene sold for $161,000

NEWTON, Mass. – Jordan’s Furniture CEO Eliot Tatelman was the high bidder at a June 18 auction of the iconic Historic Enchanted Village holiday display from Boston’s Jordan Marsh department store. The 8,000 square feet worth of Bostonian childhood memories included mechanical figures, accessory items and stuffed animals. Generations of New Englanders grew to cherish visiting Historic Enchanted Village, making the pilgrimage one of their most beloved holiday traditions.

Stanley J. Paine Auctioneers conducted the auction sale live and online for the City of Boston, offering the Enchanted Village only in its entirety. Paine had seven registered bidders who ponied up a $25,000 deposit, and he banged the gavel at $161,000 including a 15 percent buyer’s premium. Tatelman said after the auction that he would recreate the display in his Avon, Mass., furniture store.

The entire assembly was stuffed away in crates in 2006 after decades on exhibit at Jordan Marsh in downtown Boston and later at City Hall Plaza.

In the 1930s, David Callahan, a buyer and vice president of the department store, negotiated with toy makers in Bavaria to bring a handmade electromechanical animated figures and items to Boston, which comprised the famous Historic Enchanted Village.

It was an animated re-creation of a holiday scene in a colonial New England town. The scene included adult figures, 75 children, 75 bears, and other animals such as dogs, cats, and horses. The average size of each lifelike figure was 4 feet 8 inches.