Five brothers consign to same toy auction

KILLEN, Ala. – Five branches of a Midwestern family tree have come together to produce the remarkable selection of vintage toys to be auctioned by Estate Roadshow over the weekends of May 8-9 and May 22-23. The 1,200-1,500-lot sale sessions, featuring toys amassed individually over several decades by five brothers, will be live events conducted in Killen, Ala., with Internet bidding through eBay Timed-Live, a service exclusive to Estate Roadshow.

The core of the collection was actually established in the 1950s by the father of the adult sons who are consignors to the May sale. As time went on, each of the sons set off on his own collecting path. While each sibling took a different approach to the others in building his collection, they shared a common affinity for vintage American toys, primarily of the boomer era.

“We all liked military toys, Disney, Tonka and Buddy ‘L’ pressed steel toys and toy guns, mostly the Western type,” said one of the sons. “We also collected racing cars and tin toys, battery ops and wind-ups, but we had a special love for airplanes and aviation toys.”

The majority of the toys in the combined super-collection were purchased specifically as additions to the men’s collections. Only a few pieces were their own personal playthings as children.

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“Most of what we bought came from traveling extensively and buying at antique shops, toy shows and a few auctions,” said the family spokesman. “And we were never sellers; we were always buyers.”

The timespan for the toys is heavily focused on the 1950s and ’60s, with a few inclusions from the 1970s. A stellar sub-collection of approximately 30 Smith-Miller and Buddy ‘L’ fire trucks is primarily of postwar vintage, but there are also a few examples from the 1930s. For instance, a fully functional 1936 Buddy ‘L’ #28 Water Tower Truck, 45 inches long, is estimated at $3,800-$4,200.

The May 8-9 and May 22-23 auction sessions will take place live at the spacious Estate Roadshow gallery, 3540 Hwy. 72, Killen, Alabama 35645, and will be simulcast to the company’s satellite galleries in Chicago and Charleston (MidWest Estate Buyers’ Chicago gallery, 3681 Commercial Ave., Northbrook, IL 60062 and Estate Road Show gallery, 1090 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite C, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464). For additional information, call Estate Roadshow at 256-272-0397 or email Visit the company online at

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