Robert Lesser’s Robots For Sale

   Even if you don’t know author and toy collector Robert Lesser, chances are good that you know his robot collection. The Lesser collection was displayed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in November 2000 through February 2001. Then the collection was moved to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, where the robots were exhibited from November 2001 to January 2002, and again from June 2005 until September 2007, when they were shipped to Smith House Toy & Auction Company for auction.


   Smith House’s phone and online auction will open for bidding April 24 and end May 9. (Click on the Smith House name in the above paragraph for more information about this incredible auction.)


   To describe the Lesser collection as remarkable does a disservice to this extraordinary assemblage of the finest condition robots, many with their original boxes. The collection features robots considered “Holy Grail” pieces by collectors and fans. Consider that it was Lesser who coined the description “Gang of Five” for the series of large, battery-operated mechanical men made by Masudaya in the 1950s: Sonic Robot, Radicon Robot, Non-Stop “Lavender” Robot, Target Robot, and the scarcest of the group, Machine Man. The Machine Man in this auction was the first example of the toy to emerge in North America.


   I was thrilled that Craig Thompson of Smith House sent along a photo of Machine Man – let’s face it, this piece is so rare that you might not ever see one but in photographs.