World-class toy collection sells for millions

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 Marklin Battleship, La Plata, clockwork, was the top lot of the Samuel Downey Jr. collection, after selling for $204,000, against an estimate of $50,000-$70,000. Hailing from Argentina, this battleship is in museum-grade condition, extremely detailed with a multi-level complex superstructure, and impressive to look at; 28” l. All images courtesy of Bertoia

Marklin Battleship, La Plata, clockwork, was the top lot of the Samuel Downey Jr. collection, after selling for $204,000, against an estimate of $50,000-$70,000. Hailing from Argentina, this battleship is in museum-grade condition, extremely detailed with a multi-level complex superstructure, and impressive to look at; 28” l. All images courtesy of Bertoia

VINELAND, N.J. – The second sale of a world-class toy collection raked in $2.2 million, led by a Marklin Battleship that sold for more than $200,000.

Bertoia Auctions recently had Part II of the Samuel Downey Jr. collection of European tin rarities and boats. The first sale was in March.

A Marklin Battleship, La Plata, which Bertoia said was likely the crown jewel of Downey’s boat collection, was the top lot after a final price of $204,000, which was tens of thousands more than its estimate of $50,000-$70,000. Hailing from Argentina, this battleship is in museum-grade condition and extremely detailed, with a multi-level complex superstructure.

 This electric tramway, clockwork, was another big seller. Gauge 1, circa 1904, double clockwork causes one trolley to complete a circle and stop, triggering the second to release and do a lap and repeat. This set was acquired from the granddaughter of an American WWI soldier who brought it back from the war, nice patina and still dusty, appears complete with original chains and end signs. Each trolley 8” l; $60,000.

This electric tramway, clockwork, was another big seller. Gauge 1, circa 1904, double clockwork causes one trolley to complete a circle and stop, triggering the second to release and do a lap and repeat. This set was acquired from the granddaughter of an American WWI soldier who brought it back from the war, nice patina and still dusty, appears complete with original chains and end signs. Each trolley 8” l; $60,000.

This sale drew interest from all corners of the world, as 2,000 lots of boats, trains, toys, motorcycles, and battery-op toys all hit the podium, accompanied by selections of pressed steel and a huge assortment of cast iron toys, over 250 mechanical and still banks, near mint comic character toys, and figural cast iron items.

A beloved lifelong student and collector of fine toys, who passed in November 2018, Bertoia said Downey Jr. followed in the footsteps of his father, Samuel Downey Sr., whose collection he inherited and expanded upon over several decades.

“Both father and son were attracted to the same types of toys, and both acquired only the finest examples, so their collections blended together seamlessly,” said Bertoia Auctions president and auctioneer Michael Bertoia. “Sam pursued rarity and beauty, with a focus on a specific time frame and style.”

For more results, visit bertoiaauctions.com.

 Exceptionally large bear with leather harness and brown glass eyes carries Santa with red waistcoat and red fur trim, composition face with a rabbit fur beard and holding a feather tree in hand, mounted on iron wheels, and head moves for growler mechanism, 22” l; $43,200 (tens of thousands more than its estimate of $3,000-$4,000).

Exceptionally large bear with leather harness and brown glass eyes carries Santa with red waistcoat and red fur trim, composition face with a rabbit fur beard and holding a feather tree in hand, mounted on iron wheels, and head moves for growler mechanism, 22” l; $43,200 (tens of thousands more than its estimate of $3,000-$4,000).

 This nodding reindeer sold for $9,600 at Bertoia’s recent auction of the Sam Downey, Jr. collection — nearly three times its high estimate of $3,500. Made in Germany, the reindeer has brown glass eyes, composition antlers, full leather harness and collar, and is ready to pull Santa’s sleigh. This is a hard-to-find example in good working order; 12” h.

This nodding reindeer sold for $9,600 at Bertoia’s recent auction of the Sam Downey, Jr. collection — nearly three times its high estimate of $3,500. Made in Germany, the reindeer has brown glass eyes, composition antlers, full leather harness and collar, and is ready to pull Santa’s sleigh. This is a hard-to-find example in good working order; 12” h.

 An extremely rare example, beautiful lithography covers all sides of this flying motorcycle and is matched in detail by that of the original box lid, includes a very hard to find original spaceman figure,12” l; $7,200.

An extremely rare example, beautiful lithography covers all sides of this flying motorcycle and is matched in detail by that of the original box lid, includes a very hard to find original spaceman figure,12” l; $7,200.

 A desirable example of a large-scale horse-drawn toy, hard to find P&L coloration example, 27” l; $14,400.

A desirable example of a large-scale horse-drawn toy, hard to find P&L coloration example, 27” l; $14,400.