Skip to main content

Final Schroeder Toy Auction Brings $550,000 at Bertoia's

The impressive Aaron and Abby Schroeder collection of toys, mechanical banks and rarities realized $6.25 million in three separate auction events at Bertoia's.
Bull & Bear cast-iron mechanical bank

Bull & Bear cast-iron mechanical bank, Mark Haber 1950s second casting of a bank originally manufactured by J & E Stevens. Sold for $7,800 during the Aaron and Abby Schroeder collection event at Bertoia's.

VINELAND, N.J. – After the toy community had the excitement of bidding on treasures from the 60-year Aaron and Abby Schroeder collection in March and September 2021, only one question remained: was there more? Indeed, there was.

With a heady $5.7 million subtotal from last year’s events as its foundation, the third and final installment put the exclamation point on the series. On October 14, Bertoia’s presented “Abby’s Attic Finds,” a 500-lot discovery selection that added another $550,000 to boost the grand total of the collection at $6.25 million.

Proceeds from 100 of the October sale’s lots were earmarked to benefit the Entertainment Community Fund (ECF), a cause close to Abby and the late Aaron Schroeder’s hearts.

The toys had been donated by the Schroeders to the American Museum of Antique Toys in the early 1980s; now they would generate a hefty contribution to a deserving nonprofit. In the spirit of charity, Bertoia’s also waived its commission so ECF could receive the full proceeds earned by the “museum” toys.

Roller Skating cast-iron mechanical bank

Kyser & Rex (Philadelphia) Roller Skating cast-iron mechanical bank, excellent condition retaining bright original paint colors. Sold for $24,000.

More than 150 mechanical and still banks, early clockwork and paper-lithographed toys, candy containers, European tin toys, horse-drawn pieces and other rarities were offered at the auction. The top lot of the day was a Kyser & Rex cast-iron Roller Skating mechanical bank in excellent condition. It easily swept past its $12,000-$18,000 estimate to reach $24,000. Also popular, a 1950s Mark Haber second-casting of a J & E Stevens Bull & Bear mechanical bank sold for an above-estimate $7,800.

Ives clockwork alligator

Ives clockwork alligator, patented 1875, 21 inches long, pristine with rare original box. Sold for $14,400.

Highlights from the perennially popular early American tin category included a 21-inch-long Ives clockwork alligator (patented 1875), pristine with its original box, $14,400 against a $5,000-$7,500 estimate; and an Althof Bergmann Mechanical Circus Rider clockwork hoop toy with the original figure and hoop, $6,000 against an estimate of $2,500-$4,500.

Althof Bergmann Mechanical Circus Rider clockwork hoop toy

Althof Bergmann Mechanical Circus Rider clockwork hoop toy, 9 inches, 1871 patent date stenciled on outside of hoop. Sold for $6,000.

Another American toy that outperformed was a colorful George Brown clockwork locomotive with the unlikely name “CUBA” stenciled on its boiler. It rose to $4,800 (est. $1,500-$2,500).

George Brown clockwork tin locomotive

George Brown clockwork tin locomotive, 10 inches long, stenciled on boiler with the name ‘CUBA.’ Sold for $4,800.

Equine toys found favor with bidders. A circa-1900 Ride Around the Carousel toy, with tinplate horses and riders capable of rotating if connected to a steam engine or other power source, entered the winners circle at $6,600 (est. $400-$600).

Ride Around the Carousel

Circa-1900 Ride Around the Carousel, tinplate, with mounted horse-and-rider toys that rotate if connected to steam or other power source. Sold for $6,600.

A Merriam 8-inch tin horse on wheels trotted out the door for $3,600 (est. $800-$1,200), with an elegant 19-inch Hull & Stafford horse-drawn carriage keeping right in step and also selling for $3,600.

Merriam tin hose on wheels

Merriam tin hose on wheels, 8 inches, the largest of a series that included three sizes. Sold for $3,600

Hull & Stafford horse-drawn carriage

Large Hull & Stafford horse-drawn carriage, 19 inches long. Sold for $3,600.

Opening the auction as Lot 1 and ultimately leading the parade of European toys and novelties, a 25-inch-high Electric Sailor coin-operated arcade game presented in excellent condition with all-original paint. Made in Germany for the British market, the sailor’s jacket pocket was marked “1d,” meaning one English penny. His abilities included winking each eye and emitting a mild electrical buzzer shock, but his hidden talent turned out to be his charm in the auction room. Against an estimate of $3,000-$5,000, the sailor said “Anchors aweigh” at $8,400.

Electric Sailor arcade stimulator

Electric Sailor arcade stimulator, made in Germany for the British market, 25 inches tall, sold for $8,400.

You May Also Like:

Schroeder Toy and Bank Collection Brings $3 Million

Second Schroeder Toy Auction Nets $2.6 Million

The Most Dangerous Toy Ever