Vineland, NJ - A bidding frenzy by collectors helped a rare toy of Mickey and Minnie Mouse riding a motorcycle set a new record after selling for $222,000 at Bertoia Auctions.
The sale was one of the highlights of the Monique Knowlton Collection that brought in a total of $2.16 million over a two-day sale, March 11-12; all of the more than 600 lots offered sold. As a former international fashion model who knows the importance of aesthetics, Knowlton also applied her well-cultivated eye for quality and perfection to her antique toy collection, which emphasized condition and rarity, and included outstanding examples of comic character toys, German autos and cycles, Japanese toys, cars, and robots, American toys and more.
The Mickey and Minnie motorcycle by Tippco, circa 1932, shattered its pre-sale estimate of $25,000-$45,000 to reach its record price, which includes buyer's premium. Bertoia said the motorcycle is the most desirable of the German toys from this period because of its crossover appeal to motorcycle and Disney collectors, its robust size and edgy design. Mickey and Minnie have big teeth and five fingers on each hand, which only the earliest of the German toy makers were able to represent Disney's characters in this way. The toy also has excellent provenance: it went from the Wengel Collection to the Donald Kaufman Collection to Knowlton, who acquired it for $65,500 in 2010. Bertoia last sold the toy in 2014 for $56,050.
Other big sellers that collectors clamored for include the battery-operated Masudaya (Japan) Machine Man Robot, the rarest of the famed "Gang of Five" robot series, which sold for $72,000; a Bandai Flying Spaceman Superman Cycle, with original box, that sold for $57,600; a Guntherman Felix the Cat lithographed action windup rotating merry-go-round that sold for $52,800 and was the highest lot of many featuring the cat; an extremely rare and desirable Fischer Father Christmas Car, Germany, circa 1912, with exceptional lithography that sold for $43,200; and another Felix and Cat toy that is one of the few known to exist and coveted by collectors: a 1926-27 J. Chein Felix Frolic that sold for $38,400, soaring way past its estimate of $12,000-$18,000.