VINELAND, N.J. – “We’re proud of all of our sales, but this one was special,” said Bertoia Auctions owner Jeanne Bertoia, confirming the $2.75 million total for her company’s Nov. 8-10 Christmas Wishes auction. “We had a wonderful turnout, and interest was very strong across the board because of the important collections being auctioned.”
The top slot was occupied by not one, but two imposing Marklin ships, which earned $77,800 apiece. A circa-1912 to 1915 second-series, 34-inch-long Battleship Cincinnati presented with a full complement of deck appointments, including four stacks, four lifeboats, searchlights and guns. Its companion at the top of prices realized was a circa-1909 to 1915 Marklin George Washington, a 37-inch-long clockwork 4-stack ocean liner with several observation decks, a multitude of funnels and numerous lifeboats. All prices quoted in this report are inclusive of 20.5 percent buyer’s premium.
Another important Marklin boat, a circa-1907 to 1912 clockwork luxury yacht Priscilla, featured a canopy-covered passenger area on its upper deck, plus wraparound railing and attractive port and window appointments. The 14-inch beauty more than tripled its high estimate to complete its pleasure cruise at $40,120.
The ultimate crossover toy, blending comic character with motoring, a coveted 1930s Tipp & Co. Mickey and Minnie Mouse on a clockwork motorcycle was expected to realize $25,000-$28,000. Its status as the premier Disney toy brought out the bidders, including one who captured the whimsical mice for $56,050.
A second example of character and transportation coming together in one desirable form, a CK Japan Santa car was described in the auction catalog as being “exceedingly rare ... possibly the only known example.” Depicting Santa at the wheel of an open roadster decorated with images of children and toys, the 7-inch pre-WWII toy ended up closing at $37,760.
A 19-inch German belsnickle depicting Father Christmas with a glass icicle beard in a rich purple robe, holding a feather tree, sold for $20,600 against an estimate of $5,000-$7,000.
An early pull toy comprising a jolly Santa riding in a wood and leather-covered sleigh drawn by four glass-eyed reindeer, measuring an impressive 27 inches in length, closed at $17,700.
Exhibiting Old World charm and an eye-pleasing cream with French blue and crimson color palette, a circa-1912 Carette tinplate limousine with glass windows had its fair share of admirers and ended up fetching $21,240.
A seldom-offered 8 1/2-inch Vindex cast-iron motorcycle with sidecar from a production run of less than two years, painted green with a khaki-color driver and rider, retained its Vindex label on the rear fender. Near Mint, it zipped off to a new owner for $25,960.
Finished in royal blue with yellow, an American-made Boucher #2500 locomotive and passenger train included New York, Chicago, Washington Pullman and San Francisco observation cars. It surpassed its estimate range in reaching a top bid of $25,960. Also highlighting the train section, an American Voltamp #2100 locomotive with B&O tender in light blue with copper domes and brass piping flew past its $2,500-$3,500 estimate to realize $18,880.
Doorstop fans had two large showcases of figural animals, buildings, characters and people from which to choose. Each example had been evaluated by doorstop expert Jeanne Bertoia; many came with provenance from her personal collection, thus adding a premium to their value. The top doorstop lot was an A.M. Greenblatt Studios whimsical dog, copyrighted 1929. In Pristine to Near-Mint condition, it brought $15,340 against an estimate of $800-$1,200.
After the sale, Bertoia Auctions associate Rich Bertoia remarked that there has been an untypically strong buzz in the toy-buying community lately, and not just at auctions.
“At toys shows and antique shows we’ve noticed a level of interest that hasn’t been seen for a number of years. The results of our three-day auction only served to confirm it. At this sale we saw a spike in new bidders through the Internet, absentee and in the gallery. A new wave of collectors is definitely entering the antique toy hobby, and they’ve relit the fire. Forget about kindling, they’re throwing on entire logs, and it’s benefiting everyone involved,” Rich said.
Information on Bertoia Auctions’ 2014 sale dates is available online at www.BertoiaAuctions.com. To contact Bertoia Auctions, call 856-692-1881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.