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Marklin clockwork riverboat may cruise to $20K

Cast-iron toys, vintage dioramas, dolls, and clockwork toys are lining up to come before bidders Sept. 15 through a joint auction of Pook & Pook and Noel Barrett.

DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. – Pook & Pook and Noel Barrett will jointly host a treasure-filled auction of American and European antique tin toys, trains, clockwork devices, dollhouses and vintage objects of interest on Friday, Sept. 15. The 500-lot sale will take place at the Pook & Pook gallery in Downingtown, Pa. (suburban Philadelphia), with all forms of bidding available, including absentee and live via the Internet through Bidsquare or LiveAuctioneers.

Revered Collections Up For Bid

Marklin clockwork riverboat

Marklin 'Jolanda' painted-tin clockwork riverboat, measures 29 inches long, early 19th century ($15,000-$20,000). (All photos courtesy Pook & Pook/Noel Barrett

Several advanced collections are among the features. The selection includes the Stephen Sachs cast-iron toy collection (Part II). Book examples of Kenton automotive toys from the Bill and Stevie Weart collection also appear. The Sachs consignment includes airplanes, Vindex farm toys, and motorcycles. Taking the spotlight alongside the 20th-century cast-iron toys is a significant grouping of horse-drawn pieces from a Pennsylvania collector. The eclectic offering includes dollhouses, outfitted room boxes, and dollhouse miniatures. A group of artist dolls and marionettes also is on offer. Baranger Studios animated jewelry store displays and a collection of Christmas toys and decorations also on offer.

The ultimate in German toy manufacturers is Marklin. The Sept. 15 auction includes a beautifully accessorized Marklin craft that’s sure to please nautically minded collectors. The 29-inch painted-tin clockwork riverboat 'Jolanda' is in an original condition. Retaining its factory anchor, wheeled cradle and painted-tin American Flag, it comes to auction straight from the first owner’s family. Its pre-sale estimate is $15,000-$20,000.

European Toys Make Appearance

Another brand favored by connoisseurs of European antique toys is Carette. Leading the Carette parade is a #2350 clockwork 0 gauge passenger train set. Comprising an English-profile 4-4-0 locomotive with correct matching tender, postal/baggage car and passenger coach, this train model was depicted in a 1907 toy, train and steam catalog issued by Georges Carette & Cie. Estimate: $15,000-$18,000

An example of Lehmann’s clockwork tin “Mandarin” is elevated to an even higher level of condition. It comes to auction with its original pictorial box and two background scenery panels. It comes from the original owner, and the ultra-desirable German-made toy may make $3,000 to $4,000. Another European treat is a rare German painted-tin hot air balloon with a jointed trapeze artist figure. It will cross the auction block with a $2,000-$4,000 estimate.

Cast-Iron Offerings Set to Cruise

A comprehensive array of cast-iron toys runs the gamut of transportation, from Hubley motorcycles

Cast-iron cement mixer toy

Kenton cast-iron Jaeger cement mixer toy with a nickel-plated revolving drum, measures 7 inches long, with original box. ($1,000-$1,500).

of various forms – including an Indian Traffic Car, $600-$800 – to a fleet of Arcade Yellow Cabs, moving vans and delivery trucks. The auction hangar showcases cast-iron airplanes by Dent, Kilgore and Hubley; while a number of scarce Kenton cars and trucks from the Bill and Stevie Weart collection are also lined up and ready for their close-ups.

The supply of European automotive toys boasts some real beauties, including a JEP Hispano-Suiza touring car, $800-$1,200; a French hand-built T35 Bugatti model race car, and a stylish 12¼-inch Carette open touring car with the original chauffeur and passenger figures, $1,500-$2,000.

Adjectives are in short supply when describing the marvelous detail seen in a 38-inch-wide by 20-inch-deep diorama of a German town. Translations of its various Dresden scrap-decorated signs indicate the display is to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Frederich I, Grand Duke of Baden (1826-1907), and his grand duchess, Princess Louise of Prussia, in 1906. The town contains lithographed card-stock buildings, bridges, people, rivers, and trees, with beaded pin and garland decoration. An incredible display housed in a period glass and wood case with hinged lid, it is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.

Uncle Sam's Regulators Represent 

Other highlights in the lithographed-paper category include a Theatre Francais consisting of a highly decorative stage with a cast of dozens, a W.S. Reed set of “Uncle Sam’s Regulars” toy soldiers, lithographed battleship, and an Art Deco 3-D Empire State Building puzzle with original box and brochure. Early optical toys include a French Polyorama Panoptique, and a Milton Bradley “Whirligig of Life” animated praxinoscope.

A virtual neighborhood of fine architectural examples includes several dollhouses, Christmas garden houses, and a circa-1900 German kitchen attributed to Christian Hacker and brimming with crockery, cookware, canisters and other culinary accessories, as well as three small china dolls. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000. A smaller Christian Hacker kitchen room box with accessories carries a $600-$900 estimate.

1950s Motion Display May See $6,000

Animated electric jewelry store display

Baranger Studios animated electric jewelry store display measures 18 inches by 14 inches ($5,000-$6,000).

Two ever-popular jewelry store motion displays made by Baranger Studios of Pasadena, California, include electric-animated depictions of “The Diamond Cleaners” busily repairing an oversize diamond ring; and a delightful 1950 design titled “The Wooden Soldiers.” Each may see $5,000 to $6,000.

An original marionette of Howdy Doody from the famed 1950s children’s TV show carries an estimate of $12,000 to $16,000. The marionette hails from the show’s prop man and is identical to those appearing on camera. Also in the category are showgirl art dolls by Van Craig, a Bill Baird stick puppet of a gangster, and a faithful replica of Wayland Flowers’ character “Madame.”

For additional information, visit, call 610-269-4040 or email

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