COLOGNE, Germany – From the scientific to the surreal, Auction Team Breker’s May 25-26, 2018 technology auction offers something for every collector’s cabinet. Highlights include a significant single-owner section of monocular opera glasses from the 18th-20th century. Ingenuity and craftmanship combine in over 80 examples with gold, precious stones and enamel. Estimates range from $250 to $19,000.
Opera Glasses to Sailing Toys
Also showcased are early analytical instruments. The offerings include the Wilson-type pocket microscope ($1,750-$2,300) and an English Culpeper-type microscope by John Bleuler ($2,300-$3,500). This fine private collection provides an intimate look at medicine in Victorian England with trepanning and amputation sets by S. Maw, Son & Thompson ($1,200-$1,750).
Condition and rarity act as multipliers in the field of office antiques. Calculators from the first serial production number Thomas de Colmar’s 1870 “Arithmomètre” in an ebony presentation case ($2,300-$3,500) and a scarce roll-top “Saxonia” by Schumann & Co. of Glashütte ($2,900-$4,700). A stylish “Thürey” typewriter from Cologne makes a handsome companion for the writing desk ($17,600-$29,000).
Breker will also be opening the toy chest on a wonderful assortment of antique playthings from select European private collections. Model boats are especially well represented as the auction includes a fleet of fine German tin ships. At the vanguard is a superior example of the Fürst Bismark. Also, it is the largest toy battleship in Gebrüder Bing’s 1909 catalogue ($37,000-$49,000).
Trains, Trains, Trains
No toy chest would be complete without its trains. The earliest in the auction is a precision-built electric demonstration model from the 1880s, probably English. In addition, it features a folding mahogany track-bed and matching travelling case ($6,000-$10,000).
Air travel includes a Märklin “Ju52” kit aeroplane from the mid-thirties ($2,200-$3,000). Also, an enchanting “Aubade à la Lune” automaton by Gustave Vichy ($22,000-$25,000). The moon was a popular motif in 19th century popular culture, inspiring oeuvres as diverse as musical theatre, advertising for Brooke’s Soap and an iconic silent movie by Georges Méliès. Furthermore, Pierrot is depicted sitting on the tip of a personified crescent moon, whom he serenades with his mandolin.