Pook & Pook’s final in-house auction of the 2018 calendar year, and their latest in partnership with acclaimed antique toy expert Noel Barrett, was a great success. The Antique Toy Auction was a two-day event, held Friday December 7th and Saturday December 8th and was marked with high interest in the week preview before the sale, resulting in a total sale value of $620,000. All said 949 bidders from twenty different countries were registered for the sale. With over 750 lots crossing the block over the weekend, the sale was diverse in its offerings and included a little something for every collector.
The sale began on Friday evening, with a collection of whimsical and amusing trade signs. Bidders were hot for a painted giltwood pretzel, more than quadrupling its high estimate to settle at $2,440. A painted pine butcher meat clever realized $2,074, and optometry signs were quite eye-catching, with two examples reaching $1,586 and $1,342. Early in the sale, a 19th c. English painted tin and wood horse-drawn royal carriage model had bidders racing to the top, ultimately selling for $4,148. Next, the exceptional salesman sample horse-drawn walking plow “plowed” through its high estimate of $1,500 to command $7,930. Extraordinary pieces of cast iron saw high numbers too, with a scarce Vindex cast iron Fokker airplane taking off to its new home in Hong Kong, earning $3,416. A Hubley cast iron Santa and reindeer sleigh saw special interest just in time for Christmas, with a $1,220 result. Cast iron fire toys were well represented in this sale, with a number of items selling in succession to double or quadruple their high estimates. Impressive results include a Dent horse-drawn hose reel ($3,904), a Carpenter horse-drawn ladder wagon ($2,318), a Carpenter Fire Patrol wagon ($3,127) and a Carpenter fire pumper ($3,660). Cast iron animated cap guns inspired those with fond childhood memories. A total of seven lots were offered with the highest selling lot achieving $1,708.
Closing out day one of the sale was an assortment of dolls, doll houses, miniatures, and room boxes. An elaborate Georgian dining room, attributed to Robert Bernhard, was a magnet for bids. The impressively detailed room box boasted inlaid parquet floors, lithographed paneled wallpaper, a crystal chandelier, and was exquisitely furnished with Chippendale style furniture. Citing provenance from the Carolyn Sunstein Collection, the lot was finally hammered down at $3,416. A lovely French Francois Gaultier fashion doll, toting fabulous accessories and her own doll trunk, was carried off to her new home with a $2,928 price tag. Milliner’s dolls were highly sought-after, with two special examples achieving extraordinary results. An elegant wooden example with a petticoat and wire lobster tail reached $3,172 and a papier-mâché example with a striking Apollo knot hairstyle reached $1,098.
Bidders were back and buzzing for day two, with clockwork toys commanding high bids. Perhaps the most visually striking clockwork toy to cross the block on Saturday was the Roullet & Decamps tiger. The exceptionally realistic fabric covered tiger balances on a wooden ball and when wound, nods his head and opens his mouth. In excellent condition, the tiger more than doubled his high estimate of $6,000 and was hammered down at $14,640. Other noteworthy clockwork toys include the scarce German tin lithograph Rolling Rufus ($2,074), the French painted tin bicycle race toy ($4,636), the Orobr Bleriot style painted tin airplane ($1,952), and the Gunthermann painted tin running dog with rabbit ($2,684). A French painted tin clockwork train chugged along full steam ahead, and surpassed its $600 high estimate to reach $4,148. An exceptional large Carette tinplate clockwork limousine stunned bidders with its $14,640 hammer price.
Day two of the sale included steam toy accessories, with nearly 300 lots from a single-owner consignment crossing the block full steam ahead. The extensive collection was from consignor Morton A. Hirschberg, who is credited with literally writing the book on steam toy accessories, Steam Toys: A Symphony in Motion (Schiffer, 1996). The very first example to be offered, a German airplane ride toy, tripled its high estimate to sell for $1,830. Impressive results were plentiful for steam toys, and included the Wilhelm Krauss flying dirigible toy ($2,196), the Bing deluxe roller coaster toy ($5,612), the unusual drumming frog toy ($2,318), and the scarce tin motorcycle race toy ($4,148). Of special note is the top selling lot of day two, the 17” Doll & Cie painted tin Ferris wheel steam toy, twirling to a remarkable $21,960.
Also passing over the block on Saturday were a few quirky characters. These included the Marx battery-operated Big Loo Giant Moon Robot, with a goofy grin and his original box bringing a stunning result of $1,464. A crowd favorite, the electrified animated Oscar the Grouch store display, featuring Sesame Street’s famous green grump arising from his dirty domicle was a steal at $793. The end of the sale saw impressive results on Buddy L toys, including the pressed steel flivver pick-up ($1,342) and the pressed steel Ice Delivery truck ($2,440). Finally, pulling into the station as the final lot of the sale, was a Lionel seven-piece train set, which was won by a phone bidder for $1,708.
Pook & Pook & Noel Barrett’s next Antique Toy Auction will be an Online Only sale, to be held Saturday, February 9th 2019 at 9am. Exhibition for the sale will be available from Wednesday, February 6th through Friday, February 8th, from 10am-4pm. Bidding for this sale will be available through bidsquare.com. Pook & Barrett’s next catalog Antique Toy sale is slated for Spring 2019.
By Pook & Pook, Inc. With Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions LTD
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