On The Square

Lionels and Toy-gers and Banks, Oh my!

By Jessica Helen Weinberg

Nov 27,2016 | 17:00 EST

There is a likely chance that in the attic of every home a box has been laying in dust for a generation or two, or three. Think of your attic door like a regularly ignored gateway. Now, take a moment to picture yourself staring at it, what’s up there again? a subconscious voice inquires. Simply gazing at the cutout in the ceiling won’t give an inch of a hint but we might have time for a look, curiosity responds. Lets unhitch the portal, drag down those foldable stairs and stretch ourselves upwards into the attic of our childhood. Shapes begin to materialize out of shadows; tupperware bins, blanketed furniture, foggy mirrors, obsolete electronics and half opened containers. In between delicate photographs and 1980’s video cassettes, you notice a fimiliar, plastic hand reaching out and immediately unearth it, alas! an old friend has been rescued! Toy nostalgia is similar to the indistinct umami flavor; mixed emotions welcome a stir of harmonious sensations. I imagine, for this reason, that antique toy collectors are the ones smiling the most. The childlike affection transferred by humorous mechanical banks, retro train sets, vintage dollhouses and brave action figures is like catching the smell of homemade chicken soup right under your nose. 

Pook & Pook Inc. with Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions LTD, are teaming up on December 2nd and December 3rd for a two part Toy, Trains, Vintage Advertising, Carousel & Theater Fixtures auction, igniting a youthful spark set by a whimsey of objects. We’ve selected a few attractions from the sale…

French Epicerie painted kitchen cupboard with a bank of twenty spice and food drawers, Estimate $400 - $600, Lot 97

There is something about this tiny cupboard that makes me want to go home and rearrange my spices! Lined with all of the fixings needed to whip up an aromatic marinade, this French Epicerie [Lot 97] has an impressive stock of pristine groceries, kitchen machinery and labled condiments. The post-meal clean up is effortless!

Lionel standard gauge Blue Comet nickel trim passenger train set, Estimate $6,000 - $9,000, Lot 722

The standard Blue Comet [Lot 722] nickel trim passenger transit by Lionel, accompanied by the correct individual numbered car-boxes, is a shining star in the vintage train universe. Lionel Trains, founded in 1900 by Joshua Lionel Cowen, produced detailed and durable train sets that reflected the prestige and technological sophistication of the early American railroad. The real New Jersey Central Blue Comet ran from 1929 to 1941 as a luxurious method of travel to and from Atlantic City, a traveling experience which Mr. Lionel frequented and deeply admired! 

Scarce Cooperative Wholesale Society tin lithograph advertising biscuit truck for Crumpsall Cream Crackers with battery operated lights, Estimate $800-$1,200, Lot 283 

Beep beep! Biscuits coming through! This 1930’s style, Crumpsall Cream Crackers delivery truck [Lot 283] with battery operated headlights, used to be a factory tour freebie, containing samples for leaving visitors at the Co-operative Wholesale Society in Manchester, England. This lovable antique, cracker truck, displays flavor advertisements along the top, some of which would have been packed passengers, ready to ride onto the dinner table!

Left to Right: Boot and Shoe Maker painted tin trade sign, late 19th c., double-sided, Estimate $800 - $1,200, Lot 584 ; Stylish Footwear Rush Bros. Millinocket (Maine) painted tin trade sign, Estimate $600 - $800, Lot 585; Boot and shoe Maker painted pine trade sign, double-sided, with shoe and boot silhouettes $1,500 - $2,000, Lot 583

Everyone loves a good pair of boots, especially if they never go out of style! These antique shoe maker signs are zipped to the knee in calligraphic coolness. Storefront advertisements, that would have lined small town streets, can now hang like an authentic "art and sole" living room installation. 

Gustave Dentzell carved and painted outside row standard carousel horse, ca. 1905, Estimate $8,000 - $12,000, Lot 526

Gustave Dentzells, skillfully carved, carousel fixture [Lot 526] may have retired, long ago, from the riding circuit but its stylish, eagle backed saddle and “sweet faced” expression has plenty of horse power. Complete with the original polychrome decorated surface, black tail and lifted front hoof, its lifelike attraction would have captured the imagination of any cotton candy eating occupant. 

Painted metal deep sea diver figure, probably Bing, to include the original axe, Estimate $400 - $600, Lot 282

This masked deep-sea diver [Lot 282] equipped with a glass domed light and diving line would have been the perfect companion for an avid 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea reader or aspiring marine biologist. In 1950s graphic novels, aquatic astronauts like this explored the oceanic abyss and collided with unusual creatures that dwelled in bottom-less canyons and fields of alien coral reef!

To see more from the upcoming auction, browse the catalogs here. [Day one, December 2, 2016Day two, December 3, 2016