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Waterville, ME, United States
DoneSat, Mar 12, 2005 2:00 PM GMT

Spring '05 Toy Sale: March 12-13, 2005

Randy Inman’s first sale of 2005, to be held at his Allentown, Pa., gallery March 12-13, features a diverse inventory of 1,100 lots drawn from three strong single-owner collections. “Most of the material is fresh to the marketplace,” said Inman, “and comes from Washington state, Rhode Island and a Florida collector, Rudy Kraft. There’s a very good mix, with some rare pieces in several categories.” Pressed steel is a toy classification with which Inman’s has become closely associated, especially since the company’s blockbuster back-to-back sales of the Buddy ‘L’ Archive, in 2001. The March auction will feature virtually all of the premium brands collectors pursue. Within the Buddy ‘L’ section are a vintage touring bus, tugboat (“in nice, original condition”) and lumber truck. A few of the Buddy ‘L’ lots carry provenance through the aforementioned archive sale. From the maker Keystone, the sale includes a water tower, wrecker and other pieces; and from Sturditoy comes a water tower, as well. Smith-Miller and Steelcraft are well represented, and there are several boxed, like-new examples by Doepke, including a ladder truck and grader. The sale also features a Doepke Jaguar and MG, as well as approximately 20 Metalcraft advertising trucks, including Sunshine Biscuits, Goodrich wrecker and the ever-popular Heinz pickle truck, with original box. Also retaining its box is a Metalcraft Coca-Cola truck, in mint condition and complete with miniature Coke bottles. Six pedal vehicles round out the group, with the highlights being two pedal airplanes, emblazoned U.S. Navy and Airmail. A fine selection of Disney will be offered, including several wood jointed Fun-E-Flex character toys. Among them are a Minnie Mouse, a mint/boxed example of the largest version Fun-E-Flex made of Mickey Mouse, and a Mickey and Minnie in a sleigh pulled by Pluto. More than 100 Disney lots – both prewar and postwar varieties – were acquired through a single Midwestern consignor. Within the diverse group are a Nifty tin Mickey Jazz Drummer, a pair of small, 1930s-vintage Steiff Mickey and Minnie dolls, and a coveted, prewar Japanese celluloid Mickey Cowboy on Pluto with rocker base. Two other highlights in the Disney section are a 1930s American-made Mickey Mouse Brownie movie camera in its colorfully lithographed, extremely rare original box; and a Mickey Mouse nightlight with seldom-seen Mickey bulb. Holding cross-over appeal are four or five lithographed tin sand pails with Disney characters as their subject matter. Approximately 40 mechanical banks have been cataloged, most of them graded in very good to excellent condition. Some of the standout lots include a “very clean” Darktown Battery, Uncle Sam, Bad Accident, Stump Speaker, Always Did ’Spise a Mule, and Lion and Monkey. Tipped as a lot to watch is a rare variation of the Jolly N bank in which the character is a full-figure standing depiction made of pot metal. “This bank almost never comes up for sale,” said Inman. A nice adjunct to the category are the four ephemera lots of late 19th/early 20th century advertising trade cards promoting four different mechanical banks: Eagle and Eaglets, Kicking Mule, Uncle Sam and Jolly N. Between 100-125 lots of still banks and around 30 registering banks have been obtained for the sale from the same collector who consigned the mechanicals. Most of the still banks are figural, and the wide range offers buying opportunities for entry-level enthusiasts and advanced collectors alike. Among them are: Washington, State Bank, Mailbox, a figural key and many that depict animals, buildings and safes. Many boxed examples of popular black-themed toys are offered among the tin windups, such as Charleston Trio, Spic ‘n’ Span, Dapper Dan, Lehmann’s Alabama Coon Jigger and the Amos & Andy Fresh-Air Taxi. Other clockwork tin toys include Sandy Andy, a boxed Ferdinand the Bull and a mint/boxed 7in version of the classic Toonerville Trolley. Leading the cast-iron automotive group are three pieces by Arcade: a Yellow Cab bank, Hathaway Bakery truck and rare Coupe bank with white rubber tires. Also worthy of note are a Hubley Crash Car in “super original condition” and a lineup of all six sizes of the Century of Progress bus. More than 50 slush-cast Dinky and Tootsie Toy lots will be offered, some of them like new in their original boxes. Highlights include a Tootsie Toy Motor Toy set complete with several vehicles, and three exceptional boxed Dinkys: a Toy Auto Carrier, Shell Oil truck and flatbed truck. Ready for playtime are a Marx Gulf Oil tin service station with accessories, a wood Arcade gas station with gas pumps and vehicle lift, and a particularly complete, boxed wood Terminal City bus station with two Arcade Greyhound busses that also retain their own original boxes. “It’s like brand-spanking new,” Inman remarked. Additionally, collectors will have their pick of 12 prewar cast-iron gas pumps and 20 Arcade cast-iron street signs, e.g., Police Department, Don’t Park Here, No Parking, etc. Armchair sailors may choose from approximately 100 boats, ranging from battery ops to outboard motor-equipped models by Lionel, Fleet Line and several other manufacturers. The boats are of many different media, from wood to tin and other metals, including cast iron. Also to be sold are individual lots of toy outboard motors. A fine selection of character wristwatches and pocket watches has been cataloged. Topping the boxed pocket watches is a Three Little Pigs model, complete with fob and all box inserts. Boxed wristwatches are highlighted by models illustrating Hopalong Cassidy, Davy Crockett, Zorro, Cinderella and Mickey Mouse. Two very special inclusions in this section of the sale are an Ingersoll Walt Disney store display, with box, containing 10 different character wristwatches; and a postwar Mickey Mouse easel-back store display with six wristwatches and their original boxes. Both wood and composition character dolls with either cloth or painted-on clothing will be sold, including depictions of Popeye, Howdy Doody, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, Shirley Temple and Buddy Lee. Also consigned are jointed wood toys of Felix the Cat, Moon Mullins, Jiggs and a 5in version of Amos & Andy. An “almost-perfect” 18in Howdy Doody marionette from the 1950s will be available with its original box, as well as a collection of 15 wooden “pop-up” toys and a small grouping of salesman’s sample hats – Stetsons, ladies’ chapeaux, etc. – in their original tin or cardboard containers. Collectors of small novelties are catered to with approximately one dozen dexterity toys and hand puzzles featuring various generic and comic-character themes, such as Popeye the Juggler, Hungry Pup, the Dumb-bells and Atomic Bomb. Also, there is a small group of early pencil sharpeners, some of them novelty and advertising types. An unusual entry is the Wizard model by Automatic Pencil Co., which employs a hand-crank mechanism. Between 15-20 vintage games with original, colorfully lithographed boxes have been included. Leading the classification is an example of Fish Pond and an excellent Wizard of Oz game with all original accessories. Steam engines and steam plants performed particularly well in Inman’s November auction, and the second half of the same collection offered last year will appear in the March sale. Approximately 50 lots have been consigned, from American and European manufacturers including Weeden, Bing and Stewart. The sale inventory is completed with small groupings of horsedrawn cast-iron toys, Lionel trains, Schoenhuts, Cracker Jack premiums, a few lots of Popeye toys, and several battery ops, led by an excellent-condition Champion 98 racer. Randy Inman Auctions’ Spring 2005 sale starts at 10 a.m. both on Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March 13. Preview times are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 11, and 8-10 a.m. on both sale days. The physical address of the auction is 727 Union Boulevard, Allentown, PA 18109-3246. The gallery is located near the intersection of Airport Road, less than two miles from the Lehigh Valley International Airport. There is abundant free parking onsite, and food and beverage service will be available at the indoor lunchroom. Those who cannot attend in person may bid absentee or by phone (please arrange lines in advance), fax or e-mail. Additionally, live Internet bidding will be possible from anywhere in the world through LiveAuctioneers.com in association with eBay Live Auctions. A fully illustrated catalog may be viewed online at www.inmanauctions.com or on the LiveAuctioneers website (www.LiveAuctioneers.com). Full-color printed versions of the catalog are available for $35 postpaid ($55 to overseas addresses). Postal orders to: P.O. Box 726, Waterville, ME 04903, or order through the Inman website: www.inmanauctions.com. To phone or fax Inman Auctions, please note the telephone numbers to use prior to this sale: tel. (207) 453-6444, fax (207) 453- 6663. E-mail: info@inmanauctions.com.