VINELAND, N.J. – Exhibiting all the “bells and whistles” collectors yearn for, a circa-1912 Marklin live-steam fire pumper blazed to the top of prices realized in Bertoia Auctions’ Sept. 25-26 sale of the Donald Kaufman antique toy collection, part II, achieving $149,500 (inclusive of 15% buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $40,000-$50,000. An exciting event that drew scores of overseas buyers, the 1,129-lot auction concluded with a gross that brushed the $3 million mark.
The top lot, considered by many German toy experts to be the ultimate in Marklin craftsmanship, was a masterpiece in detail, from its bright, hand-painted open frame with exposed boiler to its intricate gear work. Fewer than five examples of the 18-inch-long prize are known to exist. The one offered at Bertoia’s will now reside in Europe.
Online bidding through LiveAuctioneers was busy throughout the two days of the sale, with 155 lots selling online. Among them was a circa-1930s cast-iron Hubley Flower Shoppe Indian motorcycle delivery van. Attributed as a private-commission example, it retained its custom “Flower Shoppe Inc.” paper label, seated driver in brown uniform, rubber tires and nickel spoke wheels. Formerly in the L.C. Hegarty collection, the 10½-inch-long rarity cruised to an online price of $38,560.
Estimated at $4,000-$6,000, a futuristic 1950s Yonezawa (Japan) Atom Jet Racer, 26½ inches long, with colorful original box, was claimed by a LiveAuctioneers bidder for $22,895.
Bertoia Auctions’ owner, Jeanne Bertoia, commented on the outstanding result: “Bridging the $3 million mark and topping the high catalog estimate, the Sept. 25-26 sale proved that great collections and great presentations trump any economic forecasting,” she said.
Part III of the ongoing series of auctions exclusively featuring the Donald Kaufman collection will take place on April 9-10, 2010. The series of semiannual sales is expected to span two years or more.
View the fully illustrated catalog for the Sept. 25-26 auction, with prices realized, online at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE