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All aboard for toy trains at Bertoia Auctions, April 21

toy train
Lionel standard gauge Blue Comet set with 19-inch locomotive. Estimate $2,000-$4,000

VINELAND, N.J. – Last year antique toy collectors worldwide had two very special opportunities to acquire trains and toys from the 50-year collection of the late businessman, civic leader and humanitarian Paul Cole. Bertoia’s May 21-22, 2021 and October 15-16, 2021 sessions exclusively featuring Parts I and II of Paul’s collection tallied $4.4 million, with record prices paid for prized Marklin productions. On April 21, 2022, Bertoia’s will issue a boarding call to collectors as they auction the third and final grouping of exceptional American and European trains from Paul’s legendary holdings. In addition, the sale will include European tin wind-ups, American tin, cast-iron automotive, horse-drawn and bell toys; and diminutive penny toys – all from Paul’s personal collection.

toy train
Issmayer vis-a-vis roundabout, attributed to Gunthermann. Pictured in Peter Ottenheimer’s classic reference book ‘Toy Autos 1890-1939.’ Estimate $1,000-$2,000

Third and final sale of the Paul Cole series also includes cast-iron and tin toys, penny toys and more

Amassed over a period of more than 50 years, Paul’s train collection was known and respected on both sides of the Atlantic. “Paul had an eye for authenticity and quality, and he enjoyed creating layouts that were realistically accessorized with train stations, outbuildings, bridges, signs and figures,” said Michael Bertoia, president of Bertoia Auctions. “Everything he owned was in very nice condition, whether it was a hand-painted Marklin advertising car like the one we sold in October for over $50,000, or a simple accessory.”

Many Lionel selections will be available in the April 21 session, including a 16-inch dual-motor 408E passenger set, estimate $800-$1,600; a 13-inch 250E Hiawatha passenger set, $750-$1,500; a 17-inch-long set with a 381E locomotive, $700-$1,400; a 265E Streamliner passenger set with a 9.5-inch locomotive, $500-$1,000; and a #5 locomotive with 10 Series cars, $500-$1,000.

toy train
Lionel standard gauge dual-motor 408E passenger train set. Estimate $1,000-$2,000

An American Carlisle & Finch mining train set is expected to make $500-$1,000. A Metzel American Flyer “Chicago” set carries a similar estimate.

A popular comic character crossover set, Lionel’s Mickey Mouse Circus Train is entered with a $600-$1,200 estimate. Along similar lines, the collection includes a number of handcars and railcars. They include two boxed Wells-o-London 7-inch Mickey Mouse handcars, $600-$1,200 each; a boxed Lionel Donald Duck rail car #1107, $400-$800; a boxed Marx Popeye handcar, $300-$600; a boxed Marx Moon Mullins & Kayo handcar, $300-$600; and a celluloid Henry & Henrietta rail car. Extremely rare and possibly the only surviving example of its type, this toy was formerly in the Carl Lobel collection and comes to auction with a $400-$800 estimate.

toy train
Brimtoy Mickey Mouse Handcar with figures of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Retains track and original box. Estimate $600-$1,200


As was the case with Parts I and II, a portion of the proceeds from the last auction in the series will benefit the Paul and Carol Cole Foundation, which assists nonprofit organizations in the Coles’ hometown of Bluefield, West Virginia.

Bertoia Auctions encourages collectors to visit the fully illustrated catalog online to view the many exceptional toys and trains to be sold during the third and final installment of the Paul Cole collection on April 21, 2022. Bid absentee or live online through Liveauctioneers. For additional information on any item in the auction, call 856-692-1881, email

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