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antique toys

Antique toys are on a roll at Milestone Auctions, with a fresh offering on Sept. 24

antique toys
Kingsbury pressed-steel clockwork wrecker truck, 13in long, all original, very hard-to-find toy. Excellent condition. Estimate $1,000-$1,500

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – If anyone wondered whether new collectors were still entering the antique toy hobby or not, they got their answer last spring when Milestone Auctions closed the books on their headline-making Antique Toy Spectacular. Toy fans worldwide are still buzzing about the Popeye and Olive Oyl Tank that brought a record $105,000 at that sale. On September 24, Milestone will roll out a fresh offering of outstanding vintage toys from the Mark Smith Collection, with high-quality additions from other consignors.

Mark Smith collection of rare automotive and other vintage toys is joined by select additional consignments

The 755-lot auction includes virtually all of the most desired categories, including: motorcycles, racers, Japanese tin friction sports cars, American cast-iron, tin and pressed-steel vehicles (including early Buddy ‘L’ and Keystone productions); German and Japanese postwar battery-op cars, construction, military and character toys; antique and vintage bicycles; and antique pedal cars. Many of the toys retain their crisp and colorful original boxes. The sale also features an impressive lineup of gas-powered tether racers, cast-iron mechanical banks, trains, a large fleet of boats (many boxed), several steam engines, Britains soldiers, and for robot fans, a coveted Marx Big Loo.

“If there’s one term that appears consistently in the catalog descriptions, it’s ‘all original,’” said Milestone co-owner Miles King. “And that applies to even the earliest of items, like the pedal cars and bicycles. I think collectors are going to be very pleased.”

antique toys
Bandai tin battery-operated Ferrari gear-shift car, 10½in long, all original and in working order with original pictorial box. Excellent condition. Estimate $200-$400

A multitude of buying opportunities will be available to those who favor Japanese and German vehicular toys of the 1950s and ’60s, with many of the best brands represented, e.g., Bandai, Marusan, Distler and Marklin. Some of the top Japanese examples include a 10½-inch-long Bandai tin battery-operated Ferrari gear-shift car, which is in working order and has its original box; and a sleek, red SSS tin friction Mercedes-Benz 300SL convertible, also accompanied by its original pictorial box. Both toys are in fully original condition and carry individual estimates of $200-$400.

Fourteen Distler cars replicating Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar models are led by a boxed, battery-operated Electro Matic 7500 Porsche. It is all original and complete, with a clean battery box. Estimate: $300-$500.

antique toys
SSS tin friction Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, 9in long, all original and like new with original pictorial box. Estimate $200-$400

More than a dozen elusive gas-powered tether racers will be offered. They’re sure to attract strong interest because of the specialty’s widespread and loyal following. “In the early days of the hobby, before such cars were raced on tracks, they would be raced one at a time while tethered to a pole, hence the name ‘tether racers,’” Miles King explained. “These cars are real thrillers. Racing them is about as close as you can get to feeling like you’re a professional driver without actually being behind the wheel.”

antique toys
Hiller Comet gas-powered tether racer with original paint, motor and Hiller Comet decal, 18in long. Very nice original example. Estimate $1,000-$1,500

The selection includes examples at a variety of price points. An original 21-inch-long silver Duesenberg #7 gas-powered tether racer in wonderful original condition, complete with its engine, is estimated at $4,000-$6,000. An 18-inch-long Hiller Comet gas-powered tether racer with original paint, motor and correct Hiller Comet decal is expected to reach the $1,000-$1,500 range at auction.

antique toys
Duesenberg silver No. 7 gas-powered tether racer in wonderful original condition, complete with engine, 21in long. Great original example. Estimate $4,000-$6,000

Pressed steel collectors are in for a treat. More than two dozen toys made by the legendary Keene, New Hampshire, manufacturer Kingsbury are included in the auction. There are roadsters, town cars, limousines, racers, fire trucks and more. An especially hard-to-find Kingsbury clockwork wrecker (shown at top of page) in all original condition, finished in an eye-catching orange-and-black color scheme, is expected to make $1,000-$1,500.

antique toys
American National Deluxe Coupe pedal car, luxury version with opening doors, sliding windows, interior upholstery and curtains. Top-of-the-line model in its day and worthy of any museum’s collection. Length: 68 inches. Estimate $20,000-$40,000

One of the highlight categories of the sale is pedal cars and other pedal vehicles, e.g., airplane, tractor, etc. Leading the lineup is a posh American National Deluxe Coupe pedal car. “This particular pedal car was a top-of-the-line luxury model in its day. It would only have been driven by a child from a very wealthy family,” King observed. “It has opening doors, sliding windows, a dashboard with simulated gauges, and interior upholstery and curtains.” Measuring 68 inches long, it is estimated at $20,000-$40,000. Another noteworthy entry is a rare, early, all-original Gendron chain-drive pedal car with a steel body and wood radiator, tires and frame. It even retains its Gendron Wheel Co factory decal. Pre-sale estimate: $8,000-$12,000

antique toys
Rare and early all-original Gendron 50-inch-long chain-drive pedal car with steel body and wood radiator, tires and frame. Retains original paint and Gendron Wheel Co decal. Estimate $8,000-$12,000

Recalling the days when transportation was on two wheels, Milestone will present 10 antique and vintage bicycles, including two great rarities made by Fowler, a subsidiary of Hill Manufacturing Co, Chicago. An extremely rare 1890s racing bicycle known as “The Fowler” is in 100% original condition with a Fowler truss frame, under-slung handlebars, a leather and wicker-insert seat; and even a leather tool box. Its original black paint is adorned with gold Victorian-style accents. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000.

antique toys
Extremely rare 1890s ‘The Fowler’ racing bicycle in 100% original condition with Fowler truss frame, under-slung handlebars, leather and wicker-insert seat; leather tool box, and many other fine features. Original black paint with gold Victorian-style accents. Estimate $4,000-$6,000

Fowler also produced ladies’ models, like the auction’s rare 1890s bicycle in beautiful 100% original condition. It has a Fowler truss frame, leather seat with a wicker insert, cork grips, and a wood chain guard, rims and rear fender. Estimate: $2,000-$4,000

antique toys
Rare 1890s ‘The Fowler’ ladies’ bicycle in beautiful 100% original condition Fowler truss frame, leather seat with wicker insert, wood chain guard, rims and rear fender; cork grips and many other fine features. Estimate $2,000-$4,000

There is much more to discover in Milestone’s September 24 auction featuring the Mark Smith toy collection, which will start at 10 a.m. ET on both days. Bid absentee and live online through LiveAuctioneers. For additional information on any item in the sale, call 440-527-8060 or email

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