WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – Early trains, German tin windups, cast-iron banks and just about every other category of interest to today’s toy collectors gathered under one roof in suburban Cleveland on April 14 for Milestone Auctions’ 826-lot Spring Spectacular. Most of the consignments came directly from estates or private collections. With all forms of bidding available, there was strong overseas competition, with Internet and phone participants from no fewer than 10 countries. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
“What we offered was a very nice selection of the types of toys everyone likes. We cater to mid-level as well as advanced collectors,” said Milestone Auctions co-owner Miles King. “There were around 4,000 registered bidders, with many from Europe and Japan. The international market for toys is pretty strong right now, in my opinion. Prices were very steady across the board.”
The sale was flush with excellent trains, including boxed sets and accessories by Marklin, Bing, Ives and many other respected brands. A rare 1932 Lionel #177 Scenic Railway store display (above) finished as top lot of the sale. All original and measuring 78 by 57 inches, it sped to $12,000 against an estimate of $10,000-$15,000. An American Flyer Presidential train reached $2,160. All prices quoted in this report included a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
King noted that the train descriptions in the April 14 auction catalog were much more detailed than in the past, a point that did not go unnoticed by collectors.
“A specialist cataloged the trains and wrote the descriptions. It paid off for us. There were far fewer train questions to answer before the sale, and we feel that the improved descriptions contributed to a 50 percent increase in hammer prices. We were extremely pleased,” King said.
A 13-inch windup Marx U-Drive-It Car, all original down to the string with ball used to guide the vehicle, was offered with its original pictorial box with early Marx logo. Neither Miles King nor Milestone co-owner Chris Sammet had ever seen another example of the toy. With rarity and condition on its side, it rose to $1,260.
Also selling for $1,260 was a Logging Skagit Loader made by All American Toy Co. of Salem, Oregon. All original, it was impressively sized for realistic play, with an 18-inch base and 32-inch boom.
Holiday antiques made a strong showing on auction day. A rare 25-inch German clockwork Easter rabbit with glass eyes and teeth, dressed patriotically as Uncle Sam, was bid to $4,920. An equally scarce 22-inch mohair-bearded German Santa Claus candy container in a white mohair robe followed closely behind. It sold through LiveAuctioneers for $4,690.
Another category that proved popular with bidders was cast-iron automotive. A green 1930s Hubley Indian four-cylinder motorcycle with a fully “outfitted” driver, complete with cap and goggles, finished its run at $1,440.
A 5½-inch scale-model K&O (Japan) outboard motor impressed bidders at $1,020.
On May 5, Milestone will conduct an auction of 700-plus lots of dolls, toys and trains, with all forms of bidding available including absentee and live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers. For additional information or to discuss consigning to a Milestone auction, call 440-527-8060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.