Skip to content
Yonezawa Atom Jet friction racer, estimated at $10,000-$15,000 at Milestone Auctions May 11.

Yonezawa Atom Jet Friction Race Car leads our five lots to watch

Yonezawa Atom Jet Friction Race Car

WILLOUGHBY, OH – Released in 1954, Yonezawa’s Atom Jet friction race car is one of the largest lithographed-tin toys made in postwar Japan for the export market. Measuring nearly 30in in length, the toy rides on rubber tires and has a noise generator when pushed along the floor.

It was accompanied by a plain hinged-lid box with a four-color label pasted on that is almost never found in today’s market, making loose examples more the norm. The design is a combination of elements: a tribute to the Bonneville Salt Flats land-speed record contenders of the early 1950s and the burgeoning robot / space toy market that grew out of American science fiction of the pre- and postwar periods.

Milestone Auctions returns with round two of the Elmer’s Toy Museum liquidation series on Saturday, May 11 and has this example as a star lot. Lacking its original packaging, it nonetheless carries a strong estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

Marion Tuu’luq, Untitled Work on Cloth (Humans and Spirits)

Marion Tuu’luq, ‘Untitled Work on Cloth (Humans and Spirits)’, estimated at CA$15,000-CA$25,000 ($11,000-$18,000) at First Arts Premiers May 9.
Marion Tuu’luq, ‘Untitled Work on Cloth (Humans and Spirits)’, estimated at CA$15,000-CA$25,000 ($11,000-$18,000) at First Arts Premiers May 9.

TORONTO – First Arts Premiers, specialists in First Nations and Native American Indian art, brings Untitled Work on Cloth (Humans and Spirits) by Inuit tribal member Marion Tuu’luq to market Thursday, May 9 as part of its Inuit & First Nations Art sale.

Tuu’luq (1910-2002) favored mixed media and textiles as she interpreted her Inuit heritage in art. She used embroidery thread, felt, and dense woolen fabrics to create contemporary large-scale embroidered textiles.

Originally purchased in a gallery in Winnipeg, Canada, Untitled Work on Cloth (Humans and Spirits) dates to 1988 or 1989 and is made from stroud, felt, embroidery floss, and cotton thread. Vibrant in green, red, yellow, and purple felt, it measures 26.25 by 29.25in. First Arts Premiers estimates the work at CA$15,000-CA$25,000 ($11,000-$18,000).

Circa-1955 Fotal Miniature Camera

Circa-1955 Fotal Miniature Camera, estimated at €7,000-€9,000 ($7,500-$9,500) at Auction Team Breker May 11.
Circa-1955 Fotal Miniature Camera, estimated at €7,000-€9,000 ($7,500-$9,500) at Auction Team Breker May 11.

COLOGNE, Germany – As the German economy in the Allied zones began to rebuild after the devastation of World War II, a number of traditional German trades began to recover first – most notably, optics. What served as superior glass for high-altitude bomber sights became photographic lenses for the burgeoning postwar photography market.

Fabrik Fotografische Apparate (FFA) was based in Lübeck, Western Germany, which was directly on the border of the Communist-controlled eastern zone of Germany, which became known as the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR). Having suffered heavy losses due to Royal Air Force (RAF) bombing runs, FFA rose from the ashes to create numerous consumer camera products.

This round-format Fotal miniature camera is resplendent in a fine red leather finish and can be worn around the neck. It shoots 10 exposures of special 16mm film and features an E. Rau Wetzlar Anastigmat Optar 2.8/20mm lens. A featured lot in Auction Team Breker’s Science and Technology, Mechanical Museum, Photography and Film sale scheduled for Saturday, May 11, the house notes that less than 100 examples of the Fotal were ever produced. Accordingly, the camera is estimated at €7,000-€9,000 ($7,500-$9,500).

Carl Rungius, ‘The Old Man of the Mountains’

Carl Rungius, ‘The Old Man of the Mountains,’ estimated at $120,000-$180,000 at Doyle New York May 15.
Carl Rungius, ‘The Old Man of the Mountains,’ estimated at $120,000-$180,000 at Doyle New York May 15.

NEW YORK – One of the leading American wildlife artists of the 20th century, Carl Rungius (1869-1959) was actually born in Germany and studied at the Berlin Art Academy in the late 1880s. His first trip to the United States in 1894 was at the invitation of his uncle, Clemens Fulda, to hunt moose. On his second trip he visited Wyoming, where he stalked big game for inspiration in later works. That trip convinced him to emigrate to the States, which he did in 1896.

As a Realist, Rungius’ art was almost photographic in quality. He depicted his subjects in their natural environments, and he focused solely on big game, with the moose being a favorite subject matter.

Doyle New York presents a particularly interesting Rungius oil on canvas in its 160-lot Estate of Bartlett Burnap sale, scheduled for Wednesday, May 15. Burnap was an avid sportsman and and collector, and one of the stars of his collection is Rungius’ The Old Man of the Mountains, a 30.25 by 45in work featuring a mountain bear overlooking a mountainous terrain. What makes it so striking is its soft focus and lack of trademark realism so commonly associated with his body of work. The painting was originally in the collection of Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, and was sold at Sotheby’s in 1993, where Burnap purchased it. The Old Man of the Mountains returns to market with a strong $120,000-$180,000 estimate.

Silver Edwardian Wine Cistern by Garrard & Co.

Silver Edwardian wine cistern by Garrard & Co. of London, estimated at $100,000-$150,000 at Heritage Auctions on May 16.
Silver Edwardian wine cistern by Garrard & Co. of London, estimated at $100,000-$150,000 at Heritage Auctions on May 16.

DALLAS – Almost 3ft (90cm) wide and weighing a massive 710 ounces, this 1903 Edwardian wine cistern is marked for Garrard & Co. of London. The exuberant design, featuring a Bacchanale scene in high relief and the British royal coat of arms on the front and the back, recalls the work of sculptor Edmund Cotterill (1794-1860), the head of Garrard’s design department in its Victorian pomp.

Although evidently an important aristocratic commission or diplomatic gift, its early history is unknown. It is first recorded on American soil in the 1950s, when it was used as a horse racing trophy in Detroit (a plaque on the wood pedestal reads ‘The Michigan Mile September 21, 1957, won by My Night Out, owner DH Wells’) and it was later displayed at the Churchill Downs racing complex in Kentucky. 

It will be the headline lot in Heritage AuctionsFine Silver & Objects of Vertu Auction on Thursday, May 16. The estimate is $100,000-$150,000.