CHICAGO – Potter & Potter Auctions will hold a 569-lot sale featuring bears, toys and various novelty items on September 25 starting at 10am Central time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
This sale kicks off with nearly 150 lots of fine, collectible, and vintage plush by premier manufacturers Steiff and R. John Wright. Leading the lots is a complete set of R. John Wright’s Winnie the Pooh Pocket Pooh characters, estimated at $800-$1,200. This 1990s series was authorized by Disney and produced in an edition size of 3,500. The set includes Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Owl, Tigger, Rabbit, Kanga and Little Roo and Piglet in their original boxes with all paperwork.
Another strong lot featuring a familiar literary bear is R. John Wright’s Paddington Bear and Paddington Goes to Market accessory set, estimated at $600-$900. The finely made bear from 2001 is number 385 of 1,500 made. It comes complete with a leather suitcase, original box, and limitation card. The RJW Paddington Goes to Market set was made in an edition size of 1,000 pieces; this grouping is comprised of an overcoat, felt hat, scarf, and wicker vegetable cart.
Good luck resisting the charms of Steiff’s black tag series Haute Couture teddy bear, estimated at $250-$350. It is made from multi-color linen brocade with sequins, and wears a pink neck bow. This rarity was produced exclusively for Steiff club members and was purchased by lottery. Only 500 were produced; this is number 430.
Vintage toy banks of all sorts also take several of the top slots in this comprehensive sale. Certain to grab bidders’ attention is a cast-iron boy scout camp bank from the 1890s, estimated at $800-$1,200. It was made in Cromwell, Connecticut, and the centermost scout raises the troop’s flag if you press the bank’s lever.
Creating its own magic is a German “Magie” wizard mechanical bank from the 1920s, estimated at $800-$1,500. Coins placed atop the wizard’s table vanish when the lever is pushed and the box in his hands lowers to cover the tabletop.
A third mechanical bank highlight is a painted, cast-iron mechanical Mason bank from the late 1800s, estimated at $600-$1,200. It was produced in Buffalo, New York by Shepard Hardware. When the lever is pressed, the mason deposits the coin in the bank.
Disney themed collectibles – including books, playthings, and souvenirs – are also well represented in this auction. Of note is a rare, near fine copy of Walt Disney’s Fantasia Cut-Out Book, estimated at $800-$1,200. It was published in Racine, Wisconsin by the Whitman Publishing Co. in 1940. It features color cardstock wrappers with punch-out characters and interior additional cut-outs, including a double-page spread that could be removed and placed into color backdrops.
Equally interesting is a battery-operated, litho tin and fabric Mickey magician toy, produced in the 1950s and estimated at $400-$700. This toy is in the form of Mickey Mouse in a magician’s cape and tuxedo, with a metal wand in one hand. He raises and lowers his top hat to vanish a chicken on top of his table. It was made in Japan by Linemar and includes its original box.
Another Disney prize in the sale is a pair of large Mickey and Minnie Mouse marionettes, estimated at $500-$700. These 18in tall wooden puppets from the 1930s have jointed arms and legs, moving heads, and moving mouths. Mickey wears felted shorts and Minnie is clad in a fabric skirt with sewn-on felt polka dots. The duo have provenance to magicians Virgil Harris Mulkey and John Daniel.
It’s all fun and games when it comes to this sale’s premier offerings of playful, curious, and novel antiques, which include a Jones Vertical Mower salesman’s model estimated at $700-$1,200. This 19th century American made working wood and metal example comes with two model horses with leather bridles.
Another unexpected delight is a trio of Egyptian Revival items from the 1920s – a pocket knife and two dance card pens – estimated at $400-$600. Following the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922, a wave of Egyptomania swept the Western world, with everything from earrings to dresses to common household items such as these designed in the style of the objects unearthed in the King Tut find.
Another temptation takes the form of a sunshine yellow Packard 6 pedal car, estimated at $500-$1,000. It has a metal and wood frame, nickel bumper, hard rubber tires, a wooden steering wheel, a leather cushion and back-rest, and a metal frame windshield. This example, manufacturer unknown, was restored using a combination of original, repainted, and replaced parts.
Fine collections and archives make a strong showing in this event, with several distinctive selections earning spotlight status. Chief among them is a collection of Hall china teapots estimated at $700-$1,400. The grouping includes 78 pieces altogether, and represents a single owner’s lifetime collection.
Another head-turning group lot is a collection of seven Fillmore concert posters from the 1960s, estimated at $400-$600. These include broadsides advertising shows by The Grass Roots, The Youngbloods, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Canned Heat, John Mayall, The Byrds, and Quicksilver Messenger Service.
Art, automatons, entertainment ephemera, and coin-op machines bring this eclectic sale full circle. Art selections are ably represented by Jose Clemente Orozco’s The Franciscan and the Indian, estimated at $2,500-$3,500. This framed and matted lithograph is signed in graphite to its lower right, includes an appraisal document, and has provenance to the Kennedy Galleries, New York.
Movie memorabilia choices include a lobby card for the film The Maltese Falcon, estimated at $1,000-$1,500. This 1942 example depicts Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade comforting Gladys George as Iva Archer.
Coin-op machines on offer include an O.D. Jennings & Co. “Little Duke” 1 Cent slot machine, estimated at $1,500-$2,500. It was produced in Chicago in the 1930s and has a wonderful Art Deco design.
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