VINELAND, N.J. – All year long, collectors wait for Bertoia’s Annual Fall Auction to be announced, and for good reason. Its unfailing reputation for quality and rarity makes it one of the premier highlights of any toy, train, doorstop or holiday buyer’s calendar. Absentee and live online bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Featured: Bob Merck Halloween collection, Karyl Newman Christmas antiques, Bill and Wendy Jones’ prized doorstops & banks, Midwestern collector’s fabulous mechanical music machines
This year’s edition is bigger and better than ever before. As of press time, cataloging was in full swing, with last-minute consignments arriving just in time to make the deadline. “We were ready to wrap up the catalog to send to the printers, but then shipments of toys came through the door that were so exceptional, we knew we had to take the extra time to get them into this sale,” said Michael Bertoia, president of Bertoia Auctions.
An all-star lineup awaits bidders taking part in the two-day event, starting with the world-class Bob Merck Halloween collection. A longtime collector whose name is well known in holiday circles, Bob has consigned his spectacular collection in its entirety to Bertoia’s fall sale. With the addition of a few other Halloween collections, the popular specialty category will be brimming with rare witches, black cats and veggie people.
“We received a call from a gentleman who consigned Halloween items to us last year. He had held back about a dozen pieces that were his favorites, but now, after selling his house in just one day, he wanted to sell them in anticipation of his more. We told him if he could get them to us without delay, we would photograph them as soon as they arrived and make sure they made it into the catalog,” Michael said.
An array of fine Christmas antiques from the late Karyl Newman adds whimsy and holiday spirit to the sale. Karyl was a member of the Golden Glow of Christmas Past and amassed a beautiful collection of Santas, belsnickles, nodding reindeer, ornaments and other Christmas delights. “Previous consignments from Karyl’s collection were very popular with collectors. We think they’re going to be very pleased with this selection, as well,” Michael said.
The great variety seen across the cast iron section includes still banks, mechanical banks and doorstops – many from the Bill and Wendy Jones collection. An active MBCA member, Bill Jones is also the club’s historian. Among the Joneses’ doorstops are some outstanding examples by Bradley & Hubbard, as well as the full Art Deco series by Hubley/Fish.
A very nice grouping of pressed steel vehicles from Ohioan Jay Schoedinger includes Buddy ‘L,’ Sturditoy, American National and other sought-after brands. From the West Coast comes a collection of Japanese cars, including an Atom Jet Racer, a boxed Alps Cadillac convertible, and Packard sedan.
European tin windups are topped by a coveted Martin Roller Skater, while the Continental automotive toys, which are in pristine to near-mint condition, are led by a superb Carette limousine with figures, and an Alfa-Romeo racer. A fleet of European nautical toys includes a large Bing battleship, a Marklin clockwork ocean liner, and a Fleischmann pontoon seaplane.
Both American Lionel and German Marklin trains will be powering their way through the gallery. Highlights include a Lionel 2 7/8-inch powered gondola and trailer (from the late Norm Schaut’s collection), plus a Marklin Congressional Limited passenger set and Marklin train stations.
Comic character toys include Mickey Mouse and Popeye favorites, and a rare and very desirable Gunthermann Felix the Cat Merry-Go-Round (shown at top of page) in gorgeous, all-original condition (estimate: $10,000-$15,000). Also, several very fine Steiff teddy bears add charm to the auction lineup.
The early American toy section features a Jerome Secor Banjo Player, a rare Ives Columbus egg toy in pristine to near-mint condition, and a Carpenter cast-iron Burning Building toy. A very nice collection of Hubley cast-iron toys has been consigned by ATCA member Larry Brethauer and includes a pristine Lockheed Sirius airplane.
A Midwestern collection of 18 working mechanical music machines will be ready to entertain. All play either cylinders or disks and are housed in fine rosewood cases. Producing rich, room-filling sounds, the machines are of a type that once would have been found in the parlors of libraries of America’s most elegant 19th-century homes. The machines range from freestanding floor models, including a Concerto Symphonic Polyphon, to tabletop models. Among the various manufacturers represented are the Swiss companies B. A. Bremand and Mermod Freres.