Bertoia’s Nov. 12-13 auction rolls out exceptional toys, trains, holiday antiques 

Gunthermann Felix the Cat merry-go-round windup character toy, one of few known examples. Estimate $10,000-$15,000 

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.

Circa-1926 American National Packard fire chief car with simulated leather top-down, 28 inches long. Provenance: Donald Kaufman collection to Larry Brethauser collection. Estimate $8,000-$12,000

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.

‘Alien’ jack-o-lantern candy container, composition, with hands and four mini jack-o-lanterns on springs. Only example Bertoia’s experts have ever seen. Provenance: Bob Merck collection. Estimate $2,500-$3,500

“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.

Magnificent 14-inch-long reindeer with brown glass eyes, elaborate harness and long ribbon of brass bells. Originally made for attachment to a Santa Claus sleigh. Retains original 'Made in Germany' tag. Estimate $2,000-$4,000

Magnificent 14-inch-long reindeer with brown glass eyes, elaborate harness and long ribbon of brass bells. Originally made for attachment to a Santa Claus sleigh. Retains original ‘Made in Germany’ tag. Estimate $2,000-$4,000

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.

Squirrel & Tree cast-iron mechanical bank made by Mechanical Novelty Works. Original, in excellent to pristine condition. Estimate $4,000-$6,000

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.

Very rare German hand-painted tin toy depicting skier with propeller blade attached to back, wheeled skis on feet. Estimate $2,000-$3,000

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.

Lionel 2 7/8-inch electric-powered gondola and trailer, each 16 inches long. No. 200 Express cars originally made by Joshua Lionel Cowen to be used in store window displays. Provenance: Norm Schaut collection. Lot estimate: $8,000-$12,000

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.

Circa-1905 Steiff cone-nosed teddy bear, rich golden mohair with black shoe-button eyes, 28in high. Estimate $10,000-$15,000

 

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.

Pratt & Letchworth cast-iron Combination Fire Wagon, original figures and horses, 17 inches long. Provenance: Larry Brethauer Collection. Estimate $3,000-$5,000

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.

Large Sublime Harmony music box in burl and ebonized case with inlaid image of lyre. Excellent working order, complete with tune card. Provenance: Midwestern private collection. Estimate $1,200-$2,500

For additional information on any item in the Nov. 12-13, 2020 auction, call 856-692-1881 or email toys@bertoiaauctions.com. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.