Noel Barrett taps into prime collections of antique toys & trains, Nov. 21-22
CARVERSVILLE, Pa. – There’s an international quality to every one of Noel Barrett’s auctions, and it’s not accidental. The company’s consignments come in equal measure from distinguished collectors in Continental Europe, the United Kingdom and all over North America. Variety is one of Barrett’s strong suits, and it has never been more evident than in the diverse 975-lot selection of toys, trains, dolls, miniatures and advertising set to cross the auction block on November 20-21. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.com.
Barrett’s 2015 Fall Antique Auction is like a global marketplace reserved exclusively for blue chips. Headliners include the definitive TootsieToy and Ives train collections of Charles Bloom, the marvelous Schoenhut Circus and comic character collection of Fran Oakland, and coveted Vindex cast-iron toys from one of America’s best-known collecting couples, Stevie Weart and her late husband, Bill Weart. The highlights continue with trains, railroad accessories, dolls and dollhouse miniatures from the Estate of William and Dolores Fleming, which will join many superb miniatures from the late Flora Gill Jacobs, founder of the acclaimed Washington Dolls’ House and Toy Museum.
“Collectors tell us that our auctions are unlike anyone else’s and that any knowledgeable collector of antique toys could look at the items in our catalogs and know immediately whose sale it was. We take that as a very high compliment,” said Noel Barrett, founder and owner of Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
The opening session of Barrett’s November event is brimming with Old World artistry. Its 320 lots include exquisite dollhouses and all of the choice miniatures a collector would need to decorate and accessorize a scale-model residence.
The selection includes the last of what had been carefully stored in Flora Gill Jacobs’ attics, closets and basements. Of particular note from the Jacobs collection is Lot 225, an endearing late Victorian or early Edwardian Christmas room box. The decor, with its luxurious drapes, over-mantel mirror and three-arm gasolier, is an inviting family setting for the bisque doll couple in period attire, and their two small bisque children. In one corner stands a decorated Christmas feather tree. A Jacobs reference-book example, the room box is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.
A bevy of bisque-head French fashion dolls includes many coveted entries, such as Lot 80 (shown below), a 14-inch Jumeau dressed in linen and lace, estimated at $3,000-$4,000; and Lot 83, a Jules Steiner Le Parisien doll estimated at $1,000-$2,000. Additionally, Barrett’s will offer a collection of bisque bathing beauties and “naughty” bisques, as well as an excellent selection of doll apparel and accessories.
A Christian Hacker dollhouse, a New Hampshire folk art house with white picket fence, a well-appointed Moritz Gottschalk kitchen room box, and a luxe assortment of dollhouse miniatures, china wares and dollhouse dolls from the collection of the late William and Dolores Fleming are also among Friday’s highlights.
The Fleming collection is well represented in the Friday session but reappears on Saturday with an extensive array of trains and accessories, both European and American.
Lot 321 opens the Nov. 22 session and is the first of dozens of lots devoted to the Fran Oakland Schoenhut collection. This significant assemblage of Philadelphia-made antique wood toys is led by Lot 333, Schoenhut’s horse-drawn Grotesque Parade Wagon (shown below), scarcest of their Humpty Dumpty Circus show wagons, estimate $12,000-$15,000; and Lot 334, a lavishly gilded horse-drawn Band Wagon with driver and six red-jacketed musicians, estimate $8,000-$12,000. The circus-themed Schoenhuts are followed by a large menagerie of the manufacturer’s animals, dairy wagons and comic-character figures, such as Felix the Cat, Barney Google and Spark Plug.
A broad spectrum of European and American trains and trolleys will be presented, boasting top-shelf brands like Marklin, Bing, Lionel and American Flyer. The Charles Bloom collection of Ives trains is a comprehensive representation of the Connecticut toymaker’s railroad range, starting with very early hand-painted tin cars that were inspired by Marklin productions of the same era.
“Charles Bloom’s Ives collection is one of the more exotic collections of its type that I’ve ever seen,” Barrett said. “Traditionally, anything by the German manufacturer Marklin goes crazy at auction, but the Bloom collection contains an Ives grouping that is every bit as desirable as what Marklin produced. We expect a lot of interest in these Ives trains because they form a virtual timeline of the company’s production. There are many great rarities that collectors will find hard to resist.”
Topping the Ives entries is Lot 788, a circa 1901-1902 painted-tin passenger train set with illustrated original box, track, key and instruction booklet for “The Miniature Railway System.” Estimate: $3,000-$4,000.
Also, Lot 626, a Mason & Converse lithographed-paper train and station set, ex Ward Kimball collection, could reach $4,000-$6,000. The train is shown at the top of this page.
Charles Bloom’s eye for quality followed through to his extraordinary TootsieToy diecast collection. Primarily of 1930s production, many of the toys are offered in their vibrantly hued original boxes with recesses for each piece. Lot 576, a boxed, outer-space-themed Buck Rogers 25th Century Rocket Ships set is expected to reach $3,000-$4,000; while Lot 577 consists of three each of boxed, store-stock examples of TootsieToy’s Buck Rogers Battle Cruiser, Destroyer, Attack Ship and USN Los Angeles ZEP (zeppelin). Estimate: 3,000-$3,000.
One of the scarcest of the manufacturer’s boxed sets, TootsieToy Funnies, features the most popular of early comic-strip characters, including the Katzenjammers, Andy Gump, Moon Mullins and Kayo. The set is cataloged as Lot 581 with a $3,000-$4,000 estimate.
Barrett describes Lot 455 and 456 as “two of the best theaters I’ve ever seen.” Both are of German manufacture and detailed to a very high standard; the latter of the two has a revolving stage. Each carries a high estimate of $1,500.
The theaters are closely followed by five rare and highly sought-after Baranger motion displays dating from the early 1940s to early 1950s. Designed by Baranger Studio as jewelry store trade stimulators to catch the eye of passersby, the themes for each of the displays are imaginative and amusing. Lot 461, known as “Elopement,” depicts a man preparing to climb a ladder to his sweetheart’s upstairs bedroom, only to be caught by her father. A favorite with collectors, it is estimated at $4,000-$5,000. Other themes are: Honeymoon Trolley, also $4,000-$5,000; Jeep Honeymoon, Totem Pole, and Wooden Soldiers (shown below), featuring nine bandsmen and two drum majors. The latter three are estimated at $5,000-$6,000.
Continuing in the advertising section, Lot 487, a 57-inch Chris-Craft-style, triple-cockpit speedboat model with fine planking and detailing is speculated to have been a factory-made display model. It could cross the finish line at $3,000-$6,000.
A delightful series of E.B. Segner original paintings of Miss Sunbeam, the blond, blue-eyed mascot for Sunbeam Bread, will be presented in Lots 490 through 496. The artworks came to Noel Barrett in an unexpected way. “I was waiting on a delayed flight at an airport when a woman approached me who recognized me from the Antiques Roadshow,” Barrett recalled. “She said that in the 1960s and ’70s she had worked for an ad agency that handled the Sunbeam Bread account. The firm had commissioned E.B. Segner to do the artworks, which later were given to her. She asked if I would sell them in one of my auctions, and of course I said I would be delighted.” The estimates range from $200-$400 to $1,000-$2,000.
Fifteen rare and extremely desirable Vindex cast-iron toys are entered as Lots 645-659. All of the vehicles are from the esteemed collection of Stevie Weart and the late Bill Weart. Lot 650 is a John Deere combine from Vindex’s popular farm series and is estimated at $3,000-$4,000. With great crossover appeal to motorcycle collectors, Lot 649 is an exceptional Vindex painted cast-iron Henderson motorcycle that even retains its original decals. Estimate $2,500-$3,000.
There is so much more to see in this auction, including carved and painted store figures and automata; an exciting collection of 60+ early dexterity puzzles, tin comic character toys, mechanical banks and antique optical toys.
Noel Barrett’s Nov. 20-21 Fall Antique Auction will commence at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on the Friday; and 10 a.m. on the Saturday. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
For additional information on any item in the sale, call 215-297-5109 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.