Bid Smart: Antique bell toys possess unmistakable ap-peal

This late 1880s surf boat bell toy by the Gong Bell Mfg. Company achieved $9,500 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2021. Image courtesy of the RSL Auction Company and LiveAuctioneers.
This late 1880s surf boat bell toy by the Gong Bell Mfg. Company achieved $9,500 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2021. Image courtesy of the RSL Auction Company and LiveAuctioneers.
This late 1880s surf boat bell toy by the Gong Bell Mfg. Company achieved $9,500 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2021. Image courtesy of the RSL Auction Company and LiveAuctioneers.

NEW YORK — Toys that make noise are not new. The beeping, squawking, headache-inducing modern renditions are invariably made from plastic, but antique pull toys featuring bells seem (and sound) positively sedate by comparison, and the passage of time has rendered them charming rather than annoying. Examples fashioned from cast iron or tin call to mind the times when such things were handmade, and their craftsmanship and sense of whimsy renders them delightful to collectors.

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Antique pedals cars took the lead at Milestone’s $500K toy auction

American National Deluxe Coupe pedal car, luxury version with opening doors, sliding windows, interior upholstery and curtains. Length: 68 inches. Sold for $66,000 against an estimate of $20,000-$40,000

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – Milestone Auctions gave collectors what they wanted on September 24th, rolling out a diverse offering of antique and vintage toys from the Mark Smith collection along with high-quality additions from several other consignors. The 755-lot sale was active from start to finish, with many international bidders taking part. After a long but rewarding day at the podium, auctioneer and company co-founder Miles King closed the books at $505,200 (inclusive of buyer’s premium).

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Bertoia’s to auction Bill and Stevie Weart antique toy collection, Sept. 8-9 

Hubley cast-iron ‘Say It With Flowers’ delivery motorcycle, 10in long, the book example depicted in Bill and Stevie Weart’s ‘Cast Iron Automotive Toys’ (2000) reference book. Rare all-original toy in excellent to pristine condition. Estimate $15,000-$25,000

VINELAND, N.J. – On September 8-9, with absentee and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers, Bertoia’s will auction the antique toy collection of the late Bill and Stevie Weart, a couple whose contributions to the toy hobby were immense. Anyone who ever had the privilege of visiting the Wearts at their magnificent home in Allentown, Pennsylvania, was left with the impression that they had witnessed something exceptional for these times. Their grand three-story residence, which was situated in a tranquil parklike setting, visually reflected what was most important to them in a home: fine architecture, tasteful furnishings, a garden that beckoned wild birds, and most of all, an interior design plan that prioritized the display of their spectacular toy collection.

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Gallery Report: Vietnamese art prevails at Doyle New York

ATLANTA – At the beginning of every month, ACN columnist Ken Hall delivers top auction highlights from around the United States and the world at large. Please enjoy the March 2022 edition of his Gallery Report. All prices include the buyer’s premium, except where noted.

Vu Cao Dam oil, $126,000, Doyle

A 1970 oil on canvas by Vu Cao Dam (French and Vietnamese, 1908-2000), titled Divinite, signed and dated “vu cao dam 1970” at the lower right and signed with Vietnamese and Latin characters on the reverse, sold for $126,000 at a Fine Art auction held February 23 by Doyle in New York City. Also, Le Vase Chinois by the Vietnamese artist Le Pho changed hands for $113,400, and Le Pho’s Les Poppies achieved $75,600.

Saint-Gaudens statue of Lincoln, $1.2 million, Skinner Auctioneers

A statue of Abraham Lincoln by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, titled Abraham Lincoln: The Man (Standing Lincoln), sold for just under $1.2 million at an American Art Auction held January 28 by Skinner Auctioneers in Boston. Also, an original Peanuts comic strip from 1960 by Charles Schulz, titled Tyrannosaurus Rex, realized $150,000; a Charles E. Prendergast gilded frame rose to $32,500; and a view of Giverny by John Leslie Breck, titled A Mill Stream, hit $75,000.

Von Braun-signed photo, $14,400, Weiss Auctions

A NASA photo signed and inscribed by German-born American engineer Dr. Wernher Von Braun sold for $14,400 in an online-only, two-day, two-session sale held Jan. 26-27 by Weiss Auctions in Lynbrook, New York. Also, a collection of 1916-1930 Standing Liberty quarters, missing only the 1927-S coin, soared to $161,000; an archive of material relating to Lillian Gish changed hands for $6,325; and a circa-1570 close helmet, almost certainly English and possibly worn by an Earl, made $9,300.

Alexander Jackson painting, CA$47,200, Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.

A circa-1945 original oil painting by Canadian Group of Seven artist Alexander Young Jackson (1882-1974), titled St. Lawrence South Shore Village, sold for $47,200 in an online-only Canadiana & Folk Art auction held February 12 by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd., based in New Hamburg, Canada. Also, a vibrant oil on board by another Group of Seven artist, Franz Johnston (1888-1949), titled The Battlement, Lake of the Woods, went for $25,960. Prices are in Canadian dollars.

LaVerne coffee table, $27,060, Neue Auctions

A Philip and Kelvin LaVerne coffee table titled Eternal Forest, cast with an all-over tree pattern and patinated in silver, sold for $27,060 in an online-only Winter Fine Antiques & Art auction held February 19 by Neue Auctions in Beachwood, Ohio. Also, a Soriana leather furniture seating group by Afra and Tobia Scarpa for Cassina realized $27,060, and a 1987 screenprint by Tom Wesselmann (American, 1931-2004), titled Bedroom Face, made $12,300.

Marx Speedboy 4 prototype, $16,800, Milestone Auctions

A Marx prototype Speedboy 4 motorcycle with a soldier driver, ‘AMMO’ box and spring-loaded cannon for shooting projectiles sold for $16,800 at a Winter Antique Toy Spectacular held January 29 by Milestone Auctions in Willoughby, Ohio. Also, a Marx tin wind-up Tom Corbett Space Cadets Rocket Ship with hand-painted details earned $6,600, and a late 19th-century Wilkins cast-iron water tower fire wagon brought $8,400.

Roger Muhl painting, $9,375, Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

An original still life abstract painting by Roger Muhl (French, 1929-2008), titled Tulipes Rouges (Red Tulips), sold for $9,375 in an online-only Estate Fine Art & Antique auction held February 21 by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers in Cranston, Rhode Island. Also, an interior genre painting by John Carlin (American, 1813-1891) realized $7,500; a fine silk gold thread Chinese dragon robe from the Qing dynasty hit $3,438; and a still life painting by Herbert Cash (American, 1864-1914) rose to $4,062.

1907 U.S. $10 gold eagle coin, $587,500, Legend Rare Coin

A 1907 U.S. $10 rolled edge gold eagle coin, one of only 42 struck and graded MS65+, sold for $587,500 at Regency Auction 50. The auction was held January 27 at the PCGS Members Only Show in Las Vegas, Nevada by Legend Rare Coin Auctions, based in Lincroft, New Jersey. In addition, a near-gem 1776 Continental dollar, the E.G. FECIT type, graded PCGS MS64 CAC, went for $146,875; and an 1879 Stella flowing hair $4 U.S. coin, graded PCGS PR64 CAMEI CAC, went to a determined bidder for $217,375.

BTS Grammy ensembles, $160,000, Julien’s Auctions

Seven custom-made ensembles worn by members of the pop band BTS while performing their hit song Dynamite at the Grammy awards, filmed from Seoul, South Korea in March 2021, sold for $160,000 at a Musicares Charity Relief Auction held January 30 by Julien’s Auctions, based in Los Angeles. Also, Keith Richards’ signed black Gibson gloss acoustic electric guitar, offered with an NFT, brought $57,600; and Paul McCartney’s signed Hofner B-Bass Hi Series violin bass guitar made $38,400.

Celentano oil painting, $55,000, Swann Auction Galleries

An oil-on-canvas painting by Daniel Celentano, titled Pelham Bay, sold for $55,000 at an Artists of the WPA auction held January 27 by Swann Auction Galleries in New York City. It was a new record for the artist. Also, a 1942 oil on Masonite by Aaron Bohrod, titled Getting Ready for Auction, realized $21,250; a 1936 double-sided carved woodblock, Cape Cod Cottage and The Coffee Pot, brought $23,750; and a circa-1935 early Jackson Pollock lithograph, titled Stacking Hay, made $16,250.

Smokey and the Bandit car, $500,000, Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, LLC

The 1977 Pontiac Firebird TransAm car made popular in the 1977 cult classic film Smokey and the Bandit sold for just under $500,000 at an auction held January 22 by Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, LLC in Scottsdale, Arizona. It wasn’t the actual car used in the movie, but it was the car given to actor Burt Reynolds for his work in the film. Reynolds sold it in 2014 due to financial problems. It had just 3,600 miles on its odometer.

Cirque Medrano lithograph, $10,200, Potter & Potter Auctions

A 1930s-era color lithograph for Cirque Medrano of Paris, signed by the designer Raoul Ortez and featuring the clown Charlie Cairoli with his father, Jean-Marie Cairoli, on the violin, sold for $10,200 at a Midwinter Vintage Poster Sale held January 29 by Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago. Also, a 1960s-era airline poster titled India for Big Game / Air India for Service achieved $7,200; and Dozier Mobley’s Think About It! poster realized $4,800.

Lazar Vozarevic oil, $132,000, Nadeau’s Auction Gallery

An oil on wood on canvas by Lazar Vozarevic (Serbian, 1925-1968), titled Circulo, sold for $132,000 at a Modern Art & Contemporary Sale held February 5 by Nadeau’s Auction Gallery in Windsor, Connecticut. Also, a pink 1969 Ford Mustang 351 single-family owner car sped off for $19,200; a set of 12 Hans Wegner (Danish, 1914-2007) chairs, known as The Chair design, brought $12,800; and a 1950s Gio Ponti/M. Singer & Sons sideboard made $11,520.

Fernand Leger gouache, $375,000, Clarke Auction Gallery

A circa-1954 gouache painting by Fernand Leger (French, 1881-1955), titled Les loisirs, sold for $375,000 at an Awesome Estates Auction held February 6 by Clarke Auction Gallery in Larchmont, New York. Also, a painting signed by Alexandre Cabanel (French, 1823-1889), titled Contemplation or The Italian Servant, went for $55,000, and an untitled map-drawing of Las Vegas by Saul Steinberg (American, 1914-1999) rose to $40,000.

Bach signed document, $400,000, RR Auction

A handwritten receipt signed twice by composer Johann Sebastian Bach sold for $400,000 in an online auction held Jan. 14-Feb. 9 by RR Auction in Boston. Also, a photograph of the Romanov Grand Duchesses, signed by all four, earned $75,001; a draft article on the state of humanity, signed by Albert Einstein, rang up $56,914; a King Henry VIII-signed document ordering lavish leashes and collars for his dogs made $50,419; and a Beatles Hollywood Bowl acetate realized $23,837.

Charles M. Russell sculpture, $72,000, Case Antiques Inc., Auctions & Appraisals

A 1929 bronze casting of Charles M. Russell’s sculpture titled Smoking with the Spirit of the Buffalo, commissioned by his wife Nancy three years after the artist’s death, sold for $72,000 at a Winter Auction held Jan. 29-30 by Case Antiques, Inc., Auctions & Appraisals in Knoxville, Tennessee. Also, a Chinese famille verte fish bowl with poem and landscape decoration reached $66,000, and a Tiffany & Co. sword, belt and commendations presented to U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Cadwalader Ringgold hit $52,800.

Tiffany Studios floor lamp, $181,250, Fontaine’s Auction Gallery

A Tiffany Studios Curtain Border leaded glass and patinated bronze floor lamp sold for $181,250 at a Fine & Decorative Arts auction held February 5 by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Also, a Tiffany Studios Byzantine floor lamp lit up the room for $115,625; a Giambologna bronze sculpture of Aphrodite, Goddess of the Sea, made $53,750; and a 19th-century Hertz Brothers carved oak banquet table rose to $35,000.

George Brown Excelsior riverboat, $25,200, Pook & Pook and Noel Barrett

A George Brown Excelsior side-wheel toy riverboat, one of only two known, incomplete and in distressed paint condition, sold for $25,200 at an Antique Toys & Board Games auction held December 3 by Pook & Pook and Noel Barrett in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Also, a circa-1880 Ives lithograph paper on wood baseball toss target hit the mark for $9,840; a Lionel standard gauge Blue Comet flew down the tracks for $9,840; and a Schoenhut bandwagon with some repainting rang up $5,040.

Gertrude Abercrombie painting, $387,500, Hindman

A surreal 1964 oil on panel by Gertrude Abercrombie, titled The Dinosaur, sold for $387,500 at a Somewhere Out There auction held February 17 by Hindman in Chicago. It was a new world auction record for the artist. Also, Wesley Willis’s The Lakefront realized $4,375; Larissa Bates’s Sleeping Mother, Man with Lazar Beams, went for $1,375; and a work on paper by Miyoko Ito, titled Objects in the Nursery, went to a determined bidder for $2,500.

Seven Seas Comics #4$18,750, PBA Galleries

A copy of Seven Seas Comics #4 from 1947, graded CGC 6.5 and featuring artwork by Matt Baker, sold for $18,750 at a Comic Books Sale held February 3 by PBA Galleries in Berkeley, California. Also, a copy of Crime Patrol #15, graded CGC 4.0, featuring the first Crypt Keeper story, changed hands for $9,375; a copy of Horrific #3, graded CGC 6.0, earned $5,312; a copy of Weird Mysteries #5, graded CGC 2.5, realized $6,875; and a copy of Mister Mystery #11, graded CGC 6.0, achieved $5,937.

Patek Philippe wristwatch, $229,000, Kodner Galleries

A Patek Philippe Nautilus 5990/1A-001 men’s wristwatch sold for $229,000 at a Valentine’s Day auction held February 9 by Kodner Galleries in Dania Beach, Florida. Also, a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-001 men’s wristwatch slipped onto a new wrist for $181,500; an AGL 35.60-carat Ceylon sapphire brooch realized $78,650; a pair of fancy yellow diamond and platinum earrings achieved $66,500; and an EGL-certified 5.02-carat diamond engagement ring brought $60,500.


View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here:

Milestone to auction sensational collection of rare antique toys, Oct. 2

Paya tin windup motorcycle with sidecar, 11in long, Spanish. Rare all-original and complete example with working bellows. Estimate $3,000-$5,000

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – Collectors of rare antique and vintage toys – whether manufactured in Europe, Japan or the USA – are in for a treat on Saturday, October 2nd. That’s when Milestone Auctions of suburban Cleveland, Ohio, will present its Fall Antique Toy Spectacular starring one of the most diverse collections of fine toys ever amassed. With the exception of a few select additions from other consignors, the 704-lot auction is devoted exclusively to the marquee collection, whose superlative holdings are a testament to decades of searching and networking within the toy hobby. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Featured: 138 rare toy motorcycles, 117 Lehmann & Gunthermann windups, George Brown masterpiece + museum-quality Ives toys, Marx prototypes, character toys

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Rare toy vehicles drive Bertoia’s May 21-22 auction

Ernst Plank pontoon boat, estimated at $3,000-$5,000
Ernst Plank pontoon boat, estimated at $3,000-$5,000
Ernst Plank pontoon boat, estimated at $3,000-$5,000

VINELAND, N.J. – The exceptional antique toy and train collection of the late Paul Cole (1931-2020), a man whose career distinctions were rivaled only by his passion for hobbies and athletic pursuits, will be auctioned at Bertoia’s on May 21-22. Attendance at the live auction will be limited and by reservation only, and in-person previewing will be made available by appointment only. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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