Mechanical banks by J & E Stevens hauled in serious cash at Alderfer

Circa-1907 J & E Stevens Clown, Harlequin, and Columbine cast-iron mechanical bank, which sold for $14,080 at Alderfer Auction.

HATFIELD, Penn. – Alderfer Auction’s February 13 sale of Mechanical Banks and Toys enjoyed some good results – topped by a version of J & E Stevens’ Clown, Harlequin, and Columbine cast-iron mechanical bank. The circa-1907 design by James H. Bowen is based on the Italian Commedia Dell’arte and features three of the stock characters. When a coin is placed in the slot, the clown and Harlequin swing around – a motion that sets the Columbine spinning. The bank exists in several castings, with the first castings being among the rarest examples of all mechanical banks. A near-mint example sold for $103,300 at Morphy Auctions in 2007. Alderfer’s example had been repainted but, against an estimate of $500-$800, sold at $14,080.

An earlier J & E Stevens issue is the Bread Winners Bank, designed by Charles A. Bailey and registered in May 1886. The theme is corruption: Place the coin in the end of the club, raise the hammer, press the button, and the figure of Labor strikes Monopoly, sending ‘the Rascals up’. A good example was estimated at $800-$1,200 and hammered for $8,960.

From Bing to Barbie: American, Japanese, and European toys at Morphy Feb. 14-16

DENVER, Pa. – It’s toy time at Morphy Auctions, where 1,425 lots of top-notch toys and collectibles will be auctioned on Wednesday, February 14, Thursday, February 15, and Friday, February 16. Virtually every popular toy category is represented in the auction lineup, from classics such as pressed-steel automotive, European tin windups, and cast-iron mechanical banks, to modern-era and vintage favorites such as postwar Japanese tin, Barbies, and Star Wars collectibles.

More than 100 banks will cross the auction block on Day 1 and Day 2, including 56 cast-iron mechanicals. Many favorites by J. & E. Stevens of Cromwell, Connecticut are at the forefront. A near-mint ‘Bad Accident’ bank with bright colors and 97% of its paint retains its original wood factory box and is estimated at $4,000-$8,000; while an excellent-plus Boy Scout Camp bank with its original flag is estimated at $3,000-$6,000. The highest-estimated Stevens mechanical, at $10,000-$15,000, is a near-mint ‘Called Out’ mechanical bank, which has a sentry theme and was assembled from very rare bronze patterns.

Bing is represented within the sale’s approximately 50 European toy lots. A Bing Keiser Wilhelm 40in clockwork tin ocean liner with four stacks is mostly original and has 10 lifeboats. In excellent condition, it is guided by a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.

Lehmann, another revered German producer of tin toys, based many of their most popular designs on actual people Ernst Paul Lehmann encountered in everyday life or during his travels. His only purported self-indulgence was in creating the wonderful flywheel toy known as ‘Walking Down Broadway’ or, alternatively, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Lehmann’ or ‘Lehmann Family.’ It depicts a well-dressed couple out for a stroll with their pug dog on a leash. The sale features a VG-near mint example of this scarce and early toy with its original box bottom and an original pictorial label fastened to a newer lid. The estimate is $2,000-$4,000.

The train category includes productions by American Flyer, Ives, and Lionel, among others. Leading the 85-lot selection of Lionels is a prewar O-gauge Mickey Mouse Circus Train set with accessories, including all 12 of the original tickets, windup key, and a brochure showing the set for sale for $2. In excellent condition, the set is estimated at $4,000-$8,000.

In the Japanese toy category, the sale includes an Alps battery-operated Missile Robot. Pristine and appearing unused, the 15in robot is fully intact, with its dish antenna and original box with cardboard inserts. Missile Robot will step into the spotlight with a $3,000-$6,000 estimate.

Another stellar example of postwar Japanese toy excellence is a scarce lithographed-tin #98 Champion Racer. Measuring 18.5in in length, the friction-powered open racer with helmeted driver is graded excellent to near-mint and estimated at $2,000-$4,000.

The sports memorabilia category is led by an ultra-rare BBCE-authenticated 1976/’77 Topps ‘Hockey’ wax case containing four factory-sealed wax boxes. Each box contains 36 sealed 15¢ bubble gum picture-card packs. “Collectors rarely have the opportunity to acquire factory-sealed boxes of this type,” said Morphy’s Toys & Trains Department Head Tommy Sage Jr. “Morphy’s has a strong following for sports cards, especially since our auction one year ago of an unopened 1952 Topps baseball brick, which sold for $873,300. We expect a lot of interest in this outstanding Hockey wax box, which is estimated at $12,000-$16,000.”

To pop culture fans, there is no Barbie doll more desirable than the 1959 example known as blonde ponytail #850. Morphy’s will offer a very good original and boxed example of the #850 wearing the iconic black-and-white striped swimsuit and with clean original earrings. Accompanied by its stand, booklet, and a nice variety of extra clothing, accessories, and shoes, the lot is estimated at $2,000-$5,000.

Bertoia’s fall sale features antique toys and banks from around the world Nov. 17-18

Marklin Brooklyn clockwork paddle wheeler toy, estimated at $50,000-$75,000 at Bertoia Auctions.

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VINELAND, N.J. — The Bertoia annual fall sale is a rite of passage for vintage and antique toy collectors, where quality and variety reign and the bidding for key items can be fierce and entertaining. Held at its New Jersey gallery and online, Bertoia’s events have become the stuff of legend in the toy collecting community.

This year’s two-day auction, scheduled for Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18 will see more than 1,000 toys cross the block. The catalogs are now available for bidding on LiveAuctioneers.

Bertoia toy auctions typically consist of numerous collections and key lots sourced from both domestic and international individuals. This event features toy and bank collections from both sides of the Atlantic.

The first session’s top lot is a 19th-century Marklin Brooklyn paddle-wheel steam boat toy. Highly colorful and in remarkable condition for its age, the toy has many of small flags and other typically missing parts replaced with modern reproductions to complete the presentation. It is estimated at $50,000-$75,000.

Tremendous Mike is a highly desirable robot from the postwar period, created by Aoshin (ASC) of Japan in the late 1950s. Battery operated with what was dubbed “turn-and-go action” and a scrolling screen, this example is virtually unused with a near-mint original package retaining its vibrant colors. Tremendous Mike carries an estimate of $7,000-$10,000.

As noted above, Marklin of Germany was known for its magnificent tin toys featuring life-like detail simply not found on other playthings of the period. Vehicle toys of all types were its core output, which covered everything from early examples of flight to sea-going vessels and of course, automobiles. This circa-1912 limousine is described as the largest ever produced by Marklin, and bears catalog number 5214/3. Measuring 18.5in in length with opening doors, real glass windows and detailed luggage racks, it is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.

Mechanical banks of all varieties dominate the second session, with nearly 100 antique examples. Among the highlights (with estimates):

Hubley cast-iron toys have been pursued by collectors for decades, and the Bertoia sale boasts a great variety. This Surfer Boy pull toy is just one example of the auction house’s ability to get unique, superlative consignments. It is estimated at $7,000-$10,000.
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Japanese boxed Atomic Robot Man, estimated at $800-$1,200 at Bertoia Auctions.
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Japanese boxed ASC Tremendous Mike robot, estimated at $7,000-$10,000 at Bertoia Auctions.
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Marklin ‘Brooklyn’ clockwork paddle-wheeler toy, estimated at $50,000-$75,000 at Bertoia Auctions.
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Marklin limousine toy, estimated at $10,000-$15,000 at Bertoia Auctions.
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Hubley Surfer Boy pull toy, estimated at $7,000-$10,000 at Bertoia Auctions.
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Dentist mechanical bank, estimated at $7,000-$10,000 at Bertoia Auctions.
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Modern political mechanical banks featuring Barack Obama, Ross Perot and more at Bertoia Sept. 14-15

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VINELAND, N.J. — A collection of contemporary politically-themed mechanical banks, featuring figures of presidential candidates such as Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Ross Perot and Barack Obama are standout items in Bertoia‘s Basics two-day sale, scheduled for Thursday, September 14 and Friday, September 15. The items are open for bidding now at LiveAuctioneers (Day 1, Day 2).

Vintage mechanical banks are a hallmark, high-demand category for collectors, so these contemporary items from the auction’s second day — featuring presidential contests ranging from 1992’s Bush-Clinton-Perot contest through the 2008 Obama-McCain election cycle — should draw interest. Designed by Charlie Reynolds Toys with unique actions and in the classic manner of vintage banks, they are estimated generally between $200-$800, depending on the item.

Of particular note is the Ross Perot 1992 bank, with the third-party candidate literally popping out of a box, guns a-blazin’, flanked by a donkey and elephant to represent the two mainstream political parties. It carries an estimate of $200-$400.

Also worth mentioning is the 2008 Obama-McCain presidential campaign mechanical bank, which sets itself apart by including both vice presidential candidates. Sarah Palin sits on an elephant behind John McCain, both of whom, fittingly enough, appear on the right, and Joe Biden, who is now the current president, shares a donkey ride with Barack Obama on the left. Its estimate is $300-$600.

Day one of the Basics event features nearly 400 items from the Paul Cole collection of cast-iron transportation toys. Leading the estimates is a Carpenter Tally-Ho coach in restored condition, which is estimated at $1,500-$3,000.
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Reynolds Toys 1992 Clinton-Bush-Perot mechanical bank, estimated at $200-$400 at Bertoia.
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Reynolds Toys Political Wish Clinton-Dole mechanical bank, estimated at $250-$500 at Bertoia.
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Reynolds Toys Decision 2000 Bush-Gore mechanical bank, estimated at $300-$600 at Bertoia.
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Reynolds Toys Tug-Over-War Bush-Kerry mechanical bank, estimated at $200-$400 at Bertoia.
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Reynolds Toys You Choose Obama-McCain mechanical bank, estimated at $300-$600 at Bertoia.
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Carpenter Tally-Ho coach, restored, estimated at $1,500-$3,000 at Bertoia.
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Single-owner mechanical marvels collection enlivens Nye & Co., Nov. 16

1936 Multi-bell seven-way slot machine by Caille A C Novelty, estimated at $4,000-$6,000
1936 Multi-bell seven-way slot machine by Caille A C Novelty, estimated at $4,000-$6,000
1936 Multi-bell seven-way slot machine by Caille A C Novelty, estimated at $4,000-$6,000

BLOOMFIELD, N.J. – Nye & Company’s upcoming online auction, titled Property from a Private Collection: A 20th Century Machinal Delight, is slated for Wednesday, November 16, starting at 10 am Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers. This amazing collection – all of it the lifetime vision of a single collector – is comprised of all manner of mechanical and musical devices, games and all the associated ephemera one could ever hope to find to accompany them.

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Bertoia’s April 8-9 toy, bank & train auction to debut hybrid model

Large and beautiful Marklin horse-drawn fire pumper, vertical brass boiler with nickel-plated fittings and valves, fastidious hand-painting and pinstriping, 29in long. Provenance: Bill Bertoia collection. Estimate $25,000-$45,000

VINELAND, N.J. – Bertoia Auctions will introduce an exciting new hybrid model for this year’s Annual Spring Auction, combining an April 8 opening session of high-end toys and trains with an April 9 session devoted to more-affordable items in the style of Bertoia’s popular Basics sales.

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