Morphy’s Aug. 2-3 auction merges classic toys with pop culture memorabilia

BBCE-authenticated, unopened 1971 Topps NHL Hockey wax box containing 24 packs of 10 cards each, with a likelihood of gem-mint examples of Ken Dryden’s rookie card, or cards for HOFers like Orr, Howe and Hull included in the selection. Estimate $12,000-$24,000

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s spring toy auction, which took in $3.1 million, made headlines worldwide with its phenomenal single-owner collection of factory-boxed Star Wars figures and a sports card selection that included an $873,300 Topps baseball wax-pack brick. No other event in Morphy’s 20-year history could top that one for the amount of social media buzz or the number of pre-sale inquiries from prospective bidders. The fun will resume on August 2-3, when Morphy’s presents its summer offering of Toys & General Collectibles featuring both classic toys and pop-culture favorites: vintage sports cards, comic books and early video games. Bid absentee or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.

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Antique toy & bank collections ready to frolic at Bertoia’s, Mar. 24-25

 

Ives Uncle Sam clockwork perambulator. Based upon their research, Bertoia’s believes it is one of only two known examples, the other being the one depicted in Blair Whitton’s book. Perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime buying opportunity. Estimate $20,000-$40,000

VINELAND, N.J. – Say hello to spring with the most anticipated auction of the season: Bertoia’s March 24-25 Signature Sale featuring two blockbuster collections and many additional high-end toy consignments. Rows of gleaming showcases at Bertoia’s New Jersey gallery are filled to capacity with exceptional mechanical banks and bell toys from the Rudd Trowbridge collection, and Phil and Joan Steel’s wonderful collection of French Martins and other tin windups. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

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Famed antique toy, bank & Christmas collections unite at Bertoia’s, Nov. 17-18

Boxed Yonezawa Atom Jet Racer, est. $20,000-$30,000

VINELAND, N.J. – Those who were immersed in the toy-collecting hobby as far back as the 1970s, ’80s or early ’90s – a golden era for toy buying – have fond memories of that time and often can recall exactly where and when they acquired certain prized pieces for their collections. The fun was not just in the acquisition of the toys, but also the friendships that developed. That sentiment certainly applies to the individuals whose blue-chip collections are featured in Bertoia’s November 17-18, 2022 Annual Fall Auction, which welcomes absentee and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.

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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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Antique toys are on a roll at Milestone Auctions, with a fresh offering on Sept. 24

Kingsbury pressed-steel clockwork wrecker truck, 13in long, all original, very hard-to-find toy. Excellent condition. Estimate $1,000-$1,500

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – If anyone wondered whether new collectors were still entering the antique toy hobby or not, they got their answer last spring when Milestone Auctions closed the books on their headline-making Antique Toy Spectacular. Toy fans worldwide are still buzzing about the Popeye and Olive Oyl Tank that brought a record $105,000 at that sale. On September 24, Milestone will roll out a fresh offering of outstanding vintage toys from the Mark Smith Collection, with high-quality additions from other consignors.

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Milestone’s big Winter Antique Toy Spectacular slated for Jan. 29

I.Y. Metal Toys (Japan), tin friction Harley-Davidson motorcycle, 15in, all original and super clean with rich, true colors. Estimate $3,000-$4,000

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – Antique and vintage toys played a major role in Milestone Auctions’ success in 2021. Their October 2nd toy event rocketed to $768,000, a house record for the suburban Cleveland, Ohio, company. Milestone is on track to keep that positive momentum going in 2022 with an 867-lot Winter Antique Toy Spectacular on January 29, which offers absentee or Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.

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Bertoia’s presents fine European & American toys, holiday antiques Nov. 18-19

VINELAND, N.J. – On November 18-19, family-owned Bertoia Auctions will conclude a record-setting year with the 2021 edition of every toy collector’s favorite event: their Annual Fall Sale, with absentee and Internet live bidding available through LiveAuctioneers. Always a beautiful presentation, the Fall Sale is reserved for genuinely exceptional toys and holiday antiques sourced from many high-quality collections. In the past, the Fall Sale has been described by the media as “a rare opportunity to purchase from the top shelves of dozens of high-end collectors.”

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Milestone’s highest-grossing antique toy auction to date tallies $768K

L to R: Louis Marx & Co. (USA), prototype tin windup Speedboy 4 military motorcycle with spring-loaded military cannon and ammo box on back. Hand-painted details to soldier and cannon; and Louis Marx & Co. (USA), prototype tin windup Speedboy 4 military motorcycle with camouflage-patterned cargo box. Hand-painted details to soldier and cannon. They tied as top lot of the sale, selling for $22,800 each against an estimate of $6,000-$8,000.

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – Antique toy enthusiasts love nothing more than to discover the earliest iterations of whatever specialty they collect, and on October 2nd at Milestone Auctions in suburban Cleveland it was both Marx and motorcycle fans who hit the jackpot. The 704-lot auction, which was almost exclusively devoted to a single-owner collection, featured 138 super-clean bikes, including two American Marx prototypes that tied for top-lot honors at $22,800 apiece. Each had been estimated at $6,000-$8,000.

Intense competition pushed Marx prototype motorcycles to top of prices realized 

A throng of determined bidders competed from both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, pushing the sale total to $768,000. It was the highest-grossing toy auction in Milestone’s history.

“There was huge interest in many categories, but most especially the motorcycles, which represented scores of manufacturers from Germany, Spain, Japan, Italy, Russia and the USA. Absentee and opening bids were insane, right off the bat,” said Milestone Auctions co-owner Chris Sammet. “The Marx prototype bikes were Speedboy 4 military-themed windups, finished in the distinctive colors of early Marx toys and with hand-painted details. One had a rear-mounted cannon and the other had a camouflage-patterned box on the back. We started getting calls about them a good month before the sale. There was no doubt they were going to fly.”

Japanese friction-powered tin ‘Romance’ motorcycle, 12in large version, bright colors, all original and in working order. Sold for $5,640 against an estimate of $2,000-$3,000

The high quality of post-WWII Japanese motorcycles was evident in the sharp-looking 12-inch-long friction-powered motorcycle known as “Romance.” Lithographed in a rainbow of pleasing colors with an image of the planet Saturn on the gas tank, the bike is operated by a helmeted and goggled male driver, with a female passenger also along for the ride. In working order and all original, it sold for $5,640 against an estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

Japanese tin friction ‘Hunter-Motor Cycle,’ all original, retains gun and fowl in net on back. Appears never to have been played with. Sold for $3,840, more than six times the high estimate.

Perhaps the “sleeper” of the section was a much smaller Japanese tin friction production identified on its box label as “Hunter-Motor Cycle.” Although only 4½ inches long, the bike is amazingly well detailed and was complete, down to its attached rifle and the fowl enclosed in a net at the back. In like-new condition with its excellent factory box, the diminutive bike zipped off to a new owner for $3,840, more than six times the high estimate.

Louis Marx & Co. (USA), prototype windup Blondie and Dagwood Family Car, 14in long, all hand-painted, never saw production. Sold for $16,200 against an estimate of $4,000-$6,000

Following closely behind the Marx prototype motorcycles at the top of prices realized was a good-looking Marx (USA) Blondie and Dagwood Family Car that never made it into production. Finished in a rich blue with red, yellow and gold accents, the windup open car included figures of Dagwood at the wheel with Blondie and their son Alexander sharing the passenger seat. This coveted prototype commanded $16,200 against an estimate of $4,000-$6,000.

Peerless example of Japanese tin friction Atom-Car #153, 15½ inches, accompanied by seldom-seen original box. Original driver figure and rubber tires. Sold for $5,400 against an estimate of $2,000-$3,000

Transportation toys held their own throughout the sale, no matter what type of transportation they happened to depict. A terrific example of a Japanese tin friction Atom-Car #153, 15½ inches long, retained its original driver figure and rare box. It easily swept pasts its estimate range to settle at $5,400.

Ferdinand Strauss (USA) 11in tin windup ‘Santee Claus’ toy with Santa driver and two belled reindeer pulling his sleigh. Original illustrated box in excellent condition. Sold for $6,000, four times the high estimate

On the other hand, there was a Strauss (USA) tin windup “Santee Claus,” with the holiday gift-giver looking jaunty in his decorative sleigh pulled by a pair of belled, leaping reindeer. Measuring 11 inches long and offered with its excellent Christmas-themed box, it dashed away for $6,000 – four times the high estimate.

Distler (Germany) tin windup ‘Pinched!’ set with wonderfully illustrated box. Police motorcycle chases automobile around platform amid depictions of gas station, mountains, farmland, etc. Sold above estimate for $6,900

A visual extravaganza, a Distler (Germany) tin windup set known as “Pinched!” re-enacts a police chase in the countryside. When activated, a motorcycle cop pursues a speeding automobile around a platform amid scenery that includes mountains, farmland, railroad trestles and more. The setting is also illustrated on the box that accompanied the toy, which sold above estimate for $6,900.

Lehmann (Germany) tin windup Boxer Rebellion toy inspired by Boxer secret society active during Chinese rebellion of 1899-1901. Rarest of all Lehmann toys. All original, complete and in excellent working order. Sold above estimate for $17,400

An extensive 86-lot array of Lehmann (Germany) windup and flywheel toys crossed the auction block, many of them retaining their original boxes. A fine example of the tin windup “Boxer Rebellion” toy – inspired by the Boxer secret society that was active during the Chinese rebellion of 1899-1901 – was offered with an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

Lehmann (Germany) tin windup Halloh motorcycle in exceptionally fine, never-played-with condition. Comes with original box and instructions. Sold above estimate for $6,900

All original, complete and in excellent working order, it rose to $17,400. Also selling above estimate was a handsome Lehmann tin windup Halloh motorcycle that appeared seldom, if ever, to have been taken out of its original pictorial box. It crossed the finish line at $6,900.

Of unknown German manufacture, a 17-inch-long hand-painted composition cat skittles set consisted of a large striped-cat vessel in which seven smaller cat skittles were housed. Rolling along on cast-iron wheels, the fabulous feline pounced on a winning bid of $16,200 against an estimate of $1,000-$1,500.

Large and colorful German hand-painted composition cat skittles set, 17in-long main cat holds 7 cat skittles in various styles of dress. Cast-iron wheels (not shown). Sold for $16,200 against an estimate of $1,000-$1,500

The 713-lot auction attracted so many absentee, phone and Internet bids that it ran nearly 12 hours from start to finish. The great success it achieved was not without its challenges, however. The day before the auction, the hosting company Milestone uses for its own online bidding platform was hit by a ransomware attack that affected many industries, from aerospace to transportation, agriculture to publishing.

“The timing was bad, but in our business, you learn to have a contingency plan in place, which we always do,” said Milestone co-owner and auctioneer Miles King. “Fortunately, we always use two other bidding platforms — including LiveAuctioneers — in addition to our own, so Internet bidders were not left out. The biggest challenge was in notifying bidders about the situation, on short notice. Just about everyone who wanted to bid was able to do so, and we were grateful for that. The bottom line is, collectors were not going to sit back and miss out on a collection as great as the one we were selling just because of a technology problem. They wanted those toys.”

To discuss consigning to a collection or individual items to a future Milestone toy auction, call 440-527-8060 or email info@milestoneauctions.com. Online: www.milestoneauctions.com

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Henry Ford Museum unveils ‘Driven to Win’ exhibit

Driven to Win: Racing in America presented by General Motors covers various forms of American auto racing including stock car, sports car, drag racing, Indy car, hill climb and land-speed racing. Photo credit Wes Duenkel Motorsport Photography
Driven to Win: Racing in America presented by General Motors covers various forms of American auto racing including stock car, sports car, drag racing, Indy car, hill climb and land-speed racing. Photo credit Wes Duenkel Motorsport Photography
Driven to Win: Racing in America, presented by General Motors, covers American auto racing, including stock car, sports car, drag racing, Indy car, hill climb and land-speed racing. Photo credit Wes Duenkel Motorsport Photography

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – The first stop on Romain Grosjean’s monthlong tour of the United States with his family was the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, where his wife had arranged a tour for the race car driver and their three children.

On the day The Associated Press visited, IndyCar rookie Scott McLaughlin happened to be in the parking lot waiting for the doors to open.

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