This excellent condition Ives Bull Dog Savings Bank drew significant crowd attention and finally sold for an impressive $5,775. Just one of the many mechanical banks offered from the Farrell Shoffeit collection, a former editor for the Mechanical Bank Collectors of America Club.
A striking example originally from the Stanley P. Sax Collection, this Mammy and Child Bank by Kyser & Rex Co. went for $7,700. This green version is one of the scarcest of color variations for this bank, and landed exactly within estimate. The overall picture for mechanical banks seemed very promising with some strong bidding primarily from the floor bidders, while getting plenty of bid battles from the absentee or phone bidders. Auction attendance seems to fluctuate with the collections offered, some groupings are simply natural absentee potential items for some collectors, and the auction house has always demonstrated a huge following from mail and phone bidders.
A Shepard Hardware Company’s Mason Bank in Pristine Condition from the collection of Mr. Farrell Shoffeit, at $8,250, proved quite worthy of the expression, if you build it they will come, the Masons weren’t finished with their wall before the job site changed to a new state, and a new shelf for further admiration.
A salivating sight to any doorstop collector, these elusive Hubley examples designed by Fish were offered in Pristine to Near Mint Condition approximately bringing in $5,500 each. Lined on the preview shelves, they looked marvelous, and when the bidding was over, individually speaking, each still looked marvelous.
A Linemar/Walt Disney Productions Mickey Mouse Roller Skater with the box sold for a notable $3,575. Disney collecting peaked for some years, but Bertoias keeps bringing in phenomenal collections of Mickey and his friends, and the interest never stops. Rich and Jeanne both agree that collectors have to have the chance to bid on quality to become seasoned and sophisticated collectors of anything, and the Gallery has been doing just that. Attempting to bring out the finest in Disneyana and comic character toys is definitely on their agenda… watch out for April.
A scarce hand-painted tin example by Guntherman of Germany, this Three Pool Players toy racked ‘em up at $6,600. European toys of late have rarely surfaced at auction, but this fine example was discovered here in the states, and yes, it was a new find, as no one seemed aware of its existence. Simply a great toy with all the master detail that early German toy makers made look easy.
This Ferris Wheel by Doll & Co. of Germany, found in the original owner’s estate and offered to bidder’s in Near Mint Condition, sold for $14,300. Its large scale and unplayed with condition was a big, WOW. Made of hand painted tin and complete with fashionable gondolas, it was a pleasure offering in such rare preservation.
An exceptionally rendered large-scale Dresden battleship fully outfitted with masts, smoke stacks, and full artillery sold for $2,200. Another Dresden in the extensive grouping offered which featured some never before spotted on the market. The Holidays are happy times, but coupled with the selection at Bertoias, this year was just a little bit more special then usual: they will keep us posted for next year!
Overwhelming was a word much used at the recent Bertoia Auctions December sale which united over 600 Holiday items with nearly 1000 diverse toy offerings. Attendees and absentee bidders showed equally impressive paddles of approval throughout the two-day event and helped carry away a very respectable $850,000 worth of quality examples.
The sale highlighted an enormous collection of Christmas items that featured over 1000 glass ornaments in addition to endless examples of Holiday decorative items. Belsnickles of almost every color and shape lined with large Santa figures, litho candle clips, candy boxes, stockings, wooden tree stands, die-cuts, cards and photos. A truly spectacular holiday offering with an added mix of mechanical banks, doorstops, and toys: enough to make many a collector, a very merry Christmas.
Highlights, while many, included an early German made Ferris Wheel by Doll, just perfect for the tree skirt trimming, and perfect in condition as well, which sold for $14,300, helped round the sale for larger groupings of glass ornaments which commanded across the board prices almost always exceeding the pre-estimate prices. With over 1600 lots sold in two-days, the interest from collectors never ceased, and the preview echoed with the all familiar sounds of intense wants. There was literally a lot for everyone, and Friday’s session kicked off the show with subtle stillness… the still banks.
Ever so popular, Bertoia’s brought all mediums to the podium in ceramic, lead, glass, wood, and cast iron, and collectors seemed as active in the audience as they were on the internet and phones alike. The ever changing marketplace draws upon several forms of bidding today, and collectors have come to accept clicking, calling or waving the paddle live, as simply normal auction format able to reach further then auctions of years gone bye. Buyers still focus on special wants, such as Alphabet bank at $2,750, General Butler at $ 2,310, and Ideal Stove bank at $ 1,320, and regardless of type of bidder, prices still seem to fetch what many regard as the range of today’s estimates. Mechanical banks however, draw an added attention when the consignor is a well known person on the collecting community, and this sale featured the grouping of Farrell Shoffeitt, former editor to the club’s magazine. A Mammy example in green, scarce color and great provenance hammered down at $ 7,700, while a Mason bank, in envy condition, built a different fury at $ 8,250. An Uncle Sam example in proud condition stood at $ 4,950, and he was just warming up the crowd for the doorstop action to follow. The cast iron doorstop favorites were many, but a special grouping of Fish and Taylor Cook designed entries really set a wave of bidding throughout the crowd reminiscent of the bidding battles of old. The collection was culled by some pretty good eyes for condition and rarity, and the search was rewarded by some new approving buyers. Sending a clear message to collectors that doorstops are a very serious collectable was the Messenger Boy, at $4,950, followed by Bathing Beauties at $6,875, Parlor Maid at $ 5,500, Tall Footman, $5,500, Taylor Cook’s famous Penguin at $4,125, a rare Giraffe at $ 10,450, and an equally impressively cast Elk standing at 19”, finally selling for $8,800. The grouping included baskets, houses, people and the whimsical, and the hard cover catalog is an almost must for current doorstop pricing.
Disney toys of all magical sorts presented buyers with some great choices and buys along the evening’s session. Mickey Mouse Rollerskater performed to the tune of $ 3,575, while quickly changing into conductor’s uniform to join the Merry makers band received $990, for a quick performance. Mickey tin toys still seem to still rein king of the Disneyworld, but friends like Donald Duck, Felix and Bonzo met with character approval as well. The sale contained some early ceramic Felix pitchers, and everything in between to a Felix perfumer by Schucco. The interest in comic character toys and Disney examples never seems to end, and Bertoias has whispered that next April’s sale will feature more Disney toys rarely offered at market…but you will hear a lot on that later. Comic character toys fared well, although the mix was not perhaps what will be coming next year. The sale was tailored more as an eclectic mix with a strong showing of Holiday entries, and early American toys, together with Schoenhut surprises were part of that gathering. Rare animals such as the Wolf and Hyena walked out of the room for $825, and $825. Large Schoenhut Humpty Dumpty Circus Tent at $1,980, set the stage for a very rare Lamb on Roly base, which rocked away at $4,400, to the sheer delight of it’s new owner. Santa drawn by Goats, an Althof Bergmen creation, sold at $20,000, while a handsome Horse on platform toy, again in pristine condition, pranced to the tune of $ 880. Pressed steel toys, and tin autos rolled along at predictable pricing, and again, we are hearing whispers from Bertoias that their upcoming April 2005 sale will hold enormous pressed steel and cast iron surprises… yes, more on that later.
Happy Holidays took on a new meaning in Vineland, New Jersey this December, and Bertoia Auctions was simply overjoyed to bring the fresh collectibles to the market. What started with a phone call for a collection pick-up culminated in one of the finest offerings in Holiday history. Remember we said overwhelming, it was, and will be talked about for some time. There was nothing left to the imagination of Christmas items for sale, and the catalog is a stellar reference representation for collectors of Holiday items. It’s a must have book of Holiday diversity from years past with items that touch almost every area of collecting in a simple to view, hard bound edition. Groupings, and we mean groupings of glass bulbs, electric lights, celluloid lights, candle holders, people ornaments, the animal kingdom, and the whimsical all make up the over 600 lots offered and sold.
Glass ornaments were grouped from single offerings to a multitude of examples. The session got under way with an assortment of electric lights featuring animals of sorts selling for $1,320., while a clear glass assortment sold containing an Uncle Sam sold at $880. A fresh variety of Santa ornaments brought $495, and a group of spun glass butterflies took to the podium at $495. Assorted Holiday items such as Jack in the box with Christmas litho jumped out at $1,430, miniature décor tin lamps, $192., Santa Schoenhut Roly Poly, $ 1,980, two sea themed glass ornaments, $467., paper ornaments drew intense interest with a $770. glass candle ornament with holder, $660, and fruit ornament in colorful patterns, $522. Belsnickles were represented in varying colors and sizes, and commanded strong showings for lavender at $1,320, small blue version, $990, large blue, $1,650, orange at $2,200, and a striking early brown example at $6,600. In a more diminutive design, yet demanding huge attention were Dresden hand made ornaments with plenty of choices made. Large Battleship sailed to $2,200, rare organ grinder, $2,200, Rooster Head in vibrant coloring, $3,575, Paddlewheeler, $1,430, and a handsome auto, although missing wheels, rarely offered or seen, at $1,210. The Holiday portion brought numerous price surprises, and the collectors of these festive decorations were quite pleased with the format of the sale and the preview friendly environment. Bertoia Auctions was pleased with the overall support of those participating, and especially to the stellar job of auctioneers Tim Luke, who has been the prime conductor at Bertoia’s, and Kathi Elkies, a new comer to the Gallery’s podium. Both received great reviews, and their genuine level of enthusiasm echoed their professionalism throughout the entire two-days.
Bertoia’s will now prepare for an incredible April 29, 30 2005 spring auction billed as the “Rare Fun” auction. Expect a barrage of quality horse drawn, banks, cast iron auto, doorstops, pressed steel, tin, early American toys, and Disney toys at their best offerings.
Visually stunning and extremely rare, this full-figured cast iron Elk lawn ornament charged away at $8,800. Shown with the extraordinary item is Jeanne Bertoia in full backdrop of the Bertoia Auction Gallery preview room beaming with toy delights. As author of “the Doorstop Book” Jeanne was very impressed with the collection offered for sale, and the response to the quality choices surpassed her expectations. There is no doubt, Jeanne stated, that doorstops have hit very new highs of interest, both for the cream of the crop, and the standard nice common examples. Condition is still king, and rarity is in its court.
Among a veritable drove of pristine Hubley offerings, this full-figured Giraffe doorstop standing at an impressive 12,” dwarfed them all at a stellar $10,450. Very rare and very well cast with scaled down exacting life like features. This was one of the gems to which Jeanne Bertoia refers to: when it comes around for sale, don’t hesitate, because the next one may take a long time to surface.
A very early and seldom seen Belsnickle composition candy container cradled here by new Assistant Auctioneer Kathy Elkies, formerly of Christies, attracted bidder’s from all over the world, finally settling at a fantastic $6,600. For any Holiday collector, Bertoia Auctions was the place to be in December. As the write up stated, overwhelming was just one word used to describe the grouping and offering to collectors.