A serious collection of playthings leaves the cupboard for the last time

As we've reported, the fifth and final sale of Donald Kaufman's world-class investment-grade toy auction is set to take place this weekend. Here's our final look at the sale:

Friday's session will open with the second half of the cast-iron toy grouping, which ranges from common trucks, farm tractors, busses and construction vehicles to several exceedingly rare David delivery trucks.

The cast-iron section of the sale is widely varied. "Anyone who ever wanted something from Donald Kaufman's shelves stands a very good chance of attaining it, including the first toy Don ever bought - an Arcade Red Baby," Bertoia said.

Because of its significance, that particular toy has been given special status and will be offered as the final lot of the sale. "It takes the collecting journey full circle -the first toy Don bought is also the last one to be sold," Bertoia said.

Another special inclusion in the sale is the toy that was chosen to grace the cover of each of Bertoia's catalogues in the Donald Kaufman auction series - a tinplate Hans Eberl van made for a Pittsburgh company called Kaufmann (sic.).

Kaufmann moving van
Kaufman's 'Kaufmann' moving van

The Saturday session includes a sizable array of light pressed-steel automotive toys by Kingsbury, Metalcraft, Cor Cor, Turner and other manufacturers. An additional 30-35 lots of boxed modern toys by Marklin and Paya will cruise across the auction block.

For those comic character collectors who may have struck out in previous Kaufman sales in which competition for rare examples was fierce, there's good news. A small but very pleasing selection of comic character toys has been set aside for the April 15-16 sale.

"If a paddle got in their way before, this is not only the last chance but also a good chance for comic character collectors to score a great toy," said Bertoia.

Jeanne Bertoia, owner and co-founder of Bertoia Auctions, concurred. She said she believes the final Kaufman sale might be "more of an American buying event" than previous sessions, since part five is not comprised predominantly of European toys.

"Donald Kaufman was a completist. He had everything," Jeanne explained. "I would say to those who were not successful at previous sales, here's your chance to acquire a toy with very important provenance from a legendary collector who will dominate toy conversations for many years to come.

"There wasn't a collector like him before he bought his first toy 61 years ago, and there hasn't been one like him since."

With the conclusion of the series, collectors will be able to add the final hardbound auction catalogue to the five-volume set documenting the Kaufman collection. Volume V includes a special bonus - an index that alphabetically organizes auction entries from the entire compendium of catalogues, listing toys by name and/or manufacturer with the volume and page numbers where each can be found.

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