Donald Kaufman is a legend in collecting circles. Dreaded at auction when he was in full swing - he would sometimes turn up with a trailer to take away his purchases and he always got what he came for - he is celebrated for assembling and preserving an extraordinary array of collectible toys.
Kaufman set up his own toy making company and made his fortune that way. But it wasn't pieces from his own company that he concentrated on. He primarily collected metal vehicles, starting with an International Harvester Red Baby truck, purchased for $4 from a collector friend in 1950.
Kaufman decided to sell the whole 7,000 piece collection back in 2008, realising that none of his children was keen to take responsibility for it. Consigning all the pieces to Bertoia Auction, Kaufman was closely involved in the preparation of the sale, and had seen much of it go through before his death in 2009, aged 79.
The first three auctions have achieved $9.3m already, so the fourth auction will certainly take the total into eight figures. The collection proved to be an extraordinary investment, though Kaufman never collected for that purpose as such.
The final session will offer many cast iron and pressed steel pieces, along with the final two categories of toys: European vehicles and Comic Character toys. The auction will take place on September 24-25 in Vineland, New Jersey.
Watch this space for more details and the results.
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