'A collection displayed so beautifully, we didn't want to take the toys off the shelves'

From the Fort Knox-style basement of a New York townhouse to the gleaming showcase shelves of a fine country home, a diverse parade of toys has come to Bertoia's gallery for a Nov. 12-14 auction titled "Toys for the Mantle."

"There's an abundance of quality, and the mix is just fantastic," said Bertoia Auctions associate Rich Bertoia. "Every residence and every collection we visited in picking up consignments for this sale was different.

"One collection was displayed so beautifully, we didn't want to take the toys off the shelves." But off the shelves they came, to become part of a grand offering of 2,000+ toys guaranteed to please even the fussiest collector.

Cat in the hat toy
Cat in the hat toy $1,000-1,200

The general overview of the November sale reveals these basic categories: cast-iron, American and European tin, including a selection of Lehmann wind-ups; comic character, European autos and boats, Japanese tin cars, banks, doorstops, pressed steel and battery ops.

During the Sunday, Nov. 14 session, more than 500 top-quality Christmas, Halloween and other holiday antiques will take the spotlight. For the moment we'll concentrate on Friday's auction.

Friday's lineup includes a host of banks, with cast-iron "still" models headed by an Eiffel Tower, Two-Faced Devil, Town Hall, Hen on Nest and a hard-to-find Sundial. The still banks are anchored by a private collection consisting exclusively of examples replicating safes.

Mickey Mouse Toy
Mickey Mouse Toy

"Many are classified in Andy Moore's book as being in the 'F' category, which means there are only a few known," said Rich. "Many of these safe banks will be the first of their type to see the auction market."

Antique cast-iron mechanical banks "poured in" from several excellent collections, Rich said. Among them are two very nice Jonah & the Whale banks, a couple of Chief Big Moon banks, a baseball and black Americana-themed Darktown Battery, Professor Pug Frog, a Stump Speaker and many others.

Yellow car toy

"Parmalee" Yellow Cab $1,000-1,200

Other highlights include entries from Bob Turnquist's collection of automobilia. Watch this space for more news on the auction, which will take place in Vineland, New Jersey.


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