Milestone’s antique toy auction on October 2 totals $ 768,000, with hefty prices paid for …
WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – Vintage toy enthusiasts love nothing more than discovering the first iterations of any specialty they collect, and on October 2 at Milestone Auctions in suburban Cleveland, these are both Marx and the motorcycle fans who hit the jackpot. The 704-lot auction, which was almost exclusively devoted to a sole-proprietorship, featured 138 super-clean bikes, including two American Marx prototypes that won first lot honors at $ 22,800 apiece. Each was estimated to be between $ 6,000 and $ 8,000.
A host of determined bidders competed against each other on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, bringing the sale total to $ 768,000. It was the most lucrative toy auction in Milestone history.
âThere was great interest in many categories, but more particularly in motorcycles, which represented dozens of German, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Russian and American manufacturers. The absent and open bids were insane from the start, âsaid Chris Sammet, co-owner of Milestone Auctions. âThe prototype Marx bikes were Speedboy 4 military-themed winders, finished in the distinctive colors of early Marx toys and with hand-painted details. One had a cannon mounted on the back and the other had a camouflage pattern 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.
The high quality of post-war Japanese motorcycles was evident in the 12-inch-long friction motorcycle, known as the “Romance”. Lithographed in a rainbow of pleasing colors with an image of the planet Saturn on the gas tank, the bike is driven by a helmeted, goggle-wearing male driver, with a female passenger also on the ride. Working and all original, it sold for $ 5,640 against an estimate of $ 2,000 to $ 3,000.
Perhaps the section’s “sleeper” was a much smaller Japanese tin friction production identified on the box label as “Hunter-Motor Cycle”. Although only 4Â½ inches long, the bike is incredibly well detailed and complete, right down to its attached rifle and the fowl locked in a net in the back. In like-new condition with its excellent factory box, the little bike passed to a new owner for $ 3,840, more than six times the high estimate.
Closely following the top-selling Marx prototype motorcycles there was a beautiful Marx (USA) Blondie and Dagwood wagon that was never produced. Finished in a rich blue with red, yellow and gold accents, the open-winded car featured figures of Dagwood at the wheel with Blondie and their son Alexander sharing the passenger seat. This coveted prototype ordered $ 16,200 against an estimate of $ 4,000 to $ 6,000.
Transport toys held up well throughout the sale, regardless of what type of transport they represented. A terrific example of a 15Â½ inch long Japanese pewter Friction Atom-Car No. 153 retains its original driver figure and rare box. It easily exceeded its estimate range to settle at $ 5,400. On the other hand, there was a Strauss (US) ‘Santee Claus’ pewter wind-up, with the casual-looking holiday gift giver in his decorative sleigh pulled by a pair of bell-bell reindeer and jumping. Measuring 11 inches long and delivered with its excellent Christmas-themed box, it took the plunge for $ 6,000 – four times the high estimate.
A visual extravaganza, a Distler (Germany) pewter liquidation set known as “Pinched!” Â»Reconstructs a police chase in the countryside. When activated, a motorcycle policeman chases an automobile at high speed around a platform amidst a landscape that includes mountains, farmland, railroad trestles and more. The decor is also shown on the box that came with the toy, which sold for above estimate for $ 6,900.
A huge range of 86 Lehmann (Germany) winding and flywheel toy lots passed through the auction block, many of them retaining their original boxes. A fine example of the âBoxer Rebellionâ pewter 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 to $ 15,000. All original, complete and in excellent working order, it amounts to $ 17,400. On top of the estimate was also a beautiful pewter winding Lehmann Halloh motorcycle that rarely, if ever, looked like it had been taken out of its original illustrated box. He crossed the finish line at $ 6,900.
Of unknown German manufacture, a 17-inch-long hand-painted composition cat bowling set consisted of a large striped cat container in which seven small cat pins were housed. Rolling on cast iron wheels, the fabulous feline jumped on a winning bid of $ 16,200 against an estimate of $ 1,000 to $ 1,500.
The 713 lot auction attracted so many mail order, telephone and internet auctions that it lasted almost 12 hours from start to finish. His great success, however, was not without challenges. The day before the auction, the hosting company Milestone uses for its own online auction platform was hit by a ransomware attack that hit many industries, from aerospace to transportation, to agriculture to publishing.
âThe timing was bad, but in our business you learn to have a contingency plan in place, which we always do,â said Milestone co-owner and auctioneer Miles King. âFortunately, we still use two other auction platforms besides our own, so internet bidders had alternatives. The challenge was to inform bidders of the situation, on short notice. Our team had to start calling customers to let them know they either needed to change bidding sites, book a phone line, or leave mail order offers. Almost everyone who wanted to bid found a way to do it, and we are grateful for that. Ultimately, collectors weren’t going to sit idly by and miss out on a collection as large as the one we were selling just because of a technological glitch. They wanted these toys. Milestone’s auction platform was fully restored the Monday following the auction.