Antique toys, trains and Americana to auction



2015-06-26 11:18:09

Antique toys, trains and Americana to auction

Pennsylvanian vintage toy auctioneer Noel Barrett will hold an unprecedented 932 lot sale of European and American antique toys and trains and Americana on November 16th-17th.

Two large collections will take centre stage at the auction: the Athelstan and Kathy Spilhaus antique toy collection, and the Rick Ralston collection of European and American trains and trolleys.

The late Dr Athelstan Spilhaus, a geophysicist, metaphysicist and oceanographer, along with his wife Kathy, was an avid toy collector. From automata, wind ups and music boxes to boats, trains and steam toys, their collection spanned many areas.

Decamps animals were a favourite of the couple. Decamps were a 19th-early 20th century French company, particularly admired for their automata. Mechanical animals offered from the Spilhaus collection include a strutting peacock, pair of elephants, and an alligator to name a few. There is also a 1920s Decamps 41/2 foot long animated butcher shop display.

Kathy Spilhaus favoured Schoenhut wooden toys, and several of these varnished exotic animals, as well as a Teddy Roosevelt figure, will be offered. A balloonist and two zeppelins are also included.

Music boxes intrigued Dr Spilhaus, and a Stella 17-inch disc music box and an Edison phonograph doll with original mechanism will be offered at the auction.

Rick Ralston, author of Cast Iron Floor Trains, presents his collection of pressed steel floor trains, wood and brass folk art trains, and steel and wood trolleys, as well as railway handcars featuring Disney characters.

A highlight is a 6ft long baggage/mail car, built to demonstrate the Rice Safety Automatic Brake system patented in 1885. This model travelled the world as a sales tool throughout the 1890s.

A fully functional hand-made model of the Empire State Express and several scare Marklin pieces are included, such as the desirable 1910 carousel, plus unusual automobilia such as a 1930s banana delivery truck.

An exciting find among the toys was an Althof Bergmann Santa in Sleigh toy, a fabled item though to be one of just four extant examples. It is valued at $100,000-$200,000. Likewise, an extremely rare pre-WWII Buck Rogers 25th Century Laboratory is expected to entice high bids.

Rounding off the sale are several astounding attic finds and choice single pieces.

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