Bertoia Auctions

2141 DeMarco Drive, Vineland, New Jersey 08360

About Auction House

The most recognized name in the antique toy and bank auctions venue today is without question, Bertoia Auctions of Vineland, NJ. No other auction house has sold more toys in a span of twenty-plus auctioning years, and the numerous world record prices established at Bertoia’s is a signature trademark to a very distinguished campaign of auctioning expertise.

Auction Previews & News

14 Results
  • Auction Industry, Press Release
    Take a dip into dozens of top-tier toy & bank collections at Bertoia’s April 19-20 auction

    Featured: Cast-iron & spelter banks, American and European tin toys and trains; horse-drawn, pressed steel, comic character, aeronautical and space toys; Schoenhuts, toy soldiers, penny toys, cap guns Rare, early J & E Stevens (American) cast-iron ‘National Bank’ mechanical bank. Retains original interior cardboard figure (not visible in this photo). Provenance: FW Weider to Bill Norman to Stan Sax collections. Estimate: $7,000-$10,000 VINELAND, N.J. – One of the most enjoyable aspects of the toy hobby is visiting and discovering the hidden treasures in friends’ collections. The only downside is that you’re likely to see a toy you’d love to own but can’t, because it’s not for sale. And that’s the premise that underscores Bertoia’s Annual Spring Auction – sourcing and curating a wonderfully varied selection of high-quality pieces from collectors throughout the United States and beyond. This year’s Spring Auction, comprising approximately 1,200 wide-ranging lots, will take place April 19-20 at Bertoia’s New Jersey gallery, with all forms of remote bidding available, including live via the Internet. The sale list includes a heady selection of spelter and cast-iron mechanical banks, cast-iron automotive and horse-drawn toys, animated cap guns; pressed-steel and tether cars, European automotive and wind-up toys, American, European and floor trains; plus aviation toys of every imaginable type. Additionally, there are tinplate comic character toys, Japanese robots and space toys, soldiers and European figures; and a small but choice array of holiday antiques.  Even seasoned collectors of spelter banks were amazed at what was available to them in Part 1 of the Jim and Genia Willett collection (Bertoia’s, Nov. 17-18, 2023). The couple had spent decades amassing their whimsical, ornately detailed banks, all of which rated very highly for condition. Now Bertoia’s will unveil Part 2 of the Willetts’ holdings. In the April sale, expect to see whimsical animal figures, buildings and people as the banks’ subjects, all on par with the high grades seen in Part 1. The outstanding array of cast-iron mechanical banks is highlighted by a rare National bank, an ever-popular Trick Dog bank, patented by Hubley in 1888; a Hoopla bank, and a football-themed J&E…

  • Auction Industry, Press Release
    Bertoia’s March 16 auction devoted to historic antique toy collection of Curtis and Linda Smith

    50-year collection includes pre-1900 American tin clockwork toys, many boxed; plus early cast-iron toys, mechanical banks, Marklin and other German toys, with provenance from pioneer toy collectors Carpenter (American) cast-iron Tally Ho horse-drawn coach. All original, including the removable figures. Size: 26in long. Finest example known. Provenance: Curtis and Linda Smith collection, The Stewart Collection. Estimate: $50,000-$75,000 VINELAND, N.J. – Antique toy collectors dream of being able to board a time machine to travel back to the 1970s and ’80s when the now-legendary toy shows and auctions took place. There would be quite a waiting list for a journey of that type, but since that won’t be happening anytime soon, there’s an alternative to consider. Some of the finest toys from those landmark events of 50 years ago are held in one breathtaking collection that was loved and displayed for decades by Linda Smith and her late husband Curtis Smith, and will be offered in a single-owner auction on March 16 at Bertoia’s. “Curt and Linda Smith were prominent in the toy-collecting fraternity for decades,” said Michael Bertoia, president of Bertoia Auctions. “Both were active members of the Antique Toy Collectors of America (ATCA) and served on numerous committees over the years. Curt even served as the club’s president.” By profession, Curt was a nuclear engineer, while Linda worked in the legal field as a writer of sentencing investigation reports for superior court cases. Like most California-based collectors of the 1970s, which is when the Smiths began their toy odyssey, they felt isolated in their pursuit, Bertoia said.  “They had no idea there was a growing community of enthusiasts eager to connect with other collectors, but thanks to a chance encounter with one of the leading lights of the hobby, they got tapped into a national, and eventually global, network of likeminded people.” The Smiths’ decades-long collecting adventure would take them to now-historic East Coast and European auctions, shows and markets where they acquired pieces with provenance from such fabled pioneers of the antique toy hobby as Louis Hertz, Bernard Barenholtz, Athel Spilhaus, Covert Hegarty, Leon Perelman, and many more.…

  • Auction Result, Press Release
    Divide and conquer: Bertoia’s smash two-part series offering toys on Nov. 17-18 and holiday antiques on Dec. 1 drew raves from the hobby and totaled $2.645M

    No-holds-barred bidding drove 5-figure prices across numerous categories, from exotic space toys to seldom-seen Santas VINELAND, N.J. – In the bustling days leading up to their final sale of the year, Bertoia Auctions faced an unusual problem – if you can call it a problem at all. More than 1,000 outstanding consignments of American and European toys and banks were in the process of being evaluated and photographed, while many hundreds of dazzling Christmas, Halloween and other holiday antiques waited in the wings to receive their own star treatment. After a studious assessment, it occurred to Bertoia’s president, Michael Bertoia, that the best way to proceed might be to host two separate events, each with its own distinct focus, and with a two-week break in between.  It was decided that the November 17-18 Annual Fall Auction would showcase magnificent toys and banks, while the December 1st sale would feature holiday treasures of all types. This arrangement, a first for Bertoia’s, ended up drawing rave reviews from bidders, who reveled in the convivial “collectors convention” atmosphere at the firm’s New Jersey gallery. When all was said and done, the toy and bank sale closed the books at $1.8 million and the holiday specialty sale chalked up $845,000, for a grand total of $2,645,000.  Linemar friction-powered Space Explorer rover, near-mint with very crisp box. Sold for $30,000 against an estimate of $1,200-$1,800 The opening session on November 17th validated the ongoing interest in vintage Japanese robots and space toys, with estimate-defying prices paid for super-clean examples with rare boxes. The group was led by a Linemar friction-powered Space Explorer rover in near-mint condition with a crisp, clean box. It rose to the stratosphere, commanding $30,000 against an estimate of $1,200-$1,800. A boxed Aoshin (ASC) Tremendous Mike robot in pristine to near-mint condition sold for $16,800 against an estimate of $7,000-$10,000; while a boxed Nomura battery-operated Space Patrol Car was bid to $15,600 against an estimate of $7,000-$10,000. The cast iron category encompassed rare, high-condition toys of many forms. The room lit up when a Hubley red and mustard-colored cast-iron Fire Engine House…

  • Auction Result
    Santa Claus Is Coming to Town: Bertoia Auctions’ December 2023 Holiday Sale

    Santa Claus is definitely the talk of the town these days! This seasonal ambassador was brought to life as we know him today by Thomas Nast in 1863. Today, fine antiques in Santa's image, or featuring it, are in high demand by collectors from every corner of the globe. Bertoia Auctions’ December 1, 2023 Holiday Sale featured over 100 Santa Claus-themed antiques and rarities. Here are a few highlights from this exciting event to put you in a holly-jolly state of mind. All prices noted include the auction house's 25% buyer's premium. Lot #0195, a Santa candy container, was estimated at $3,000 to $5,000 and sold for $18,750. Image courtesy of Bertoia Auctions. Christmas candy containers were a popular category in this festive sale, with several generating five-figure results. Lot #0195, a supersized Santa candy container, was estimated at USD 3,000 to $5,000 and traded hands at $18,750. This 31.5-inch tall, full-bodied Santa figure was standing and wearing a traditional Santa suit including a matching red coat and hat trimmed in white, a big black belt, and chunky black boots. His well painted face came to life with prominent white eyebrows, big blue eyes, and a fuzzy beard and sideburns. He held a small green Christmas tree in one hand; it was decorated with ornaments and a candle made from glass. Candy containers– literally novelty packaging for sweets of all sorts– "officially" debuted in 1876. That year, two examples, one in the form of Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the other as the Liberty Bell, were offered at the Centennial Exposition. This event celebrated the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the American Revolution, so these forms were a perfect tie-in. Once the candy was removed from its elaborate packaging, candy containers were often repurposed as toys, souvenirs, ornaments, or other decorative items. Over time, Santa Claus became a popular theme for candy container manufacturers, given his beloved status as a Christmas ambassador. One can only imagine how much candy this nearly yard-tall example held when he left the factory a century (or more!) ago. Lot #0013, a clockwork Santa…

  • Auction Industry, Press Release
    Bertoia’s welcomes 2023 holiday season with festive Nov. 17-18 Annual Fall Auction of fine antique toys, banks and figural doorstops from important collections

    Featured: Cast-iron mechanical, still and spelter banks; sensational European tinplate, nautical & automotive toys; horse-drawn toys, robots, Bob Davis’ aviation toys VINELAND, N.J. – Antique toy collectors won’t have to wait till December for their holiday gifts to arrive. All of their Christmas wishes will come true this month at Bertoia’s festive Annual Fall Sale. The 2023 edition, slated for November 17-18, features a dizzying array of exquisite European and American toys, as well as mechanical, still and spelter banks from premier collections.  Early German airplane with two figures, 11in wingspan. Excellent condition for age. Provenance: Bob Davis aviation toy collection. Estimate: $2,500-$4,500 European toys will take their turn in the spotlight, with all forms of transportation ready to roll – on land, sea or in the air. A large grouping of early German boats includes a fabulous Marklin paddle wheeler, a near-mint Marklin battleship, an enormous Radiguet gunboat, and several other awe-inspiring vessels. Grand automobiles, including limousines by Marklin, Carette and Gunthermann, will line up alongside race cars by Distler and Tippco. A great-looking 1895 Bing fire engine adds even more charm to the blue-chip Continental fleet. A luxe assortment of lithographed tinplate toys includes a dozen motorcycles from KiCo, M&K (Muller & Kadeder) and Fischer, as well as boxed Lehmann ’cycles. Other Lehmann toy highlights are led by a coveted Primus roller-skater, a Berolina auto, and Ampol Artic explorer. The latter two toys are accompanied by their very rare original boxes. Other tinplate toys include comic character-themed figures, a Vielmetter Clown Artist with 6 cams, a boxed Distler Porter, and a Fleischmann Deep Sea Diver. An abundance of penny toys will be on hand to tempt the many collectors who never tire of the diminutive tin whimseys that were sold on European street corners well over a century ago. A select grouping of Japanese robots and other toys will roll across the auction block, including a stellar ASC Tremendous Mike with its crisp original box, a sought-after Nomura Walking Batman, and a boxed Bandai Atom/Astro Boy. Among the Japanese automotive toys to be auctioned are several race cars,…

  • Auction Industry, Press Release
    Bertoia’s May 11-12 auction slated as hybrid event merging cataloged gallery session on Day 1 with online-only sale on Day 2

    Featured: Hubley Packard Straight Eight sedan, many fine Arcade vehicles & taxi banks; mechanical banks & doorstops; Sturditoy & Kingsbury collections; coin-ops, antique advertising, toy soldiers & more VINELAND, N.J. – Bertoia’s has a springtime treat in store for toy, bank and antique advertising collectors on Thursday and Friday, May 11-12. The Bertoia family will be hosting a 1,000-lot hybrid event that opens with a day-long cataloged gallery auction, followed the next day by a full slate of new discoveries presented in the Bertoia Basics online-only format collectors love. Bertoia’s president and principal auctioneer Michael Bertoia will open the first lot to bidding at 10 am Eastern time on both days. Bidders may also participate in the Thursday sale by phone, absentee or live online. Arcade flat-top Yellow Cab bank, cast iron with rubber wheels, 7.5in long. Estimate $2,500-$3,500 The May 11 session is noteworthy for the consistently high quality seen across its many categories. It includes Part II of a private collection of cast-iron automotive and motorcycle toys Bertoia’s introduced in March. “The collection contains one superior example after another, with rarity and impeccable provenance backing the great majority,” said Michael Bertoia. The cast-iron automotive grouping is anchored by a Hubley Packard Straight Eight sedan, $7,000-$10,000; an Arcade White Bekins moving van, $5,000-$7,500; an Arcade White shovel-nose gasoline truck, $3,000-$5,000; and a Dent wrecker truck, $3,000-$5,000. An International panel van, $2,000-$3,000; and a Parmelee Yellow Cab, $1,500-$2,500, round out the Arcade motor pool. The sale also features the second installment of figural cast-iron doorstops from a lifelong collection. There are around 70 doorstops in total, each a testament to its selective owner, who focused on rarity and condition as the non-negotiables before making each acquisition. Doorstops include a 1933 Popeye in pristine condition, $800-$1,200; a near-mint Parrot on Stump, $600-$900; a pristine George Washington, $500-$750; and a Grandpa Rabbit, $400-$700; to name but a few. The cast iron section is further enhanced by a small sampling of mechanical banks from the Phil and Joan Steel collection. They include several by J.&E. Stevens, including Chief Big Moon, $1,200-$1,800; and a…

  • Auction Industry, Press Release
    Rudd Trowbridge’s mechanical banks & bell toys, and Phil and Joan Steel’s tin windups are prestigious headliners at Bertoia’s March 24-25 Signature Sale

    Highlights: Super-rare Uncle Sam clockwork perambulator, extensive collection of Martin toys, Chimpanzee bank, attic-fresh Voltamp Interurban trolley, European tin racers, top-tier cast iron VINELAND, N.J. – Say hello to spring with the most anticipated auction of the season: Bertoia’s March 24-25 Signature Sale featuring two blockbuster collections and many additional high-end toy consignments. Rows of gleaming showcases at Bertoia’s New Jersey gallery are filled to capacity with exceptional mechanical banks and bell toys from the Rudd Trowbridge collection, and Phil and Joan Steel’s wonderful collection of French Martins and other tin windups. Ives Uncle Sam clockwork perambulator. Based upon their research, Bertoia’s believes it is one of only two known examples, the other being the one depicted in Blair Whitton’s book. Perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime buying opportunity. Estimate $20,000-$40,000 The renowned Rudd Trowbridge collection includes several mechanical banks that are considered “must-haves” but which are seldom seen in such outstanding all-original condition. No apologies are required for the pristine circa-1880 Kyser & Rex Chimpanzee bank estimated at $25,000-$35,000. The same goes for four J & E Stevens favorites. Both a Girl Skipping Rope and a boxed, football-themed Calamity bank (insignificant glue repair to box lid) are estimated at $25,000-$35,000 each. Two other J & E Stevens beauties, a whimsical Professor Pug Frog and a Panorama bank, boast all-original paint and fine condition. Each comes to auction with a $15,000-$25,000 estimate. A pristine Shepard Hardware Uncle Sam mechanical bank, with only minor wear at the character’s hand from coin use, has a $10,000-$15,000 estimate. While on the subject of America’s most identifiable national figure, Uncle Sam will take the spotlight at Bertoia’s not only in the form of a coveted mechanical bank but also as the highest-estimated early American toy: a folky Ives Uncle Sam clockwork perambulator. Bertoia Auctions’ president, Michael Bertoia, described it as “a once-in-a-lifetime find,” adding that the toy was recently discovered in a wooden crate within an upstate New York real estate tax sale. “The crate of early toys had evidently been left untouched for decades, and to our knowledge, the perambulator we will be auctioning is one…

  • Auction Result, Press Release
    Bertoia’s wraps stellar year with $2.7M November auction of toys and Christmas antiques from prestigious collections

    1,600-lot sale featuring rarities from Bob Brady, Jack White, and Curtis and Linda Smith collections was led by a Marklin Fidelitas that sold for $84,000 VINELAND, N.J. – Bertoia Auctions concluded a memorable year of high-profile events with a $2.7 million sale of toys, banks and Christmas antiques held on November 17-18 at their New Jersey gallery. The 1,179-lot selection presented on November 17-18 was steeped in toy-collecting history, with an abundance of exquisite, well-provenanced pieces coming from the lifetime collections of Bob Brady, Jack White, and Curtis and Linda Smith.   Tippco lithographed tin Santa car, 12in long. Ex Curtis and Linda Smith collection. Sold to a US buyer for a record-setting $60,000 against an estimate of $12,000-$18,000 “The interest was tremendous. The number of bidders who signed up for this sale surpassed that of many of our past auctions,” said Michael Bertoia, president and principal auctioneer at Bertoia Auctions. “There was a lot of international participation, including from countries where we had not seen bidders come from before, like Russia, Thailand and even Ukraine.” Regardless, the majority of the auction’s contents went to US bidders in the room or on the phones, with additional successful buyers competing via the Internet. A very rare and iconic tin toy, a Marklin Fidelitas clown train, topped the list of prices realized during the busy two-day event. The 37-inch-long convoy of clowns riding in early vehicles was complete with all original paint – an astonishing level of perfection for a toy so rare that even the most advanced European toy collectors have never actually seen one in person. The Fidelitas came from a British consignor who had received it as a child but was never very fond of it. Because it was not chosen for display in her bedroom, the toy was stored away and forgotten for the next 50 years, only to resurface after a clearing-out of the family home’s cellar. At auction, it more than redeemed itself by landing a within-estimate price of $84,000. The magical Marklin name pulled in the big bids once again when a canopied O-gauge trolley crossed…

  • Auction Result
    2022 Christmas Sale Highlights

    Auctions held throughout 2022 generated some breathtaking results for Christmas-related antiques, novelties, artwork, and other finds that bridged (or defied) conventional categories. In keeping with Auction Daily's annual December tradition of spotlighting holiday-themed superstar results, here are five extraordinary lots that prove Christmas rarities continue to top many collectors' wish lists– all year 'round! All sale prices noted include the auction house's buyer's premium. Tippco Santa Claus Driving Auto sold for $62,500. Image courtesy of Bertoia Auctions. Our first 2022 Christmas sale highlight is the wheel-deal. Santa Claus is best known for traveling by sleigh, but apparently he has a driver's license as well. Bertoia Auctions of Vineland, NJ sold lot #69, a Tippco Santa Claus Driving Auto, for USD 62,500 during its November 17, 2022 event. This extremely rare German-made wind-up toy carried a presale estimate of $12,000 to $18,000 and generated 28 bids. It measured 12 inches long, was in pristine to near mint condition, and was decorated with playful images of early-20th-century toys, including dolls, Teddy bears, elephants, a train, and even a zephyr. Tippco featured this Santa Claus vehicle in its catalog from 1925 to 1935 in a number of different versions, including one that had a full-fledged, rotating Christmas tree on its rear. Tippco, or Tipp & Co., was a prolific toy manufacturer (c. 1912 - 1971) located in the prewar "toy mecca" of Europe– Nuremberg, Germany. Fine Tippco items hold enormous interest with collectors today; on March 11, 2022, Bertoia sold a Tippco Mickey and Minnie Mouse Motorcycle from 1932 for a whopping $231,250! This appealing cross collectible had a presale estimate of $25,000 to $45,000 and generated 52 bids. Sand art in a bottle by Andrew Clemens (American, 1857-1894) sold for $277,200. Image courtesy of Bonhams Skinner. Our second Christmas sale highlight is literally sand-tastic. During its November 18, 2022 sale, Bonhams Skinner of Boston, MA sold lot #172, an impressive sand picture in a bottle by Andrew Clemens (American, 1857 - 1894) for $277,200. It was estimated at $150,000 to $250,000 and generated 12 bids. The work from 1887 was housed in…

  • Auction Result, Press Release
    Series of auctions featuring legendary Aaron and Abby Schroeder toy collection finishes on a high note at Bertoia’s, bringing grand total to $6.25 million

    Oct. 14 sale continued Schroeders’ philanthropic legacy, with proceeds from 100 lots of “Abby’s Attic Finds” benefiting The Entertainment Community Fund VINELAND, N.J. – After the toy community had the excitement of bidding on treasures from the 60-year Aaron and Abby Schroeder collection in March and September 2021, only one question lingered: was there more? Indeed, there was. With a heady $5.7 million subtotal from last year’s events as its foundation, the third and final installment put the exclamation point on the series. On October 14th, Bertoia auction house presented “Abby’s Attic Finds,” a 500-lot discovery selection that added another $550,000 to boost the grand total to $6.25 million. Kyser & Rex (Philadelphia) Roller Skating cast-iron mechanical bank, excellent condition retaining bright original paint colors. Sold for $24,000 Proceeds from 100 of the October sale’s lots were earmarked to benefit the Entertainment Community Fund (ECF), a cause close to Abby and the late Aaron Schroeder’s hearts. The toys had been donated by the Schroeders to the American Museum of Antique Toys in the early 1980s; now they would generate a hefty contribution to a deserving nonprofit. In the spirit of charity, Bertoia’s also waived its commission so ECF could receive the full proceeds earned by the “museum” toys. More than 150 mechanical and still banks, early clockwork and paper-lithographed toys, candy containers, European tin toys, horse-drawn pieces and other rarities were offered at the auction. The top lot of the day was a Kyser & Rex cast-iron Roller Skating mechanical bank in excellent condition. It easily swept past its $12,000-$18,000 estimate to reach $24,000. Also popular, a 1950s Mark Haber second-casting of a J & E Stevens Bull & Bear mechanical bank sold for an above-estimate $7,800. Highlights from the perennially popular early American tin category included a 21-inch-long Ives clockwork alligator (patented 1875), pristine with its original box, $14,400 against a $5,000-$7,500 estimate; and an Althof Bergmann Mechanical Circus Rider clockwork hoop toy with the original figure and hoop, $6,000 against an estimate of $2,500-$4,500. Another American toy that outperformed was a colorful George Brown clockwork locomotive with the…

  • Auction Industry, Press Release
    East Coast – West Coast – Gulf Coast: Three Legendary Toy and Bank Collections Unite at Bertoia’s, Nov. 17-18

    Featured: The last and best of Bob Brady’s toys, Jack White’s entire collection of mechanical banks, and the Linda and Curtis Smith Christmas collection VINELAND, N.J. – Those who were immersed in the toy-collecting hobby as far back as the 1970s, ’80s or early ’90s – a golden era for toy buying – have fond memories of that time and often can recall exactly where and when they acquired certain prized pieces for their collections. The fun was not just in the acquisition of the toys, but also the friendships that developed. That sentiment certainly applies to the four individuals whose blue-chip collections are featured in Bertoia’s November 17-18, 2022 Annual Fall Auction.  Gong Bell Daisy bell toy, est. $2,000-$3,000 Over the two-day period, the spotlight will shine on Bob Brady’s “private reserve” of antique toys, the entire mechanical bank collection of the late Jack White, and the superlative Christmas collection of Linda Smith and her late husband Curtis Smith. Additionally, a late consignment of top-tier robots will be offered. These collections are a testament to what can come from decades of networking, sleuthing and buying the finest and rarest examples.  In addition to being top-quality assemblages, the Brady, White and Smith collections are linked by another common thread. All contain pieces that boast a pedigreed “bloodline,” with provenance that includes some of the most famous collections of the 20th century.  THE BOB BRADY COLLECTION: HIS PRIVATE RESERVE Everyone knows Bob Brady. He’s “Mr. Hubley,” a nickname he earned for presciently collecting Hubley cast-iron toys – along with other toys – as early as 1975. He could be spotted with a flashlight at 4:30 in the morning at weekend markets like Pennsylvania’s Renningers and Shupps Grove, hoping to turn up early-bird delights. And often he did. He also had a knack for tracking down toys he could buy “fresh out of houses.” He became known as a gentleman collector who would wait patiently for toys to come his way if he missed out on them the first time around.  Bob’s favorites include: USCO Arcade White moving van  Hubley 2-seat and…

  • Auction Industry, Press Release
    Bertoia’s to auction long-held Bill and Stevie Weart antique toy collection in special Sept. 8-9 Signature Auction

    Noted collectors for several decades, the Wearts also authored ‘Cast Iron Automotive Toys,’ a now-classic reference book about a category that was of particular interest to them VINELAND, N.J. – On September 8-9, Bertoia’s will auction the antique toy collection of the late Bill and Stevie Weart, a couple whose contributions to the toy hobby were immense. Anyone who ever had the privilege of visiting the Wearts at their magnificent home in Allentown, Pennsylvania, was left with the impression that they had witnessed something exceptional for these times. Their gracious three-story residence, which was situated in a tranquil parklike setting, visually reflected what was most important to them in a home: fine architecture, tasteful furnishings, a garden that beckoned wild birds, and most of all, an interior design plan that prioritized the display of their spectacular toy collection. Hubley cast-iron ‘Say It With Flowers’ delivery motorcycle, 10in long, the book example depicted in Bill and Stevie Weart’s ‘Cast Iron Automotive Toys’ (2000) reference book. Rare all-original toy in excellent to pristine condition. Estimate $15,000-$25,000 In every room on every floor, there were custom-built showcases. Bill, a former executive engineer with Ford Motor Company, designed them solely to accommodate their precious toys. He also designed and crafted remarkable scale models of historical residences, furnishing and outfitting each of them so they functioned just as real houses would.  Bill and Stevie appreciated all sorts of antique playthings: European and American tin, automotive toys, Marklin boats, airplanes, trains, banks, dollhouses, candy containers, and especially cast-iron toys. They had an eye for whimsy and would incorporate toys into their decor with a subtlety that was delightful, for example, placing a George Brown toy atop the opened pages of a George Brown Sketchbook where that very model of toy was illustrated. The Wearts, themselves, left a literary legacy in the form of a book they co-authored in 2000. Titled Cast Iron Automotive Toys, it is still regarded as the go-to reference by cast-iron toy collectors.   The American cast iron category is amply represented in the auction lineup, with selections by Arcade, Dent, Hubley, Kenton, Wilkins,…

  • Auction Industry, Press Release
    Bertoia’s to host May 19-20 Annual Spring Auction featuring a variety of toys and Coca-Cola advertising

    Featured: Edward Lotz horse-drawn and American tin collection Part II, Ray Burgess Coca-Cola and soda pop advertising collection, penny toys, autos, motorcycles, banks, trains & much more VINELAND, N.J. – With winter in the rear-view mirror and the prospect of spring just around the corner, the Bertoia family is pleased to announce the next in a slate of outstanding sales planned for 2022: their May 19-20 Annual Spring Auction. All forms of bidding will be available, including live at Bertoia’s gallery (by reservation only), by phone, absentee, or live via the Internet through Bertoia Live or LiveAuctioneers. Two-sided Coca-Cola porcelain sign, dated 1941. Provenance: Ray Burgess collection. Estimate $1,500-$3,000 Variety is the spice of this exciting sale. The lineup incorporates a myriad of cross-collectible categories ranging from ultra-desirable toys, banks and trains to colorful antique and vintage advertising and ephemera. In addition to a huge array of tin wind-ups and pressed steel, there are substantial groupings of high-quality penny toys, select toy soldiers, and an extensive collection of coveted Coca-Cola and other soda fountain advertising items.  Both American and European tin wind-ups are featured, including whimsical character toys and early hand-painted productions by noted Continental manufacturers. The comic character section is led by several Nifty Toys and also includes a rare Spanish-made Harold Lloyd pony cart. In addition, there are European motorcycles and airplanes, and an impressive fleet of German and Japanese automotive toys.  German hand-painted tin toys include plink-plank toys by Gunthermann, Issmayer and other revered brands. Also joining in the fun are several boxed Lehmann toys, an all-original Gunthermann Clown Musicians toy, and a beautiful Hans Eberl Ta-Ra-Ra-Bumm clown car. European tin cars will be revved up and ready to motor across the auction block. Many of them were purchased from Bertoia’s series of sales devoted to the legendary Donald Kaufman collection. There are several sizes of Bing limousines – both lithographed and hand-painted types – Karl Bub and Distler autos; and Marklin constructor sets, to name but a few of the enticing entries. Japanese autos, many with original boxes, are highlighted by a shiny Atom racer.  Nearly…

  • Auction Result, Press Release
    Mickey & Minnie Mouse motorcycle sells for a staggering $222,000 at Bertoia’s $2.1M sale of Monique Knowlton antique toy collection

    A former NYC gallerist, Knowlton collected with an eye for art and paid the price to acquire toys of exceptional rarity and quality VINELAND, N.J. – One of the most exciting events ever to be held at Bertoia Auctions’ New Jersey gallery took place on March 11-12 with the sale of the spectacular Monique Knowlton antique toy collection. The globally publicized auction of mostly 20th-century European, American and Japanese toys kept collectors riveted as examples with stellar provenance commanded unheard-of prices. After the hammer fell on the last of 628 lots, Bertoia’s president and principal auctioneer Michael Bertoia confirmed to the media that the single-owner collection had achieved a grand total of $2.16 million, inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium. 75. TIPPCO MICKEY AND MINNIE MOUSE MOTORCYCLE | c. The top lot of the sale, a circa-1932 Tippco Mickey and Minnie tin wind-up motorcycle, stirred a bidding frenzy in the run-up to $222,000, a world-record auction price for any Disney toy. Prior to the sale, Bertoia’s had fielded numerous phone calls from bidders with an interest in the classic toy, which was estimated at $25,000-$45,000.  “There were several very substantial absentee bids in place, some from collectors who had tried unsuccessfully to win the toy at its last auction appearance twelve years ago. Those absentee bids faced strong competition from bidders on the phones and in the room,” Bertoia said. “Personally, I couldn’t have guessed how high it would go – that would have been impossible – but I felt confident that it would set an auction record because of all the excitement surrounding it. We were all surprised and happy for Monique when the motorcycle sold for such a fantastic price.” Knowlton had paid $65,500 for the Mickey and Minnie motorcycle at Bertoia’s 2010 auction of the Donald Kaufman collection. Kaufman was a co-founder of KB Toys. Previously, it had been owned by visionary Disney toy collectors and reference book authors Doug and Pat Wengel. The new owner is a private collector in the United States who bid over the phone. Comic character toys in general, but especially those depicting…

  • Auction Industry, Press Release
    Bertoia’s March 11-12 No-Reserve Signature Auction Exclusively Features International Model Monique Knowlton’s Antique Toy Collection

    A former cover girl and art gallery owner, Knowlton never compromised on condition, always buying the best, preferably boxed examples VINELAND, N.J. – On March 11 and 12, Bertoia’s will auction, without reserve, the Monique Knowlton antique toy collection, a spectacular assemblage of comic character, German automotive and American toys; as well as out-of-this-world Japanese robots and space toys. Tippco German Army motorcycle with sidecar, circa 1920s, windup. Estimate $10,000-$15,000 While she was never a regular at toy shows or auctions and is probably unknown to most other collectors, Knowlton – a former international fashion model and art gallery owner – comes from a world whose focus is on aesthetics, first and foremost. With her well cultivated eye for quality and perfection, she came to appreciate the beauty of antique toys after seeing similar objects compatibly incorporated into art installations.  Knowlton remarked: “Even if toys were very rare, if their condition wasn’t 100 percent, I wouldn’t buy them. I wanted things that were perfect, original and working, and if I had a choice, I would always buy a toy that had its original box.” Michael Bertoia, president and principal auctioneer at Bertoia Auctions, recalled: “Monique was always a great customer of ours. She’s very detail oriented and has a curator’s eye, which is to be expected of someone who operated a successful Manhattan art gallery. She heeded our advice and went after only the best examples. Whenever she was presented with the opportunity to bid in premier sales like the Donald Kaufman series, she didn’t hold back, and that’s very clearly reflected in the collection she put together over the years.”  Among the most coveted classics to be auctioned is a 1926-27 J. Chein Felix Frolic estimated at $12,000-$18,000. The largest lithographed comic character toy ever made, standing 11 inches tall on a 13 by 4-inch platform, the Felix Frolic was also the first tin windup comic strip character toy to be licensed for manufacture in the United States. Fewer than a handful are known to exist. “Like every other toy in the collection, Monique’s Felix Frolic is very strong…