Stephenson’s brings on the summertime fun with July 17 Toys & Trains auction

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368-lot sale features Buddy ‘L’ vehicles, Lionel trains, French lead soldiers, 1960s/’70s Murray pedal airplane, vintage games, slot cars, robots and Transformers, many toy discovery lots

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – On Sunday, July 17th, Stephenson’s Auctioneers of Southampton (suburban Philadelphia), Pa., will conduct the 2022 edition of its popular Summer Trains & Toys Auction, featuring antique and vintage items from collections and estates through the Mid-Atlantic region. The sale will take place at the company’s spacious Bucks County gallery, with remote bidding available via phone or live online through LiveAuctioneers

1920s Lionel standard-gauge passenger set. Engine paint appears original. VG condition overall. Estimate $400-$800
1920s Lionel standard-gauge passenger set. Engine paint appears original. VG condition overall. Estimate $400-$800

Made for rough, touch play, Buddy ‘L’ vehicles were favorites in their day and remain high on the list of must-haves with today’s collectors of pressed-steel toys. Measuring more than 2 feet in length, a Buddy ‘L’ #201 open-cab ratchet dump truck made between 1923 and 1929 is hard to beat for size and heft. It comes to auction with a $200-$400 estimate.

In the late 1920s, the Moline, Illinois, company also produced a 21-inch-long steam shovel. The example in Stephenson’s sale is in VG to Excellent condition and is estimated at $200-$400. Also from the 1920s, a Buddy ‘L’ aerial fire truck will be offered with a $300-$600 estimate.

The name “Lionel” is synonymous with American toy trains. For many decades, children have been entertained by Lionel trains in shop windows, hoping Santa would leave a set for them beneath the Christmas tree. Among the Lionel sets in the July 17 auction are a 1920s Lionel maroon standard-gauge passenger set consisting of a #380 0-4-0 electric locomotive, a #319 Pullman car, and a #322 observation car. The engine paint appears original, and the set is in overall VG condition. Estimate: $400-$800. From the 1930s, a Lionel standard-gauge steam engine #385 paired with a #384-T tender is in Good to VG condition. Its pre-sale estimate is $250-$500.

A novel item from Lionel is their 1930s Peter Rabbit wind-up handcar in pastel colors, with the popular storybook character at one end and an Easter basket as cargo. All original and in working order with a wind-up key, this charming holiday crossover toy is estimated at $300-$600.

A 1950s unpainted 0-gauge brass steam engine and tender was most likely made as a kit, possibly by the brand All nation. Its wheel alignment is 4-8-2 and the total length is 22 inches. The tender appears to have a whistle or sound system built into its design. In VG to Excellent condition, it is estimated at $500-$800.

Manufactured in the 1990s, a motorized T-Reproduction of a Buddy ‘L’ steam engine and tender have a combined length of 44 inches. Both are of black-painted steel, with the engine numbered 963 and having a 4-6-2 alignment, and the tender labeled “Buddy L Outdoor Railway.’ Each is complete, in like-new condition and accompanied by its own original box. Estimate: $500-$1,000

If imagining what it would be like to be the driver of a toy vehicle wasn’t enough, children of pre- and postwar America had another option: pedal cars. But pedal vehicles came in other forms, as well. Stephenson’s will offer as one of its sale highlights a 1960s/’70s Murray Airflow Air Pursuit pedal airplane. Finished in a spiffy silver and red motif with blue US Army Air Corps-style decals, it measures 47 inches long and has a 36-inch wingspan, tip to tip. Complete and in working order, it’s in VG condition with a few small exceptions and will roll across the auction block with a $250-$500 estimate. A Blue Diamond Classics pedal car replicating a pink and white 1955 Chevy convertible presents in Excellent condition and is expected to achieve a $200-$400 winning bid.

The charm of early European toys is seen in a lot containing 24 French-made Napoleonic War lead figures. The grouping consists of a commander and 20 marching riflemen with bayonets on their weapons, a flag bearer and a drummer. The lot is graded VG to Excellent, and the estimate is $120-$250.

From early games, robots and transformers to slot cars, boats and construction sets (Erector, Meccano), this auction offers a great mixed bag of vintage playthings, with many discovery lots mixed in. Stephenson’s Friday, July 17, 2022 Summer Trains & Toys Auction will be held live at the company’s gallery, starting at 2 p.m. ET.  Remote bidders may participate by phone, live online through LiveAuctioneers or by leaving an absentee bid. Goods may be inspected at the gallery on auction day from 12 noon till 2 p.m. Stephenson’s Auctioneers’ gallery is located at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton (Bucks County, metro Philadelphia), PA 18966.

For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail [email protected]. Visit Stephenson’s Auctioneers online at View the auction catalog online at

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