Stephenson’s to auction estate dolls, toys, trains and banks

Art Daily
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1930s Wyandotte pressed steel car and trailer, original yellow/cream paint, total length 11 inches. Estimate $250-$500.
1930s Wyandotte pressed steel car and trailer, original yellow/cream paint, total length 11 inches. Estimate $250-$500.

SOUTHAMPTON, PA..- Since staying at home became the “new normal,” it has become increasingly obvious that vintage toy collectors are not slowing down their buying. If anything, they’re stepping up their game and enjoying the opportunity to bid and buy in online auctions from high-quality auction houses whose galleries are temporarily closed to the public. The next auction being closely watched by the toy hobby is a 400-lot offering to be sold May 31 by Stephenson’s of Southampton (suburban Philadelphia), Pa.

In addition of many of the most popular categories of toys, the auction includes trains, dolls and coin banks from multiple estates and private collections. All remote-bidding options will be available, including absentee, by phone, or live online.

The sale will open with a selection of dolls that follows a timeline ranging from the late 18th century, with its high-quality European productions, through the post-World War II era, when Ginny and Barbie dolls were every girl’s wish.

Among the antique dolls entered in the sale is a French circa-1895 Bebe Mascotte by May Freres. Standing 15 inches high, the doll has a bisque socket head with large blue glass inset eyes, painted lashes, and thick, feathered brows. Its original fully jointed composition and wood body is marked “Bebe Mascotte Paris,” and its head is stamped “Mascotte 1.” This desirable doll is expected to make $2,000-$4,000 at auction.

A late-18th-century Continental painted-wood Santos cage doll with jointed arms and glass eyes is the earliest doll in the auction. Measuring 24 inches high, it has a well-carved and detailed face and hands. Estimate: $200-$400. An antique Ella Smith 21-inch oil-painted cloth “Alabama Baby” is entered with a $900-$1,300 estimate, and Bucherer (Saba)(Swiss) metal-ball-jointed character figures depicting the comic character duo Mutt and Jeff could reach $400-$600. Other early manufacturers represented in the doll lineup include Franz Schmidt & Co., Heubach, Simon & Halbig/C.M. Bergmann, and Schoenhut, amongst many others.

From the modern era, a near-mint 1952 Vogue Ginny “Rich Uncle” special trunk set features a hard plastic blond Ginny with original hang tag, and an extensive wardrobe of original factory outfits and accessories. A lavish array in beautiful condition, the lot is estimated at $800-$1,200. Also notable are a hard-to-find 1930s Madame Alexander set of composition Dionne Quintuplets dolls in a wicker presentation trunk, $600-$800; a 1930 Knickerbocker set of the Seven Dwarfs, $100-$200; and an all-original 1950s Nancy Ann style show doll named “Glamorous,” in a lace gown and wrap, $500-$700.

The automotive section is led by a 1930s Wyandotte pressed-steel sedan and trailer set. With quintessential Art Deco styling and nice original yellow/cream paint, the 11-inch-long duo could cruise to a winning bid of $250-$500.

As soon as Stephenson’s auction catalog was posted online, bids started coming in on a grouping of five 1960s Mattel Redline Hot Wheels cars. In very good condition and ready to race, the formidable quintet consists of two 1969 (Hong Kong) ‘Boss Hoss’ Mustangs, and three US productions: a 1967 gold Custom Mustang, 1968 blue Custom Mustang, and a 1968 Custom Continental Mark III. The lot estimate is $150-$300.

Forty lots of boxed and loose train sets, cars, and accessories await the railroad-minded collector, including examples by the most collectible American brands. One of the top lots is an American Flyer S-gauge Missouri Pacific passenger set in its original box with individual windowpane boxes. This like-new set manufactured in 1991 consists of an A-A diesel unit set numbered 8112 and 8113, and four silver and blue passenger cars. Estimate: $200-$400. A Lionel O-gauge Western Maryland Shay Steam locomotive and tender are made of black painted die-cast metal and come with smoke, steam, rail sounds and constant lighting features. In like-new condition in the original 2000s box, the set could reach the $150-$300 range.

Always popular with Disney collectors, a display-box set of 1950s first-series Marx Walt Disney “Disneykins” is complete with 34 hand-painted figures in mint condition. The pre-sale estimate is modestly set at $100-$200.

Keep your pennies handy, because Uncle Sam wants them. The cast-iron mechanical bank patented in 1886 and manufactured by Shepard Hardware Co., is original and in working order. With paint graded Good to Very Good, this classic moneybox comes to auction with a $500-$1,000 estimate.

Marbles are miniature works of art that are easy to display, hence their huge popularity with collectors. A rare opportunity presents itself in Stephenson’s May 31 auction in the form of a cardboard box containing 180 individual original boxes of ALLIES marbles. Each red and tan box is marked “Made in U.S.A.” in small print and contains three mint-condition ONYX marbles. Dating from the 1940s to 1960s, this treasure trove of factory-fresh marbles is estimated at $100-$200.

A late consignment of coveted tin toys adds even more variety to the sale. A ticket to ride on a colorful 1950s Chein tin-litho Mickey Mouse (Disneyland) Ferris wheel, complete and in operating order, is expected to cost $200-$400.