toys and games
1474 The Wit of Play
2015 SOLD for £ 56K including premium
The movements are specific to every type of piece, creating a reflection of the real society in which combinations of roles are leading to the defeat of the enemy. Checkmate is a phonetic variant of the ancient Persian Shah Mat meaning King is lost.
Long before the rules of chess are frozen, the Dominicans are interested in its social and moral significance. Around 1300,Jacopo da Cessole wrote a short treatise significantly entitled Liber de moribus hominum et officiis nobilium ac popularium super ludo scacchorum (book of manners of men and noble roles in relation to the popular game of chess). The author is more concerned in his sermon that in the game itself which is described only in the last chapter.
Jacopo's book is a success and translations appear early. When printers are seeking to vary the topics to expand their customer base, editions of this work are performed almost simultaneously in several European cities in 1473 and 1474. The Game and Playe of Chesse is perhaps the first printed book in English by Caxton after he installed his printing press in England.
On July 15 in London, Christie's sells a recently discovered copy of the highly rare first Latin edition of Jacopo's book, printed in 1474 in Utrecht, lot 81 estimated £ 50K.
1720 Queen Anne Wooden Dolls
2009 SOLD 50 K$ including premium
Skinner, an auction house that operates in Boston, is preparing for October 10 in Marlborough, Massachusetts the sale of a large collection of antique dolls.
The press release is announcing an outstanding group of English and German wooden dolls of the eighteenth century. At that time the doll finally loses its characteristic of ritual object. Finely carved, with moving limbs but fixed head, it displays the period fashion, permanently as it is not designed to be stripped.
The earliest English models are identified under the generic name of Queen Anne dolls. The importance of these objects being unnoticed at that time, they are now of great rarity.
A large and beautiful Queen Anne Lady is estimated 50 K$. She is wearing a long dress with tight belt and puff skirt, and topped with a large smart hat. Dated around 1720, it is presented in a mahogany and walnut box shaped as a reliquary.
POST SALE COMMENT
The Queen Anne doll was sold 50 K$ premium included.
The dolls from the early eighteenth century are rare pieces. Be sure to follow this link, shared by the auction house, to see pictures and descriptions.
1886 The Bread Thieves Bank
2010 SOLD 80 K$ before fees
On this idea, toy manufacturers have invented two product lines. The still bank, fixed, is close to the piggy bank but uses many other themes to attract the attention of the child.
The mechanical bank is more interesting. The introduction of a coin releases a lever, which introduces a more or less complex movement. The subjects are mostly kind, like all toys. Mostly but not always, as we discuss it in the example below.
A company of Connecticut, J. & E. Stevens, produced dozens of models of mechanical banks between 1869 and 1928. A collector has assembled a fine set, for sale on May 22 by RSL Auctions in Baltimore.
Among the lots is a masterpiece in its class, in near mint condition. As with all toys, the price depends greatly on the state, and it is estimated $ 90K.
The scene of the Bread Winners mechanical bank from 1886 is inspired by the social tensions of the time, with inscriptions that leave no doubt about the message. A Worker equipped with a large hammer stands before an anvil and a loaf. On the other side, a Capitalist waits and a Jew observes. The move lowers the hammer, the anvil takes on the bread and blows the Jew both feet in the air.
The catalog with the images of the two positions of the toy is shared by the web auction platform LiveAuctioneers. See the lever in the back of the worker.
POST SALE COMMENT
The prices of the best mechanical banks are well established.
The Bread Winners has been sold $ 80K.
Here are two other results:
By the same manufacturer, J & E Stevens, an oddly entitled Calamity bank, putting into action three American football (collegiate foot ball) players, was sold $ 65K. It kept the most important quality that collectors are looking for all the toys: it was in its original box. Here is the catalog page shared by LiveAuctioneers.
A rare Turtle made around 1930 by Kilgore was sold 60 K $. Here is the catalog page shared by LiveAuctioneers.
The above prices do not include fees.
1880s A Lovely Miss in Original Couture
2009 SOLD 28 K$ before fees
I present today a pretty lady doll, lovely dressed. 34 cm high, it is marked Bru Jne. Paris 3, which corresponds to a creation of the 1880s. Bru Jne (Jeune) may be translated as Bru Jr. It is coming in November 7 at Frasher's Doll Auction, a specialized auction house which operates in Oak Grove, Missouri.
The Bru company, founded in 1866, had initially specialized in fashion dolls, with a meticulous realism for heads and clothes. The Bebe Bru bisque series continued this tradition of quality.
Our doll is particularly successful with its child's face with large bright blue eyes. It retains its original elegant clothes and big hat. Its attitude is calm and attentive, which distinguishes it from the more expressive models of the concurrent Jumeau company.
This lot is estimated $ 20K. Its description and image are shared by the platform LiveAuctioneers which is managing the sale on the web.
POST SALE COMMENT
The result at 28 K$ excl confirms that this pretty doll is part of the upscale of Bru brand.
< 1884 The Banks of Kyser and Rex
2012 SOLD 200 K$ including premium
The auctioneer Dan Morphy is a specialist of mechanical banks. Sold by his auction house on October 27, 2007, the Steckbeck collection realized $ 7.7 million in 492 lots. The top result, $ 414K including premium, rewarded Jonah emerging out of the whale, produced by Stevens, the best known manufacturer in this category. This model is extremely rare in its original configuration.
On September 15 in Denver PA, Morphy Auctions disperse another important collection. Now, the top lots were produced by Kyser and Rex in the 1880s. Some of them had belonged to the Steckbeck collection.
These were not pseudonyms! Louis Kyser and Alfred Rex worked in cooperation in Frankfurt PA from 1879 to 1884. The catalog pages of three lots highlighted in the press release are linked below.
The Merry Go Round is estimated $ 125K. It once belonged to Steckbeck, but this one is not the copy sold $ 172K including premium in 2007. The colors of the canopy are different.
The Mikado, on the theme of the illusionist, is estimated $ 100K. The Steckbeck copy, in another color, was sold $ 290K including premium in 2007.
Roller Skating is estimated $ 100K. The Steckbeck copy was sold $ 195K including premium in 2007.
These three lots for sale are in excellent condition, but like for any other category of multiples some very small differences can cause significant changes in the price.
POST SALE COMMENT
Here are the results before fees, available on LiveAuctioneers:
The Mikado was the most outstanding lot. It reached $ 160K. Merry go round sold for $ 89K and Roller skating for $ 74K.
1893 The Rosebud of American Toys
2014 SOLD for $ 234K including premium
2018 SOLD for $ 144K including premium
Among the toys to pull along, a piece in cast iron 50 cm long made by the Ives company in Bridgeport CT around 1893 is noteworthy for the quality of its realization. It takes the form of a snow cutter sleigh pulled by a harnessed horse.
The details are exquisite. The horse is articulated. The sled has two almost invisible small wheels that reduce friction when the toy is moved. The seated woman is holding a rein in each hand.
Time passed and it remains only a single specimen that has retained its original driving woman. Fortunately, it is in very good condition. The collector Max Berry called it his Rosebud. This toy is part of the sale of his collection by Bertoia in Vineland NJ on November 15, lot 230 estimated $ 100K (link goes to LiveAuctioneers bidding platform).
An example without the doll and the reins was sold for $ 86K including premium on March 25-26, 2011, also by Bertoia.
I invite you to play the video (here below) shared by LiveAuctioneers to preview the next sale. It also includes a Monkey Wagon made by Hubley around 1920, lot 275 estimated $ 75K. Another copy of this highly rare and ingenious toy was discussed in this column. It was sold for $ 98K including premium on March 19, 2009, also by Bertoia.
RESULTS BEFORE FEES
Ives cutter sleigh : $ 190K.
Hubley monkey wagon : $ 95K
LATER AUCTION (not caught before sale)
SOLD for $ 144K including premium by Bertoia on September 22, 2018., lot 296, over a lower estimate of $ 100K.
Details through tweet below and Maine Antique Digest.
Ives horse-drawn cutter sleigh, circa 1893, sold for $144,000 at @bertoiaauctions. It is the only known example with an original seated passenge. The clockwork toy measures 19½" long https://t.co/lxbQGg9UBL #toy #toys #sleigh #antiques #antique #Ives #auction #horse #horses #art pic.twitter.com/tqFN5tt1Tg— Maine Antique Digest (@AntiqueDigest) December 10, 2018
1909 Karin and the Artist
2020 SOLD for $ 45K before fees
Most of these first issues are very rare : after the prototypes, the series was limited to 100, 101 and 109. The price at auction depends on rarity, size and condition.
The model of dolls 103 to 105 is Karin, one of the daughters of Lewin-Funcke, successively serious, laughing and friendly. The mold 104 was also used for a boy. 108 looks like Karin but with a face imitating adulthood.
103 is a classic portrait, where we can easily imagine the little girl posing in the studio. The only dimension made is 58 cm high. A 103 was sold for $ 120K before fees by Theriault's on May 20, 2006 despite three broken fingers. A 103 head on a body probably from another maker was sold for £ 50K including premium by Bonhams on September 24, 2014.
On March 21 in Annapolis MD, Theriault's sells a 103, lot 10 estimated $ 45K. The eyes have been painted with a straight gaze, providing a more natural expression than the two examples above which look at an angle. She has the same long curly blonde hair as a 48 cm high 104 sold for $ 65K before fees by Theriault's on July 22, 2019.
The only known example of the 108, 61 cm high, was sold for £ 240K including premium by Bonhams on September 24, 2014. In the same sale, a 55 cm Karin 105 was sold for £ 170K including premium. A boy 104, 51 cm high, was sold for $ 210K including premium by Theriault's on January 12, 2013.
Please watch the video shared by Theriault's narrating the 103 of the next sale.
Join us for our second 50th Anniversary Auction Weekend celebrating antique and classic dolls in Naples, Florida, March 21-22! The marquis auction weekend will feature dolls from the Lillian Hamm, Evelyn Ackerman, and Vivian Brady-Ashley Collections. https://t.co/O32Dia51G0 pic.twitter.com/KiMLwb3chD— Theriault's Auctions (@TheriaultsDolls) February 25, 2020
1909 FEAST DAY
The fairgrounds have always existed. The arrival of the attractions in the city triggered the popular amusement.Their structures have poorly survived, threatened by improvements, fires, wear out through multiple disassemblyand transport, or simply abandon.
The Carrousel-Salon (two 'r' for carrousel in French) is a summit of this art. It was made only in a few dozen of copies in the early twentieth century, some of them by the best craftsman (or artist) of the wooden horses, GustaveBayol.
Luckily, a specimen was kept in good condition after being used in the fairs of northern France from 1909 to 1937.It is for sale by Etude Gasser Audhuy on November 19 at the Ecomusée d'Alsace in Ungersheim. It is an interesting revival of the festive atmosphere from one century ago.
It is a large building of 300 square meters around a carousel of 11 meters in diameter. The facade inspired by the monumental Palais de l'Electricité of the Paris Exposition 1900 already indicates to visitors that the latest technical innovations are used for their pleasure.
For small children, the carousel is equipped with twelve pigs, twelve horses, two spinners and two gondolas. The spacious salon designed between the carousel and the walls is conducive to a good-natured fun. Secondaryartifacts were even kept, including the ticketing booth and the selling counter of drinks and confetti.
1912 Märklin's Ocean Liners
2010 SOLD 195 K$ including premium
The Cunard Line dominated the transatlantic crossings. In 1906 and 1907, it launched two liners of the same model, the Mauretania and the Lusitania. With 240 m long, they were the giants of the sea.
Around 1912, Märklin realizes the model toy of the Lusitania. This very big piece nearly 1 m long is meticulously reproducing the details of the ship.
A specimen of Märklin's Lusitania is estimated $ 100K in the sale of the Forbes collection by Sotheby's in New York on December 17. This is not the most expensive toy boat among that extraordinary collection of specialty, but it is perhaps the most emblematic. Its photo is shown in the post shared by Bloomberg.
The Lusitania Cunard liner did not survive. Her sinking by a German submarine in 1915 is one of the major events of the beginning of the First World War.
POST SALE COMMENT
Superb result, $ 195K including premium for this toy boat that was well documented both for the liner (Lusitania) and for the brand (Märklin).
Buyers were not tempted by the larger toy of a warship, on which the catalog of the auction house put a doubt with no published argument on its possible attribution to Radiguet.
1915 paris at the time of the suffragettes
The Albert Marque dolls are a unique model 56 cm high of which about one hundred pieces were dressed as a boy or a girl by the couture designer Margaine-Lacroix, constituting a history of the costume.
These pieces are serialized but have not been documented or listed. They were dispersed after the Margaine-Lacroix exhibition in 1915 and despite their quality it is very difficult to construct a global vision of this realization which was unique in its kind.
The doll for sale is one of the first, with serial number 5. Unlike her sisters recently sold at auction, she does not tell history nor theater : she is a suffragette, inscribed on a sole as Mrs. Haverfield. She wears an all-weather coat that allows an outdoor activity and is accompanied by two other costumes, one of which bears the mark of Margaine-Lacroix.
Despite the war Margaine-Lacroix was indeed attentive to international social events. Suffragettes carry out violent actions in England and the United States but are not active in France.
Evelina Haverfield is the example of an English suffragette born in the petty aristocracy who had recently radicalized. The thoughtful expression of the face designed by Albert Marque, deliberately accentuated by too large eyes and a small mouth, is perfectly suited to match Mrs Haverfield's concentration on her advanced social positions.
Presented sympathetically, this example demonstrates an attraction of Margaine-Lacroix for the promotion of women. The British suffragettes obtained the right to vote three years later, followed immediately by the Americans. The pretty suffragette of Margaine-Lacroix had no influence : French women had to wait until 1944 for voting.
Please watch the video narrated by Mrs Theriault featuring the above discussed Albert Marque doll along with two rare examples of SFBJ dolls costumed by Margaine-Lacroix circa 1914 (lot 29 estimated $ 3K and lot 30 estimated $ 2.5K).
Albert Marque (lot 28) : unsold
SFBJ : $ 10K (lot 29) and $ 4K (lot 30) before fees
1920 The Hubley Monkey Wagon
2009 SOLD 98 K$ including premium
We would also like that its fun is taken into account by the market. After all, what is the purpose of a toy?
In any case, I am amused to detail the monkey wagon from the catalog of Bertoia. The sale already started on the web, and ends in Vineland, New Jersey, March 19.
It is a circus cage pulled by two parade horses. Inside the cage, the monkeys are perched on a tree. When you pull the wagon, the mesh wires of the cage revolve.
This toy 40 cm long in mint condition is estimated $ 30 K. It was made around 1920 by Hubley Manufacturing Company, which operated in Lancaster, west of Philadelphia.
The history of the toy is not enough documented: this company known for its miniature cars, trucks and motorcycles in cast metal has only two lines in the English Wikipedia.
POST SALE COMMENT
This toy seemed important to me. Far above estimates, it reached nearly a six-digit figure: $ 97.7 K inclusive. As I said above: for toys, the condition of the piece is a paramount consideration.
1932 MICKEY AND MINNIE RIDE A MOTORCYCLE
2010 SOLD 56 K$ BEFORE FEES
Mickey and Minnie must charm children. They are super nice, with a smile that is (almost) reaching the ears, as characters of Yue Minjun. But the scene is from circa 1932, sixty years before the Chinese painter.
Mickey is riding a motorcycle, and Minnie is his passenger in the back seat. It is a wind up toy in working condition, in lithographed tin, about 25 cm in length. The manufacturer, TippCo, contributed to the excellent reputation of German toys.
This topic is rare, and the catalog shared with images by LiveAuctioneers enables to understand why. The image of Mickey Mouse, created in 1928, could be used only under license, direct or indirect, from Disney.
This toy is estimated $ 23 K. It is included on April 16 in the third part of the sale of the Kaufman collection, one of the largest in its class. The wonders abound. This sale is organized as the previous two auctions by Bertoia in Vineland (New Jersey).
POST SALE COMMENT
Excellent price for this toy coming from a prestigious collection: K $ 56 before fees.
1933 What Sort of Game Malcolm Forbes was playing
2010 SOLD 146 K$ including premium
The name of Malcolm Forbes sounds like one of the strongest symbols of capitalism. The magazine he published, and that still bears his name, publishes lists of the richest people on the planet. His collections were famous: art, Fabergé eggs, toys, games, bikes.
In 1933, an unemployed engineer transforms capitalism into a game. His name is Charles Darrow, and he designs the Monopoly inspired by similar games that had fascinated his youth.
His first models are handmade on round boards which were said that they looked like the table of his dining room. At first he was simply protected by a copyright. Two years later, he obtained a patent and convinced a publisher.
Malcolm Forbes was very interested in Monopoly, which will not surprise anyone. He owned the earliest Monopoly game set known to survive, which is on sale at Sotheby's in New York on December 17, estimated $ 60K. The date is easy to remember: one week before Christmas. Well played!
POST SALE COMMENT
At $ 146K including premium, the result confirms that this copy is important for understanding the beginnings of the game of Monopoly.
1964 ACTION FOR THE BOYS
Girls of yesteryear were emotionally attached to a doll with a child's body. In 1959, Mattel launched Barbie, the fullyarticulated fashion doll with which you could play scenes of the real life.
In 1964, at the time of the intensification of the war in Vietnam, another revolution reached the market of Americantoys. Hasbro created GI Joe, the toy that features the American soldier hero.
I do not know the details of the influence of Barbie on Joe, but the two product lines have many similarities. Barbieis 11.5 inches tall and Joe 12 inches (30 cm). Complex scenes are created with several characters, and accessories are much varied for differentiating them.
Do not offend the sensibilities of the proud boys! They never told them that Joe is a doll. The term "action figure"chosen instead by Hasbro is a masterpiece of marketing strategy. Sociologists will long debate the influence ofBarbie and Joe on the profound changes in social mores of their time, and vice versa.
An original GI Joe prototype is estimated $ 125K, for sale by Heritage in Dallas on August 10. Here is the link to the catalog.
1970 The Duchesses of Steam
The locomotives in 4-6-2 wheel configurations meet this request. Introduced in 1933 with LMS serial numbers 62** later renumbered 462** by the British Railways, these machines were replaced in 1964 by electric locomotives.
The first series form the Princess Royal Class. From 1937 they are joined by the Coronation Class offering some performance and productivity improvements. The third batch of the Coronation Class is composed of numbers 6230 to 6234. In 1939 the Duchess of Abercorn, number 6234, sets the definitive power record for British rail steam while hauling a train of 20 coaches. The Duchess of Sutherland, number 6233, is one of three preserved Coronations and is maintained operational.
Harry Powell spent his entire career as a coppersmith at the Crewe factory. To satisfy a demanding customer, he made a 1/8 scale model of the Duchess of Buccleuch, number 6230, and of its tender by reusing the works drawings.
This 7 1/4 inch gauge 2.87 m long model is accurate in every detail including crimson exterior color, maroon livery, inscriptions, wooden floor, sliding door, copper boiler and all pieces of equipment. This realization, delivered around 1970, required 18,000 hours of work over ten years. The commissioned model of the 6230 was sold for £ 170K including premium by Dreweatts on April 25, 2012.
Another identical model of the Duchess of Buccleuch had been prepared at the same time by Powell, probably for his personal use. It is estimated beyond £ 100K for sale by Dreweatts at Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire, on March 12, lot 23.
1972 CHESS in REYKJAVIK
In 1972 the Cold War was still raging. Three years before, Americans had walked on the moon. Now one of them tries to conquer another bastion, the title of world chess champion held by Soviets since 1946.
Chess tournaments and championships are psychologically intense for the players. There is no place for luck or chance in their sport. High intellectual and strategic qualities are required along with a great resistance to stress.
The match between the outgoing champion Boris Spassky and his challenger Bobby Fischer is held in Reykjavik, a neutral venue at mid-distance between Moscow and Washington. The political tension is extreme.
Fischer lost the first game and did not attend the second. He requests changes in equipment and organization with the risk that the match is cancelled. The interests at stake are so important that his requirements are accepted.
The set of equipment for sale is centered on the chessboard used from the seventh game up to the end of that "match of the century" won by Fischer on the final score 12 ½ - 8 ½.
The other equipment in the lot are a complete set of reserve pieces of the match, and a clock and a table similar as those which were used.
2009 SOLD 61 K$ INCLUDING PREMIUM
The visit to Europe of the young American prodigy Paul Morphy in 1858 marks the beginning of a phenomenal public interest in international chess viewed as a symbol of intelligence. Morphy is a brilliant and instinctive player.
Later generations relied upon the study and modeling of millions of games played by the grand masters. After the Second World War, the Soviet schools lead up to perfection this discipline of logics and combinations close to mathematics.
The library of Bobby Fischer is sold by Bonhams in New York on June 10, as a single lot estimated $ 50K. There are 300 volumes and 400 magazines entirely devoted to chess, but also several notebooks recording the study by Fischer of games played by Boris Spassky before their 1972 match.
Fischer won that match of the century, which was his swansong of world champion. The passionate press viewed it as a victory of the free world. These documents will enable a specialist to understand the logic that led Fischer to victory.
In the media, the world championship of chess is unnoticed since the machine has conquered man in 1997. Manufactured by IBM, it was called Deep Blue. The man, the then world champion, is still considered today as having been the greatest chess player of all time: Garry Kasparov. This event brought us in the post-human era of robots.
POST SALE COMMENT
A few years ago, fans of chess would have fought for the chance to enter the thinking of one of the best players of all time. Deep Blue has been there, and the game returned in a sad anonymity.
The lot was sold, but not exceeding one cent the lower estimate: $ 50 K before fees. Perhaps there was that a single buyer. He certainly made an excellent bargain.
1979 Safety for the Galaxy
2019 SOLD for $ 186K including premium
The appearance of a new major character must be taken into account to satisfy the customers. In 1979, before the second movie, the production company announced Boba Fett the bounty hunter. Two variants are designed with a different shape of the rest positioning of the rocket in the back of the character, J-Slot and L-Slot. A prototype is unveiled at the New York Toy Fair.
About 100 qualifying prototypes are subcontracted to Hong Kong and shipped to Kenner. The throwing system of the rocket does not meet the safety rules because the spring can be triggered unexpectedly. These prototypes with mechanism are among the rarest toys of the Star Wars. In the commercial version, the rocket will be fixed.
Some surviving prototypes sometimes appear at auction. They are often more or less damaged by the severe conditions of the tests. An unpainted L-Slot type was sold for $ 113K including premium by Hake's on July 11, 2019.
A prototype Boba Fett J-Slot in near mint condition with its separately displayed rocket is estimated in excess of $ 200K for sale online by Hake's, ending on November 7, lot 1815 here linked on the LiveAuctioneers bidding platform. This toy is in its end-of-development configuration including full painting and copyright stamps.
(Note that the appearance of this character in the very first opus of the original trilogy is a later insertion, made in 1997).
1985 Super Mario Bros by Nintendo
2020 SOLD for $ 114K including premium by Heritage
narrated post sale in 2020
Nintendo had been developing since 1981 a console with interchangeable cartridges. Distributed from 1985, the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) responds perfectly to the needs and ensures in two or three years to the Japanese company the lasting control of this world market.
The NES is launched with 18 titles of which the best selling is Super Mario Bros. This game, which can be replayed with increased difficulty, is inspired by the Mario Bros. arcade game of the same brand. The player takes the role of Mario with controls much effective for that time, and manages a war against creatures that can change their shape.
The practical details remained to be defined, in particular for the packaging of the cartridge. The plastic film supersedes the sticker closing. The first wrapped copies still include a cardboard hangtab which is early abandoned because it was superfluous under the plastic wrap.
The condition is graded by Wata with a double scale, up to 10 for the game and from C to A ++ for the quality of an original seal.
On July 10, 2020 Heritage sold for $ 114K including premium a sealed Super Mario Bros. with one of the hangtab variants of the first year, graded 9.4 A + by Wata, lot 93028.
undated (ca 2000) The Collector of Locomotives
2015 SOLD for £ 124K including premium
Waterman collects full size locomotives and also railway models. He commissioned the best English modellers to build for his personal use the models reproducing the old machines. The absolute consistency of the scale in all elements makes it most often impossible to steam them up due to the narrowness of the pipes.
Aged 68, he prepares the future financing of the maintenance of his real locomotives managed by his Waterman Railway Heritage Trust and decided to sell his collection of miniature steam models. The auction is organized in 56 lots by Dreweatts in London on April 16. Here is the link to the catalog sorted in decreasing estimates.
The three most spectacular pieces are estimated £ 100K each, lots 52, 53 and 54. Each of them displays a locomotive and tender of the Great Western Railway whose originals were circulating in England around 1900. These three specimens were made in gauge 7 1/4 inch by the modeller David Aitken. The longest measures 2.55 m including the tender.
RESULTS BEFORE FEES :
Lot 52 : £ 100K
Lot 53 : £ 100K
Lot 54 : £ 70K