Noel Barrett's June 19-20 Toys of Summer auction revisits the golden era of toy production In Noel Barrett's June 19-20 sale, a strong core of private collections anchors the array of approximately 900 quality lots, with an especially fine selection of European toys evident.
News-Antique.com - May 18,2009 - NEW HOPE, Pa. - June is arguably the most beautiful time of year in Bucks County, Pa., and Noel Barrett, whose auctions are held in the fabled artists colony of New Hope, invites collectors to take in the area's idyllic sights while there for his June 19-20 Toys of Summer sale. A strong core of private collections anchors the array of approximately 900 quality lots, whose contents are widely varied, with some emphasis on European material.
A highlight of the Friday/Saturday sale, to be held at the Eagle Fire Hall in New Hope, is the George Seidman collection of European wind-up toys, featuring 150 examples by Gunthermann and Martin. The late Mr. Seidman, who was from Buffalo, N.Y., “loved color and motion,” said Barrett. “The delicately painted tin combined with the amusing clockwork action of these wonderful toys was what excited him.”
Some of the Martins retain their original boxes, and several - like the Black Waiter and the Strongman - are quite rare. Years ago, Noel Barrett Auctions sold the majority of Seidman's collection, but the toys considered to be the “cream” were held back and subsequently willed to George's son, Larry. “Now Larry Seidman has consigned his father's 'special reserve' to our June sale and has also added a significant collection of optical toys,” Barrett said.
The rare, early optical toys - most of which pre-date the advent of motion pictures - include a Kinora, praxinoscopes, zoetropes and phenakistoscopes. Invented in 1831, the phenakistoscope was an early animation device in which the illusion of movement was created by viewing through slits a series of static images placed inside a spinning disc. Within the Seidman consignment is an example of one of the most desirable and exceedingly rare phenakistoscopes, one powered by a hot air engine and manufactured by Ernst Plank.
A second large and important collection in the June sale is that of Massachusetts couple Peter and Marcia Miller. Nearly 200 European toy trains are held in the collection, with a clear favoritism shown for the colorful, lithographed-tin designs of Johann Issmayer of Nuremberg, Germany.
“Issmayer trains are very appealing to collectors,” said Barrett. “They're among the most toylike and charming of antique toy trains.” The Miller collection also includes sought-after examples of trains by Marklin, Bing and other distinguished European toy manufacturers. Several inclusions were previously part of the Ward Kimball collection, which was auctioned by Noel Barrett in 2004/2005.
The third major collection in the sale comprises approximately 100 choice items from the Estate of Henry Sigourney. A dealer in collectible British figures - primarily those manufactured by W. Britains - the late Mr. Sigourney amassed a small but select personal collection of boxed military sets and Disney character figures. Along the way, Sigourney also became attracted to Schoenhuts, putting together a Schoenhut Circus menagerie plus tent; and also acquired no fewer than three Marklin boats, including a prized Battleship Baltimore. All will be offered in Barrett's sale.