Donald Kaufman toy collection part II adds $3M to Bertoia's ongoing auction series Part II of the Donald Kaufman antique toy collection added $3 million to the ongoing series of semiannual auctions being conducted by Bertoia's to disperse the fabled assemblage of toys.
and pedal cars, noting that he had begun collecting the latter specialty as a boy. As the Swaneys would soon see for themselves, premier examples of pressed steel were in great demand. A circa-1930s Toledo Pierce-Arrow pedal car in red and maroon cruised well beyond its $12,000-$15,000 estimate range to stop at $20,700. An appealing 1920s American National Buick pedal car barber's chair on porcelain riser hammered $29,900.
In the smaller-scale pressed steel, a boxed 1927 Kingsbury for J.C. Penney “Little Jim” delivery truck tripled its high estimate by capturing a top bid of $17,250; while a circa-1935 Buddy 'L' ice truck with provenance from the collection of former Buddy 'L' president Richard Keats rumbled past its $8,000-$9,000 estimate to settle at $16,100.
European tin automotive is arguably the crowning glory of the Kaufman collection, and its second appearance at auction brought out the big guns in toy collecting. A circa-1904 Bing four-seat tourer described in the auction catalog as “one of the earliest and certainly most elegant in Bing's line of touring cars” boasted button-embossed seating, headlamps, rubber tires and an appropriately “dressed” driver. An American buyer claimed the toy for $59,800 against an estimate of $18,000-$22,000.
A circa-1905 Marklin hand-painted open tourer glided to $40,250, while a circa-1920s clockwork delivery truck with eight miniature oilcans stamped “Marklin” finished its workday at $39,100.
Made by Carette, a circa-1911 rear-entrance tonneau with two liveried drivers and two female passengers easily surpassed its $10,000-$12,000 estimate to realize $20,700. A French circa-1905 hand-painted tin “Torpedo” car made by Pinard, with exotic styling and folding canopy top, garnered $18,400.
In Kaufman part I, bidders fought tooth and nail over the selection of Gordon Bennet-style racers. Clearly, toy collectors can't get too much of a good thing, as the very rare, small-scale (6_-inch) tinplate Gordon Bennet racer by Gunthermann offered in part II, complete with two driver figures in classic hunched-forward pose, brought a terrific price of $27,600 against an estimate of $4,000-$5,000.
In other categories, a boxed postwar Yonezawa Atom Jet racer earned $21,850; a 1930s Hubley Indian “Flower Shoppe” motorcycle delivery van achieved $36,800; and a circa-1925 William Crawford Rolls-Royce biscuit tin closed its lid at $10,350.
In retrospect, although bidders had come primarily to bid on blue-chip toys from a fabled collection, Bertoia's offered auction attendees an added incentive by hosting a Thursday evening wine-and-cheese party and a catered Friday evening barbecue.
“Our guests remarked that the barbecue was a festivity fit for a king…and Don was the king,” said Bertoia Auctions' owner, Jeanne Bertoia. “We do our utmost to make our auctions more than just a sale - we want collectors to view them as entertaining events. They have told us they really enjoy the opportunity to have a meal together and discuss what they bought at the sale. This sort of camaraderie adds a lot of fun to our auctions, and it's something we plan to continue doing as the Kaufman series continues.”