1950s Tonka Suburban Pumper toy fire truck brings $1,932 at Serious Toyz A rare, 1950s-era Tonka “Suburban Pumper” toy fire truck, in near-mint condition and still in the box, hammered for $1,932 in an Internet and catalog auction that ended Jan. 6-7 by Serious Toyz.
News-Antique.com - Jan 25,2012 - (CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.) – A rare, 1950s-era Tonka “Suburban Pumper” toy fire truck, in near-mint condition and still in the box, hammered for $1,932 in an Internet and catalog auction that went online in December (at www.SeriousToyz.com) and ended Jan. 6-7. It was the 54th auction for Serious Toyz, a firm that has become synonymous with vintage toy auctions.
The Tonka fire truck – Model #950-6, bright fire engine red, with a “No. 5” emblazoned on the doors and complete with a toy red fire hydrant – was the top achiever of the more than 800 lots that crossed the block. Many of the toys were near-mint or mint-in-the-box-examples, and all lots were sold without reserve (although each carried a modest minimum opening bid).
“We saw a lot of interest overall in this auction, with strong bidding in many categories,” said Tom Miano, owner of Serious Toyz. “In some cases, bids exceeded three-to-four times the existing book values on items, with solid prices for most other lots. I’m excited because this is the first auction in about two years that has shown signs of things finally starting to turn around.”
Mr. Miano added, “Many of our bidders are regular people who were greatly impacted by the recession. But this auction saw strong bidding from a number of long-time customers who told us they were unable to participate in other previous sales. That had a lot to do with it, but we also had a great line-up of merchandise. This wasn’t our biggest sale, but it was one of our best.”
Nearly 80 percent of all lots were sold (they met or exceeded the minimum opening bid). There were 243 active bidders, who placed about 2,800 bids. “Another thing that made me smile,” Mr. Miano said, “was the number of bidders who took the time to thank us for hanging in and continuing to offer one of the best toy auctions in the market. Their spirit was contagious.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 12 percent buyer’s premium.
Three other lots topped the $1,000 mark. A rare 1954 Marx “Fire House” play set, still in the box, hit $1,634; an equally rare 1955 “Big League Stars American League, Team B” 9-piece figure set, mint on the card and featuring Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and others, brought $1,125; and a 1950s Dopeke “Aerial Ladder (Fire) Truck” #2014, near mint in the box, garnered $1,090.
A 1950s “Superior Space Port” play set, with factory-sealed contents and original brown paper packaging, climbed to $955; a 1954 Marx “Military Academy” (West Point) play set (“Complete with 6 Generals”) went to a determined bidder for $836; and rare 1960s Volkswagen bus lunch box and Thermos, showing the iconic VW microbus in red and white, rose to $808.
A 1950s Gilbert “All-Electric Erector” set #8 ½ (a giant Ferris wheel), mint store stock, complete with instruction booklet, commanded $633; a scale model 1960 Chevrolet station wagon promotional toy car (“With Flywheel Motor!”),