VINELAND, N.J. – Led by a mechanical bank that sold for a record amount for its form, Part II of the Aaron and Abby Schroeder Collection of prized banks and toys recently raked in $2.6 million at Bertoia Auctions.
Combined with the results from Part I sold in March of $3.1 million, the Schroeders’ lifetime collection has grossed $5.7 million – and there’s still at least one more auction planned for next year.
This is the third high-profile, multi-million toy collection Bertoia’s has sold: the toy collection of Max Berry sold for a grand total of $6.02 million in 2015, and Donald Kaufman’s legendary automotive toy collection, sold between 2009-2011, grossed $12.1 million.
The top lot from the two-day Part II auction of the Schroeders’ collection was a Mikado mechanical bank that sold for $240,000, a record for the form. Produced by Kyser & Rex Co., the red table version is one of the best-known examples and the final price puts the bank into the top six auction records for any mechanical bank ever sold. The pre-sale estimate was $80,000-$120,000.
Considered by many to be in a league of its own, this vast and storied collection contains some of the rarest and most-prized toys ever to reach market. The collection was lovingly assembled over several decades by the late songwriter/record producer Aaron (1926-2009) and his wife and business partner, Abby.
The September 10-11 auction included nearly 900 items demonstrating the vast scope of the Schroeders’ eye for graceful objects of excellence. Nearly 200 spectacular mechanical banks, still banks, cast iron animated cap pistols, horse drawn toys, bell toys, cigar cutters, European tin ranging from autos to trains and other toys, American clockwork and early American tin toys were sold, as well as early board games, comic character toys, Schoenhuts, Erzgebirge pieces and more.
Among the other mechanical bank highlights was a Man Kicking Watermelon bank, which sold for $80,000 against an estimate of $40,000-$70,000. Only a handful of examples of this bank by J&E Stevens Co., circa 1888, are known, and it’s a desirable pedestal-styled bank with collectors. The three other top banks included a Picture Gallery mechanical bank by Shepard Hardware Co., among the best examples known, which sold for $60,000; a Kyser & Rex Roller Skating bank that sold for $50,000; and a Chimpanzee bank, also by Kyser & Rex, that sold for $40,000.
The top lot on day two was a Chinaman Magic Lantern that sold for $38,000 against a high estimate of $10,000. The figure, French and circa 1870, is also referred to as “Buddha” and is a hand-painted figure with brass edged border that has gargoyle motif. It is extremely rare and the most desirable of all magic lanterns, according to Bertoia.
An Althof Bergmann Clockwork Union Line Floor Train also chugged way past its high estimate of $4,500 to hammer down for $29,000. Another Althof Bergmann tin toy, a Fire Patrol Wagon, also flew past its high estimate of $7,000 to earn a final price of $26,000. The only known complete example, Bertoia said the early hand-painted fire toy has five original figures that are easily removable and it’s amazing they stayed together through the last century.
Other top highlights of items offered included a selection of clockwork toys by Ives, led by a Hippodrome Chariot that sold for $20,000. Only a few of these forms are known and the one sold was believed to be the best. Bertoia said it is “arguably the most uniquely designed horse drawn vehicle that Ives produced” and features a fine clockwork chariot with a gilt decorated cavalry officer on rampant horse and thin, pierced iron wheels.
For more information and results, visit bertoiaauctions.com.