Hubley coupe, 6¾" long, $1003.
Excellent Kenton vehicles abounded. This sprinkler tank truck, 7" long, made the biggest splash at $1534.
Kenton city bus, 6" long, $1100.
Arcade yellow cab panel van, 8" long, restored, $1200.
From a bumper crop of farm equipment, three tractors, 5½" to 8" long, sold for $1000.
Bertoia Auctions, Vineland, New Jersey
Photos courtesy Bertoia Auctions
On March 16, Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, New Jersey, went time-tripping for a day. Collectors and dealers had the opportunity to recapture the good old days of 1974 when a buyer’s premium was only a gleam in auction houses’ eyes. Attendees at the sale paid no buyer’s premium. Absentee and phone bidders still paid 18%, and Internet bidders were charged 21%. (All prices in this report reflect the buyer’s premium when applicable.)
“This is our way of rewarding our many customers, some of whom travel great distances to attend our sales in person,” stated Michael Bertoia.
The sale, almost exclusively cast-iron toys and banks, was short and sweet as 302 lots were hammered down by auctioneer Michael Bertoia during a three-hour period. The final tally was $105,500—not quite on the epic scale typical of Bertoia Auctions since it launched the Bill Norman bank collection in 1991.
As for attracting new people into the gallery in sizable numbers, it was mission accomplished. Not since Bertoia’s Donald Kaufman sales has the gallery been so well attended. Many enjoyed basking in premium-free luxury.
The sale included toy automobiles, horse-drawn wagons, farm and utility vehicles, gas pumps, street signs, airplanes, motorcycles, doorstops, bottle openers, paperweights, stoves, and banks. Many toys were grouped in lots of two to five pieces, and a number of mini-car groupings and paperweights found eager buyers.
While bidders didn’t dally, there were no true blockbusters to make the highlight films. Seldom is there a cast-iron die-hard who wouldn’t wax poetic over the following trio of Kenton Hardware (Ohio) stalwarts: a sprinkler truck, red with yellow wheel trim, 7" long, $1534; an open coal dump truck, red and green, 9¾" long, $3245; and a green Los Angeles dirigible, 11½", $708.
Bob Brady of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a walking Wikipedia when it comes to cast-iron toys, attested that prices proved strong across the board. “Despite restorations, certain entries in the March outing fared better than like entries rated in better condition in past auctions,” Brady added. “There was one gentleman I’d never seen before who was bidding up a storm and placed winning closers time and again. Jeanne Bertoia later confirmed that he was an under-the-radar collector from the Midwest who prefers anonymity, had never before attended in person, but had been an active absentee bidder over the past twenty years.”
For more information, contact Bertoia Auctions at (856) 692-1881; Web site (www.bertoiaauctions.com).
Kenton open coal dump truck, 9¾" long, $3245.
Jeanne Bertoia poses with the youngest collector in attendance, Ryan Bollinger, 16 years old, from Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania. Bollinger bought a spiffy $500 truck.
Originally published in the June 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest