This was the big one for the day-a toy tin circus wagon by George W. Brown & Company, with a caged lioness and two white draft horses. It sold for $76,700 (est. $15,000/35,000). George W. Brown & Company, Forestville, Connecticut, was founded around 1855 and partnered with J. & E. Stevens in 1868.
A clockwork Ives "galloper" tin carriage, pulled by an articulated horse and driven by a whip-cracking driver, brought $10,350 (est. $4750/5250).
James D. Julia Inc., Fairfield, Maine
by Mark Sisco
James D. Julia's toy, doll, and advertising auction on June 22 in Fairfield, Maine, totaled just over $1 million. It was a good way to start the summer. Even the buy-in rate was remarkably low. By my count, only about 78 of the over 570 lots failed to sell. And for a change, the big-ticket items didn't dominate the non-sellers.
The top seller was a very rare polychrome tin circus cage wagon pulled by two prancing white horses. Dating from the late 19th century, the clockwork-driven toy was made by George W. Brown & Company of Forestville, Connecticut. Fresh to the market from a Rhode Island attic, it needed only a few small solder repairs and a couple of tin bars on the cage to bring it up to marketable condition. The mechanism worked well, with the lioness pacing as the wagon rolled forward.
Phone bidders dominated the contest most of the way. Estimated at $15,000/35,000, the wagon quickly passed that mark, and an Internet bidder stepped in and snagged it for $76,700 (including buyer's premium). The consignor had briefly listed it on eBay but quickly yanked it when he learned that Julia had sold a similar version a few years ago for over $50,000.
Another leader was a rare 46" long Märklin model of the ocean liner Deutschland, electric powered and in untouched and original condition. According to information provided by the consignor, he purchased it in 1961 from Sally Erath, who was in charge of the antique toy department of F.A.O. Schwarz. It included 17 of the original 24 lifeboats and three smokestacks with their original stringing. It sold just shy of the $50,000/75,000 estimate for $46,000 to a Pennsylvania buyer.
Two versions of the Mettlach Hires Root Beer dispenser, one in blue trim and one in green trim, both complete with acorn finials on the lids, sold for high numbers. They featured the Hires Root Beer boy, nicknamed the Hires "Ugly Kid." (He's a cute little tyke actually.) Both were marked "Made in Germany for the Charles E. Hires Company" and stamped "Villeroy & Boch Mettlach." One source suggested that the boy was presented wearing a dress from 1891 to 1906; a bathrobe from 1907 to 1914; and a dinner jacket from 1915 to 1926. That would place these two items as from between 1907 and 1914. Both had some chips and dings, but the blue version brought $39,675, and the green one hit $31,625, both well over their $22,500/25,000 estimates.
One of the best of the dolls was also one of the earliest. It was a mid-18th-century Queen Anne doll with a carved wooden gesso-covered and painted head and one-piece head and torso. All the painted surfaces seemed to have their original colors, right down to the separately painted fingers. The 250-year-old doll brought a mid-estimate $34,500.
For more information, call (207) 453-7125 or visit the Web site (www.jamesdjulia.com).
|Two versions of a Mettlach Hires Root Beer dispenser, featuring the so-called Ugly Kid, one with blue-banded trim and one with green-banded trim, brought $39,675 and $31,625, respectively. Both were estimated at $22,500/25,000.|
This circa 1880 Jumeau Bébé doll was incised "EJ A" on the back of the head. She was also stamped on the torso "Jumeau Medaille D'or Paris." In non-original attire, the doll sold for $12,075 (est. $8000/10,000) in an all-phone-bidder contest.
A graphic, colorful stone lithographed paper poster promoting "Kickapoo Indian Remedies" featured a dark and mysterious Indian maiden. Printed by Liebler & Maass of New York, it crushed the $5500/7500 estimate at a big $26,450.
A charming 24" Steiff bear with only minor moth damage and fur wear but missing the Steiff ear button charmed an Internet bidder right out of $10,300 (est. $3000/4000).
Julia sold one of these very rare kaleidoscope candy containers in May 2011 for $20,700. This one, patented by Turney G. Stough around 1913, retained nearly all its original paper label reading "Moving Pictures/ By West Bros. & Co., Grapeville, PA," and came with its original box, possibly stuffed with the original excelsior. Estimated at $8000/10,000, it sold for $13,800. Julia photo.
The Mills countertop 5¢ Brownie slot machine is said to be the largest countertop color wheel that Mills produced in the early 20th century. It was in an oak case, with the original decorative decals and nickel-plated castings, but the central wheel had been altered-the original color spots were replaced with gaming cards. It brought $9775 (est. $7000/ 9000).
This imaginative trade stimulator in the form of a bicycle by Sun Manufacturing Co. allowed a player to drop a nickel into the slot, listen to a bell ring, watch the wheels spin, and either collect his winnings in cigars or kiss the nickel goodbye. It sold well above the $5500/6500 estimate for $9200.