An eclectic assortment of childhood items and other “attic treasures” goes on sale this month at Doyle New York (5 April) in an auction spanning antique toys, trains, wagons and ceramics (right, Ferrari Painted Steel Racing Pedal Car, around 1955, est $1,000-$1,500). The auction includes early 20th-century playthings, such as a 14-inch iron steam locomotive and coal tender dating from the 1930s (est $200-$400) and a 1940s “Lone Eagle” painted wood wagon (est $200-$400) to two English porcelain phrenology-head inkwells (est $200-$400). One of the highest valued lots is a group of wind-up and battery-powered toy animals and figures (est $600-$900). While a seemingly obscure section of the market, major auction houses also devote significant resources to toy-sales: Sotheby’s gave over an entire floor of its New York premises to showcase works for a private sale of 35,000 pieces from the Jerni Collection in January and February, while a sale of toys from the collection of publishing tycoon Malcolm Forbes at Sotheby’s in December 2010 raised $2.4m, with a 3ft-long replica of the 1915 ocean liner Lusitania, selling for a record $194,500. “The market for antiques toys and trains is strong as long as the pieces are in overall good (original) condition. The pieces in this auction range from good to well loved, but include some rare ‘treasures’ which we believe will spark the interest of many collectors,” said a Doyle spokeswoman.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Don’t put away those childish things…'