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How To: Michael Bertoia Discusses Collecting Antique Toy Banks

Michael Bertoia, Auctioneer/Coordinator at Bertoia Auctions, has 8 years of experience working with toy banks and other collectibles. He tells us the fascinating story behind the popularity of antique toy banks

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Marklin 'Stephenson's Rocket' train sells for $121K at Noel Barrett auction

NEW HOPE, Pa. - If variety is the spice of life, auction house owner Noel Barrett was the undisputed king…

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Barrel of Monkeys opens up about turning 50

Everyone of a certain age remembers playing the game Barrel of Monkeys. The author provides a behind-the-scenes account of how…

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toysoldierMignotKing and CountryBritainsauctionantique 9 Jun 2014
Old Toy Soldier to auction premier James Henderson collection, June 27-29
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Britains ‘special paint’ band commissioned for H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester, estimate $9,000-$12,000. Old Toy Soldier Auctions image

PITTSBURGH – Old Toy Soldier’s (OTSA) November 2013 auction grossed a record-setting $590,000 for the Pennsylvania-based company, but owner Ray Haradin thinks that record may soon be shattered. Over the weekend of June 27-29, OTSA will present the James A. Henderson collection as the featured highlight of its approximately 1,500-lot auction – an assemblage of soldiers that Haradin describes as “the most exciting collection [he has] handled to date.” LiveAuctioneers will provide the Internet live bidding services for the sale.

One of America’s top executives, Henderson retired from Cummins Engine Co. Inc. after a distinguished 35-year career that took him to the pinnacle of success. He held senior leadership positions at Cummins beginning in 1977, when he was appointed president and chief operating officer. Eventually he rose to the ranks of chairman and CEO. In his free time, Henderson avidly collected Britains – the best of the best.

“James Henderson has always appreciated provenance, and his collection is filled with rarities formerly in the collections of His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, Britains’ Archive, Malcolm Forbes and Ed Ruby,” said Haradin. “He started collecting in the early 1980s and was very active through the turn of the 21st century, with an emphasis on buying from ‘name’ collections.”
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Regiments will march online in April 4-6 event hosted by Old Toy Soldier Auctions
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Lot 1108 - Britains Set #5181, est. $100-$140. Old Toy Soldier Auctions image

PITTSBURGH – Old Toy Soldier Auctions (OTSA) will be mustering the troops online for their next auction, which is slated for April 4, 5 and 6, 2014. The Internet-only event features 1,778 lots, available for bidding through LiveAuctioneers.

“We’ve gathered up all types of soldiers for this auction – with many group lots included – specifically to suit the beginning or intermediate collector,” said Ray Haradin, owner of OTSA.

Day one (Friday, April 4) will feature 612 lots of W. Britains, the newer productions by the world’s most revered manufacturer of toy soldiers. Day two (Saturday, April 5) includes a 512-lot selection of primarily dime store, Mignot and early Britains soldiers. The final session (Sunday, April 6) will start with Alymer knights and move into early Britains, Mignot, Authenticast and Timpo soldiers, with 654 lots in all.
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Old Toy Soldier Soldier's Nov. 22-24 auction sets company record
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Britains Set #1317 Salvation Army Band with red jackets, $10,800. OTSA image.

PITTSBURGH – Collectors mustered from all over the world to bid in Old Toy Soldier’s (OTSA) Nov. 22-24 auction, and by the time the hammer had fallen on the last miniature troop, a new company record had been set. The 1,684-lot auction featuring the prestigious Richard Appleby and George O. Gillespie collections chalked up $590,000 (all prices quoted inclusive of 20 percent buyer’s premium).

LiveAuctioneers.com provided Internet live bidding.

“Whenever we’re able to offer a great collection – or in this case, two great collections – with deep provenance, it draws the bidders out of the woodwork and sets the stage for a very exciting auction,” said Ray Haradin, owner of OTSA. “We had bidders from 27 countries – from Russia to Qatar to Singapore. The breakdown was 368 bidders online, 25 on the phones, and 115 absentee. Bottom line: it was our highest-grossing sale to date.”
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Old Toy Soldier to auction Appleby collection of 1st-series Britains, Nov. 22-24
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Courtenay and Courtenay-Greenhill knights. Est. $300-$500. Old Toy Soldier Auctions image.

PITTSBURGH – After a record-setting half-million-dollar June sale, Old Toy Soldier Auctions (OTSA) is gearing up for another blockbuster event. Their Nov. 22-24 auction, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers, will feature the premier Britains collection of the late Richard Appleby. Over a period of 35 years, Richard and his wife “Ginny” became known as discriminating collectors of toys, banks and early furniture.

“Over many years, the Applebys judiciously bought toys from major auction houses and from me, privately,” said OTSA owner Ray Haradin. “There can be no question that Richard’s soldier collection is one of the world’s finest.”

soldierBritainsauction 11 Oct 2013
Old Toy Soldier's Oct. 19 online-only auction features affordable Britains
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PITTSBURGH – Toy soldiers and figures have fascinated many successive generations of children, but none more so than the beautifully crafted, colorfully painted productions of W. Britain. The premier manufacturer of miniature figures since 1893, W. Britain is best known for its scale model depictions of military outfits and their encampments from centuries past. On October 19th, Old Toy Soldier Auctions will host an online-only event through LiveAuctioneers that presents an excellent opportunity for new, younger or budget-minded enthusiasts to start or add to a toy soldier collection.

The 454-lot auction features Britains manufactured after 1983, with a timeline that stops around 2005. “Everything will sell,” said Old Toy Soldier Auctions’ owner Ray Haradin. “We expect the sets to average around $40 apiece.” Some lots open as low as $5.
soldierMignotKing and CountryHeydefiguresBritainsauction 3 Sep 2013
Collectors 'go ballistic' over Exploding Trench in OTSA Summer Sale
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PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The battle lines were drawn and bidders brought their A-game to Old Toy Soldier’s Summer Auction held June 21, 22 and 23. The phone and Internet (through LiveAuctioneers) activity was nonstop, and enthusiasm for rare, early figures set the scene for what would become the most successful sale in OTSA’s history. The big three-day event featured 1,674 lots of choice soldiers and figures from prestigious collections, including those of Dr. Arthur Puglisi and the late Paul A. Germain (Part II). After the final salvo of bids had been fired off, OTSA owner Ray Haradin confirmed an auction total of $501,000, inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way the toy soldiers in this auction performed,” said Haradin. “There were bidders from 26 different countries, many of whom participated online. In all, 55% of the lots were purchased through the Internet, which was a clear sign that collectors felt very confident about our grading and condition reports. It was our best sale ever,” he said.

Haradin said interest ran high for the 600+ lots of Britains that had been cataloged. “Before the sale, I was concerned that it might have been too much for the market to absorb at one time, but that turned out not to be the case at all. The prices held up extremely well on all three days.”
traintoytin lithoteddySteiffSimon & HalbigSchoenhutpressed steelmonsterMarxMarseilleMarklinLionelLehmannkewpiehelicopterHalloweenGI JoedollhousedolldiecastclockworkcircusBritainsauctionantiqueairplane 8 Aug 2013
Stephenson's plans colorful parade of dolls, toys & trains, Aug. 16
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Revell Gran Turismo Racing set in original box. Stephenson’s image.

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – If antique and vintage toy collectors could keep one source a secret to themselves, it would be Stephenson’s Auctioneers’ Doll, Toy & Train Auctions. Estate specialists who cover the Greater Philadelphia tri-state area, Stephenson’s experts have access to many long-held collections that aren’t even known to the collecting hobby. The next Stephenson’s toy auction to watch for is a 300-lot event slated for Friday, August 16th. The start time is 10 a.m. Eastern, and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

A prime candidate for top-lot status is a choice Lionel Freight Train Set No. 2293W. The circa-1961 set is complete with Pennsylvania GG-1 electric locomotive, milk car, transformer car, caboose, signal posts and even the four factory vehicles toted on the auto transport car. The set is in mint condition with outstanding paint and retains both its set box and individual boxes for storing the loco, tender and freight cars.
toyTipp Co.tinplatesoldierrobotmechanical bankMasudayaLionelKyser & RexJ. & E. StevensJ&E StevensDonald DuckDisneycomiccast ironcandy containerBritainsblack Americanabell toybattery opbankauctionantique 12 Jun 2013
Toys, trains, soldiers & banks await star treatment June 22 at Morphy's
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DENVER, Pa. – A boxed Lavender Robot from Masudaya’s Gang of Five series will challenge an imposing Giant in Tower mechanical bank and several other coveted rarities for top-lot honors at Morphy’s June 22nd Toys, Trains & Soldiers Auction. The comprehensive 600-lot sale, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com, includes a wealth of desirable American, European and Japanese toys from the 19th through mid-20th centuries, with quality and condition being the common thread throughout.

The session will open with more than 140 antique occupational shaving mugs from the Ray and Theresa Jones collection. Ray Jones served in the U.S. Navy, and during his years of collecting he favored mugs that had a nautical theme. Among those in the auction with a marine motif are Lot 6, which features a fishing trawler; and Lot 6, which depicts a seafood wagon. Each is estimated at $1,000-$2,500. Yet another, Lot 95, is adorned with the photographic image of a paddle wheeler boat, est. $1,500-$2,500. Other highlights of the Jones collection include Lot 58, a baseball players mug, est. $1,000-$1,500; and Lot 117, an early wooden barber pole topped by an eagle, est. $1,000-$2,000.

Next up for bid will be 150+ cast-iron still and mechanical banks, the latter category including many fine examples from the Fenton Hord collection. “Mr. Hord was always a condition buyer. This will be quite obvious to bidders when they preview the banks in our sale. They’re really beautiful,” said Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy.
soldierMignotHeydeFelixElastolincomiccharacter toyBritainsauction 7 Jun 2013
Old Toy Soldier Auctions presents Germain, Puglisi collections, June 21-23
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Graham Farish figures. Old Toy Soldier Auctions image.

PITTSBURGH – Ray Haradin, owner of Old Toy Soldier Auctions, has something sweet in store for collectors June 21st, 22nd and 23rd. His big three-day auction event includes approximately 1,600 lots of choice soldiers and figures, commandeered by the estate collection of the late Paul A. Germain. Additionally, the auction features part II of the Dr. Arthur Puglisi collection and an extensive inventory of desirable contemporary productions.

The auction is structured to accept absentee, phone and live online bids through LiveAuctioneers.com. The start times will be 1 p.m. Eastern on Friday, June 21; and 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23.

Paul Germain was a well-respected attorney from Syracuse, New York who founded the Germain and Germain law firm. During his travels to some 128 countries, he amassed an enviable collection of postwar Britains, many of them old store stock in immaculate condition. He also favored King & Country figures and mid-1960s solid-cast productions by Nostalgia. The entire third day of the sale will be devoted exclusively to the Germain collection.

In line with Old Toy Soldier’s usual protocol, day one will serve as a showcase for soldiers, figures and other items of more modern production. In all, nearly 600 lots will be auctioned.

Eight fantastic Mignot dioramas from a New York City collection will take the spotlight in the opening session. Several were special orders from the manufacturer, Haradin said. Among the top entries are a 1980s-vintage Alpine diorama with Nordic ski troopers, presented in a three-tier display box; and a French Foreign Legion diorama.

Many desirable sets made by the British manufacturers Tradition and Trophy (including their Zulu Warriors) will be available to bidders, as well as examples from Marlborough Military Models’ Durbar Series.

Several very nice specialty collections will be featured on day two. One of the highlights is a boxed prewar Britains Exploding Trench (est. $3,000-$5,000), one of possibly three known examples. “The Exploding Trench is one of very few interactive sets that Britains made,” Haradin said. “It has a spring-loaded platform with a flag on the side. When it’s hit by a Britains cannon, a spring is tripped and causes the trench to ‘explode.’”
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