Auctions, Christmas, Tin Toys — February 1, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Bertoia $1.8 Million “Holiday Surprises” Auction

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2800 online bidders battled gallery and phone bidders over European toys and Christmas antiques

VINELAND, N.J. – What’s an auctioneer’s first clue that a sale is going to be a barnburner? “Running out of catalogues,” answered Bertoia Auctions associate Rich Bertoia, referring, in particular, to the company’s Nov. 13-15 Holiday Surprises event, which grossed $1,867,000.

“It was the diversity and quality of the goods that caused the rush on catalogs. With every passing week in the run-up to the sale, more and more catalogs were leaving the gallery. I knew we would run out, which is very unusual for us because we always make sure we publish a bumper supply. So that no one would be disappointed, in the two weeks prior to the auction, if someone called about a particular category in the sale, we would mail them a color copy of the catalog section that interested them,” Bertoia said.

Inside the thick, full-color catalog with a cheery Santa-in-sleigh toy on the cover were 2,240 lots of premium-quality toys, trains, banks, dolls, bears, games, doorstops and holiday antiques. And there were scores of buyers for each and every one of the categories.

“Everything was in demand, but European hand-painted tin was exceptionally strong,” Bertoia observed. “I would say one-fourth of it was shipped back to Europe and three-fourths went to American buyers.

The top lot of the sale was Lot 297A, a 30-inch-long Marklin “Olga” battleship, which sailed across the Atlantic to a European bidder for $29,500 (all prices quoted inclusive of buyer’s premium).

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