VINELAND, NJ — When Donal Markey passed away last year, the toy hobby lost one of its most knowledgeable and influential leaders, not to mention one of the true “good guys.” Mentored early on by mechanical bank-collecting pioneer Ed Mosler, Markey went on to stake his own claim int he burgeoning business of antique banks and toys, eventually forming a close friendship and working association with the late Bill Bertoia.
Markey was one of an elite circle of illuminati who bought and sold premier examples of toys in the 1980s and ’90s that are now considered the masterworks of their category. It is only fitting, one might say, that Markey’s immaculate personal collection of antique toys, folk art, and mechanical and still banks should now be offered at auction by Bertoia’s, the firm his old friend co-founded, in a March 25-26, 2011, auction.
The two-day sale spotlighting the Markey collection will number over 1000 lots, with the main categories being folk art, antique advertising, mechanical banks, still banks, and what Bertoia Auctions associate Rich Bertoia calls “the beautifully unusual.”
The common thread in all of Markey’s collections was color, especially reds, various shades of green, and yellow. Multicolored pieces were his favorite. “Every item Donald bought was for display. He lived with all of it in his home, and the cardinal rule was it had to have color and visual appeal, whether it was a grandfather clock, a whirligig or a framed mirror,” Bertoia said.