Auctions, Banks, Cast Iron — June 1, 2011 at 12:08 am

Donal Markey Collection Tops $2 Million at Bertoia

VINELAND, NJ– The stellar collection of antique toys, banks and Americana amassed by the late Donal Markey surpassed the $2-million mark on March 25-26 at Bertoia’s in Vineland, New Jersey.

The 1,034-lot auction inventory added a full spectrum of colors to the shelves of Bertoia’s gleaming glass showcases, with scores of early American folk-art objects and hand-painted signs artfully arranged alongside toys of exceptional quality and condition.

An elegant masterpiece of toy production that was chosen for the auction catalog’s cover, an 1890s Ives cast-iron cutter sleigh with articulated walking horse, led the grand parade of playthings. One of only a handful known to exist, the beautifully proportioned 22-inch-long sleigh was designed with a faux-tufted red seat, delicately detailed running boards, and attractive stenciling to its sides. It more than doubled its high estimate to sell for $86,250 (all prices quoted include 15% buyer’s premium). The buyer was a collector from Texas who attended the sale in person.

Of the same era as the sleigh, a Pratt & Letchworth painted cast-iron 4-seat brake with eight passengers and a team of four “galloping” horses was a testament to Markey’s eye for condition and color. Formerly in the Covert and Gertrude Hegarty collection, and measuring an impressive 28½ inches in length, the early transportation toy streaked past its $25,000-$35,000 estimate to settle at $48,875.

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