PITTSBURGH – Battle lines were drawn in the sand long before Old Toy Soldier Auctions conducted its June 2-3 sale featuring the collections of Bob Bailey and the late K. Warren Mitchell. “Absentee bidding was brisk,” said OTSA’s owner, Ray Haradin, describing bidder interest in the run-up to the 1,247-lot sale. “There were 117 absentee bidders. Add to that, 14 phone bidders and another 220 people online and we had all the makings for a very exciting event.” The sale realized $385,000 (inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium) and resulted in “a lot of very happy buyers,” Haradin said.
The auction offerings were led by a strong mix of early Britains acquired by Bob Bailey in the 1970s during his world travels as a Pan Am flight attendant, as well as rare soldiers from the revered Warren Mitchell collection. A respected veteran dealer and collector, Mitchell’s influence can be seen in many of today’s top collections. “I know many people in the hobby who bought their very first set of soldiers from Warren.
His reputation created a high level of anticipation leading up to the sale,” Haradin said. Britains military figures performed extremely well during
the Saturday session of the Internet, absentee and phone auction, which was devoted primarily to pre-1970 productions. An excellent Britains display set #1905 titled “Officers and Men of the U.S. Army Air Corps” contained 16 uniformed figures, all still tied in place inside their original box. Produced in 1940/41, the set estimated at $2,000-$3,000 marched to a winning bid of $5,860, making it the top lot of the sale.