SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – An old-fashioned American Christmas traditionally includes a statuesque, fragrant tree, topped by either an angel or star and accompanied by a vintage toy train that chugs energetically around its base to announce that Santa has arrived.
Finding the perfect train to complete the classic holiday scenario is as easy as bidding in Stephenson’s Dec. 16 auction, which contains hundreds of classic loco/tenders, boxed sets and coveted accessories by Lionel, American Flyer and other revered names. Nearly all of the train lots have come from three multi-generational estates in the Greater Philadelphia area.
“Our business is based on auctioning contents of estates or homes whose owners are downsizing,” said Cindy Stephenson, owner of Stephenson’s Auctioneers. “We set aside the best toys and trains from those estates to offer in specialty sales held a few times a year. The pre-Christmas train and toy session is always very popular with collectors.”
The Friday, Dec. 16 Dolls, Trains & Toys auction, which will start at 2 p.m. Eastern time, opens with approximately 75 doll lots, including antique and vintage examples of both European and American manufacture. The selection features German bisque-head and composition dolls, a Shirley Temple doll in a middy dress, Barbies, a Skookum Native-American doll with papoose, a Mori Mora Bros. character doll, and groupings of miniature dolls. Doll clothing and dishes, and doll reference books round out the section.
The bulk of the auction consists of estate trains and toys. An extensive array of early Lionel standard gauge trains includes a No. 408E electric locomotive, a No. 384E steam locomotive and tender; Mojave passenger cars, freight cars and a No. 400E steam locomotive with No. 392T tender – the big boy of the standard gauge era.
O gauge fans won’t want to overlook the two No. 2333-20 Santa Fe engines and a prewar passenger set featuring a No. 253 locomotive, two No. 607 Pullman cars and a #608 observation car.
American Flyer aficionados won’t be left out in the cold, either. The brand is well represented by a boxed Mountaineer No. 20320 set.
“Collectors will appreciate that many of the train sets are boxed and that an enormous selection of accessories will be available, as well,” said Stephenson. The comprehensive array includes numerous bridges, signals, crossing gates, platform buildings and figures, which will be apportioned into group lots. Highlights among the accessories include an excellent and always sought-after Lionel standard gauge No. 444 roundhouse section, a No. 124 station and two No. 913 illuminated bungalows.
The toy box at Stephenson’s will be brimming with boys’ toys of all types from the pre- and postwar eras. A Buddy ‘L’ pressed steel Railway Express truck with all original paint is in “good to very good” condition. Another vintage piece is the Keystone parking garage and gas station.
The toy lineup continues with slot cars (including Aurora), pond boats, an abundance of Britains civilian and military figures, and a scale-model remote-control helicopter. Numerous scale model cars produced by Danbury Mint and Franklin Mint are also part of the colorfully varied toy mix.
Stephenson’s Friday, Dec. 16 Dolls, Trains & Toys auction will take place at the company’s gallery located at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton, PA 18966. The session will begin at 2 p.m., with a two-hour preview from 12 noon till commencement of sale. There will be ample onsite parking and a food and beverage concession at the venue. For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
All forms of bidding will be available, including live in the gallery, absentee, by phone, or live via the Internet through www.LiveAuctioneers.com. View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com. Visit Stephenson’s online at www.stephensonsauction.com.