SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – Vintage toy airplanes and other aviation-related items from the renowned Capt. GR Webster collection anchor the March 15 Spring Dolls, Toys & Trains Auction at Stephenson’s. The metro Philadelphia company has auctioned portions of the Webster collection in the past, each time attracting enthusiastic bidding from collectors worldwide. The aviation selection, like everything else in the colorful 300-lot session, will be auctioned absolute and without reserve, meaning it will sell to the highest bidder regardless of price.
“We were surprised and very pleased that Captain Webster – who was a highly decorated Vietnam War pilot – decided to consign additional aviation toys to us,” said Stephenson. “Collectors are going to be very happy to hear this news, as there are some extremely nice pieces at every price point. Best of all, each toy – whether at the higher or more-affordable end – comes with provenance from a famous and very highly regarded collection. ”
The Webster collection includes Japanese, British, German, French and American makes, with a 60-year production timeline that begins in the 1930s. Most of the toys – which incorporate die-cast, metal, tin and plastic types – are in excellent condition. Many retain their original boxes.
Additionally, the grouping includes seven World War II-era aircraft recognition models, which were used to train military personnel on how to identify aircraft – friend or foe – based on their silhouettes. Another offbeat category consists of “trench art” models made in the field by World War II soldiers and mechanics, primarily from brass bullets and scrap metal. These handcrafted war relics are avidly sought after by militaria collectors but very hard to find.
Among the many highlights in the Webster collection are three desirable Hubley toys: a boxed 1950s navy fighter plane, a Hubley helicopter in rarely seen blue color, and a boxed Buffalo navy fighter.
Keen interest is anticipated for a grouping of latter-20th-century limited editions based on toy planes produced prior to World War II. They include a Marklin JU-52 (value: $350), which is a later reissue of a 1930s toy; and a 1990s boxed limited edition that replicates a 1920s airplane manufactured by Lehmann (value: $150).
A very rare, mint-condition Midgetoy factory salesman’s sample set contains examples of all aircraft in the Midgetoy line plus an ambulance, fuel truck, car, gas pumps, signs, and even a sheriff’s badge and pilot wings. The double-layered set has an estimated value of around $215.
In the tin section, top lots include a Bandai 1960s Skyray and Yonezawa Lockheed F-104. Each is valued at $350. A number of other Yonezawa planes will be cleared for takeoff on auction day, as will a scarce 1940s tin litho Wells-Brimtoy WWII British fighter, value: $210. Another prized piece is a large, limited-edition scale model Sikorsky S-39 NC 69AA Limited #2 Flying Boat with fabric-covered wings. It has a market value of $220. Numerous other brands are found in GR Webster’s “hangar,” including DUX, Dinky, Rai, Britains, Lledo, Hermes, Ertl, French Sagam, Schuco, Bijan and more.
The sale will open with approximately 85 doll lots, including some German bisque-head types, bubble-cut Barbies, Madame Alexanders, American Girl dolls and an unusual-size Greiner with original clothing and label. Four Ideal Shirley Temple dolls will be offered, including a 1957 17-inch version with beautiful all-original clothing, pin and hang tag. Additionally, Stephenson’s will auction a fine lineup of Ginny Vogue dolls with original tagged outfits, some in their original boxes and one with its original trunk. Some are “strung” Ginny Vogues from the 1950s. Lenci-types and a 1920s Rose O’Neill composition Kewpie complete the nicely varied doll group.
GI Joe action figures will follow. Two of the less-frequently-seen examples entered in the sale are a West Point Cadet and an Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders ‘Joe.’
Bidders will enjoy digging into Stephenson’s toy box to see what sorts of treasures emerge from the mixed selection to be auctioned. A circa-1950s Chein tin litho Disney Mechanical Ferris Wheel with original box, Chein Penguin, Schuco Clown Playing Violin, Japanese Traveling Sam Peace Corps Man and US Zone Germany horse and rider are among the highlights. Marx toys include a saxophone and a walking, growling cloth-covered tiger. Schoenhut doll furniture, Steiff bears and perennially popular scale model kits, mostly of cars, also await new owners on auction day.
The session will close with trains, including a Marklin set with additional cars, an American Flyer set, and Lionel boxed sets and (unboxed) freight cars.
Stephenson’s Friday, March 15 absolute, no-reserve Dolls, Toys & Trains Auction featuring aviation toys from the GR Webster collection will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Time at the company’s gallery located at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton, PA 18966. Inspection is on Thursday, March 14, from 4-6 p.m., and on auction day from 9-10 a.m.
All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. View the fully illustrated online catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.liveauctioneers.com.
A general antiques auction, commencing at 4 p.m., will follow the toy sale. Note: Internet bidding will not be available for the general session.
For additional information on any auction lot, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Online: www.stephensonsauction.com.