American and European trains roll into the spotlight at Bertoia’s April 21 auction of the legendary Paul Cole collection, Part III

 In Auctions

The third and final sale of the series also includes European, American cast-iron and tin toys, penny toys and more

VINELAND, N.J. – Last year antique toy collectors worldwide had two very special opportunities to acquire trains and toys from the 50-year collection of the late businessman, civic leader and humanitarian Paul Cole. Bertoia’s May 21-22 and October 15-16 sessions exclusively featuring Parts I and II of Paul’s collection tallied $4.4 million, with record prices paid for prized Marklin productions.

On April 21, Bertoia’s will issue a boarding call to collectors as they auction the third and final grouping of exceptional American and European trains from Paul’s legendary holdings. In addition, the sale will include European tin wind-ups, American tin, cast-iron bell, automotive and horse-drawn toys; and diminutive penny toys – all from Paul’s personal collection.

Amassed over a period of more than 50 years, Paul’s train collection was known and respected on both sides of the Atlantic. “Paul had an eye for authenticity and quality, and he enjoyed creating layouts that were realistically accessorized with train stations, outbuildings, bridges, signs and figures,” said Michael Bertoia, president of Bertoia Auctions. “Everything he owned was in very nice condition, whether it was a hand-painted Marklin advertising car like the one we sold in October for over $50,000, or a simple accessory.”

Many Lionel selections will be available in the April 21 session, including a 16-inch dual-motor 408E passenger set, estimate $800-$1,600; a 13-inch 250E Hiawatha passenger set, $750-$1,500; a 17-inch-long set with a 381E locomotive, $700-$1,400; a 265E Streamliner passenger set with a 9.5-inch locomotive, $500-$1,000; and a #5 locomotive with 10 Series cars, $500-$1,000.

An American Carlisle & Finch mining train set is expected to make $500-$1,000. A Metzel American Flyer “Chicago” set carries a similar estimate.

A popular comic character crossover set, Lionel’s Mickey Mouse Circus Train is entered with a $600-$1,200 estimate. Along similar lines, the collection includes a number of handcars and railcars. They include two boxed Wells-o-London 7-inch Mickey Mouse handcars, $600-$1,200 each; a boxed Lionel Donald Duck rail car #1107, $400-$800; a boxed Marx Popeye handcar, $300-$600; a boxed Marx Moon Mullins & Kayo handcar, $300-$600; and a celluloid Henry & Henrietta rail car. Extremely rare and possibly the only surviving example of its type, this toy was formerly in the Carl Lobel collection and comes to auction with a $400-$800 estimate.

As was the case with Parts I and II, a portion of the proceeds from the last auction in the series will benefit the Paul and Carol Cole Foundation, which assists nonprofit organizations in the Coles’ hometown of Bluefield, West Virginia.
Bertoia Auctions encourages collectors to visit the fully illustrated catalog online to view the many exceptional toys and trains to be sold during the third and final installment of the Paul Cole collection on April 21, 2022. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Bertoia Live or Liveauctioneers. Live attendance is limited and by reservation only, with masks and social distancing mandatory. Private in-gallery previews are by appointment only. For additional information, to reserve a seat at the gallery, or to make an appointment to preview the collection, call 856-692-1881, email or visit Bertoia’s online:

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