SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – Located in suburban Philadelphia, family-owned Stephenson’s Auctioneers is a favorite source for collectors of all types of antiques, art and vintage collectibles. While the gallery is always a busy place during auction previews, it’s never more animated than when the occasion is a Stephenson’s Doll, Toy & Train Auction, like the one planned for Sunday, June 11, 2017.
“We’ve definitely been discovered by the toy community,” said Cindy Stephenson, owner of Stephenson’s Auctioneers. “We’ve been known as estate specialists since 1962, but primarily to buyers of antiques and fine art. When we started hosting sales dedicated exclusively to toys, a whole new crowd of collectors started following us. They love the thrill of discovering things that have remained in the same family home for multiple generations, which is quite typical in Philadelphia and surrounding areas.”
The June 11 auction contains many desirable amusements that emerged from residences in the Mid-Atlantic region, starting with a fantastic 1930s Art Deco mechanical pinball machine. Made by Blue Ribbon, the machine depicts a field of 10 Indy-style racecars surrounded by a track. The “free play” section is decorated with a bas-relief metal plate depicting the front grille of a car of the period of the game’s production. The machine still has its sticker indicating a price of 5 cents for 10 balls. Estimate: $600-$1,200
The spotlight collection in the sale includes a substantial number of vintage brass engines and tenders apportioned into 50+ lots. Made from the 1960s-1980s in Japan and Korea for various U.S. brands, the well-detailed trains reflect a very high level of workmanship. Most retain their original boxes. Cindy Stephenson explained that the owner collected them quietly over many years and was “not someone whose name would be known in the hobby.” The collection has been divided into two auction groupings, with the first offered as Lots 240-277, inclusive, and the second in Lots 330-350.
Strong interest is expected for a selection of Kenner Star Wars figures marketed from 1977 through 1980. An added attraction is a 1977 Star Wars display platform with original figures. It was a General Mills mail-in premium that could not be obtained in stores. Other figures that won’t go unnoticed include Lot 37A, a 1976 Mego set with Sonny and Cher dolls and three extra Cher outfits in their original packaging, est. $140-$350; and Lot 369, containing boxed The Man From U.N.C.L.E. figures of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, est. $80-$150. Lot 370, a boxed Kenner Six Million Dollar Man/The Bionic Man is expected to reach $100-$300 at auction.
More than 200 lots of dolls await bidders, with a variety that includes many types of European and American dolls from the 19th and 20th centuries. There are WPA dolls that were purchased from a museum, part 2 of a very well-received collection that was introduced in a previous Stephenson’s sale. There are early blond Ponytail and titian Bubble Cut Barbies, hard plastic and china-head dolls; Patty and Peter PlayPals, a German bisque-head doll, and an antique French bisque-head clown doll on a musical base, estimated at $400-$800.
Two older dollhouses will cross the auction block as Lots 112 and 113. One is from the 1930s, while the other is even earlier, made in 1916 by Edward D. Hollenbach. Lot 109, an early 1930s German kitchen room box, is outfitted with German furniture and accessories, most of them antique. Estimate: $400-$800. It is followed by a 1930s room box replicating an American country store of times past. The shelves are generously lined with original miniature store goods, all antique or vintage. An estate piece, it is estimated at $400-$800.
The auction also includes tin, die-cast and pressed-steel vehicles, Lionel and Ives trains, Cracker Jack premiums, boxed Britains sets, and many other toys of interest to collectors. The cataloged portion of the sale will be followed by a discovery section containing generously filled box lots available only to bidders who are present in the gallery.
Stephenson’s Sunday, June 11, 2017 Doll, Toy and Train Auction will begin at 12 noon Eastern Time, with a two-hour preview from 10 a.m. till the sale’s commencement. The gallery is located in suburban Philadelphia at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton, PA 18966. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable, and AuctionZip. The online catalog appears on all three sites.
For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Stephenson’s Auctioneers online at www.stephensonsauction.com.