The James A. Rocheleau collection of superior-quality still and mechanical banks will headline RSL Auction’s Saturday-Sunday, March 18-19, 2017, auction at the company’s New Jersey gallery. The entire opening session will be devoted exclusively to the 350-lot Rocheleau collection, which is known and admired throughout the bank-collecting community for its stellar condition. Day two will feature 500 lots of carefully curated multiple consignments of European and American toys and banks.
The late Jim Rocheleau owned and operated Rally Building, a Detroit-based company he founded in the 1970s. “Until the time of his passing last April, Jim was a very active bank collector and, for many years, a good personal friend of mine. It was obvious that he took pride in each new acquisition,” said RSL partner Ray Haradin. “Jim was first and foremost a condition buyer. Two of his mentors were Greg Zemenick and Donal Markey, who famously insisted on pristine condition and nothing less. Many of Jim’s banks came to him through Greg and Donal, so that, in itself, speaks to the level of condition in his collection. Especially in the still bank realm, there can be no question that Jim owned some of the finest known examples.”
Banks in the Rocheleau collection that were not acquired through Zemenick and Markey sometimes came as a result of discoveries from vacated homes. In the course of their day-to-day work, Jim Rocheleau’s crews were tasked with clearing out foreclosed houses for Detroit banking institutions. Rocheleau made sure that any antiques or items of historical importance were retained for posterity.
“Of the many ways he sourced banks, Jim especially loved acquiring a bank directly from the original family that owned it. He also enjoyed collecting Detroit memorabilia and Tiffany lamps. He appreciated color and originality,” Haradin said.
Rocheleau’s still banks are led by the finest known example of the rooster Chanticleer from the fable “Chanticleer and the Fox,” a beautiful polychrome version of The Recruit, a Home Bank, and a State Bank painted in blue with red and yellow trim. There are also several very desirable Mulligan the Cop still banks, each displaying a different advertising message. According to Haradin, there are approximately 20 known variations of the Mulligan the Cop bank, each promoting a different clothier, hardware store or other business establishment.
Mechanicals include an exceptional J. & E. Stevens Dentist bank, one of the nicest of all known Shepard Hardware Trick Dog banks, with original box; and a beautiful blue-dress version of Stevens’ Speaking Dog bank. “Jim’s mechanical banks aren’t necessarily the rarest banks, but they’re spectacular examples of banks that every collector wants for their collection,” Haradin observed. “It would be a fair statement to say that Jim already did the upgrading for the next owners of these banks.”
On Sunday: Lehmann clockwork toys, classy boats, penny toys, and American rarities will be sold.
A wonderful selection of European and early American toys will be waiting to cross the RSL auction block on Sunday, March 19. Among the 500 lots are many coveted European toys, including approximately 40 outstanding Lehmann wind-ups, such as a boxed Dancing Sailor, Tyrus the Dog, Adam the Porter, and an ever-popular Heavy Swell, which depicts a staggering gentleman fumbling with house keys, presumably after returning home from an evening of drinking. There are also several French Martin toys, including Le Violiniste and the cloth-dressed Lady with Muff.
A small fleet of nautical toys includes German clockwork and live-steam productions by Carette and Bing. Also ready to sail is an appealing circa 1910 hand-painted tin houseboat made by Kibri (Kindler & Briel) of Boblingen, Germany.
The Sunday session also contains a single-owner collection of penny toys, including a biplane, monoplane, and lady pushing a sled; and an excellent selection of still and mechanical banks from multiple consignors. Ten early American clockwork toys will be auctioned, among them a Stump Speaker and Nursemaid by Ives; along with several lots of African-American folk art.
As is the custom at all RSL auction events, complimentary food and beverages will be offered to all in attendance. Following the Saturday, March 18 session, registered attendees are invited to join Ray Haradin and his auction house partners Steven Weiss and Leon Weiss for dinner at one of Whitehouse Station’s better restaurants.
All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. The RSL Auction gallery is located at 295 US Hwy. 22 East, Suite 204 West, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889. Watch for the “One Salem Square” sign. Gallery telephone is (908) 823-4049. Preview all day Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17; as well as prior to the beginning of the Saturday and Sunday sessions.
For additional information on any item in sale or to organize a phone line for bidding, call Ray Haradin at (412) 343-8733, Leon Weiss at (917) 991-7352, or Steven Weiss at (212) 729-0011. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit RSL Auction online at www.rslauctionco.com for session start times.