On November 17, Stephenson’s Auctioneers in suburban Philadelphia will lift the lid on a holiday toybox filled with over 400 lots of dolls, toys, trains, and figural cast iron doorstops. The antique and vintage contents of the sale have come to Stephenson’s from various consignors and estates in the Mid-Atlantic region, including an extensive array of desirable doorstops from a private collector in southern New Jersey. All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee and live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable, and AuctionZip.
The fun begins with a parade of wonderful dolls produced over the past 125 years. Lot 94, a 15-inch antique French fashion doll, unmarked other than a numeral “4” incised on the back of its bisque head, has a leather body, brown glass stationary eyes, and painted facial features. It is dressed in early, lace-trimmed clothing and a floral hat, and carries a presale estimate of $2,000-$3,000.
Lot 95, an antique bisque-head Jumeau doll with a ball-jointed composition body, was probably made for the French market by Simon & Halbig. Standing 22 inches tall, it has blue glass stationary eyes, pierced ears, an open mouth with upper teeth, and painted-on lashes and eyebrows. The head is incised “DEP 10.” This lovely strawberry blonde is expected to make $600-$900.
An appealing circa 1917 French Montreuil bisque-head doll made by Edmond Hieulle has jointed arms and legs, an open mouth with teeth, and painted facial features. Very nicely dressed in period clothing and shoes, the 17-inch doll entered as lot 134 is estimated at $200-$400. Other antique and vintage European doll highlights include a late 19th century squeaking wax-head doll, $100-$200; an 11-1/2-inch bisque-head automaton, possibly German, whose head turns and arms move to strike a bell, $200-$400; and others by Kammer & Reinhardt, Armand Marseille, and Kestner.
Lot 4, a very rare Schoenhut (American) jointed-wood male Manikin character doll, 19-1/2 inches tall, has carved hair, spring joints, a ball-jointed waist, and painted intaglio eyes. The doll has a label on the back of its shoulders that reads “Schoenhut Doll, Pat. Jan 17th, 1911, U.S.A.” Cindy Stephenson, owner of Stephenson’s Auctioneers, noted: “Schoenhut only produced these dolls from 1914 to 1918. They’re very desirable to collectors.” The example to be auctioned is estimated at $1,000-$1,500.
There are many excellent dolls from the second half of the 20th century, including Bob Mackie-designed Mattel Barbies, new in boxes and with an estimate range of $100-$300; and Vogue Ginny dolls (some boxed), with a highlight being lot 84, a rare, circa 1952 strung Calypso Ginny in Caribbean attire, estimate $1,000-$2,000. Three mint/boxed Faberge porcelain Barbie dolls from the late 1990s are estimated at $200-$300 apiece, while lot 179, a scarce, elaborately gowned Mattel porcelain Marie Antoinette Barbie, flawless in its regal stand-up display box, could reach $700-$1,000.
Ever-popular Madame Alexander dolls will be offered in both larger ($800-$1,600) and smaller ($400-$500) sizes, accompanied by their original boxes. The star of the grouping is lot 50, a Madame Alexander Christmas Holiday Special store display made exclusively for FAO Schwarz. Dating to the 1960s, it comprises a horse-drawn sleigh with red velvet-lined seat and a 1950s Elise doll passenger with original faux-fur blanket. The total length of horse-drawn sleigh is 37 inches, and its estimate is $1,400-$2,000.
Approximately 75 lots of trains will be ready to ride the rails. Within the selection are many Marklin cars – mostly in their factory boxes – and a few Marklin engines. The great American train company Lionel is in the mix, as well, with several postwar cars and one prewar standard gauge engine No. 10 with three passenger cars: No. 332 Railway Mail, No. 339 Pullman, and No. 341 Observation. Estimate: $200-$400.
Those who enjoy furnishing and decorating dollhouses and room boxes will be spoiled for choice with the estate collection of sterling silver and gilt-bronze miniatures by Eugene Kupjack (d. 1991), which will be sold primarily in group lots. Most of the pieces were modeled after actual 17th and 18th century pieces seen in famous residences and institutions, e.g., a miniature chandelier from Mount Vernon, and a round, footed tray from the FDR Library. Lot 117 is an illuminated Kupjack-crafted Silversmith Shop with sterling silver miniatures arranged in the display window. The entire façade opens to reveal the shop’s interior and contents, including an unmarked National Cash Register and small domed trunk with lock. Estimate: $300-$600
“We expect a lot of interest in the Eugene Kupjack pieces,” said Stephenson. “His work was widely admired from the day his miniatures debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair. His miniature-filled rooms have been on view at the Art Institute of Chicago for most of the last 50 years and are among the museum’s most popular exhibits.”
The metal theme continues with a selection of nearly 100 cast iron doorstops and still banks from a New Jersey collector. Doorstops include many forms: flower baskets, fancy ladies, and other human and fantasy characters; dogs of various breeds, and a few cats and other animals. Several of the most popular manufacturers are represented, including Bradley & Hubbard, and Hubley.
Toy highlights include lot 203, a Bing (Germany) tin-litho Model T wind-up car, $200-$300; and lot 214, a Buddy ‘L’ pressed-steel Wild Animal Circus cage truck. Its tractor-trailer houses two animal figures – an elephant and a lion – and it retains its original “Wild Animal Circus” decals on its sides. Accompanied by the original pictorial Buddy ‘L’ factory box, it could attract a winning bid of $300-$500 on auction day.
Stephenson’s Friday, November 17, 2017 auction will begin at 1 PM ET. Inspection is on Thursday, November 16 from 3 PM to 6 PM and on auction day from 11 AM until the sale’s opening. The gallery is located in suburban Philadelphia at 1005 Industrial Boulevard, 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.