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Mechanical Bank and Toy Auction — P B Eighty Four
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - February, 1980

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Recession? Depression? One would never think so if they attended the well run auction on Wednesday, December 5, 1979, at PB Eighty-Four in New York City. The afternoon and evening consisted of a toy and mechanical bank session at 2:00 P.M., and then at 6:00 P.M. an exclusive mechanical bank session including in part specimens formerly in the collection of the late John D. Meyer.

PB Eighty-Four, while a strictly business auction house, is, nevertheless, a very pleasant place and the surroundings are appropriate. John Block, the director, did an excellent job as auctioneer of the important evening session. He really moves things along and creates an atmosphere of ‘you had better bid or you’re going to lose it’.

Credit too should be given to Pamela Brown, a young lady who is in charge of the toy and mechanical bank department. She is efficient, personable and courteous. All in all, from John on down, the entire staff do a nice job in their different categories of operation.

The auction was a well attended affair with top toy and mechanical bank collectors, as well as dealers, present. Two well known dealers were in from England, John Haley and Anthea Knowles. Some of the mechanical bank collectors in attendance were Wally Tudor, Lee Perelman, Ed Mosler, and Al Davidson. Steve Steckbeck and his wife came from Indiana. Bob McCumber, a collector-dealer from Connecticut, also put in an appearance. Don Markey and Oliver Clark showed up. So this just mentions a few of the sizeable group that attended both the afternoon and evening sales.

Pictured are items in the sale showing their estimated selling prices and the actual price obtained. In addition to this, many records were set on other mechanical banks, such as the Giant (which went for $10,500), the Mason Bank ($2,250), Red Riding Hood ($12,000), Bucking Buffalo ($3,250), and the Regina Musical Savings Bank ($5,250).

About all you can say is prices paid for a number of items were nothing short of sensational and this can be said for some of the toys, as well as the mechanical banks.

Top to bottom, left to right:

RARE "PRESTO-MOUSE ON ROOF" LITHOGRAPHED PAPER-ON-WOOD MECHANICAL BANK, in the form of a narrow building, with a mouse emerging from one of two peaks on the roof, (good condition). Length 6-3/8 inches (16.2 cm.) Estimate $10,000/13,000. Final bid and selling price $16,000.

"BARNUM BAILEY" LITHOGRAPHED TIN WIND-UP CIRCUS TOY, circa 1935, comprising: an elephant pulling a four-wheeled cart loaded with a collapsible cage containing a camel, a monkey, a lion and giraffe, each mounted on four wheels, (very good condition), contained in the original box (distressed). Length 17-1/2 inches (44.5 cm.) Estimate $150/250. Final bid and selling price $170.

LINEMAR LITHOGRAPHED TIN "BUBBLE BLOWING POPEYE", the battery-powered toy in the form of Popeye, a can of spinach in one hand, his pipe in the other, contained in the original box, (very good condition). Height 12 inches (30.5 cm.) (Not working.) Estimate $200/300. Final bid and selling price $300.

LINEMAR "MICKEY THE MAGICIAN" LITHOGRAPHED TIN TOY, the battery-operated toy in the form of Mickey dressed in a black velvet cape, making a small chick appear and disappear, contained in the original box. Height 9-1/2 inches (24.2 cm.) (Not working.) Estimate $200/300. Final bid and selling price $275.

MICKEY MOUSE RACING CAR, copyright Walt Disney Enterprises, the red lithographed tin wind-up car with Mickey at the wheel, contained in the original box, (very good condition.) Length 4 inches (10.2 cm.) Estimate $150/200. Final bid and selling price $180.

FINE MARKLIN BATTLESHIP "WEISSENBERG", circa 1905, complete with four lifeboats on davits, anchor and winch, the bow with cast decoration, bridge, cannons and gun turrets, twin funnels and twin masts surmounted by star-spangled banners, the rudder adjusted by an eight-pointed ship’s wheel above, the clockwork mechanism concealed within, operating a four-bladed propeller at the rear, finished in hand-painted gray with porthole detail and white-painted handrails, complete with key and black-painted wheeled support, (minor repainting, bow light an addition). Length 34-1/2 inches (87.6 cm.) Estimate $6,000/10,000. Final bid and selling price $21,000.

"GIRL SKIPPING ROPE" CAST-IRON MECHANICAL BANK, Pat’d. Apr. 15, 1890, J. & E. Stevens Co., in the form of a little girl moving her head and legs while skipping rope, (excellent condition). Height 8 inches (20.4 cm.) Estimate — (A low figure mistake in the catalog.) Final bid and selling price $9,500.


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