Toys made by the biggest name in American tin windups, Louis Marx, will highlight the April sale of Smith House Toy & Auction Company. The spring roundup will also feature a selection of about two dozen boxed, battery-operated toys made in Japan in the 1950s and 60s; two dozen boxed windups made by the Japanese firm TPS; a choice group of Disney and Popeye toys; race cars, airplanes, trucks, and some very special space toys, including a grouping of Robby the Robots.
Louis Marx & Co., dubbed the “Toy King” at mid-century by Time magazine, will be represented in the Smith House auction by several versions of the early Motorcycle Delivery toys from the 1930s with their original boxes. Renditions of the Police Motorcycles from the 1930s and 50s will be offered, as well as the rare Motorcycle Cop and Car Speedway with its box.
A full line of the toymaker’s Krazy Kars and Funny Flivers will rattle through the auction, including Charlie McCarthy and His Benzene Buggy, Mortimer Snerd, Dagwood the Driver, Komikal Kop, Whoopie Car, and Peter Rabbit Eccentric Car. The comic character and related toys all come with the original boxes known for their amusing, detailed graphics. Later Marx toys made under the Linemar logo, including the Flintstone cars, will also be on the block. A very unusual Marx toy in the sale will be a Get Smart Signal Ray Gun on its original card.
The Linemar Popeye Plane is among a wide selection of toys featuring the Sailor Man made by a variety of manufacturers. They include Popeye the Acrobat with box, Popeye and Olive Playing Ball with box, a wood Popeye bearing a 1933 Century of Progress sticker, a Chein Popeye in a Barrel, battery-operated Smoking Popeye, and Popeye pocket watch with box.
For Disney fans, the hard-to-find pieces include a set of wood and composition Three Caballeros, made in Mexico in the 1930s; the Mechanical Donald and His Three Nephews with its rare box; a battery-op Mickey the Magician with box; and several celluloid toys: the Mickey Rambler, Mickey and Donald Rowboat, and Donald and Elmer the Elephant Dancers.
Race car collectors will have some interesting pickings as well, including beautiful examples of the 98 Champion racer with excellent box, the Atom Car with box, Jet Racer with box, the bullet-shaped Rocket Racer, and a New Bearcat Racer with rare box. An unusual item in the category is a Marx 711 Racer from the 1930s that is marked “Made in Great Britain.”
From the universe of space toys, the auction will bring a Space Exploration Train with its great box, Robot Tractor with box, Space Patrol Car with box, and ICBM Launching Station. A series of plastic and diecast space banks in their hard-to-find boxes will also be offered. The mechanical men will be represented by the Hook Robot, Mr. Robot, Doctor Moon, a blue Mr. Atomic, and a selection of plastic robots, many made by Horikawa.
Robby the Robot, the mechanical star of the 1956 sci-fi classic “Forbidden Planet,” will appear in his many toy incarnations. Several versions of the Planet Robot, Piston Action Robot and Robot Space Trooper, the Robby Road Roller with box, Moon Robot, Door Robot, Roby Robot, a rare silver Mechanized Robot with box, and the Robby Space Patrol with box will be in the lineup.
A wide-ranging battery-op collection also comes up in the early spring sale. The whimsical lineup, each with its comical box, includes Camera Shooting Bear, Dentist Bear, the scarce Jungle Trio, Super Susie, Calypso Joe, Snake Charmer, and Shutterbug.
Among the odd but beautiful toys in the sale will be a boxed, windup wood toy with two black figures, Hubbell’s Grand Jubilee Dancers, which has patent date of 1874.
Smith House Auction 71 will open for bidding on March 27 and end on April 11. Catalogs for the phone and online sale will be available in March. To order a catalog, send a check or money order for $25 U.S./$35 foreign to Smith House Toy & Auction Company, P.O. Box 129, Telford, Pa., 18969. For a preview of the sale, go to www.smithousetoys.com.
Smith House Toy & Auction Company has been dealing in fine toys and nostalgia since 1986. Craig Thompson expanded the bidding to the Internet in 2004, but has retained the personal service for which Smith House has always been known. Smith House is looking for consignments for future auctions, whether it is one quality item or an entire collection. For information, contact Thompson at 215-721-1389, or e-mail [email protected].