18 January 2013
Battleships, paddle wheelers and ocean liners go out in style across the Pond. ...
Battleships and oceanliners lined up alongside paddle wheelers and submarines to form a mighty flotilla at Bertoia Auctions’ sale of the Dick Claus collection, Part II on 10th November. The second and final offering of spectacular antique toy boats, naval figures and trolleys drew keen international interest and above-estimate prices, with the day’s total registering $1.6 million (inclusive of 15% buyer’s premium).
One lot that helped the auction reach this spectacular amount was the German-made ‘Chicago’ (pictured belowed) - the very example depicted on the dust jacket cover of The Allure of Toy Ships, the respected book Claus authored in 2006. From stem to stern, the 31-inch-long clockwork vessel included tiered decks, side-positioned lifeboats, finely hand-painted details and six original crew figures.
No small detail was overlooked in the creation of the Chicago. It featured ornately turned handrails rather than flat ones, a complex double-tier bridge at the front and even fancy curtains inside the windows. Competitors vying for the pricey item included three phone bidders, online bidders and several in the gallery. An East Coast US collector who had sent a representative to assess the toy prior to the auction claimed the day’s top prize with a phone bid of $264,500.
Of the top 10 lots, six were battleships. An imposing circa-1902 Marklin first-series Battleship ‘New York’ (pictured above) was ready for engagement with its array of guns, an armoured canon, crane at stern side, and railed observation decks. The formidable 35-inch clockwork warrior was a crowd favorite and sailed off for $155,250 – more than twice the high estimate.