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Masudaya Radicon Robot sells for $37,300 at Morphy Auctions

A fantastic collection of vintage robots and space toys, as collected by well known enthusiast Enzo Pertoldi was out of this world at Morphy Auctions earlier this month. In total the auction made a huge $1,032,000, with the finest Pertoldi pieces snatching the top 10 slots.

The leader of the pack was a battery-operated Radicon Robot from Masudaya’s “Gang of Five” series. Like most of the other prized robots in the collection, the 14¾in, grey textured-metal Radicon was made in Japan. Accompanied by its unusual remote control and colorful original box, it commanded a winning bid of $37,300 against an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

Another great favourite with collectors was the 7¾ in lithographed-tin wind-up Interplanetary Explorer Robot made by Naito Shoten. The rare, vividly graphic factory box depicting a helmeted explorer in space, his rifle shooting off sparks, played a big part in achieving the runner-up price of $22,800 against a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

Not far behind was an 11in tall Nomura Radar Robot, known to collectors as “Topolino” (the Italian name for Mickey Mouse) because of its upright ears. A rare boxed example, it shot to $18,600, more than double the high estimate. Achieving the same money at $18,600, a Masudaya tin-litho Space Patrol with Suctorial Missiles came complete with its original box designed for use as a target. The crude, early space-theme box graphics, coupled with the naïve imagery on the toy, drove the lot to six times its high estimate.

Other high flyers included a futuristic T.V. Space Patrol tin car in sky blue with a bubble top and pictorial box, $16,800 (estimate $5,000-$7,000); a boxed Masudaya Robot Mighty 8 with Magic Colour, $15,600 (estimate $4,000-$8,000); and a boxed Nomura Robby Space Patrol, $13,800 (estimate $2,000-$4,000).

“This sale proved that robots are stronger and in greater demand than ever before, especially those that are rare, boxed and in superior condition, like the ones in Enzo Pertoldi’s collection. We had great live, phone and Internet action, and international buyers – especially the Japanese – were very competitive throughout,” said Morphy. “After the auction, our robot expert, Mark Bergin, said we had broken more than 40 individual price records and that it was the strongest robot sale he has seen to date.”

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