There was healthy competition for the most unusual or best quality entries in London’s December round of five toy sales at Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) and Bonhams Knightsbridge (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) and some of the highlights are pictured right.
Teddy Bears and Soft Toys: CSK had a strong and broad selection of toys featuring several notable collections of trains, tinplate and toy soldiers. Three of their eight annual toy sales were concentrated into last month generating just under £660,000 towards their annual toy total of just over £2m.
A glut of vendors wishing to consign teddies to the auctioneers’ pre-Christmas auction toyfest ensured the 433-lot biannual teddy auction on December 9 was almost double its normal size and their largest teddy outing to date.
Unusual or pre-1920s Steiff teddies remained top of collectors’ must-have lists, with a cinnamon mohair bear, c.1909, in good condition and a large size at 2ft 31/2in (70cm) fetching £7500, but the brown-tipped white mohair Steiff teddy clown (shown here), dating from the mid-1920s, stole the show.
Consigned by a private Irish vendor, who had taken it to the Antiques Roadshow in Belfast for valuation, the 191/2in (50cm) high bear was not an ‘early’ Steiff toy nor was it particularly unusual, but its condition was good and it had retained its original white felt pom-pom conical hat and white ruff. The period clown costume made it highly collectable. It was purchased for £20,000 by a European museum who proved to be the sale’s big spender, carrying off several of the top lots.
The museum’s other purchases included four Steiff German soldiers and infantrymen dolls. Consigned from a private German vendor, they were offered in consecutive lots.
All the soldiers were in good condition and sported red-trimmed blue jackets with brass buttons and black trousers. The most expensive entry (shown here) was one of the two infantrymen, dating to c.1910, that stood 191/2in (50cm) high.
Unlike his military comrades, he had a box pack, utility belt with sword, gunpowder flask and other ammunition, a rifle and large oilcloth boots with 42 Steiff studs to the soles (individual boot studs have been known to make as much as £100 at auction). Estimated at £1800-2500, he fetched £6500. Prices realised for the other soldiers ranged from £1800 to £2800.
The European museum also paid a premium for a highly unusual Kohler & Rosenwald Jamais Le Même Pop-a–Part teddy bear and animal head boxed set dating from 1910-1920. Comprising a white mohair teddy with detachable head and limbs, together with a rabbit, dog, cat and monkey head as well as a detachable clown head and body, this privately entered Dusseldorf toy fetched £6500.
Elsewhere, interest remained patchy for Merrythought Cheeky bears and 1950s Steiff teddies. Overall 71 per cent of the lot changed hands for a total of £216,875.
Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.
Back to top