TOYS from before the First World War up to the 1970s met with an enthusiastic reception at Wallis & Wallis' (15% buyer's premium) specialist sale on June 14, few more so than a c.1912 Lehmann tinplate toy which raised something of an ethical question.
It was certainly rare - the more so for coming in its original
box -- but the rather crude figure of a black male, tap-dancing to
a clockwork mechanism would not be acceptable today, other than as
"It seemed to come from a different and almost alien era to our
own" said the auctioneers delicately of the jointed, gaudily
dressed, dancer on a box which measured 4 3/4in (12cm) high
Entitled Oh My, and in very good condition for its age, the toy
triggered a three-way bidding battle between a postal tender, a
bidder in the room and the eventual winner who bid £420 over the
Other clock tinplate toys included an early 1900s Kienberger
billiards player which took £200 and a c.1915 Lehmann Stubborn
Donkey at £230.
Moving through the years, a boxed 1940 Imperial Airways Frobisher
Class Airliner by Dinky, with the seldom-seen April 1940 date code
on the lid, doubled expectations at £220.
Auctioneer Glen Butler made the point of the importance of
condition in modern pieces with a handy comparison.
Earlier this year a Corgi James Bond Aston Martin DB5 in metallic
gold, with only minor wear, took £180. At the June sale Mr Butler
could offer a mint version of the same car in its original display
case. Condition was, he said, "as good as it gets" and the car sold
Another price comparison was offered at the sale at which two
Corgi boxed gift sets No. 40, The Avengers, in similar condition
sold at £480 and £320.
The difference? John Steed's Bentley in the first lot had all five
spoked wheels painted red rather than the normal silver - not a
factory error but a way of carrying on production when there's a
temporary absence of correct parts, said Mr Butler.
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