As all Märklin boats were available with a variety of names and flags (trade buyers could choose these details prior to placing an order), it seems safe to assume this ocean liner named Deutschland was made for the home market.
At 3ft 10in (1.17m), it ranks as the largest model produced by
the Göppingen factory and, with four propellers powered by
electricity, was doubtless among the most expensive when sold
With a freshly charged battery a tinplate boat could run for up
to six hours, which is why electricity rather than clockwork or
steam was always the more costly option when ordering from the
Fairfield, Maine auctioneers
James D. Julia (15% buyer's premium) offered Deutschland for
sale on June 22 on behalf of a Southern gentleman who had purchased
it in 1961 from F.A.O. Schwartz in New York City (at the time, the
famed toy store had an antique toy department, a venture they
repeated for a short time in the early 2000s.
The auctioneers considered it to be in all-original condition,
accompanied by 24 lifeboats, three mammoth smokestacks, twin
anchors at the bow and a host of other features with, as expected,
some 'alligatoring' to the paint and a heavy accumulation of dirt,
which would only add to its charm and desirability.
Accordingly they were surprised to see it sell to an "ecstatic"
Pennsylvania bidder for $46,000 (£30,650) against a pre-sale
estimate of $50,000-75,000.
Coming in the wake of one of the largest sales of tinplate boats
of all time, was this perhaps a case of post-Claus sale syndrome?
Certainly, with some would-be bidders choosing not to participate,
the auctioneers thought it was the bargain of the sale and they
were probably right.
Exchange rate: £1 = $1.50