They also collected antique toys. Over several decades the couple assembled a collection of late 19th century and early 20th century American toys and banks that incorporates still and mechanical banks, early horse-drawn vehicles, tinplate and clockwork toys, complemented by a broad range of European tinplate toys.
In March this year specialist toy auction house Bertoia of Vineland, New Jersey, sold the first part of the collection. The second instalment will be offered over two days on September 10-11.
Pictured here are two early hand-painted French pieces from the sale.
The omnibus (top), which measures 2ft (61cm) in length, dates from c.1895. Its features include the original plaster figures on the upper deck; three hand-painted tin horses that propel the bus and two large headlights under the driver’s seat.
The toy is attributed to either FV or Jouet de Paris and is inscribed Enterprise Générale des Omnibus on the side panel.
Its estimate is $6000-9000.
The rare and finely painted 16½in (47cm) high ‘Buddha’ magic lantern fashioned as a seated Chinese man has detailed brass borders featuring mask motifs and is dated to c.1870.
The guide is $7000-10,000.