Märklin central station from c.1901-10 – $34,000 (£25,375) at Bertoia.

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Recently found in a New Jersey estate, it came from the original owner’s family. The large hand painted station, featuring a clock tower, telegraph insulators to the roof and an adjacent canopy, is on a 2ft 2in x 13in (66 x33cm) base and is suitable for gauges 1 and upwards.

It came with several of the original figures and had retained all the signs with their English inscriptions, the bell and etched glass windows. It was in pristine condition apart from a missing weather vase and one peg from the canopy and the original factory wiring probably removed.

The station sold for $34,000 (£25,375) on November 18-19 in Vineland, New Jersey, against an estimate of $15,000-25,000.

German zoo


Extensive model zoo by Heyde – $17,000 (£12,690) at Bertoia.

Another early and well-preserved German toy was an extensive model zoo by the firm of Heyde which came with the original box.

It comprised nine painted structures and animal cages retaining their original paper labels including, among others, a predator building; an elephant house, monkey house and giraffe cage as well as 20 animals, a zookeeper and 36 sections of fencing. This sold for $17,000 (£12,690).

Rare money bank


American Freedman’s Bank mechanical bank – $145,000 (£108,210) at Bertoia.

The highest price of the entire auction of over 1600 lots was paid for a rare US money bank that is one of fewer than 10 examples known to exist.

Made by Jerome B Secor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, c.1880, it is titled Freedman’s Bank to the front panel, inspired by the bank of that name for newly freed slaves established by the US Congress in 1865. It features a seated African- American man who is able to thumb his nose at depositors when the clockwork is activated.

The bank was discovered nearly complete but in pieces in a small cardboard box in a basement in northern New Jersey and was successfully reassembled by Tin Toy Works of Allentown PA, which was even able to retain the original clothing, albeit showing some signs of wear.

Estimated at $60,000- 100,000, it ended up selling for $145,000 (£108,210).