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Milestone Auctions to host April 14 Vintage Toys & Trains Spectacular
Marx windup Flash Gordon Sparkling Rocket Fighter Ship with original box, 12 inches, beautiful original condition. Est. $1,000-$1,500.

WILLOUGHBY, OHIO .- Milestone Auctions is a full-service auction house known for its high-profile sales of every imaginable type of antique and historical collectible, but many know the company, first and foremost, as the Midwest’s hub for quality antique and vintage toys. On April 14th, Milestone co-owners Chris Sammet and Miles King will once again roll out the red carpet for toy enthusiasts as they present their Spring 2018 Vintage Toys & Trains Spectacular.

The Saturday event will be held at the company’s suburban-Cleveland gallery, with all forms of remote bidding available (absentee, phone, and live online). “From pressed steel, German tin wind-ups and holiday antiques to pre-war Lionel trains and cast-iron banks, this sale includes just about every category of interest to today’s collectors,” said Sammet. “The majority has come from estates or private collections, so there are some choice pieces waiting to be discovered.”

The 826-lot lineup begins with visitors from other worlds: Japanese postwar robots, numerous space guns and fantasy space-exploration vehicles, most in their original boxes. A battery-operated silvery-blue Zoomer Robot is in very clean, all-original condition. Other androidal invaders include a Gear Robot, High-Wheel Robot, Cragstan Mr Robot, Piston Robot and Space Explorer.

The extraterrestrials lead the way for a sizable selection of 1950s-’60s Japanese tin friction battery-op toys, most accompanied by their bright and colorful original boxes. There are cars (many by Bandai) and advertising vehicles of various types, boats, Linemar and TPS characters such as Casper the Ghost (Rollover Tank); and amusing animal favorites including Maxwell Coffee Loving Bear and Rock N Roll Monkey.

There are also many German toys from the postwar era, including a bevy of US Zone and West German productions; plus coveted hand-painted antique and later lithographed windups. The mix includes circus bears, a carousel and other steam-powered favorites by Bing and Ernst Plank; tradesmen at work, and several desirable Lehmann toys. A fine example of Lehmann’s 1903-1915 “Tap-Tap” gardener with cart, offered with its extremely rare pictorial box, is expected to make $800-$1,200.

Through the eyes of German designers from GELY (Georg Levy), Schuco and Arnold, and their overseas counterparts at Marx and Hubley, a virtual fleet of motorcycles presents a panoramic view of how bikes have evolved over the decades. Leading the pack is a 1930s Hubley Indian 4-cylinder motorcycle finished in a scarce green color. The 9-inch bike with tip-to-toe “leather-dressed” driver is completely original, down to its attractive nickel plating. Estimate: $1,200-$1,600.

A huge selection of American tin wind-up and friction toys speaks to the broad spectrum of manufacture on US shores both before and after World War II – the line of demarcation commonly used by collectors in describing 20th-century toys. Literally all of the great domestic toy factories are represented in Milestone’s auction, including Strauss, Chein, Unique Art, Wyandotte, Hoge, Wolverine and the one-time largest manufacturer of toys on Earth, the formidable Louis Marx & Co. A 13-inch windup Marx U-Drive-It Car, all original down to the string with ball used to guide the vehicle, comes with a pictorial box with early Marx logo. “We’ve never seen another example of this toy,” said Sammet. “Not only is it extremely rare, it’s also in excellent condition,” said Sammet. “It should finish somewhere in the $1,000 to $2,000 range.”

A stellar collection of pressed-steel trucks includes popular models by Buddy ‘L,’ Sturditoy, Keystone, Steelcraft, Structo, Smith-Miller, Tonka and may others. Another pressed-steel highlight is a 32-inch Orkin wind-up cabin cruiser with a windup motor. Large and impressive, it could sail off to a new harbor for $800-$1,000.

An excellent array of pre-war Lionel and American Flyer trains awaits collectors, both in standard and O gauge. There are many boxed sets and accessories, plus one very special entry: a rare 1932 Lionel #177 Scenic Railway store display. Measuring 78 by 57 inches, the display is all original and a true prize for any Lionel aficionado. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Milestone’s railway yard is bumper-to-bumper with other great trains by Marklin, Bing, Ives, KBN, Hafner, Hoge, Marx and more.

Another top-notch collection in the sale features cast iron in the form of vehicles, horse-drawn toys, and both mechanical and still banks. An unusual J. & E. Stevens Speaking Dog cast-iron mechanical bank is all original and exhibits an unusual ‘japanned’ finish on the dog figure. It could fetch a top bid of $2,000-$3,000.

The many collectors of holiday antiques won’t want to overlook either the rare 25-inch German clockwork Easter rabbit dressed as Uncle Sam, $6,000-$8,000, or an equally scarce, mohair-bearded German Santa Claus candy container dressed in a white mohair robe and standing a full 22 inches high, $8,000-$10,000. Other novelties include mail-away premiums and Cracker Jack in-box prizes, many of them associated with classic comic strips, radio and TV shows, such as Buck Rogers, Tom Mix, Little Orphan Annie, Batman, Green Hornet, Howdy Doody and more.

Milestone Auctions’ Saturday, April 14, 2018 Vintage Toys & Trains Spectacular will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, with all forms of bidding available, including live online. Gallery address: 3860 Ben Hur Ave., Unit 8, Willoughby, OH 44094. For additional information, call 440-527-8060 or email

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