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Tin treasures bring fantastic results at Bonhams Winter Toys Auction
1962 Chrysler Imperial 4-door hardtop with decorative box. A scarce black Asahi 15" vehicle; minimal surface wear to roof, bright condition accompanied with its original decorative box showing surface scuffs &wear to corners; (a very good example of one of the most sought after Japanese toys of mid-century) C8. Sold for $17,500; Est. $9,000 - 12,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Bonhams announced very successful results from its auction of The Yoku Tanaka Toy Collection, January 27 in San Francisco. The 100 percent sold auction, by both lot and value, achieved above-estimate prices for most of its offerings that led to a total of $197,425.

Collectors vied for the sale’s 168 lots that comprised more than 1,000 automobile, bus, ship, airplane, helicopter and rocket model Japanese toys made for the American market throughout the 1950s-1970s. Many of the rare collectibles were never before seen by the American eye until they were featured in this Bonhams auction.

Leading the sale was one of the most sought-after Japanese toys of the mid-century: a 1962, black, 15” Chrysler Imperial four-door hardtop with its decorative box by Asahi, that achieved 17,500 (est. $9,000-12,000). Another highly desirable offering, a scarce, boxed, 1956, 12.5” Lincoln Continental Mark II two-door sedan by Marusan also sold very well, bringing $7,500 (est. $4,000-5,000).

Great results continued with the offerings of a 1956, 13" Ford Fairlane Sedan, in its box, by Marusan, that brought $6,875 (est. $3,500-4,000); a scarce, 1950s Pontiac "Concept" Car by Mitsuhashi, with dual wind screens and tailfin, that sold for $6,000 (est. $600-800); and a 1950s-era, lithographed, 19" Jet Rocket V-7 by Kokyu, with a friction drive sparking mechanism, that took in $5,000 (est. $1,000-1,200).

Also quite noteworthy was a 1960s Volkswagen R-10 Beetle concept car featuring two-door tin Nomura convertible bump, go with astronaut, antenna and light panel, with its box, that achieved $4,750 (est. $1,200-1,400); a scarce, 1955 Yonezawa Lincoln four-door sedan, with its box, that brought $4,750 (est. $1,200-1,500); and a collection of Bonnet Busses that, after much spirited bidding, realized $3,750 (est. $500-700).

Also contributing to the sale’s success, a 1958 Buick Hardtop with a siren and its box, by Asahi, sold for $3,500 (est. $750-1,000) and a scarce Japanese Comic "Fantasy/Great Adventure" Rivera, with its box, by Asakusa, took in $3,500 (est. $700-900).

The Toys Specialist for Bonhams in San Francisco, Jaynes Friedman, said of the auction, "I am very encouraged by the amount of new bidders we have throughout the world, and particularly by our strong presence on the West Coast. Bonhams Toys Department collaborated with the Motoring Department for this sale and the interest from our wide client base contributed to the success of the auction.”

He added, “I can’t wait to prepare for Mr. Tanaka’s next auction event through Bonhams, offering pre-war, celluloid and a continuance of great tin toys from the golden age of American cars.”

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