The story appears on

Page A9

September 25, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Toy story takes a twist with auction

MORE than a thousand antique automotive toys will go on the block this week as Donald Kaufman, whose family founded KB Toys, auctions off his private collection.

Kaufman, who began collecting toys in 1950, is among the world's top antique toy collectors, with roughly 7,500 pieces focusing mainly on tin and cast-iron vehicles such as cars, planes, boats and trucks.

The entire collection is being auctioned in a series of sales taking place over the next few years, giving collectors and enthusiasts a rare opportunity, according to Jeanne Bertoia, owner of Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, New Jersey, which is handling the auctions.

"He was one of the strongest buyers at all the antique toy auction houses and he just really bought the best," Bertoia said. "When his paddle went up, people in the audience would say 'oh darn, Don's in the house'."

The first auction of Kaufman's toys, held in March, raised US$4.2 million. The second auction will take place today and tomorrow and is expected to bring in roughly US$2 million to US$2.5 million, Bertoia said.

One highlight is a rare boxed example of Mickey and Minnie Mouse on a motorcycle dating from the early 1930s, which Bertoia estimated at US$40,000 to US$60,000. She noted, however, that this is an absolute auction and every lot must sell, even if the offer is lower than estimated.

"In any big auction there's always opportunities for bargains," Bertoia said. She guessed that prices for antique toys are about 15 percent softer than before the recession.

This week's auction will include an array of early 20th-century luxury toy cars, many of which are still in their original boxes.

Richard Bertoia, a Bertoia associate, believes a Renault touring car is worth US$25,000 to US$30,000. He said the toy was found in a Paris factory after a toy show in 1928 and bought by an Italian count. Kaufman picked up the car several years ago at an auction of the count's collection.

There are also several hand-made, hand-painted Marklin cars from around 1905 that "have the US$50,000 potential," he said.

"I'm not one to use the word exquisite very often but that would be as close," he said. "It's a visual history in miniature because these cars were duplicated from what the toy masters saw driving on the rough roads back then."

Kaufman's collecting intensified after he retired in 1981 and he and other family members sold their stake in KB Toys.

KB filed for bankruptcy in December and held "going out of business" sales at its stores. Rival retailer Toys "R" Us then bought KB's trademark, logos and Web addresses at a bankruptcy auction for US$2.1 million.

Kaufman said he expects the auction to be "great" since toys bring a lot of "interest and excitement" to people's lives.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend