Auction starts at 9:00 AM each day. Auction includes exotic early trains, superior-quality toys and exquisite dolls from 55-year Paul and Katie Hedburn collection. Second major toy collection in sale includes rare lunchboxes, many rated a perfect 10
Anyone assuming they’ve seen the last of the great early collections of toys, trains and dolls may have to readjust their thinking September 10-12 when Morphy’s presents at auction a long-held trove amassed by the late Katie and Paul Hedburn.
The Chicago couple began their collecting journey around 55 years ago, before there were specialty shows for dolls and toys, and certainly long before the Internet.
“If the Hedburns had a motto, it was to buy and keep on buying, but never sell,” said Jay Lowe, head of Morphy’s Doll division. “Most of the dolls in their collection were purchased in the 1960s and ’70s from dealers who set up at general antique shows around Chicago. That was a time when obscure dolls could still turn up on a dealer’s table. Probably 80 percent of the Hedburns’ dolls were sourced from two dealers, in particular, who came up from the Kansas City area to sell at those Chicago shows.”
The Sept. 10-12 cataloged sale will feature approximately 120 fabulous dolls from the Hedburn estate collection. A premier highlight is an 18-inch A. Marque girl, supposedly from one of only 100 boy/girl doll pairs produced during the golden age of French and German character dolls. Made in the early 20th century, these charismatic and extremely desirable dolls were created under commission by French sculptor Albert Marque (1872-1939) for the French couturier Jeanne Margaine-LaCroix, who in turn designed their outfits. It is believed that only 20 to 25 A. Marque dolls still exist today. The A. Marque offered in Morphy’s sale is all original and dressed in Swiss provincial style, with an original label inside its clothing. It is estimated at $100,000-$200,000.
Another treasured doll from the Hedburn collection is an Oriental Bru, one of six or seven Brus entered in the auction. A spectacular earlier version, the doll has Asian facial features and olive coloring. It is dressed in what appears to be its original kimono. Lowe expects the doll to sell for $25,000-$35,000.
Several wonderful Kammer & Reinhardt dolls will be auctioned. Among them are an all-original 22-inch K*R 107, typically referred to as “Karl,” estimated at $20,000-$30,000; and the largest-size K*R 109 “Elise.” The latter doll, marked “60cm” on its head, is estimated at $8,000-$12,000. Additionally, bidders may choose from beautiful early Schmitts ($8,000-$10,000), Steiners ($3,000-$5,000) and F.G. (Francois Gaultier) dolls.
From the 1990s until his passing in February of this year, Paul was an enthusiastic collector of German bisque wigged bathing beauties. The September sale will feature approximately 20 lots (30+ examples) of rare, extraordinarily fine bathing beauties, including several doubles.
A small selection of character dolls includes an interesting, possibly unique, Leo Moss black doll with molded composition head and cloth torso, estimate $5,000-$10,000. Snippets of historical information about Moss suggest he was from Macon, Georgia, however there is no known production history that documents either the dolls he designed or the dates of their manufacture. “The doll we are auctioning could have been made as early as the 1920s or ’30s,” Lowe surmised.
By the 1980s, the Hedburns had become interested in other types of toys, including trains, which they avidly pursued. While some collectors prefer to focus on a single gauge, the Hedburns took a more comprehensive approach, seeking out standard and O gauge, and European 1, 2 and 3 gauge trains.
“There are some very exotic pieces in their collection,” said Tom Sage Jr., head of Morphy Auctions’ Toy & Train division. “They have a lot of nice early Carlisle & Finch, Boucher and Voltamp productions, including a big Suburban Trolley, freight cars, engines and tenders. The collection also contains American Flyer, Ives and Lionel trains, but I believe the European trains – the Bings, the Marklin 20th Century Limited cars made for the American market, and the odd-lettered, hand-painted Marklin cars – are going to do especially well.” European highlights include a rare, early Carette 2350 engine and tender; an exceptional Marklin train station and several Marklin and Bing trains with provenance from the legendary Ward Kimball collection.
The revered American brand Ives is represented by early passenger and freight “inboard” truck cars, including livestock cars and cabooses; train stations, and both a 40 and 41 passenger set with European styling. “Those two sets – the 40 and 41 – only rarely come to market. They’re generally found only in old collections, where they tend to remain for decades,” Sage said. Other American rarities include Lionel trolleys in seldom-seen boxes.
Among the toys most highly prized in the Hedburn collection are a Hubley cast-iron three-seat brake, a Tally-Ho, and a fine array of Schoenhuts, including a gorilla, seal, kangaroo and rhino.
A second collection from the Midwest was the source for more than 50 terrific gas-powered racecars, primarily Doolings; Japanese motorcycles and airplanes; and a fleet of coveted Japanese cars from the 1950s and ’60s. The latter selection includes an ultra-rare red Chrysler Imperial, a rare Lincoln, 1954 Chevrolet and many gleaming Cadillacs, all in their original factory boxes.
The same private collector – who is scarcely known in the hobby but who always bought the best of the best from a few discreet dealers – also consigned several trains to the auction. They are led by a Lionel No. 773 Hudson set with Madison cars in individual boxes within a larger set box; and a Girard Set 392 with Lionel loco/tender and Stephen Girard Liberty Bell and Coral Isle cars.
He also amassed an enviable collection of approximately 50 boxed comic character, Western and outer-space-themed watches. Highest estimated within the group are a Superman watch, Buck Rogers pocket watch, and Mickey Mouse watch in a box replicating a top hat.
The incredible collection of lunchboxes rates very highly with Sage, who described the boxes as “mostly 10s and none less than a 9 out of 10 – the best lunchbox collection I’ve ever seen.” There could be heated competition over boxes depicting Superman, Underdog, the Jetsons, and all four Beatles. “Some will do five figures, and it’s my guess that the Superman lunchbox could land in the $10,000 to $15,000 range,” Sage said.
Other specialty collections include mint/boxed cap guns, Japanese toy boat motors (including an elusive “Oliver”), and German tin wind-ups, such as a Lehmann Snik Snak and boxed Zig-Zag; boxed Bing rowboat, boxed rowing scull, and whimsical Schuco monkey car. Additionally, there are dozens of robots and space toys from which to choose, many of them boxed, including Gang of Four members, Rocket Man, Space Man and Space Ranger; plus numerous boxed Western Hartlands and baseball nodders.
Many outstanding large-size racecars – which are among the hottest commodities in the toy world today – will cross the auction block, including a boxed Gunthermann Bluebird, a boxed Champion, and the French production known as The Gem, which is accompanied by its beautifully graphic, near-apocryphal original box.
Comic character favorites include a celluloid Mickey Mouse Rambler in a colorful lithographed box, a Donald Duck with nose to the ground in a vibrantly colored pre-WWII box, and boxed examples of both a Felix Scooter and Superman Tank.
Pressed steel enthusiasts will love the many excellent-quality vehicles dating as early as the 1920s and ’30s by Buddy ‘L,’ Keystone and other premium manufacturers. Worthy of special attention are a mint-condition Ford Model ‘A’ Huckster van and selection of boxed, mid-century Smith-Millers.
Morphy’s has become a second home to collectors of antique and vintage marbles. It’s a category enthusiastically supported by the company and its founder, Dan Morphy, who has collected the miniature glass artworks since childhood. The lineup of marbles organized for Sept. 10-12 is dazzling: a 1-3/32 inch diameter onionskin with a perfect scattering of blizzard mica, $6,000-$9,000; a superb 1-59/64 inch diameter black clambroth with 17 white bands, $4,000-$6,000; and a 2½-inch English-style swirl with bright, four-ribbon divided core, $4,000-$6,000. Individually estimated at $3,000-$5,000 are a rare, open-panel shrunken-core onionskin marble measuring 1-35/64 inches in diameter; and an outstanding 2-18 inch diameter eight-lobed onionskin with mica.
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