The Larry Seiber Collection

Posted by: jamesdjulia in Member Blogs
We have just come across this site today and will post a little more earlier next time... (the auction is today).

The fortunate few who had the pleasure of knowing the late Larry Seiber were familiar with this very private and somewhat eccentric individual's insistence on the highest quality, condition, and rarity. After a break-in several years back, Seiber, concerned with losing his cache, squirreled away the toys, rarely taking them out to enjoy them. So literally hidden away for many years, seldom seeing the light of day were treasures unknown to most of the collecting world. Alas, Mr. Seiber left us in December, leaving behind a trove of exceptional automotive rarities. With boxes literally stacked floor to ceiling, Truman and Lowe spent several days poring over the contents with the aid of Seiber's family to find the various jewels. A quiet collector, Seiber amassed a splendid array of rare cast iron automotive toys, including a number of examples that are believed to be the only ones in existence. Not only that, the auction is certain to gain the attention of collectors throughout the world who will be pleased by the fact the collection will be offered completely unreserved!

Leading the charge is a phenomenal Arcade clockwork "Say it with Flowers" delivery cycle. Believed to be one of only a few known windup examples in existence, it is one of the most highly sought after toys in history. It consists of an Indian motorcycle with rider affixed to a delivery van back end containing a powerful clockwork motor to propel the heavy cast iron body. All original and painted in brilliant aqua, finished with delicate floral decals and embossed details, it just takes your breath away. Very few of these were made in the first place, and even fewer survived. It comes with a presale estimate of $40,000-60,000.

One of the other centerpieces to the auction will be an extremely rare cast iron Arcade armored car made for Brinks in the 1930s that was likely never offered commercially but specifically for the Brinks firm. Arcade's trucks normally had a tin bottom, but to suggest the greater security of the actual trucks, this truck was made with a cast iron bottom, gun turrets, and was embossed with the Brinks logo in gold on the sides. One of only three or four to exist on the planet, and perhaps the finest example available, it comes with an estimate of $25,000-35,000.

Collectors who think they have seen it all will be delighted with an Arcade utility truck, believed to be the only known example in existence. It features a detailed red truck body on steel wheels with a green platform that ratchets to different levels by a hand lever on the side. Faithful to the actual truck after which it was modeled, and in marvelous condition, it is expected to sell for $14,000-18,000.

The hits just keep on coming. An exceedingly rare Kenton sedan, one of only two known examples (the other resides in the Smithsonian) is a mammoth 13" long. Seiber acquired this toy from a collector in Newark, Ohio who purchased it from a friend who lived in Kenton, Ohio, the very town the factory was located. This original example from the 1930s was used as a model for the series produced by Sears Roebuck in the 1970s and is sure to charm the most fastidious collector. Although listed in the Kenton catalog, it is unknown whether it actually came to market or was ever produced for the public. An exceptional opportunity, it comes with an estimate of $12,000-18,000.

If rare taxicabs are your bailiwick, then Julia's is sure to please.

Heading the list is a scarce Checker Cab in yellow with black roof and running boards. The quintessential and elusive vehicle has the unusual embossed lettering above the front windshield, which was eventually ceased for buyers who preferred the Yellow Cab line. This rarity comes with a $15,000-20,000 estimate.

Its peer, the non-lettered version is expected to sell for $12,000-18,000. And a near mint rare Arcade flat top green cab that doubles as a bank with a coin slot in the hood is a beauty from top to bottom, carrying an estimate of $4,000-5,000.

The auction also contains variations aplenty. Desirable in its standard red and green coloration the Arcade Ingersoll Rand compressor truck is always a sought after piece. However, Seiber was fortunate to have found an unusual and only known example in orange with black trim. Originally owned by Jake Brubaker (worker at Hubley) and then purchased by Julian Thomas, Seiber acquired the truck in phenomenal all original condition. It now comes with an estimate of $7,500-9,500. 

Construction includes a scarce Hubley "Truk Mixer" consisting of a red truck body, green tank, and white balloon tires that comes with an estimate of $4,000-5,000.

A solid and very realistic red "White" dump truck with dual rear steel wheels is expected to fetch $3,500-5,500.

The variety of variations expands to the realm of buses. Included will be two Arcade "White" buses in blue paint, one with steel wheels and the other with white rubber tires and side mounted spares. They are expected to sell for $3,500-4,500 and $2,500-3,500 respectively. An Arcade "Yellow Coach" bus comes to the block with expectations of $3,500-4,500 while a scarce red and white "Mack" bus carries an estimate of $3,000-4,000. Other rarities include a phenomenal and vibrant Arcade boat tail racer in yellow with nickel trim, green plastic windshield, and dual nickel drivers. Occasionally seen in reference books, but actually seen in person by precious few, it carries a pre-auction estimate of $2,000-3,000. And an Arcade "White" panel moving van in white with red trim, side mount rubber tires, and great form hits the block with a $4,000-6,000 estimate. Taking to the skies and expected to soar will be a selection of cast iron airplanes. A Hubley Lockheed Sirius in red and black embossed "Lindy NR-211" across the wing is an example in incredible original condition comes with an estimate of $4,500-6,500. A brilliant blue and yellow Kilgore TAT with ribbed fuselage and wing is hoped to land $3,500-4,500. And a stunning yellow Hubley Friendship seaplane with broad pontoons and dual rotating props is estimated for $5,000-7,000.

An Arcade Hathaway Bread & Cake truck in truly remarkable condition is even more desirable by the fact the lettering is rubber stamped rather than the later use of decals. It is expected to finish up at $4,500-6,500. Other service vehicles include a duet of Arcade ambulances. Acquired directly from the factory, these rarities include a "White" example (both in color and auto manufacturer) and a scarce International Harvester. Each is expected to sell for $2,500-4,500. Helping to complete the collection will be a bevy of service stations, accessories, and other vehicles for work and play.

Joining Seiber's collection will be an impressive selection of other fine toys from a range of collections and estates. For a new up and coming generation of collectors are some fantastic Baby Boomer toys from one Rhode Island collector who long ago vowed to buy nothing but the best in quality and condition.

Three Battery Operated Space Toys in Original Boxes. Japan. 1) Lighted Space Vehicle with Floating Satellite by Modern Toys. Tank-like vehicle rolls forward with bump-and-go action. Satellite floats above as colored lights flash at rear. All tin astronaut under plastic bubble. 2) Two-Stage Rocket Launching Pad by T.N. Beautiful lavender based Jupiter rocket launcher shows animated tin figure at controls. Screen lights and beep signal sounds as countdown begins (only screen lights working). Rocket is fired. Great lithography throughout toy and box. 3) Cragstan space toy with floating spacemen having mysterious bump-and-go action. Bulbous tin spaceship with flashing lights, floating astronaut and back lit window showing aliens! (Estimate $600-800)

This grouping includes over 40 boxed Japanese tin toys encompassing fanciful battery-op space toys and robots, as well as a number of rare pressed steel trucks including near mint, never been played with examples by Smith-Miller in their original boxes. Some of these toys have never even been assembled or removed from their packaging. Highlighting the group is an exceedingly scarce Coca-Cola delivery truck with all the original bottles and accessories. This toy/advertising crossover piece is expected to sell for $1,500-2,500 while a colorful Kraft cheese delivery van with its original box comes with an estimate of $700-900.

Near mint Smith Miller Coke truck w/ o.b. (est. $1,200-1,800)

Fresh from a Bangor, Maine collector is a massive array of pre- and postwar Lionel trains and railroad memorabilia that literally filled his basement and attic. Trains include a variety of standard gauge and O-gauge examples in sets, singles, and groups that will be sold completely unreserved. 

Scarce Katz Grand Central Station with o.b. (est. $1,500-2,500)

Other highlights include a nice "Blue Comet" set with professional restoration that carries an estimate of $2,000-3,000. Also included will be a vast array of freight and passenger trains and cars, as well as plenty of buildings for one's layout creating a marvelous buying opportunity. Complementing this collection is a wide assortment of actual railroad memorabilia with a focus on Maine, but also includes many national lines. Included will be several large locomotive bells, headlamps, station accessories, porcelain and wooden junction signs, silver service pieces, uniforms, lanterns, etc. for your train room.

This sale will also include exquisite dolls, rare advertising, coin-op, salesman samples, and much more. In the doll category will be charming French bisque and German characters for varying collecting levels. This sale will feature two gorgeous Brus, a 15" Circle Dot with deep blue paperweight eyes and pale complexion and a 26" Bru Jne R that carry presale estimates of $14,000-16,000 and $7,000-9,000 respectively. A gorgeous E.J. Jumeau #10 comes with an estimate of $10,000-12,000. A fine 17" Portrait Jumeau with a lovely expression is expected to sell for $4,000-6,000. Also included will be several attractive examples marked Depose Jumeau as well as a selection of French fashions. Worthy of note is a 16" example whose cobalt blue silk outfit over her original wood body complements her eyes and her sublime and thoughtful expression. From a Midwest collection, the doll carries an estimate of $3,000-6,000.

German characters include a lovely and petite 15" BSW "Wendy" with striking and well molded features that carries a $14,000-16,000 estimate. A rare all-original Simon & Halbig 1358 black doll coming fresh from a Maine home, having been passed down through the family comes with expectations of $4,500-6,500. Googlies include a 9" A.M. 323 with wide side glancing eyes that is expected to bring $1,000-1,500.

For collectors of rare advertising will be a varied offering of signs and displays, some of which are rarely offered for public sale. An outstanding Victorian-era lithograph entitled "View of Canada Southern Train Passing Niagara Falls" exhibits excellent detail and color. The panoramic view of one of the world's most visited natural wonders comes with an estimate of $4,000-6,000. From the same time period comes an exceedingly scarce and humorous tin sign that advertises Standard Shirts. It portrays a quartet of men bathing in a country pond taken unawares by a passing group of attractive young ladies. Fortunately for both parties, the quick-thinking men are able to cover their nakedness with their Standard shirts, and disaster is averted. The piece is estimated to bring $4,000-5,000. A professionally restored and exceedingly rare porcelain sign for Gulf gasoline distributed by the Highway Lighthouse company is anticipated to sell for $4,000-6,000.

A select grouping of Coca-Cola includes early signage such as two separate 1905 examples featuring opera star Lillian Nordica. Both tin and celluloid versions picture the early diva in a flowing gown holding a massive ostrich feather fan to promote America's favorite 5-cent beverage. Each carries a $10,000-12,000 estimate. A scarce 1918 Coke calendar picturing two attractive ladies in swimwear that leaves everything to the imagination is a great find. Found several years ago rolled up in a tube in an old Ohio pharmacy, it retains its full date pad and color as vibrant as the day it was made. It is expected to sell for $4,500-5,500. A Tiffany-style leaded glass hanging lamp shade with the desirable embossed tin leaf edge bottom is also in outstanding condition. It comes with an estimate of $4,500-6,500.

Other scarce advertising includes two separate attic found display cabinets for Humphreys' Veterinary Specifics. The first, the embossed horse head version retains its original marquee and plenty of farm charm. The second is the colorfully lithographed tin panel version depicting a barnyard full of animals and lists the many long forgotten maladies Dr. Humphreys' line of medicines was able to cure including quinsy, farcy, and dropsy. The cabinets carry presale estimates of $3,500-4,500 apiece.

One of the most recognizable icons of advertising is RCA Victor's Nipper the bull terrier listening to "His Master's Voice". Francis Barraud created the image in the late 1800s, but did not initially see good reception to the piece until he shopped it to the Gramophone Company. Purchased for a mere pittance, it eventually became one of the most endearing and oft imitated images of the 20th Century. The Gramophone Company commissioned Barraud to paint 24 of these images, of which this is number 7. Purported to have originally descended from a CEO of RCA to its present consignor, this original oil on canvas portrait is expected to sell for $8,000-12,000.

The auction is rounded out by a select grouping of salesman samples and patent models. In the latter category is a select grouping of museum quality patent models from the Alan Rothschild collection. Rothschild has amassed the largest gathering of U.S. Patent models ever assembled and portions of his massive archive have been the subject of numerous museum exhibits varying from household to mechanical and technical to the simplistic but historically significant. This auction will contain machines pertaining to construction and mining, all retaining their original patent tags. Among the offering, an improvement on a machine for crushing and separating ore comes with an estimate of $4,000-5,000. A model for heating gravel in preparing asphalt is expected to sell for $3,500-4,500. This collection is complemented by a number of salesman samples pertaining to agriculture and construction, and is highlighted by a phenomenal piece of road machinery by the Acme Road Machinery Company of Frankfort, New York. It consists of a horse drawn wagon body with a conveyor belt that scoops gravel into the bed. Complete with its original carrying case, it is expected to sell for $12,000-18,000. This will be joined by a collection of salesman sample farm machinery from the John Woods collection of St. Louis. The late Mr. Woods' renowned collection will be offered unreserved and includes some spectacular examples such as two sickle bar mowers (est. $4,000-6,000 apiece), numerous horse drawn and walk-behind plows (ranging in estimates from $1,500-2,500 to $3,000-4,000 each), as well as windmills, balers, stoves, and more.

Tags: Vehicles, Robots, Tin Toys, Trains

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