From Bloomberg News:
By Matt Townsend
March 23 (Bloomberg) -- KB Toys Inc. co-founder Donald Kaufman’s decision to go ahead with auctioning off his antique toys in a recession turned out to be a good one.
The first 1,500 lots of his 7,000-piece collection sold for a little more than the $4 million high estimate in a three-day sale March 19-21 at Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, New Jersey.
“Everyone kept saying, ‘Boy, the recession isn’t going on in this room,’” said auction-house owner Jeanne Bertoia, 54, in a telephone interview. The auction set a record for the 20-year- old company on a single sale.
Kaufman, 78, sold his stake in KB Toys in 1981. He decided to part with his antiques two years ago, before the recession started. He said selling the toys he collected over the past 50 years -- mostly cast-iron vehicles dating back to the 19th century -- is part of a plan to divest his assets and invest the proceeds.
A clown car made in Germany in 1909 with an estimated value of $40,000 fetched $103,500, a record for that kind of toy, Bertoia said. Kaufman bought the toy from Bertoia in 1998 for $30,000.
“The best still holds its value and continues to rise and that was the case throughout the entire auction,” said Bertoia, who specializes in antique-toy auctions. She declined to name any of the winning bidders.
A circus toy featuring a wagon pulling a monkey cage from the 1920s sold for $97,750. Dozens of toys sold for more than $10,000 to in-person bidders from France, Germany, Belgium and across the U.S. The next group of lots will be sold in September
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