It's been a long time since I've been to a live auction. For 12 years I attended them weekly and often more than one a week. I was part of the gang that hung out at the back, trying to bid undetected.
That changed when I had my first daughter. I learned that auctions are great for newborns that sleep all the time but a disaster for wiggly toddlers. I soon stopped attending and just got used to having my weekends to myself again.
These Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls sold for $1300.
This past Sunday I reentered that world I'd once held so dear. (My husband was hanging out with the kids for the day) My uncle & I drove 2 1/2 hours to an antique estate auction being held by one of my favorite auction houses. The auction was due to start at 1, so we arrived at 12:15 to have time to preview what was being offered.
Very old Georgian Period doll sold for $3500
The auction contained a toy collectors estate. Dolls of all kinds, dating back to the Georgian Era of the 19th century. Black Americana toys, Victorian mechanical toys, & lots of old teddy bears.
Folk Art doll that went for over $5k
The doll collectors came out in force. I watched as folk art dolls made around 1910 went for $5000. (note to self: pay attention to old folk art toys!) I saw the Black Americana toys get skipped over for lack of interest. (which illustrates how subjective value is-with the right audience these toys should have gone for thousands)
I was surprised to see a Victorian mechanical rocking chair toy not getting bids. The auctioneer kept offering it lower and lower. Just as they were about to pass it I raised my paddle. I won! I wasn't planning on buying her, but I'm sure glad I did. She has the sweetest hand painted porcelain face. Her body has the original clothing, all her arms & legs and she sits in a wooden rocking chair. When gently wound she rocks back and forth with a loud tick tock sound.
Victorian Mechanical Toy that I won!
Then they came to the teddy bears. I watched as the ones 12 inches and under in height sold. I waited. I checked out my competition. Two women were behind me bidding but they seemed more interested in the dolls. I listed and watched as they bid $11,000 between them on dolls. When the next bears came up, they were all spent and didn't even try to bid.
I was waiting for the large bears. The largest was 38 inches high, giant for a bear. Perhaps he was a studio model for a store display? The others all ranged from 17 inches to 27 inches. When each one came up for bid, I waited for the British auctioneer to start. "Who will offer me $2000?" "Okay then, who will offer me $1000?" "$500?" "Come on now, no price for it!" "$250?" Okay then, who will give me $100?" Then the bids started to fly. I was able to win them for under $200 each. I couldn't believe it.
Here they are! For size I've included my 23 month old daughter. She's posing since I told her smile big.