For antique toy fans, Saturday’s auction at the Holiday Inn and Conference centre was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity.
Auctioneer Don Plato presented 350 pieces from the collection of an anonymous Port Colborne resident.The auction drew a good crowd of bidders but there were many who were just there in awe of the rare and pristine pieces.“I’m not a collector,” said Dave Sisler from St. Catharines. “I have a few in the basement. It’s fascinating to see all of them in one place at one time.
“What did you do when you were a kid? You took the box and you threw it away,” Sisler said.“While he would love to bid, the collectability has driven the prices through the roof,” he said.
Plato was taking bids from the audience as well as online bids from Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Ethiopia.
“The quality doesn’t get any better, these are world-class toys,” Plato said.
The oldest toys dated to the 1920s with the majority from the ’50s and ’60s. The tables at preview were covered with clapping monkeys, swinging toys, Flinstones, a Charlie McCarthy metal cutout and a JFK rocking chair toy.
“When you see battery-operated and wind-up toys where the functions all work, that’s amazing,” added Plato.
The lots up for auction were only one half of the collection.
“There’s a couple we had as kids and I wish we would have kept them,” Sisler said.
“I’m sure that as a kid I took everything apart to see how it worked.
“It’s just such a perfect picture of a different time, of childhood and nostalgia. It’s fascinating.”
Sisler watched one particular toy, a set of Marx Merry Makers, the first to be auctioned.Originally selling for about 91 cents, the tin wind-up toy dated back to the 1930s and ended up selling for $1200. Somewhat out of his price range, but he was happy to see them up close.