June 15, 2021

Antiques & Collecting: Tin toy motorcycle zooms to $24K at auction

If you have several generations of “things” that you have inherited and now have to move to a smaller place, be careful what you give or throw away. Of course, you check on oil paintings or prints to see if they can be sold.

The local historical society might want some of your family pictures and letters from soldiers in past wars. Some old magazines, comic books, autographs, souvenirs and clothes, even a uniform from a famous fast-food restaurant that a family member worked for, or an early gym suit with bloomers would be welcome for displays.

And be sure to check out everything made of silver or gold, even the ugly tea set, since there is a meltdown value to precious metals.

But very old toys are among the items that sell for more than most people expect. A 7-inch tin toy that was made in Germany years ago found its way to a recent auction of toys and hobbies.

It was a motorcycle with a driver in a racing position. There was a wind-up mechanism where the motor would have been on a full-size motorcycle.

It was painted black and yellow and had yellow tires, and the driver had a suit and hat painted brown. Most of the paint remained and the toy was listed as being in very good to excellent condition.

The auction house knew it was a valuable old toy, a Gunthermann racing motorcycle. Bikes and motorcycles are very popular toys.

So, although this toy was estimated at more than $7,000, it surprised most when it sold for $24,000. Antique toys in good condition can be very valuable.

I’m clearing my mom’s estate and found a vintage Fiestaware 6-piece relish set with a red base that is in wonderful condition. Can you tell me its value?

Fiesta was introduced by the Homer Laughlin China Co. in 1936. It was redesigned in 1969, withdrawn in 1973, and reissued again in 1986 in different colors. It is still being made.

The 6-piece set includes four relish dishes around a small round dish, all on a circular pottery tray. The tray and inserts came in a variety of solid colors. In some sets, each piece is a different color; other sets are all one color.

Most sets sell at auction for $65 to $130. A very rare set of medium green inserts on the red base sold recently for over $7,000.

Current Prices

Medicine bottle, Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root, label, contents, box, $75.

Political, campaign plate, tin lithograph, Howard Taft & James Sherman, 1908, 9 1/2 inches, $140.

Kitchen, kettle, apple butter, copper, dovetailed construction, iron bail handle, J.P. Schaum, Lancaster, Pa., 1785-1814, 13 x 22 inches, $236.

Cigar tin, Sunset Trail, two horseback riders, 5 cents, 5 x 6 x 4 inches, $420.

Tip: Don’t put your name on your mailbox, front door mat or screen door. It helps burglars find your phone number, then find out when you are away.

Terry and Kim Kovel

For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit www.Kovels.com. © 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.