toys in the attic

We can tell the wealth of someone by how expensive their toys are. These toys would never find their way into the Christmas fireman’s fund to help the needy.Whether its kind of a luxurious pack-rat complex is open to speculation. Some of the greatest toy collections have gone on auction at Sothebys.The latest offering, the Jerni Collection, follows the echo of the gavel from the   December 17 sale of the Malcolm Forbes Toy Collection: toy boats, soldiers, motorcycles and classic board games accumulated over  forty years by publisher Malcolm Forbes and his sons.

"The toy boat collection is considered by collectors as one of the finest in the country according to Sotheby's. The collection is strong on sports, luxury, naval, and commercial toy boats - most being made during the Golden Age of Toys - 1870s through the 1950s. Examples of every major toy boat maker in the Nuremberg area of Germany - manufacturers such as Mäklin, Bing, Fleischmann and Carette are all represented." read more:

Each area of  Forbes collection is amongst the finest of its kind, boasting rare and important examples by the leading toy makers in the field – from a Märklin recreation of the Cunard Line’s “Lusitania” ocean liner, circa 1912, to a rare group of Medieval Mounted Knights crafted by Richard Courtenay, to the earliest surviving handmade Monopoly game-set, circa 1933. The auction also included nineteenth century and American paintings depicting the joys of childhood. For all the buzz of the Forbes name, only $2,4 million was hauled in which was a pauper’s pittance compared to the Jerni Collection.

Malcolm Forbes Monopoly set. $146,000. ---“This stuff is starting to be recognized but it’s nothing compared to what it’s going to be in 10 years,” Waldman said. “This is the equivalent to buying Picasso in the 1970s.” The Monopoly set, one of the last lots, fetched $146,500 above its high estimate of $80,000. Sotheby’s had estimated total sales of between $3 million and $5 million. The actual figure was $2.4 million. --- read more: image:

…A savvy businessman by all accounts, Forbes inherited his wealth from his father, B.C.(Bertie) Forbes, who established him at the Fairfield Times newspaper as owner and publisher only days after his graduation from Princeton. As he was fond of saying, he was loaded with “sheer ability, spelled i-n-h-e-r-i-t-a-n-c-e,” as quoted in Forbes. Read More: a

Art or Toy? "At Museum Boymans van Beuningen in Rotterdam I was surpized to see Cattelan's figure coming out of a hole in the floor into the classics gallery . He looks in a sharp way at a painting of the 19th century master Koekoek and the obvious solemn authority of the Old Art is ironised in a subtle way. This is the most expensive work of the living artist, worth 7,92 million dollars. The work was showed for the first time in 2001. " read more:

…According to Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm the NPD Group, approximately 80% of all toys on the market these days go for less than $10, with the average price somewhere around $7. At the top end of the market, the pickings are a bit slimmer, with no more than 10% of toys tagged at over $50, for items such as bicycles, computer games, etc….

---"I think $US40 million to $US50 million is a very comfortable number for that collection," said Noel Barrett, an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow and president of Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions.--- read more: image:

…A pristine toy train station made in 1905 shines in an exhibition of 3500 antique locomotives and railroad buildings at Sotheby’s in New York. The group is part of the Jerni Collection, which includes more than 27,000 toys made between 1850 and 1940. Thomas the Tank Engine has got nothing on these gleaming locomotives of mostly European lineage. Displayed on the fourth floor at Sotheby’s throughout February are hand-painted station houses, bridges, barges, carousels, Ferris wheels and hundreds of figurines in 19th century garb and Prussian army uniforms….

"It does belong in a museum, indeed. On the one hand it is treat that such a collection is still around in pristine condition. On the other hand it is a shame that nobody ever got to see it." read more:

“I think they are beautiful,” said Jerry Greene, 67, a Pennsylvania-based music executive who owns the collection. “They survived both world wars. For me it’s part of history.” Half of the collection was made by Maerklin, one of the top toy manufacturers at the turn of the 20th century. The German company made about 150 colourful ti

ain stations that are delightful to look at. Some are outfitted with working fountains and clocks; many are replicas of the actual buildings in Europe.Read More: a

At what point does a toy become art?


“Assembling this collection has been a 50 year journey for me,” commented Jerry Greene, owner of this remarkable collection. “I put it together piece-by-piece, and my quest for the highest quality trains and toys took me to thousands of toy fairs and shows. The collection has been my abiding passion but it is now time for everyone to enjoy and appreciate these wonderful objects. I hope they bring as much joy to others as they have brought to me.”

--- For us at O Gauge Report, we're certainly intrigued! To be clear: This collection is CERTAINLY NOT O Gauge, but at the prices that the WSJ is talking about: up to $50 Million for the whole collection, we think the set is worth mentioning to our readers! By the breaking the set up: They will be sold as an entire lot at Sotheby's auction house. There is, however, a O-Gauge and Lionel connection to this story: This isn't Mr. Greene's first toy train auction. He's been through this before with Lionel - having collected EVERY piece made and selling them off at auction years back. The difference here is that he's been very private about this current collection.---Read More: image:

The more 35,000 objects in The Jerni Collection were assembled piece-by-piece over a 50 year period by a single dedicated collector who is one of the world’s leading authorities on model trains and toys and who placed an emphasis on quality and condition. The pieces date from roughly 1850–1940, and form an encyclopedic collection of toys and trains from every major European and American manufacturer operating during this period including Märklin, Bing, Ernst Plank Carette and Rock & Graner, chronicling the ‘Golden Age’ of European toy manufacturing. It includes hundreds of unique handmade and historically significant European items, including depictions of actual rail stations, bridges and buildings, many of which were destroyed in the First and Second World Wars.

“It's clear to me that it was nostalgia more than anything else that sparked both the toy boat and toy soldier collections - the warm embracing memories of the endless fun we had with them,” stated Forbes in an article for Art & Antiques in 1989.--- read more:

The Jerni Collection is the greatest toy and train collection in the world and this is the first time that any portion of it has been shown to the public. Read More:

Trouble began when Hirst showed a new sculpture, “Hymn,” at a show entitled “Ant Noises” at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The sculpture, an anatomically correct bust of a human figure, sans skin, which reveals brightly colored internal organs, was allegedly modeled on a popular toy called Anatomy Man. Humbrol, the manufacturers of the toy, were enraged at Hirst for presenting what appeared to be a copy of their toy, enlarged and cast in bronze. Hirst’s sculpture was then sold to Charles Saatchi for a reported 1,000,000 pounds. This high sum combined with the surrounding controversy has caused Art News to call “Hymn” “the world’s most famous sculpture made by a living artist” and estimated that it has “at least doubled if not trebled in value.”… Read More: a

---On the splendid grand staircase Hirst's “Spotted Minicar” is caught in disastrous downward motion. And that, of course, seems to be the point: with all the blood and shit, the eviscerations and dissections, the misery and mess, the cumulative effect is a portrait of a society arrested, for our inspection, midway on its calamitous downhill course. Damien Hirst says the point of art is to make you re-see what you thought you'd seen: “One day you drive to work, and a tree's fallen down, and you go, Fucking hell! You look at the tree and it's massive. You never notice it until it falls down. Artists do that.” If that tree is Contemporary Culture, this show may well have us strolling along the Thames, muttering, “Fucking hell!”--- Read More:

…Hirst and Humbrol settled the matter out of court with an undisclosed sum of money. The amount of the settlement reportedly did not meet creator Norman Emms’ expectations. Emms, the original designer of the toy, had received 2,000 pounds for his design and did not think that sculpture was a laughing matter. He has been reported as saying “I don’t get much in comparison to Damien Hirst. I’m just as good as him. Fine art can get away with murder.” The sculpture has subsequently been shown in Hirst’s most recent solo show at New York City’s Gagosian Gallery.

While it is not clear whether or not Hirst intentionally copied Emms’ toy, this is fine example of Hirst’s consistent ability to test the limits of what the public defines as “art.” A sculpture like “Hymn” is indicative of Hirst’s seemingly lackadaisical attitude toward the creation of art. Some might say that Hirst’s art defines the concept of “It’s art if I say it’s art”; another school of thought would argue that Hirst has put thought into the choice to recreate one item rather than another, and that his choices are carefully made, not haphazard. Read More:

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