No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis
At the summit of the tinplate toy business there are some great collectors and there are some famous authors. David Pressland is one of that very select band who is both.
Respected and admired by all serious collectors, he has done more than any other to promote the knowledge and love of fine tinplate toys. Blessed with a remarkably retentive and astute mind, he had the foresight to start collecting more than forty years ago and has always been pleased to share his wisdom. In conjunction with another great communicator - Allen Levy - in 1976 he produced 'The Art of the Tin Toy', a copiously illustrated and seminal work that set the scene for all serious toy collectors. This was followed in 1994 by the superlative 'Pressland's Great Book of Tin Toys'.
Alongside large and priceless toys, David had been quietly building up a cache of miniature, gleaming jewels - penny toys. As their name suggests, they were affordable toys aimed at a broad sweep of children. But, as German toys of the Golden Age, the same high standards went into the design, lithography, embossing and lacquering as for their larger brethren. Although produced in large numbers, the vast majority were either destroyed or survived in poor condition.
David's 'Book of Penny Toys' in 1991 represented twenty-five years of ceaseless searching for the best, by rejecting or upgrading lesser pieces. For the first time, others could witness these delightful, even bizarre, flights of fancy, as well as more accurate representations of the exciting new cars, ships and aircraft of the Edwardian era. The toys were beautifully photographed and arranged by categories, emphasising the trouble and time taken to seek out really good examples.
Nevertheless, David was still restless; he continued to add to the Penny Toy collection and Christie's are now offering all 600 pieces, divided equally between this auction and another in April 2005. The catalogue has been arranged to precisely follow the 'Book of Penny Toys' with pieces evenly divided between the two auctions, so that each will include representatives of the best items from each category. Every toy is in the finest possible condition, with the elusive small parts present; any toy that is not in very good condition will be one of only a handful known, or even the only one known. David has scrupulously sought out only the earlier versions with the fullest colouring and crispest forms. In many cases, the toys in the book have been upgraded and this is noted in the catalogue.
Penny toys, however, are not just for penny toy collectors. There are examples for still bank collectors, candy dispenser collectors, photographica collectors, aeronautical collectors and dolls'-house collectors, as well as almost all general toy collectors who enjoy having a few penny toys to enhance their main collection.
This sale also includes some very fine tinplate toys selected from across David's collection. As diminishing supplies of Golden Age toys have moved most collectors further into the 20th Century, so David went backwards, into the furthest recesses of the 19th Century. This is the continuing theme of his collection; the fine toys in the Christie's auctions will make way for the display of future discoveries, undreamt of gems from the earliest history of tinplate toys.
Pieces in the first sale include a very rare Märklin English or US market tram station, a Märklin tram, a Plank Gauge II train set, Rock & Graner furniture, Gottschalk buildings, a Bing boat and a cast of fine German figures to populate everything from dolls'-houses to railway carriages.
The Book of Penny Toys, David Pressland, New Cavendish Books, 1991, referred to in text as Penny Toys. 'Upgrade' refers to the entire or partial replacement with better pieces of the toy illustrated.
Pressland's Great Book of Tin Toys, David Pressland, New Cavendish Books, 1995, referred to in text as The Great Book of Tin Toys.
More Penny Toys, Vincent Lebeau, Typocentre, 2004, referred to in text by the same title.
The Golden Years of Tin Toy Trains 1850-1909, Paul Klein Schiphorst, New Cavendish Books, 2002, referred to in text as Tin Toy Trains
Addenda to Glossary
The regular Glossary is on page 68. The special characteristics of penny toys require further elaboration. The grading takes into account the fragility and age of penny toys and that their size means that any flaws are magnified owing to their small scale. Most smaller flaws are all but invisible to the naked eye and are less important than the overall brightness and lustre of the piece.
The sheets of tinplate were stamped out after lithography, which leads to some minor ink loss at edges. When new, penny toys were generally dispatched unwrapped - and often mixed - in boxes of 144. Thus, after travel, they would not appear mint even when first retailed.
The use of 'gold' or 'silver' as colour terms refers to the lacquer finish, applicable even when the piece is lithographed. Some pieces have been affected by small wax droplets, from their use as Christmas tree decorations.
Measurements include protruding levers and rods. Wheels are spoked unless otherwise stated.