|By Carole Deutsch
KINZER, Pa. — On June 8, White Horse Auction Service, located in Gap, Pa., hosted a 600-lot auction of antique and vintage toys that sold without reserve and with no buyer’s premium. The sale was at the Kinzer Fire Hall and was derived entirely from two private lifetime collections – the Alvin and Barb Esh Truck Collection and the Stephen and Edna Stoltzfus Tractor Collection.
Leading makers were represented in depth including John Deere, Farmall, Hess, Smith Miller, Ford, CAT, Case, Allis, New Holland, Tru-scale, Buddy L, Marx, Tonka, Nylint, Oliver, Dinky and more.
The exclusivity of this auction, which was concentrated in farm machinery, fire trucks and automotives, offered much for the specialized collector. Steam engines, thresher machines, engine powered balers, cattle trucks, crawlers, wagons, classic cars and car sets, as well as pedal tractors – some with carts, were all represented.
Owner Daniel Stoltzfus, a 10-year veteran auctioneer who opened the White Horse Auction Service two years ago, was pleased to auction his first toy sale with his new business.
“I began with the intention of auctioning real estate and specialty toy auctions,” Stoltzfus explained. “The real estate has been doing very well and I am pleased with the results of this toy auction. It was a solid sale. Generally things sold for expected market value with some exceptions that sold for more than I have ever seen in any sale anywhere.”
Smith Miller trucks topped the auction. Smith Miller was one of the first companies to make toys in aluminum. The company started in the 1940s and closed doors in 1950, but was resurrected in the 1970s, making trucks from the original parts. Smith Miller trucks are among the most sought-after by collectors.
The fire truck that sold at White Horse was a No. 3 with an aerial ladder and side support struts. The body was in good condition with the initials S.M.F.D in bold, gold letters on the side and it sold for $600. A price of $625 was paid for a Smith Miller log truck with a silver cab and green fenders.
A 1956 Tonka fire truck No. 5 that was in mint condition had an aerial ladder and was marked “Life Net” and T.F.D. in gold and also had gold decorative embellishments on the cab. This truck had the original box, which was marked ’designed for child development’ on the side, and realized $450.
A 1930s Buddy L dump truck that had a black body and black dumpster with a red crank lift and red wheels achieved $400. Buddy L was started in 1910 by Fred A. Lundahl, owner of the Moline Pressed Steel Co., who wanted to make a toy dump truck out of steel scraps for his son Buddy. The idea mushroomed into Buddy L “toys for boys” that established the steel-toy arena and sold to the country’s leading toy companies.
Highlights among the tractors and farm machinery included a John Deere 55 combine in classic JD green and yellow with a closed cab that realized a price of $400. A John Deere 630 wide front precision tractor that was in excellent condition sold for $375, and a Frick threshermachine realized $350.