A collection of rare antique toys amassed by the late millionaire Malcolm Forbes and his sons has fetched $2.3million (£1.4million) at Sotheby’s auction house in New York on Friday. Over four decades, Forbes and his sons assembled an extraordinary collection of boats, soldiers, motorcycles, art and board games.
Sotheby’s considers the collection among the finest in the world, the assembly of boats alone would be exceptional. It consists of sports, naval, commercial, and luxury vessels, including a model of the Cunard Line Lusitania ocean liner, and an exotic clockwork gunboat circa 1880’s. For those less nautically minded, there’s a handmade 1933 Monopoly gameset and a collection of 29 Courtenay mounted Knights, with moveable arms and visors.
A three feet long replica of the 1915 ocean liner Lusitania went for $194,500, a record auction price for a toy boat. The late publisher of Forbes Magazine, had bought the Lusitania at Sotheby’s in 1983 for $28,600. Another toy that attracted toy collectors from around the world was an Exotic Clockwork Gunboat Attributed to Marklin/Rock and Graner, which was sold for $134,500. An original Monopoly game set of circular design, handmade by Charles Darrow, fetched $146,500. Two rare sets of incredibly detailed medieval knights made in the ‘30s went for $15,000.
Some of the most valuable pieces date back to what collectors call the golden age of toy making, from the 1850s until after the First World War.