America’s first collectibles auction house, Hake’s Americana & Collectibles, presents a blockbuster lineup of pop culture, original comic art and rare Americana in their online, phone and absentee auction closing November 19-21. The selection is led by Disney character toys and collectibles from the estate of beloved illustrator and children’s book author Maurice Sendak (1928-2012).
Pictured right: Saalheimer & Strauss Mickey Mouse ‘Smile Please!’ tin mechanical bank, German, circa 1930-1936. The Maurice Sendak Collection. Estimate $20,000-$35,000. Hake’s image. Distler Mickey Mouse Organ Grinder tinplate wind-up toy with dancing Minnie figure, original graphic box, German, circa 1930. The Maurice Sendak Collection. Estimate $10,000-$20,000. Image Copyright Hakes.
There isn’t a minute detail about the late Maurice Sendak’s Disneyana collection that isn’t well known to Hake’s founder, Ted Hake.
“I met Maurice in 1969, shortly after publication of his now-famous book ‘Where The Wild Things Are,’” said Hake. “Over the next forty years, Maurice would participate in Hake’s auctions, and several times a year I would visit him to present early 1930s Mickey Mouse objects for his consideration.” Now many of Sendak’s most treasured Disneyana toys will pass on to other collectors, but with a very special added provenance.
“Before he passed away, Maurice Sendak established a foundation to benefit budding children’s book writers,” said Hake. “The Maurice Sendak Foundation maintains the Sendak home, which now serves as a place where aspiring authors can go to study and write in the same, carefully preserved environment that inspired Maurice.”
The selections entrusted to Hake’s will be offered in a short series of auctions over the next several months, each containing approximately 50 items and four or five of what Hake describes as “high-end, once-in-a-lifetime pieces.”
Sendak’s fascination with whimsical characters was reflected in the amusing pieces he chose for his collection, including two German-made rarities that seldom appear at auction. Lot 2176, a wonderful 1930s tin-litho mechanical bank made by Saalheimer & Strauss, depicts a toothy, widely smiling Mickey, whose tongue thrusts forward to accept a coin when his right ear is pulled. On reverse, the bank is decorated with a marvelous depiction of Mickey operating a vintage camera on tripod stand. Above him is the message, “Smile please!” The bank requires a minimum bid of $7,500.
The second example, Lot 2177, is a circa-1930 Distler Mickey Mouse Organ Grinder wind-up toy with its extraordinarily rare graphic box. Known to collectors as the “Mickey Mouse Hurdy Gurdy,” this classic and much-admired toy also includes a diminutive figure of Minnie Mouse, who dances atop the barrel organ as Mickey turns a crank. All original and 100% complete, the toy will open for bidding at $6,000.
In addition to rare Disneyana, other early comic character toys took pride of place in the Sendak collection. A prime example is the only known complete set of original, circa-1914 Little Nemo bisque figurines. Featuring Flip, Princess, Doctor Pill, Imp and, of course, Little Nemo, this is the rarest of all bisque character sets. Its conservative opening bid is $7,500.
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