A particularly well-detailed Märklin battleship proved the point when it led a recent specialist toy sale held by Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, New Jersey, selling for $160,000 (£123,075), or $192,000 including 20% buyer’s premium.
The large, 2ft 4in (71cm) multi-deck vessel, the Sankt Georg, features a wealth of accessories and was in generally pristine condition apart from two replacement lifeboats and cranes, some touching up to the funnels and reattached areas to the masts.
The boat was consigned by a Californian collector and generated competition from several European, including British, bidders but was finally hammered down to an American buyer.
Michael Bertoia from the auction house said the boat dated from 1919-21. He and other experts believe it to be the only known example in existence and the one pictured in 1984 publication by Joachim Kampmann, Märklin-Chronik 125 Jahre 1859-1984.
As well as around 40 antique toy boats, the sale featured some 30 lots of early 20th century clockwork tinplate toys made by the French firm of Fernand Martin, representing the first half of a collection amassed by a New York enthusiast (the remainder will be offered by Bertoia this spring).
Several of these sold well in excess of predictions, including a c.1905 figure of a gymnast and a sandwich man with a billboard advertising toys which realised $14,000 (£10,770 )and $11,000 (£8460) respectively.
The sale at Bertoia Auctions took place on November 11-12.