German painted and lithographed tinplate automaton bubble blowing toy which led the sale at Milestone when it sold for $8250 (£5935).

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It featured examples of antique German, French and English toys, many in their original boxes.

The highlight at the auction on June 26 in Willoughby, Ohio, was a rare original boxed 19th century German tinplate bubble-blowing toy. It is formed as a hand-painted tin figure of a woman in a floor length dress with hair in a blonde bun standing on a lithographed tin brick platform.

When the toy is activated the woman’s arm rises up to hold a pipe to her mouth emitting bubbles blown through the stem by means of a bellows in the platform.

The clockwork toy, in working order, outpaced its $100-1500 guide to take $8250 (£5935), selling to a Canadian bidder.

Cyclists and singing cats


German lithographed Thomas’ Concert clockwork picture – $2600 (£1870) at Milestone.

Other top lots included a cast-iron French wind-up toy fashioned as a cyclist circling around a central hub finished in red, yellow and black, which realised $4100 (£2950).

A rare late 19th century German Schoenhut clockwork ‘living picture titled ThomasConcert sold for $2600 (£1870). This lithograph piece, measuring 13½ x 9½in (34 x 23cm), features three cats. One plays the violin with the other two changing their facial expressions as if singing.


Cased set of American 19th century wooden block bricks printed with Gulliver and Lilliputian figures – $825 (£595) at Milestone.

One of the more popular American toys was a set of 19th century lithographed paper wooden blocks produced by the Pennsylvania firm Crandall.

Titled Crandall’s Expression Blocks, these feature Gulliver, the central character in Jonathan Swift’s famous work Gulliver’s Travels, with the tiny Lilluptian figures climbing through his hair and beard while the reverse is printed with letters of the alphabet.

Offered complete with the original factory wooden box, it surpassed a modest $100-200 guide to take $825 (£595).