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    Thursday, January 20th, 2011

    Part of the Jerni Collection. (click on image to enlarge)

    THE greatest toy and train collection in the world is available for private sale through Sotheby’s as a single lot.  Now on show in New York the Jerni Collection is estimated at 10 million dollars by Sotheby’s.  Others say it could be worth $40/50 million.

    What is on view throughout January and February represents about 20% of a collection of 35,000 objects assembled over 50 years by a single dedicated collector. The pieces date from roughly 1850–1940, and form an encyclopedic collection of toys and trains from every major European and American manufacturer including Märklin, Bing, Ernst Plank Carette and Rock & Graner, chronicling the ‘Golden Age’ of European toy manufacturing.
    “Assembling this collection has been a 50 year journey for me,” commented Jerry Greene, 67, a Pennsylvania-based music executive who owns the collection. “They survived both world wars. For me it’s part of history.”
    Half of the collection was made by Maerklin. Some are outfitted with working fountains and clocks; many are replicas of the actual buildings in Europe. A highlight is an elevated train platform from 1895 with two curved staircases parting like a curtain at the center. “I put it together piece-by-piece”  Greene said.  Like all true collectors the fun for him has been the search.  Now that he is ready to part with it he thinks he will start collecting something else.


    Saturday, December 18th, 2010
    An antique model of the Lusitania made $194,500 at Sotheby’s in New York on December 17. The actual wreck of the ill fated vessel on the seabed off Ireland changed hands for just £1,000 in 1968. The Marklin model, made c1912 in Germany, was the top lot in the sale of the Malcolm Forbes toy collection.  The sale realised $2,381,008.
    Sotheby’s say the model, which has become the most expensive toy boat ever sold at auction, was crafted by Marklin at the height of their creative genius and that, like good wine, age has improved it. Lusitania was launched in England in 1906 and made her maiden voyage in 1907. The transatlantic liner was hit by a German torpedo off the coast of Cork in 1915.   The Cunard Line vessel sank in just 18 minutes, losing 1,198 of her 1,959 civilian passengers.  In 1967 the wreck of the Lusitania was sold by the Liverpool & London War Risks Insurance Association to former US Navy diver John Light for £1,000. Gregg Bemis became a co-owner of the wreck in 1968, and by 1982 had bought out his partners to become sole owner.  Mr. Bemis is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur who ran unsuccessfully three times as a Republican candidate in New Mexico.
    See post for December 9