The excitement a new toy brings to a child’s face can be magical. International model and art gallery owner Monique Knowlton grew to love antique toys after seeing some incorporated into art installations, and collecting toys became a passion for her. Knowlton’s collection included a spectacular assortment of comic and cartoon characters, German toy cars, American toys, and Japanese robots and space toys.
Knowlton was highly particular in her purchases and stated, ‘Even if toys were very rare, I wouldn’t buy them if their condition wasn’t 100 percent. I wanted things that were perfect, original, and working, and if I had a choice, I would always buy a toy that had its original box.”
Recently her collection was auctioned, and there was some very animated bidding, particularly for everyone’s favorite mouse – and I don’t mean Stuart Dunkel’s Chuckie (though he is our favorite mouse). Of course, it’s Mickey Mouse! The top lot in the sale was a Mickey and Minnie Mouse Motorcycle c. 1932 made by the German toy manufacturer Tipp & Co. When Knowlton bought the piece in 2010, she paid $65K on a $23-28K estimate. This time around, the estimate was just a bit higher, $25-40K, and the toy faced some strong competition as it raced across the auction block. When the auctioneer’s hammer came down, the new owner drove away with a $185K ($222K w/p) magical motorcycle.