|By Eric C. Rodenberg
LA PORTE, Ind. – For decades Steve Peterson collected toys.
He had toys as a child, according to Auctioneer Mike Moldenhauer, but he just wanted more. “He didn’t have any kids,” Modenhauer said. “So, if he wanted it, he bought it. He spared no expense. He bought the best; not junk.”
“And his key mantra was condition. The condition of these items at sale are amazing.”
Peterson opened some of the toy packages, but several he stored in closets, attics and on tables throughout the house without opening the packages. “Originally, I believe he started buying toys from the 1920s and 1930s. But, at some point he began buying only what appealed to him.”
Peterson was a frequent sight at toy shows, auctions and conventions throughout the United States. “He was a very active collector,” Moldenhauer said.
The result was some 1,500 pieces, most in original condition, that illustrates the development of the toy and advertising market between the 1960s and present. “I didn’t know there were so many board games based on television shows, we’ve got The Man from Uncle, Betwitched, James Bond, The Munsters, Dracula, The Addams Family …
“ … it just looks like he’s filled the house with every generation of toys from the 1920s and 1930s and carefully worked his way through the 60s, 70s and 80s. It’s just amazing … not much is missing.”
There is a 1960s Aurora Batman vacuform store display piece, which is one of only 25 known to exist, there’s a James Bond 007 Road Racing Set that was only marketed by Sears catalog sales for less than a year that is rare, and there’s a sealed 1960s Superman wallet that less than 10 are known to exist.
“There’s stuff in this auction – and I’ve been doing this for awhile – that I’ve never seen,” Moldenhauer says. “Even our toy consultant, he’s been in this business for 50 years and there’s a few items that have him stumped. It’s just an enormous collection of things that aren’t often seen.”
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