And Away We Go!
Bonhams Auction Filled With Transportation Toys In January

San Francisco–Bonhams is pleased to present a special, single-owner collection of toys on January 27 in San Francisco. The collection will feature 169 lots comprising more than 1,000 automobile, bus, ship, airplane, helicopter and rocket model Japanese toys made for the American market, primarily throughout the 1950s-1970s.

This collection is completely fresh to the market and includes a wealth of rare collectibles still in their original boxes, many of which have never been seen by the American eye. The consignor wishes to share the joy of his collection by passing it along to other enthusiasts.

Leading the sale will be one of the most sought-after Japanese toys of the mid-century: a 1962, black, 15" Chrysler Imperial 4-door hardtop with its decorative box by Asahi (est. $9,000-12,000). Also of great note will be a scarce, boxed, 1956, 12.5" Lincoln Continental Mark II two-door sedan by Marusan (est. $4,000-5,000).

Road-ready highlights will continue with a 1956, 13" Ford Fairlane Sedan, in its original box, by Marusan (est. $3,500-4,000); an 18" Agajanian Racer, with rarer Agajanian inscription by Yonezawa (est. $3,000-3,500); and a 1960s, 12.5" Volkswagen R-10 Beetle concept car, featuring two-door tin Nomura convertible bump, go with astronaut, antenna and light panel, with box (est. $1,200-1,400). There will also be a 1957, 14" Chrysler New Yorker Alps/Iwaya tin friction car (est. $1,000-1,250); a 1951 Marusan/Kosuge Cadillac convertible in white plastic (est. $900-1,200); and a 1960s, 20" Yonezawa Cadillac police car, with its decorative box (est. $800-1,000).

For collectors with skyward-bound sights, the sale will feature a 1950s-era, lithographed, 19" Jet Rocket V-7 by Kokyu, with a friction drive sparking mechanism (est. $1,000-1,200); several 16"-18," boxed, model jet airplanes from Japan, including a Cragstan Lockheed F-104, a Yonezawa Thunderchief F-105 and a Bandai Douglas Sky Rocket (est. $700-1,000); an unusual, 14" Alps DOAK-16, a 16" F-101A Voodoo and a 10" Yonezawa Demon, with boxes (est. $600-800); and many unusual, battery-operated airplanes in their original boxes. There will also be scarce, tin lithographed Japanese Zero airplanes with propellers, including original decorative boxes, by Bandai (est. $650-850). These planes were exclusive to the Japanese market and are seldom available to buyers.

Waterways will meet their matches with a racing/miscellany of tin lithographed boats, including a Star Boat #5 and various others (est. $700-900), and speed/racing boats like a Japanese boxed Seahawk, a V-25 Non-stop, C207 Cruiser, 7-C Racing Boat, and other early-mid 1950s era examples, with their boxes, by makers like Nomura and Marusan (est. $500-700).

The Toys Specialist for Bonhams in San Francisco, Jaynes Friedman, said of the sale, "It is an honour to represent Mr. Tanaka's collection. It is truly fresh and rare, providing many amazing graphic boxes promising treasures within. Tin toys in general are rarely viewed or available, and this collection is full of toys seldom seen before by the public. Also, he added, "Boxes are often discarded, thus to offer such items with beautiful boxes, featuring fantastic graphics is quite unusual."

The illustrated catalogue for the sale will be available online in the weeks preceding the sale, for review and purchase at Any inquiries about the sale may be directed to The sale will be on preview, January 24-26, with the Period Art and Design auction at Bonhams, which will feature 22 vintage mechanical banks from a separate single-owner collection.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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