World's Greatest Never Before Seen Toy and Train Collection
by Natasha Sikdar
Selections from the Jerni Collection will be exhibited by Sotheby's, throughout January and February. The collection being the largest and most comprehensive of wonderful quality European and American toys and trains ever accumulated.
The auction comprises more than 35,000 toys made between 1850 and 1940. They form an encyclopaedic collection from every major European and American manufacturer operating during this period including Märklin, Bing, Ernst Plank Carette and Rock & Graner, accounting the 'Golden Age' of European toy manufacturing.
The exhibition takes up an entire floor of Sotheby's York Avenue headquarters, yet surprisingly, what is on view represents a mere 20% of the thousands of objects included in the collection. Sotheby's Vice Chairman, David Redden said, “Imagine a vast space filled with the rarest toys in the most perfect condition”.....Tens of thousands of miniature works of arttrains, villages, carousels, Ferris wheelsconjure up a privileged childhood world of beauty, magic and sheer happiness.” The lot includes hand-painted station houses, barges, bridges and hundreds of figurines with some examples adorned in 19th century Prussian army uniforms. Some pieces are fitted with working fountains and clocks, whereas others are miniature imitations of real buildings in Germany. It also comprises hundreds of exceptional handmade and historically significant European illustrations of actual rail stations, buildings and bridges, many of which were destroyed in the First and Second World Wars.
The collection was accumulated by Jerry Greene, 67, a Pennsylvania-based music executive who was fascinated by the beauty and history of these rare antique toys. “Assembling this collection has been a 50 year journey for me,” remarked the owner of this remarkable collection. “I put it together piece-by-piece, and my quest... took me to thousands of toy fairs and shows. The collection has been my abiding passion but it is now time for everyone to enjoy and appreciate these wonderful objects. I hope they bring as much joy to others as they have brought to me.”
Expectations are high for the auction since Sotheby's expect to net around $10m from the sale, while other experts predict a much higher value. The Jerni Collection is the largest and most extensive show with hundreds of rare examples one has never seen in the past before. Though it is the greatest toy and train collection in the world, this is the first time that any portion of it has been revealed to the public.