The Toy Collection of Anthony Koveleski
Anthony Koveleski spent nearly sixty years assembling this collection of antique toys, which comprises superb examples of cast-iron pull toys such as wagons, cars, carriages, cap pistols and mechanical banks, as well as bell toys, comic-character toys and tin wind-up toys. It is one of the most sweeping and comprehensive collections of its kind ever to come to auction.
The son of a coal miner and the oldest of six children, Mr. Koveleski left school at the age of twelve to help support his family. He did not take a serious interest in toys until 1929 when, it the beginning of the Depression, he opened a grocery store and hobby center in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Beginning with a small inventory of inexpensive cast iron pieces, he soon expanded into mechanical banks and clockwork tin toys, building a successful toy distributorship that serviced the five-county area of northeast Pennsylvania. In the 1940s Mr. Koveleski founded the Hudson Miniatures Oldtimers Company to produce die-cut wooden models of automobiles and other toys. He recalls, "We were the first people in the whole world to make HO miniature vehicles for HO trains, little cars and fire engines, and they are now among collections kept in the Smithsonian, the Henry Ford Museum and other museums throughout the world."
In his own collection, Mr. Koveleski's favorite is the delightful William Tell mechanical penny bank. In its four ingenious phases of action, a penny shoots an apple off a boy's head; the penny then drops into the tree trunk and rings a bell; William Tell then pulls the-trigger of a "Boy Gun;" and a toy paper cup explodes. Describing it with his customary enthusiasm, Mr. Koveleski says, "This is a marvelous design of a great toy. It taught children to save their pennies by having fun with the bank. And the action is terrific."
A pilot and vintage car racer, Mr. Koveleski is a founding member of the prestigious Antique Toy Collectors of America. He served as the organization's president from 1965 through 1967.