Doll & Co. Ferris Wheel, ca. 1904

Value (2013) | $4,000 Auction$5,000 Auction

A fellow worked with me. He was 74 years old and he was retiring. His mother-in-law had died and his wife had died and he had two houses to clean out. I'm a train collector, and he wanted to know if I wanted to buy one of the trains. So we went up in the attic and there this was. Of course my wife fell in love with it right away. These figures were wrapped up in 1933 newspaper, and he said that his father-in-law had bought this brand-new. Everything was boxed. It was all in mint shape. He had an electric motor under there. He had the merry-go-round, the Ferris wheel and a few other items, and they were run... the train was run in conjunction with it.

And what did you pay for it?

I paid $200 for all of it, everything, and I couldn't get it all in my station wagon.

Holy mackerel.

And this was 20 years ago. I've owned this almost 20 years.

Well, you did the right thing.

I did the right thing. I'm not sure he did. He didn't care. It was stuff to him, and...

Well, it looks like it went to a good home.

It went to a good home.

Well, now let me tell you what I know about it. It is made by a company called Doll, a German company. They made wonderful things. They made gas stations, they made Ferris wheels, they made full-size steam-powered cars. This is one of their more elaborate items. It's a Ferris wheel, and it was designed to be run primarily as an accessory to a steam engine. A child would have a steam plant down here run a drive wheel to here, and actually that would power the toy. Now, you needed quite a steam engine to be able to activate this thing.

He used an electric drive and I had all the belts and the gang pulleys that run it.

Well, what's really remarkable is the condition. All these figures can be replaced. You can buy reproductions. But these are all original. They're just made out of, like, sawdust and painted and glue, its composition. You have the original flags, the original lamps. I've just never seen one in this kind of condition.

Is that right?

When something is extraordinary in condition, it's pretty hard to come up with a price because you throw out the rule books when it comes to something like this. If I were to estimate this at an auction, I think it would probably sell in the range of $8,000 to $12,000.

Oh! (laughs)

Appraisal Details

Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, PA
Update (2013)
$4,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Appraised value (1999)
$8,000 Auction$12,000 Auction
Baltimore, MD (June 19, 1999)

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