Ives Cuzner Trotter, ca. 1890
Well, it came in my possession through my father. The story he told me is that he remembers seeing this when he was a little kid. My father just passed away and he was 81 years old this spring. So... that tells about how old he thinks it was, anyway, at least.
And who owns it now?
Well... basically it's mine. Uh, David here, my son, and his older brother may have to fight over it later. It'll be mine.
Well, I'll see if I can give him some ammunition here to fight over. This toy dates to the 1870s. It was manufactured by probably the greatest American toy maker-- the Ives Toy Company, who made toys from the late 19th century through the 1920s and into the '30s. They ended up making toy trains-- a very successful line of them. But this is of the category that we call American clockwork. It's some of the finest American toys ever produced. It's called the Cuzner trotter because Mr. Cuzner was the man who patented the mechanism that gave the realistic trotting mechanism to the horse. Previously, they would be satisfied with a static horse. This was very unusual in that when the wheels were turned and the clockwork, the horse would move his legs in a very realistic fashion. If we had the key to wind it up, we could see that.
Actually trot across the floor, and the horse had this trotting motion. This is an exceptional example of a toy that's probably 120 years old. They just don't survive in this condition with original clothing, uh... and the paint on the head of the jockey is extraordinary. The paint on the horse is just amazing. There's a little bit of paint loss on the legs. That's certainly to be expected. But the paint... even the stripe on the side of the horse, it's just totally intact. These toys were made with extremely complex and heavy-duty clockwork mechanisms. I would say generally an average-condition example of this would be in the $6,000 to $7,000 range, but I think because this is so exquisite this could very easily, at auction, maybe bring $7,500 to $9,500 and maybe even get back to the ten or 12 number.
Shocking. (all laugh)
So are you glad you came?
Yeah, sure am.
And now... what are you going to give your brother in exchange so you can take this one home?
Nothing. (all laugh)
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