Auctions: 'Cause there's no place like retirement

For three decades, the Yellow Brick Road Doll and Toy Museum was a fixture of Mullica Hill, which is known for the antiques shops lining its main thoroughfare.

Taking its name from that other thoroughfare, the one that led to Emerald City, the museum specialized in Wizard of Oz memorabilia and playthings both miniature and life-size.

But museum owners Dorothy and Steve Tancraitor are retiring, so starting tomorrow and continuing the last Saturday of each month through the summer until finished, William H. Bunch Auctions & Appraisals will liquidate its contents, 500 lots per session.

"There are tens of thousands of objects," Bunch said this week.

The Saturday sessions will begin at 10 a.m. at Bunch's Gallery in Chadds Ford. They will supplement its regular sales, which will be conducted every other Tuesday.

Tomorrow's session will feature Disney characters and other dolls, including Paddington Bear, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, the Grinch, and Shirley Temple, as well as Madame Alexander and other makes. Bunch said prices would be "very affordable," with most dolls expected to sell for $50 to $100.

Only a few are expected to bring more, such as a 17-inch-tall Madame Alexander Elise doll with rooted red hair and green sleepy eyes that has a presale estimate of $75 to $300.

The sale also will be live on eBay (view all the lots at

Dolls in tomorrow's session that have been attracting the greatest online attention are a Mattel Charmin' Chatty with records ($100 to $150) and an Ideal Patti Playpal Doll ($125 to $150).

The liquidation also will include an on-site sale at the museum, 34 S. Main St., where sheds of inventory, tools and the child-size sheet-metal motorized objects Steve Tancraitor built using old power-mower engines will be offered, Bunch said. Aug. 16 was chosen for the sale because that was the date the Tancraitors used to have a midsummer doll show for dealers and customers.

Preview for tomorrow's session is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the gallery, 1 Hillman Dr., just off Route 202 south of its intersection with Route 1. For more information, call 610-558-1800 or go to

Collectibles of note. At 5 p.m. today in Southampton, Bucks County, Stephenson's Auction will offer a dozen-and-a-half pieces of scrimshaw. All come from a Reading-area estate that Stephenson's has been liquidating over the last few months.

Cindy Stephenson said she expected the scrimshaw pieces, which will be sold individually, to bring about $100 each.

Preview is 3 p.m. to sale time at the gallery, 1005 Industrial Blvd. Information: 215-322-6182.

Beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Rhoads & Rhoads Auction Center in Spring City, Ron Rhoads will feature box lots of collectible comics, from vintage 10-cent editions to contemporary issues. Furniture in the sale includes an oak Hoosier cabinet and a vintage dentist's chair.

Preview is 1 p.m. to sale time at 20 Bonnie Brae Rd. Information: 610-385-4818.

And beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday in Hatfield, Alderfer Auction Co. will offer slot machines, taxidermy and horse-drawn equipment.

The taxidermy includes such life-size African and North American pieces as a bobcat, a coyote and a black bear, as well as shoulder mounts such as Cape buffalo, wildebeest, elk and antelope. There also are mounted fish, including a blue marlin and a striped bass.

Alderfer associate Lon Klemmer said the Cape buffalo should sell for about $750; the African head mounts, for $100 to $500.

Klemmer expects slot machines - a Jennings Sun Chief and a restored Mills, each playable with a nickel - to sell for $1,500 or more apiece.

Among horse-drawn equipment to be offered are a restored J.D. Roth & Co. sleigh and a Reading Terminal market wagon with steel wheels. They should sell in the $400-to-$700 range, Klemmer said.

Preview is 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at 501 Fairgrounds Rd. Information: 215-393-3023.

Contact David Iams at