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Happy Hobbyist: Man Auctions Toys For $2 Million

July 21, 1989

LONDON (AP) _ An Italian count who spent a lifetime collecting toy trains and ships put his tiny treasures on the auction block and wound up with nearly $2 million.

Collectors worldwide flocked to London on Thursday for the sale of Count Antonio Giansanti Coluzzi’s models. Christie’s auction house said it was the largest and finest selection of its kind.

The all-day auction made a total of $1,954,246.

The top-priced lot was $53,460 paid by an unidentified New Yorker for a 1909 model of a German ocean liner, made by the firm of Marklin. The model runs in water for seven hours on two 4-volt batteries.

Now 74, the count began collecting in 1923. Coluzzi, who lives in Switzerland, did not attend the auction.

He said he was selling 95 percent of the trains and toy ships from his villa in Lausanne beause his daughter and grandsons were not interested in them.

Most of the 3,000 items could have been bought until the 1960s for a few dollars. Now they are considered works of art.

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