Magnificent model trains, train stations and sheds, bridges and tunnels, carousels and Ferris wheels—all populated with toy figurines in colorful nineteenth-century dress, will be on view this holiday season at the New-York Historical Society, in the first museum exhibition of selections from the renowned Jerni Collection.
The vintage European and American toys, chosen from a collection that is widely acknowledged as the world best, will be installed from November 24, 2012 through January 6, 2013, welcoming holiday visitors to the 77th Street entrance of New-York Historical and the institution’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum.
Assembled over a period of some fifty years by U.S. collectors Jerry and Nina Greene and numbering some 35,000 items, the Jerni Collection spans the years from approximately 1850 to 1940 and contains a comprehensive representation of the work of every major manufacturer, including the German firms of Märklin, Bing, Ernst Plank, Carette and Rock & Graner that set the standard for the Golden Age of European toy manufacturing.
Among the unique, hand-crafted and hand-painted toys will be the only existing first model elevated station. Designed by Märklin, ca. 1895, it is known as the Rolls-Royce of toy train manufacturers and will be displayed in the Judith and Howard Berkowitz Sculpture Court, near the 77th Street entrance. In New-York Historical’s Luce Center, the installation will include Märklin’s largest and most elaborate train station, ca. 1904; Marklin’s only known extant post office, ca. 1895; a Märklin girder bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel, ca. 1905; Rock & Graner’s extraordinary hand-painted road over double-arched brick bridge, ca. 1902; and Ernst Plank’s exquisite Ferris wheel from the turn-of-the-century.
Photo: Marklin Gauge 2 Onion-Dome Train Station with accessories, 1900. From the Collection of Jerry and Nina Greene.