Here’s an interesting bit of news. KB Toys Founder Donald Kaufman has found one way to get out of bankruptcy by deciding to auction off his entire private toy collection.

Kaufman began collecting toys in 1950, with roughly 7,500 pieces consisting mainly of tin and cast-iron vehicles such as cars, planes, boats and trucks. He is among the world’s top antique toy collectors and his entire collection is being auctioned in a series of sales taking place over the next few years.

According to Jeanne Bertoia, owner of Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, New Jersey, which is handling the auctions, “He was one of the strongest buyers at all the antique toy auction houses and he just really bought the best.

“When his paddle went up, people in the audience would say ‘oh darn, Don’s in the house’.”

From Reuters Life!:

Kaufman’s collecting intensified after he retired in 1981 and he and other family members sold their stake in KB Toys.

KB filed for bankruptcy in December, citing a sharp drop in sales and held “going out of business” sales at its roughly 460 stores. Rival retailer Toys “R” Us then bought KB’s trademark, logos and Web addresses at a bankruptcy auction for $2.1 million.

In an interview, Kaufman said he was “disappointed” to hear that KB went out of business even though he was not surprised.

About the auction, Kaufman said he expects it to be “great” since toys bring a lot of “interest and excitement” to people’s lives, as they did to his.

“It was a life for me, especially after I retired,” Kaufman said by phone from his home in Massachusetts. “It was a big part of my life.”