As the finale to a year whose results surpassed all expectations, Geppi-owned Morphy Auctions will conduct a December 6-8, 2007 Winter sale featuring 2,400 fresh to the market antique toys, advertising and general store items, coin ops, and fine and decorative art lots. Within the specialty categories are two long-held collections of Mr. Peanut memorabilia and arcade machines displayed at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, as well as more than 100 lots of fine-quality toy trains from the Fred Claassen collection.
The Thursday, Decemeber 6 session opens with 20 lots of fine art, led by a quintessential Guy Carleton Wiggins oil painting of a wintry scene on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan titled The Public Library (estimate $15,000-$20,000). The picture was originally owned by the celebrated American tenor Richard Tucker, and subsequently was passed down through the singer’s family. Other noted artists whose works are entered in the sale include George Morland, James Montgomery Flagg, Paul C. Stahr and Hudson River school painter Bayard Henry Tyler. An unusual piece in this portion of the sale is a large and heavy decorative tile from a Coney Island bath house.
More than 100 lots of decorative art will be offered, including fine porcelain, a beautiful collection of Japanese and Chinese cloisonné, silver vases, bowls and service pieces; Tiffany and Steuben art glass, small salts and desk accessories. A selection of more than 225 silver figural napkin rings also is included, with highlights being a draped cherub riding a bicycle, a Kate Greenaway lady on toboggan, a Civil War soldier with rifle, and a Victorian baseball player by Pairpoint (estimate $3,500-$5,000).
Next on the block will be general store items, cash registers and a remarkable collection of more than 40 Planter’s Peanuts items. “From what I know, this is the best collection of its type ever to go to auction,” said Dan Morphy, chief operating officer of Morphy Auctions. “Among the top pieces are a 1930s Mr. Peanut Roaster Rider figure that’s 5 feet tall (estimate $5,000-$7,000) and two 1930s Mr. Peanut blinker figures made of an early type of resin. One lights up red in its eyes and mouth, and has its original box. The other, which is 4 feet tall and even rarer, was made by Ole King Cole Company and is one of only two known. It’s estimated at $15,000-$25,000.”
An extensive section of the sale is devoted to antique advertising, led by a trade sign that advertising aficionado Morphy describes as “one of the best” – a circa-1890, double-sided painted-wood Alaska Fur Co. sign realistically depicting a gold seal. With all original scrollwork brackets and hardware, the sign is an imposing decorative element, measuring 5 feet wide by 5 feet high.
Also in this category are carousel figures, including a Frederick Heyn jumper horse, and more than 200 pieces advertising Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, tobacco and automotive companies. Syrup dispensers promote Ward’s Lime Crush, Crawford’s Cherry Fizz, Zipp’s Cherri-O and other beverages. A standout in the soda pop grouping is a 1910 trolley sign featuring an embossed bottle of Coke (estimate $2,000-$3,000), while the 1930s-’40s gas pump globes range from those advertising national brands like Texaco, Mobil and Gulf to lesser-known names such as Kanotex and Marathon.
The sale features more than 40 items that were displayed at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, including rare coin-op and penny arcade machines. Highlights include a 1927 clock pedestal strength machine, a Kings and Dukes Snake Charmer coin-op, a 1937 Rock-Ola World Series Baseball game (estimate $20,000-$30,000), a 1928 Tiger Pull strength tester (estimate $15,000-$25,000), and a Mills Violano Virtuoso (estimate $15,000-$25,000).
Thursday’s session closes with a fine selection of origination animation art. On the list to be sold are a Pinocchio watercolor and a grouping of original Warner Bros. production cels depicting Bugs Bunny Wile E. Coyote and other cartoon favorites.
On Friday, Dec. 7, toy collectors will be spoiled for choice, as a parade of more than 500 toys of all types cross the auction block. The fun begins with 20 early tin boats, including a 32-inch 1912 Bing ocean liner and a crisp, 19th-century Heyde Sea Battle set with original box.
Japanese toys follow, led by a prewar Nippongo tin wind-up airplane and a 1960 Yonezawa Cadillac Fleetwood, both with original boxes. Other noteworthy pieces in this category include an unusual IY Metal Toys large friction truck, an old store stock Japanese tin friction Indian motorcycle, and an Alps Highway Patrol tin motorcycle – all with original boxes.
Sci fi fans, prepare for an extraterrestrial experience as an army of superheroes and robots takes the auction spotlight. Among the superheroes, important entries include a boxed W3, a large, boxed Moonlight Man, and one of the rarest of all superheroes: an Atom Batman Walking toy with original box. Occupying the top tier within the robot brigade are a Liliput, boxed Winky Robot, a very rare boxed Powder/Lantern Robot, and two members of Masudaya’s Gang of Five – a Giant Sonic and Lavender Robot, both in excellent condition.
An eye-pleasing variety of boxed Marx tin toys includes a G-Man Pursuit Car, Express Wagon, Red the Iceman and an early Cirko Clown Cycle. Another popular toy that will be available in this session is a Sandy Andy Fullback, also with its original box.
Morphy’s Winter sale presents an outstanding opportunity to purchase desirable German toys of the golden era. Choose from a Lehmann Berolina car with original canvas top and flag, a boxed Lehmann Masuyama, an excellent Tipp Co. wind-up motorcycle with sidecar, and Tipp Co. UL-UL motorcycle. Racing fans will immediately recognize the rare Gunthermann Sir Malcolm Campbell Bluebird with original box, while those with a preference for Old World styling will find it hard to resist the truly beautiful example of a Doll et Cie. Ferris wheel.
Comic character toys comprise a large segment of the Friday session, with more than 300 Disney lots included. A subgroup of 1950s Linemar Disney toys, many of them boxed, features a Dumbo Musical Merry Go Round, a Lady & the Tramp bus and a battery-operated Mickey Magician. The time will be right to purchase a comic character watch, since this array of Disneyana includes timepieces depicting Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, the Three Little Pigs and their contemporaries. Additionally, there is a fine selection of Multi Products “Syroco” figures, including Flash Gordon and The Phantom. And while it is not a Multi Products figure, a lot not to be overlooked is the super-rare DC Comics promotional Syroco figure of Superman, which originally was marketed as a premium.
Boxed prewar celluloid toys are always in demand but very hard to find in top condition. This auction presents a feast of boxed celluloid, including three Donald Duck rarities: a Waddler, a Trapeze and a Carousel. All retain their very desirable original boxes. Mickey Mouse celluloid toys featuring their original boxes include a whirligig, nodder of a saxophone-playing Mickey, and a Mickey Mouse Playland. Additional Disney lots range from Fun-E-Flex wood figures to Disney bisques (many boxed), sandpails, spinning tops, buttons, and cloth and soft dolls, including examples by Steiff and Madame Alexander.
Rounding out the comic character panorama are Popeye, Felix, Betty Boop and Charlie Chaplin toys, a Lionel Mickey Mouse Circus Train (complete with original box), two Wells Mickey Mouse Circus Trains (a one-car set and a three-car set with tent), and handcars by Lionel and Wells.
Saturday, Dec. 8, continues where Friday leaves off, starting with more than 100 select marbles from the highly regarded Gary and Sally Dolly collection, and more than 50 boxed Britains soldier lots of both the prewar and postwar variety. All coming from one collection, the soldiers are highlighted by Arabs on horseback with camels, the Pipes & Drums of the Irish Guards, the Pipes & Drums of the Scots Guards, and a coveted U.S. Marine Corps Band.
More than 400 pieces of pressed steel will be available, with many outstanding pieces from the Dave Smart collection. The pressed-steel lineup is topped by a rare and beautiful Sturditoy ambulance, which might fetch as much as $10,000, and a Red Baby truck with opening doors. Perhaps rarest of all the pressed steel toys to be auctioned is a Black Baby truck, one of only two or three known to exist; followed by a Steelcraft U.S. Mail truck, and three excellent American National vehicles: a coal truck, chemical fire truck and express truck. Another superb example of pressed steel is the Kingsbury wind-up stake truck, described by Morphy as “absolutely gorgeous.”
Practically every esteemed brand within the pressed-steel realm will be represented. A Buddy ‘L’ Outdoor Railroad train set will be apportioned into several lots. Other highlights include a Smith-Miller Lucy and Desi Long, Long Trailer with original box, 25 pressed-steel airplanes including a very rare American National NX-77 Airmail airplane, a nice assortment of mascot cars – a Toledo Buick, Gendron Stutz, American National Packard Fire Chief car – a Curtiss Moth pedal airplane and Steelcraft Stutz tandem pedal car.
Both horse-drawn and vehicular cast iron will be offered. Watch for the large Popeye Patrol motorcycle, White moving vans (both a Red Diamond and generic type), an Arcade nickel-grilled Checker cab, and a spectacular, large-size Panama Digger. Approximately a dozen gas-powered racecars also will be sold.
Morphy’s is honored to present more than 100 lots of fine trains from the Fred Claassen collection, which includes multiple Marklin stations, and both prewar and postwar, standard and O-gauge American Flyer and Lionel trains. Highlights abound in this collection, but to narrow it down to just a few choice selections, there’s a Marklin Stuttgart station, Madison car set with original boxes, Weeden Dart train with original wood box for the engine, and a Lionel standard-gauge no. 3 Rapid Transit motorized trolley. Other goodies in this collection include a beautiful Lionel #402 standard-gauge freight set with original box, a Stephen Girard passenger set, and an American Flyer standard-gauge Presidents Special set.
Morphy’s can always be counted on for premium-quality figural cast iron in its many forms. In this sale you’ll find rare doorstops, including a Penguin and a Black Man Playing the Banjo by Spencer; a very rare Amish Man bottle opener, very nice Hubley doorknockers, and a late-19th-century decorative cast-iron Santa andiron set, possibly made by Ives.
Additionally, between 75 and 100 cast-iron banks will be offered. Among the mechanicals are examples of the Boy Scout, Santa at Chimney, and Punch & Judy. Still banks include an ever-popular Two-faced Devil and Black Man on a Bale of Cotton.
A division of Geppi’s Entertainment Auctions & Publications, Morphy Auctions will hold its Winter 2007 sale December 6-8 at the Adamstown Antique Gallery, 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517 (on the Adamstown antique strip). Auction sessions commence at 12 noon on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 6 and 7; and at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8. The entire inventory may be previewed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. any day leading up to the sale except Wednesdays, which are by appointment or by chance only. On all three days of the auction the preview will begin at 8 a.m. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through eBay Live Auctions. A hardcover, fully illustrated color catalog may be purchased for $45 postpaid ($50 postpaid to overseas addresses). An electronic version of the catalog may be viewed in its entirety online at www.liveauctioneers.com or www.morphyauctions.com. For additional information, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.