At Auction: Fine Jewelry, Rare Coins, Other Valuables

 Morphy’s Aug. 30-31 Fine & Decorative Art Auction features fine jewelry, rare coins, other valuables from Pennsylvania Treasury’s Unclaimed Property vault


DENVER, Pa. – Over the weekend of Aug. 30-31, Morphy’s will once again partner with the Pennsylvania State Treasury to auction fine jewelry, rare coins and medals; and other hand-selected valuables from the Commonwealth’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property vault. The 554-lots containing goods from the Treasury’s storehouse are the highlight of Morphy’s 1,360-lot Fine & Decorative Arts Auction, and proceeds from their sale will generate revenue for programs benefiting the citizens of Pennsylvania. All Treasury lots will be offered without reserve.

 “The Treasury, under the supervision of State Treasurer Rob McCord, makes an exhaustive effort to locate the rightful heirs of unclaimed valuables from banks and credit unions, police departments, hospitals, nursing homes and many other sources,” explained Morphy’s founder and president, Dan Morphy. “After three years have passed and all due diligence and advertising have been completed, the goods become eligible for auction under Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property law. Morphy’s is honored to work cooperatively with Treasurer McCord and his team in this ongoing joint venture.”
Saturday’s session will open with 150 lots of coins. Lot 5 is a complete Lincoln-head penny set that includes an elusive 1909-S VDB, lot estimate: $1,000-$1,500. Lot 69 contains five proof sets spanning the years 1950-1954, est. $1,000-$1,500; while Lot 86, a US gold type set including 11 gold coins is expected to make $8,000-$12,000. Additionally, the selection includes more than 100 1-oz gold Krugerrands, and a paper currency collection that includes Lot 121, an 1882 $20 gold certificate note, $2,000-$3,000; and Lot 136, a 1901 $10 large note, $2,000-$3,000.
A 30-lot single-owner collection of superior-quality Bakelite jewelry in a rainbow of colors leads the way for 350+ lots of fine jewelry, most of which comes from the Pa. Treasury vault. Lot 234, a ladies ring with 1.8 carats of emeralds and 1.2 carats of diamonds is estimated at $6,000-$9,000. A ring boasting a 2-carat natural brown diamond is entered as Lot 274, with a $25,000-$25,000 estimate. Lot 258, classic 14K white gold tennis bracelet, is set with 46 emerald-cut diamonds and has a total weight of approximately 40 carats. It is estimated at $25,000-$40,000. Other highlights include: Lot 451, a ladies Victorian yellow gold filigree brooch with 29 emeralds (15.5 carats) and 153 mine-cut diamonds (4.5 carats), est. $20,000-$30,000; and Lot 503, a chic 18K gold Tiffany ladies watch with oval lapis lazuli face, est. $7,000-$10,000.
Next up will be a single-owner collection of more than 80 figural napkin rings. Among the many desirable forms are Lot 588, a pair of tennis players, $2,500-$3,000; and Lot 590, a baseball player, $2,000-$2,500.
The Saturday session will conclude with 30+ lots of silver. Lot 631, a Georg Jensen flatware set, includes 344 pieces with a total weight is 381ozt, est. $10,000-$15,000. A William Gale (American) 4-piece sterling tea and coffee set dates to 1862 and weighs in at 138ozt. It is catalogued as Lot 650 and carries a presale estimate of $3,000-$4,000.
Sunday’s offering begins with a single-owner collection of more than 100 lots of early firefighting memorabilia. Lot 712, a dated “1848” parade hat for a Germantown (Philadelphia) fire company is estimated at $8,000-$12,000; while Lot 752, an 18in Gamewell ball-top fire gong carries a $5,000-$7,000 estimate. Another firefighting gem is Lot 703, a water bucket for the Columbian Eagle Fire Society. Manufactured in Boston, the pictorial leather container is expected to earn $2,000-$3,000 at auction.
Listen for the thrilling sounds of mechanical music as the next 40 lots take the spotlight. Lot 809 is one of few known examples of Lochmann’s coin-operated duplex disc music box – a double-disc version of their Model 172. Walnut cased with 24 tubular bells and 12 pairs of discs, the machine is from the collection of Dr. Coulson Conn, past president of The Musical Box Society International. Est. $30,000-$40,000. 
Described in Morphy’s catalog as “the true and final incarnation of what was known as the ‘orchestral’ style music box,” an elegant six-cylinder box made by the Swiss firm Ami Rivenc was produced sometime between 1885 and 1890. Its six cylinders play 48 melodies listed on the original framed tune label, with six tuned bells, a drum, castagnettes and a 22-note full reed organ. Estimate: $25,000-$35,000.
The next 100 lots encompass numerous subcategories of Americana. Lot 884, a weather vane replicating a horse-drawn fire engine, is estimated at $2,000-$3,000. Lot 861, a handsome Pennsylvania tall-case clock in a George Hoff case, with “Lancaster” written on its face, could reach $5,000-$8,000. 
A wonderful 30-lot assortment of stoneware includes Lot 925, a John Bell 1-gallon water pitcher, $5,000-$8,000; and Lot 926, a rare Remmy cobalt-blue paint-decorated chicken water-feeder, $3,500-$5,500. Lot 915, a 3-gallon jug, is richly decorated with the image of a deer standing in a fenced setting amongst foliage, and is impressed “Giles & Company” and “Variety Store Cherry Valley.” Its estimate is $5,000-$8,000.
More than 100 pieces of British, European and American pottery will be auctioned. Two of the section’s top lots were manufactured by R.W. Martin, the turn of the 20th century English company known for its whimsically grotesque – and highly sought-after – bird-shape vessels. Lot 960 is a Wally Bird tobacco jar marked along the neck of its stopper: “Martin Bros London & Southall.” Exhibiting superior color and detail, the 6½-inch figural jar is estimated at $13,000-$15,000. Lot 959 is a 24-inch handled pitcher designed in the form of a standing Eskimo clutching the folds of his full-length, hooded cloak. In excellent condition and incised “R.W. Martin & Bros London & Southall” and 14.9.1903 (Sept. 14, 1903) on its base, it has a presale estimate of $10,000-$12,000.
American pottery highlights include Lot 1040, a Roseville Egypto Arts & Crafts vase, $2,000-$3,000; Lot 1073, a Rookwood iris-glaze urn by Sara Sax, $1,000-$2,000; and Lot 1135, a Weller Sicard lobed vase, $2,000-$2,500.
More than 100 lots of art glass are included in the Sunday session. Among the key pieces are Lot 1153, a 12-inch Daum Nancy cameo vase, $2,000-$4,000; Lot 1162, an 11-inch, signed L.C. Tiffany iridescent art glass vase, $4,000-$6,000; and Lot 1175, a monumental 13-inch Quezal gold-luster Jack in the Pulpit vase, $12,000-$15,000.
The day will close with a single-owner collection of more than 40 beautiful bronzes. Lot 1273, a depiction of a girl in riding attire, holding a crop, is one of Bruno Zach’s most iconic subjects. Cast by Argentor and standing on a marble base, the near-mint 14¾-inch bronze is estimated at $6,000-$7,500. Lot 1274, a 13½-inch bronze nude of a young woman arranging her hair before a cheval mirror, is signed “Pinedo.” Est. $5,000-$8,000.
Commenting on the outstanding array of fine and decorative art to be sold, Dan Morphy remarked that anytime his company announces an upcoming sale will contain unclaimed valuables from the Pennsylvania Treasury’s vault, “the phones start ringing.”
“Typically, jewelry, coins or other goods from safe-deposit boxes are heirlooms or high-end items,” Morphy said. “Each time we’re invited to visit the vault in Harrisburg to help select the items to be auctioned, it’s an exciting treasure hunt for us. We always look forward to it and make an effort to choose pieces we know will appeal to the largest number of bidders and generate the greatest revenue for the Commonwealth.”
Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord commented that the “ongoing partnership with Morphy Auctions has proved incredibly valuable,” noting that long-forgotten items from the Treasury’s vault have achieved $459,161 so far in Morphy sales.
All forms of bidding will be available for Morphy’s Aug. 30-31, 2014 auction, including in person at the gallery, by phone, absentee or live via the Internet through Morphy Live, LiveAuctioneers, Proxibid and Invaluable.
Preview the entire auction inventory daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On both auction days there will be a one-hour preview from 8 a.m. till the auction’s commencement at 9 a.m. Morphy Auctions is located at 2000 N. Reading Road in Denver, PA 17517. For additional information on any item in the sale or to reserve a phone line for bidding on auction day, call 717-335-3435 or email Visit Morphy Auctions online at
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Aug. 22-24 Auction hits $3.1 million

 Morphy’s Aug. 22-24 Advertising & Coin-Op Auction hits $3.1 million, second-highest gross in company’s history

DENVER, Pa. – Motivated bidders and an unprecedented selection of antique advertising and coin-op machines found common ground at Morphy’s gallery over the weekend of Aug. 22-24, with the result being a $3,120,000 total for the rapidly growing Pennsylvania auction house. The event marked a dual milestone for Morphy’s. It was their most successful antique advertising/coin-op sale to date, and the second-highest-achieving auction of any type in the company’s history. Morphy’s continues to hold the record for highest-grossing one-day auction of a single-owner toy collection, the $7.7 million sale of Stephen and Marilyn Steckbeck’s antique bank collection, held Oct. 27, 2007. All prices quoted in this report include a 20% buyer’s premium.
“There was interest in virtually every category we offered, both before and during the sale. Bidding was strong, both in the room and over the Internet,” said Dan Morphy, founder and president of Morphy Auctions. “World auction records were set in many categories, but the real scene stealer was the Gordon Breslow calendar collection, which included an example of every calendar issued by Coca-Cola since 1896. Many of the calendars were the finest known examples and the very ones pictured in Petretti’s Coca-Cola Collectibles Price Guide. You can’t beat that level of provenance.”
In fact, each and every one of the top five Coca-Cola calendars sold at Morphy’s three-day sale broke the previous world auction record for Coca-Cola (paper) ephemera of any type.
Most refreshing of all the Coca-Cola items offered was Lot 719, which Morphy’s experts believe to be the only existing near-mint-plus Coke calendar from the year 1900. It featured an image of model and actress Hilda Clark, the first beauty to appear in the soft drink company’s ads. Entered in the sale with a $50,000-$100,000 estimate, it spurred a saleroom battle that ended with a winning bid of $210,000.
Another high-flier from the Breslow collection was Lot 711, an 1896 Coca-Cola calendar that, like the aforementioned 1900 calendar, is believed to be the only known survivor of its condition and type. Retaining a partial calendar pad, it was presented in a deep shadow box with an ornate gilt frame. Against an estimate of $30,000-$60,000, it was bid aggressively to $105,000.
Coke was not the only beverage in demand at Morphy’s. Record-setting prices were paid for soda fountain memorabilia touting other brands, as well. Lot 1034, a petite 1900 Hires “Munimaker” salesman’s sample, replicated a type of full-size root beer dispenser in use around the turn of the 20th century. Against a $40,000-$60,000 estimate, it served up an $84,000 winning bid – the most ever paid at auction for this particular type of item. 
Lot 1090, a Pepsi-Cola Art Nouveau china syrup urn, swept past its $30,000-$40,000 estimate to settle at $69,000; while Lot 996, a 1909 Pepsi-Cola tin straw holder estimated at $4,000-$8,000, retired at $18,000. 
Uncommonly seen, Lot 1145, a circa-1918 Montelaise Cheriola ceramic syrup dispenser, pumped up a winning bid of $46,800 against a presale estimate of $12,000-$18,000. But even higher prices would follow in the soda-fountain category. As the name suggests, a Grapefruitola ceramic syrup dispenser, cataloged as Lot 1163, was shaped in the form of a plump, leaf-embellished grapefruit. In near-mint condition and estimated at $15,000-$25,000, it squeezed a much healthier $66,000 from one of the many competitors hoping to add it to their collections. Each of the dispensers mentioned here set new world auction records for their respective forms.
King among the 80+ coin-op and gambling items was Lot 1649, a Mills Double Dewey 5-cent/25-cent upright slot machine with original music. It finished comfortably in the money at $114,000 against an estimate of $100,000-$125,000.
More than 100 tobacco-related lots were offered. In a field of premium-quality entries, the surprise of the day was Lot 83, an Empire State vertical pocket tin issued by Peet Bros. Tobacco Manufacturers. The cobalt blue and yellow container with a striking image of the Empire State Building had been expected to reach the $300-$600 level, but collectors had a different idea and bid it all the way to $24,000. It was, by far, the most money ever paid at auction for an Empire State pocket tin.
A host of early advertising signs included Lot 320, a 1956 Merita Bread embossed-tin depiction of a Lone Ranger-type Western character on horseback, near flawless and in 9.7 condition, which sold for $24,000 against an estimate of $10,000-$15,000. Also popular, Lot 316, a circa 1905-1910 Sleepy Eye Flour tin sign with the image of a proud Native American, “Old Sleepy Eye,” surpassed expectations at $10,800. Lot 417, a rare, two-sided illuminating porcelain sidewalk sign advertising “Candy,” also dashed its estimate, reaching $18,000.
Morphy’s upcoming sales include a Sept. 19-21 Fall 2014 Coin-op and Antique Advertising Auction at Victorian Casino Antiques in Las Vegas, the first event to be held under the Morphy’s banner since their acquisition of the revered Nevada firm. The 1,700-lot auction will feature approximately 100 antique and vintage gambling machines from the storied collection of the late William F. Harrah (1911-1978), founder of Harrah’s Hotel and Casinos. 
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Coin-op & Advertising Auction led by rare complete collection of Coca-Cola calendars

 DENVER, Pa. – “This is our strongest sale so far this year,” remarked Dan Morphy, founder and president of Morphy Auctions, summarizing the 2,165 lots in his company’s Aug. 22-24, 2014 Coin-op & Advertising sale. “There’s such a tremendous selection of signs, soda fountain and other advertising, not to mention premier coin-op and gambling items, we decided to make it a big three-day event. The quality across the board is tremendous, and we know collectors are going to be more than pleased.”
The Friday, Aug. 22 session will open with more than 100 tobacciana lots. The big winner in the category could very well be Lot 40, a handsome charger advertising Alcazar Cigars and depicting “America’s Winningest Horse.” Measuring 17 inches in diameter, the charger could cross the finish line at $6,000-$12,000. Among the tins to be auctioned, two of the most desirable entries are Lot 86, a Cardinal Cut Plug Tobacco pocket tin, $2,500-$3,500; and Lot 85, a Torpedo vertical pocket tin, $1,500-$2,500.
Over 400 general store-related items will follow, with many of America’s favorite advertising mascots featured. Included in this group are Lot 168, a Planter’s Mr. Peanut figural papier-mache blinker, and Lot 316, a circa 1905-1910 Sleepy Eye Flour tin sign that colorfully depicts the trademark image of a proud Native American, “Old Sleepy Eye.” Estimate: $4,000-$7,000. A great catch for any antique advertising collection, Lot 294 is an extremely rare convex porcelain sign advertising Red-Top Flour and depicting a little boy climbing over a fence. In near-mint condition, it is expected to realize $15,000-$25,000 at auction. 
Other sign highlights include Lot 320, a 1956 Merita Bread embossed-tin depiction of a Lone Ranger-type Western character on horseback, near flawless and in 9.7 condition, est. $10,000-$15,000; and Lot 328, a double-sided Sweet-Orr Union Made Clothes oval porcelain sign with tug-of-war graphics, est. $1,500-$3,000. Also notable are Lot 213, a Heinz pickle-shape string holder, $3,000-$5,000; and Lot 393, an oversize De Laval tin charger, $4,000-$6,000.
“Most of the signs in the auction are near mint and from a single-owner collector who was a condition buyer,” Morphy noted.
The auction’s opening day will wrap with 250 soda fountain-related lots, including 100 antique and vintage glass straw holders. A top pick from the nicely varied assortment is Lot 614, which contains two early rose glass jars with original lids and finely hand-painted details. They are estimated jointly at $1,500-$2,500.
Saturday’s session will open with 400+ Coca-Cola lots. The section is led by the incomparable Gordon P. Breslow calendar collection, which includes an example of every calendar issued by Coca-Cola since 1896. Many of the calendars are the very ones pictured in Pettretti’s Coca-Cola Collectibles Price Guide, and are regarded as the finest known examples. 
Lot 711, Coca-Cola’s 1896 calendar, is believed to be the only surviving calendar from that year that retains its (partial) calendar pad. Presented in a deep shadow box with an ornate gilt frame, it is graded excellent plus to near mint, and is entered with a $30,000-$60,000 estimate. 
Lot 719, a 1900 Coke calendar, is one of only two known to exist that are in near-mint-plus condition. It features the first beauty to appear in Coca-Cola ads, the model and actress Hilda Clark. Measuring 16 x 20 inches (framed), it is entered in the sale with a $50,000-$100,000 estimate.
“I can’t even tell you if I know anyone else who has a complete run of Coca-Cola calendars,” said Morphy, commenting on the centerpiece collection of the day. “Many of the calendars in Gordon’s collection are one of fewer than six known, and all are in spectacular condition. The opportunity just doesn’t arise for Coca-Cola collectors to be able to fill the missing slots in their calendar collections, but here we have a collection that includes a calendar from every single year since 1896. I suspect we’ll see some very competitive bidding and perhaps even a world record price.”
Additional Coca-Cola rarities include more than 100 porcelain and tin signs, most in near-mint-plus condition; and Lot 879, a Coca-Cola Chewing Gum bookmark, $2,500-$3,500.
Other early soda brands popular with collectors are represented by Lot 996, a 1909 Pepsi-Cola tin straw holder, $4,000-$8,000; Lot 1035, a rare and desirable 8-inch-tall tin cutout of the Hires boy, est. $4,000-$8,000; and Lot 1034, a petite 1900 Hires “Munimaker” salesman’s sample root beer dispenser. Made of marble, glass, nickel and zinc, it is a line-for-line scale-model replica of a Hires dispenser typical of those used at soda fountains around the turn of the 20th century. It is cataloged with a $40,000-$60,000 estimate. 
An appealing selection of more than 150 soda fountain syrup dispensers offers a broad range of price points to suit beginning through advanced collectors. Lot 1091, a dispenser for Grape Julep soda, is estimated at $5,000-$8,000; while Lot 1145, a dispenser for Montelaise Cheriola soda, may be the only extant example, and is estimated at $12,000-$18,000. At the upper end are Lot 1131, a Hires Mettlach dispenser, $25,000-$45,000; and Lot 1090, a Pepsi-Cola pottery syrup dispenser that tops the group with a $30,000-$40,000 estimate.
A standout piece is Lot 1444, a figural circa-1900 leaded-glass street sign with curved ruby acid cutback glass top and bottom panels advertising a drug store and pharmacy. Its gently nipped-in waist is banded with multicolored cabochon “jewels,” which add a quality touch to the artistically crafted, eye-catching sign. Estimate: $15,000-$30,000.
Day three will start off with the clanging and bell-ringing sounds of more than 100 pinball machines, the third such offering from the collection of David Silverman, founder of the National Pinball Museum. Among the machines to be offered are three models by Williams: Lot 1500, “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” $4,000-$6,000; Lot 1507, a 1967 “Beat Time,” $1,000-$1,500; and Lot 1517, a “Satellite” pinball, $800-$1,200.
Next up will be 80+ coin-op and gambling items. Lot 1614, a Pulver Kola-Pepsin gum and chocolate dispenser, could make $4,000-$6,000; while Lot 1548, a Caille 5-cent Busy Bee cast-iron trade stimulator is aiming for $18,000-$20,000. Also made by Caille, a 5-cent New Century Detroit upright slot might reach $15,000-$20,000. But far and away the king of the category is Lot 1649, a Mills Double Dewey 5-cent/25-cent upright slot machine with original music, which is entered with a $100,000-$125,000 estimate.
A single-owner collection of more than 100 straight razors – described by Dan Morphy as “the best [he has] ever seen” – includes Lot 1792, a pair of carved, pearl-handled razors by Joseph Rogers & Sons, $2,000-$3,000. Other barber-related highlights include Lot 1858, a Clauss Cutlery reverse-painted-on-glass corner sign estimated at $3,000-$5,000; and Lot 1861, a highly desirable 15-inch Koken salesman’s sample barber chair, $25,000-$35,000.
Over 50 gas- and oil-related lots will be auctioned, with a Strong John Deere 2-sided porcelain sign, Lot 1693, predicted to make $6,000-$9,000. The 150-lot breweriana section, which will close the sale, includes several rare beer cans, notably: Lot 1870, a Williams Purple Cow Lager flat top, $1,500-$2,500; Lot 1874, a Salute Lager Beer (San Francisco/Oakland/Fresno) dome top, $1,500-$2,000; and Lot 1876, an English Lad flat top with jockey-on-horse with lucky horseshoe motif, $2,000-$4,000.
All forms of bidding will be available for the Aug. 22-24, 2014 auction, including in person at the gallery, by phone, absentee or live via the Internet through Morphy Live, LiveAuctioneers, Proxibid and Invaluable.
Preview the entire auction inventory daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On all three auction days there will be a one-hour preview from 8 a.m. till the auction’s commencement at 9 a.m. 

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Morphy Auctions acquires VCA

Morphy Auctions acquires Las Vegas-based Victorian Casino Antiques, industry leaders in gambling and coin-op auctions

Addition of VCA to Morphy’s family of companies establishes long-desired Western-states presence for Pennsylvania parent company

DENVER, Pa. – Dan Morphy, president and founder of Morphy Auctions in Lancaster County, Pa., today confirmed his company’s acquisition of Victorian Casino Antiques (VCA), a Las Vegas-based auction house renowned for its sales of vintage gambling/coin-op machines and antique advertising. The purchase adds the Western-states presence Morphy has long felt was essential to solidifying his firm’s reputation as a national auction house.

“We are now a coast-to-coast business,” Morphy said. “Las Vegas is California’s playground and is only a 4-hour drive from Los Angeles. It will be a convenient destination for both consignors and bidders from the West Coast.”

Victorian Casino Antiques’ long-established corporate name will be retained, with the new tagline “a Morphy Auctions company.” VCA’s current staff of 15 employees will continue in their present roles. Additional staff will be hired as the Las Vegas operation expands.

“Morphy’s is a full-service auction house. We sell everything, including fine and decorative art, furniture, antique guns and now, with opening of our newest division, classic cars. Las Vegas needs an experienced auction house that can handle all types of antiques and estate goods in addition to the specialty categories that Victorian Casino and Morphy’s share in common. We will be fulfilling a need in the local community, while at the same time serving consignors from surrounding states,” Morphy said.

Peter Sidlow, 77, has served as president of VCA since 2002 and will continue in that role. Sidlow said the sale of his company to Morphy’s has reinvigorated him.

“I will be working for Morphy’s, now, which is a top-notch organization that I’m thrilled to be part of. But instead of being involved with day-to-day operations as I was before, much of my job, now, will consist of representing the company at shows and seeking out and securing consignments,” said Sidlow. “I’ve been a collector for over 70 years, and because of the many contacts I’ve made along the way, I can bring in some great collections. I know where they are.”

Morphy praised Sidlow and his staff, describing them as “a first-class team.”

“I’ve watched Peter Sidlow for years and have had nothing but admiration for him. He has a vast knowledge in so many categories. Before purchasing Victorian Casino, he built one of the country’s premier classic car collections, for example. Also, I like the way Peter runs his sales. He has a great relationship with his employees, who are devoted to him. If ever there were an ideal merger of business models, it’s the one that brings together the teams and ideals of Morphy’s and Victorian Casino. I’m very confident the blending of our two companies will be an easy transition, because we both do business the same way."

Morphy said his goal will be to “take Peter away from the nuts and bolts of running the back end of the business and put him on the road” so he can meet with clients and talk to people at shows. “That’s how I changed my own role at Morphy’s Pennsylvania headquarters, and it made a very positive and tangible difference,” Morphy said.

Typically, VCA conducts three to four auctions annually, with each containing an eclectic mix of gambling and coin-op machines; antique advertising, jukeboxes, gameroom items and other novelties. These events draw large crowds of bidders to the VCA gallery, a phenomenon that defies the growing trend seen in most other parts of the country.

“Auctions have gravitated more and more toward the Internet, but we’ve continued to attract live audiences because people view Las Vegas as a destination,” said Sidlow. “They come for the auction, but they stay on to enjoy the many other things you can do in Las Vegas.” Bidders who cannot attend in person will be able to participate in all VCA/Morphy auction events by phone, absentee or through their choice of five online-bidding platforms, including Morphy Live.

The first Victorian Casino auction jointly produced with Morphy Auctions will take place Sept. 19-21, 2014. The 1,700-lot sale will feature approximately 100 antique and vintage gambling machines from the storied collection of the late William F. Harrah (1911-1978), founder of Harrah’s Hotel and Casinos. The collection was retained by Harrah’s corporation after Bill Harrah’s death and later became the property of Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation. Many of the machines were kept in storage, while others were displayed in Caesar’s executive offices. Most recently, the collection was acquired by VCA, specifically for inclusion in the September auction.

“The Harrah collection we will be selling is relatively small, but the excitement value is very large,” said Sidlow. “The Harrah name is legendary.” Among the collection’s highlights is a 1904 Caille roulette floor machine that may fetch $150,000 to $250,000.

Morphy’s is planning a January 24-25 Coin-Op & Advertising sale at the Las Vegas gallery. The company’s first West Coast Classic Car Auction is tentatively scheduled for March of 2015, also at the Las Vegas premises. Other auctions in the immediate pipeline for the Vegas gallery will focus on antique firearms, and fine and decorative art.

For additional information or to discuss consigning to a future Morphy’s/Victorian Casino auction, contact Dan Morphy by calling 877-968-8880 or emailing; or Peter Sidlow, 702-382-2466 or


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Collectors get ready to fill ’er up at Morphy’s Aug. 1 Iowa Gas Auction in Des Moines

Collectors get ready to fill ’er up at Morphy’s Aug. 1 Iowa Gas Auction in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa – More than 500 lots of oil, gas and auto-related advertising and collectibles are lined up and ready to go under the hammer at Morphy’s off-site Iowa Gas Auction on Friday, August 1st. The auction will be held at the Holiday Inn Airport in Des Moines, Iowa, with a 9 a.m. (Central) start time. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet. 

Always an anticipated event, the auction is regarded by many as the high point of the renowned Iowa Gas Swap Meet, the world’s largest event devoted exclusively to petroliana and its fans. No reproductions are allowed in the auction. Bidders know they can trust each item to be authentic and exactly as described in the catalog by Morphy’s petroliana expert Dan Matthews.
A fantastic array of colorful advertising signs will be available, led by Lot 53, which publicizes Marigold Coach Lines Metropolitan System. This single-sided porcelain die-cut sign states, “Coaches Stop Here,” and is an artful depiction of a gold and green tourist motor coach, realistically detailed with reclining seats and window curtains. Restored to a very high standard, the 42 by 11½ inch sign is expected to make $10,000-$15,000 at auction. 
Another top piece is Lot 37, a shield-shape sign that confirms an establishment is a “Rand McNally Official Hotel.” Executed in vibrant hues, it has a Native-American theme that includes a brave in colorful attire, another brave in silhouette on horseback, and a picturesque lake scene. A double-sided die-cut, it is entered in the auction with a $6,000-$9,000 estimate.
Super glossy and in excellent condition, Lot 38, a porcelain flange sign for Johnson Products, includes the company’s hourglass “Time Tells” logo, and advises: “Coupons Accepted.” It measures 10 by 14 inches and is estimated at $8,000-$12,000.
An American classic, Mobil’s Pegasus is the focal point of an embossed, single-sided porcelain sign that Dan Matthews says is the “nicest one [he has] sold in a while.” Measuring 34 by 44 inches, the airborne depiction of the fabled flying horse is entered as Lot 51 and could realize $4,000-$6,000.
Triangular in shape, a single-sided porcelain die-cut sign advertising Hurricane Ethyl features a central image of a palm tree with fronds blowing sideways in high winds. This 18 by 12-inch beauty with a tropical theme may reach $2,000-$4,000.
Wood framed, a tin sign with embedded thermometer issued by Ajax Alcohol, “The Safest Antifreeze,” features a winking-owl mascot with the message “Be Wise this Winter.” An unusual find in 8+ condition, Lot 133 is estimated at $1,250-$1,750.
The auction includes many other categories of petroleum-related collectibles, including oilcans (Lot 35 – Harley-Davidson Motor Oil 5-gallon rocker metal can, est. $5,000-$8,000), salt and pepper shakers issued as service station premiums, gas pumps and globes. 
Two of the top gas pump lenses in the sale are Lot 162, an example issued by Conoco with a Revolutionary War minuteman image in silhouette, estimate $1,250-$1,750; and Lot 282, a Hi-Power Gasoline lens with flying eagle logo, estimate $1,000-$1,500.
Many other beautiful examples of petroliana will be offered at the Aug. 1, 2014 Iowa Gas Auction and may be viewed in the online catalog at The off-site auction will take place at the Holiday Inn Airport, 6111 Fleur Dr., Des Moines, Iowa 50321. Start time is 9 a.m. Central.
For information on any item in the sale, call Dan Matthews at 271-259-7059 or Morphy Auctions’ gallery tollfree: 877-968-8880 or 717-335-3435. Email inquiries to:
All forms of bidding will be available in addition to live at the Des Moines-based event. They include: phone, absentee and live via the Internet through Morphy Live, Proxibid, LiveAuctioneers or Invaluable. Web:
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Packed house at preview foretells success for Morphy’s July 19 Firearms Auction

 Packed house at preview foretells success for Morphy’s July 19 Firearms Auction

DENVER, Pa. – Staff members assisting previewers the day before Morphy’s July 19 Firearms Auction were all in agreement – they had never before seen the gallery so full or so continuously busy throughout the day. There was strong interest in the rare antique weapons entered in the sale, and a queue of eager gun collectors was waiting outside even before the doors opened at 9 a.m. 

The Saturday auction session contained 1,038 lots. As the hammer fell on the final item offered, the sale’s total was confirmed at $744,000. All prices quoted in this report include a 20% buyer’s premium.
“We had every expectation that there would be a great response. There were some very desirable Colts in the sale, especially the 1857 Colt Walker Type 3 Dragoons, which sold within estimate for $54,000,” said Dan Morphy, president and founder of Morphy Auctions. “The guns were special because they had consecutive serial numbers and were purchased in the same order directly from Colt. It’s very unusual to encounter guns of that type that were bought together and remained that way over such a long period of time.” The original owner was a Pennsylvania man named Lambert Wolfe, who went on to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War.
Another Colt lot consisted of two .357 caliber “Snake Eyes” pistols that were new and unfired. One of the guns was stainless, while the other was blued. Both retained their original boxes and were in near-mint condition. They sold for $13,200, around the midpoint of their estimate.
Many rifles were offered in the sale, including a Winchester Model 1886 .50 Express. Manufactured in 1906, it swept past its $1,500-$3,000 estimate to settle at $11,400. Another Winchester production, a Model 1886 Takedown .45-.90 caliber rifle, more than tripled its high estimate in realizing $7,800. A rare Smith & Wesson 320 Revolving Rifle manufactured in 1871 also had a good day at auction, ringing the register at $7,200 against a $3,500-$4,500 estimate. 
Among the shotguns, the top-finishing lot was a Beretta Model S687EELL 16 gauge designed for pigeon shooting. Together with an extra barrel and its box, case and accessories, the gun reached $4,800 against an estimate of $2,000-$3,000. Finishing closely behind the Beretta was a Winchester Model 42 .410 gauge shotgun, which nearly tripled its high estimate at $4,500.
The top pistol in the sale was a Colt Model 1902 .38 caliber Standard Military Automatic in fine condition. Together with its original box, it was bid to $5,100, surpassing its high estimate by 60 percent. Another Colt, a .22 caliber revolver made in 1931 and known as a “Banker’s Special,” was offered together with a Colt factory letter and sold for $4,200.
“The Firearms department is growing very rapidly, and there’s a logical reason for that,” said Morphy. “Some of the finest antique and vintage guns in today’s marketplace are sourced right here in south-central Pennsylvania. On top of that, many of the leading collectors live in this region and know they can trust our operation. Especially now that Dave Bushing – a nationally renowned expert on firearms – has joined our team, we’re well positioned to serve both gun consignors and buyers. I see tremendous growth ahead for us in this category.”
Morphy Auctions’ next Firearms auction is slated for December 20, 2014. Consignments will be accepted until October 13th. To contact Morphy’s about consigning a firearm, call Dave Bushing at 630-235-3345 or email
To contact the gallery, call 717-335-3435. Visit Morphy Auctions online at
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Where is Dan Morphy? View Dan's Travel Schedule | Morphy Auctions

The following is Dan Morphy’s travel schedule which includes the most up to date cities and information for his visits to cities near you. 

Travel Schedule:

August 7-11: Denmark, Copenhagen
August 12-17: Pebble Beach, Carmel, CA
August 21-24: Baltimore Summer Antiques Show, Baltimore, MD
August 27-29: Auburn Car Show

This travel page was created to assist our customers who are interested in consignment and collection previews. 

Please contact Dan at 717-335-4569 or


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1,200+ toys, trains and figural cast-iron novelties entered in Morphy’s July 26-27 Premier Toy Auction

1,200+ toys, trains and figural cast-iron novelties entered in Morphy’s July 26-27 Premier Toy Auction

DENVER, Pa. – The trains will be rolling at Morphy’s over the weekend of July 26-27. More than 700 railroad-related lots are entered in the big 1,294-lot Premier Toy Auction featuring all types of toys, trains, wind-ups and vehicles, as well as figural cast-iron doorstops and more.

Topping the train group is Lot 226, a 5-piece Elektoy passenger set consisting of a complete and original brass steam locomotive with tender marked “PENN. R.R.” Likewise, the combo car is complete and original. The set’s passenger cars are lettered for “PRR” and New York, New Haven and New Hartford.” In overall very good condition, this desirable set is estimated at $2,500-$3,500. Other eye-catching lots in this section include two rare, early trolleys – one by Howard and one by Lionel – and a Delker train store display.
Leading the early American toys, a beautiful Jerome Secor clockwork Banjo Player, Lot 998, is in working order and came straight from the house of the original owner’s family. The African-American musician figure is seated on its original wood base decorated with unusual stenciling. A paper label on the back of the iron chair shows how to wind up and handle the toy. The wonderfully sculpted musician’s head is in fine condition, and its clothing and banjo are original. In very good to excellent condition, this classic American automaton is expected to strum up a winning bid of $12,000-$18,000.
Exhibiting pristine condition, a 7-inch Arcade cast-iron Andy Gump toy auto retains its original crank and back license plate. Being the “Deluxe” version, the toy also includes a blue-painted figure and white-painted wheels. Possibly the nicest known example of a comic character classic, this near-mint beauty offered as Lot 961 could reach $8,000-$12,000 on auction day.
Speaking of classics, the Bradley & Hubbard cast-iron doorstop known as “Whistling Jim” qualifies for that category. Standing 16¼ inches tall, this solid-cast figure of a barefooted boy in casual rolled-up pants, a striped shirt and cap, has a wonderful patina. Described in Morphy’s catalog as “the best example [they] have seen,” it is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.
Those who appreciate the quality and ingenuity of early German toys – and that would be nearly every antique toy collector – won’t want to overlook Lot 1312, a Fisher 20-inch tin-litho airplane with wings that flap. The toy aircraft is also equipped with a pilot figure and original celluloid propellers that turn when the toy is activated. A most unusual prewar toy with European charm to spare, it could sell in the vicinity of $4,000-$6,000.
In the postwar category, Lot 1094, a Yonezawa tin-litho and painted-tin crank-wind Astro-Scout is the sale’s top robot. In working order and accompanied by its original box with inserts, the excellent to near-mint spaceman has expectations of achieving $4,000-$8,000.
All forms of bidding will be available for the July 26-27 auction, including in person at the gallery, by phone, absentee or live via the Internet through Morphy Live, LiveAuctioneers, Proxibid and Invaluable.
Preview the entire auction inventory daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On both auction days, there will be a one-hour preview from 8 a.m. till the auction’s commencement at 9 a.m. 
Morphy Auctions is located at 2000 N. Reading Road in Denver, PA 17517. For additional information on any item in the sale or to reserve a phone line for bidding on auction day, call 717-335-3435 or email 
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Meet Dave Bushing, new Firearms division expert at Morphy Auctions

Meet Dave Bushing, new Firearms division expert at Morphy Auctions
DENVER, Pa. – Veteran gun collector, dealer and authenticator Dave Bushing has joined Morphy Auctions as Firearms division expert. Renowned on the gun show circuit, both for his knowledge of out-of-production firearms and his willingness to share information with collectors at all levels, Bushing will remain at his longtime base of operations in Illinois, but also will be an active presence at all of Morphy’s gun-related functions.
“Dave will be representing us at gun shows, obtaining firearms consignments, and authenticating and cataloging all guns prior to our specialty sales,” said Morphy Auctions co-founder and president, Dan Morphy. “He will also be present at all of our gun previews and auctions, making himself available to anyone who has a question about an auction item and evaluating firearms brought in by collectors or potential consignors. Dave is hugely respected in gun-collecting circles nationwide, and his track record as a gun appraiser is impeccable. We’re genuinely honored that he has joined our team.”
A resident of Libertyville, Illinois, since 1970, Bushing earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and studio arts at Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois. He undertook his post-graduate work at Columbia College Chicago. 
“I have also been involved in the sports memorabilia business for the past 25 years, and my college training in English has really helped in creating clear, well-defined auction-catalog descriptions,” Bushing said. “I will put that same experience to good use in cataloging guns for Morphy’s firearms sales.”
Bushing said he enjoys the camaraderie and exchange of information among collectors at gun shows, where his booth is always a hub of activity. “At an 8-hour show, I’ll probably spend six of those hours answering questions about guns that are brought in to me. I’m not only giving them valuable information when I do this, I’m learning too. You can never know everything about every gun,” Bushing said.
“As a matter of fact,” Bushing continued, “when I was at Morphy’s gallery examining the guns in the July 19th auction, I learned quite a lot. I saw some 200 mid- to late-19th-century spur-trigger pocket revolvers, the type you could mail order from Montgomery Ward in the 1870s and 1880s. To see so many in one setting was very enlightening.”
Bushing said he will be broadening his horizons as Morphy’s Firearms expert. “Even though I’ve been more of a specialist on out-of-production guns up until now, there’s a certain commonality in all guns that you pick up on when you’ve studied them long enough – the unusual mechanisms that can make a gun very valuable, if you know enough to spot them,” he said.
Bushing said learning about guns has come from handling them and also from reading everything he could get his hands on. “There are more than 1,000 books about guns in my reference library, and some of those books are more valuable than the actual guns they describe. Your library should be larger than your gun collection, and if you plan to buy outside your comfort zone, you shouldn’t do it till you speak with an expert in that field and have read all of the specialist books around,” he said. “That’s how you learn the fine points, like when a particular part was introduced and when it was phased out, the height of sight on a particular gun, where the inspector marks should be on a Colt, and so forth.”
Although it is challenging for any auction house to enter and succeed in the already well-established marketplace for firearms, Bushing has no doubt whatsoever that Morphy’s will make its mark and quickly develop into a major player.
“Pennsylvania is a fantastic source for finding antique guns, and Dan’s gallery is right in the heart of where the rare ones turn up,” said Bushing. “There are guns in Morphy’s July 19th sale that are beyond rare – off the charts – like the pair of Colt Walker Type 3 Dragoons. Those guns have consecutive serial numbers, which makes them very desirable to begin with, but in addition to that, they were acquired by the same person directly from Colt in a single order. You just never see that.” [See Lot 83, estimate $45,000-$60,000].
Bushing also cited Lot 304 – a pair of Colt Python “Snake Eyes” .357-caliber pistols – as a very special find amongst the modern-production guns in the sale. “When original, these guns rank nine out of 10 in rarity. It would not surprise me if the two guns in that lot exceeded $20,000 on auction day,” Bushing said.
Dave Bushing looks forward to speaking with collectors at Morphy Auctions’ preview on Thursday (afternoon), July 17; as well as from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, July 18; and from 8 to 9 a.m. prior to the auction on Saturday, July 19.
To contact Dave Bushing – including to inquire about the possible consignment of a firearm to a future Morphy Auctions sale – call 630-235-3345 or email
Morphy Auctions is located at 2000 N. Reading Road in Denver, PA 17517. For additional information on any item in the sale or to reserve a phone line for bidding on auction day, call 717-335-3435 or email Internet live bidding will be available through Morphy Live, LiveAuctioneers or Invaluable.


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Tom Hathazy named president of Classic Car division

 Tom Hathazy named president of Morphy Auctions’ Classic Car division

DENVER, Pa. – Dan Morphy, founder and president of Morphy Auctions, has confirmed the appointment of Tom Hathazy to the position of president of the company’s newly launched Classic Car division. 

In his capacity as head of the department, Hathazy will oversee all aspects pertaining to the consignment and sale of antique and classic cars, motorcycles and other vintage vehicles auctioned by Morphy’s. The company will host its automotive-auction debut on October 11, 2014, during the midpoint weekend between the popular October Carlisle and Hershey car shows.

A native of Pittsburgh, Hathazy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from California University in western Pennsylvania. Earlier in his career – before the lure of special-interest cars took hold – he taught 11th grade history. Later, he operated his own retail automotive business as a sideline to his 30-year career in the circulation department of the Pittsburgh Press and Post-Gazette newspapers.

Over the years, Hathazy developed a particular expertise and interest in Chevrolet Corvettes.

“I’ve probably handled 250 Corvettes over the years. Part of my car business was a body shop that did restorations. That experience gave me the ability to look at a car and know immediately if the paint was right, the upholstery was original or a part had been replaced,” Hathazy said.

Hathazy also developed his eye for discerning paint and structural originality from studying antique and vintage automotive toys, which he has collected since 1986.

“My friendship with Dan Morphy and his family goes back 20 years. We share many common interests in addition to toys,” said Hathazy. “I’ve been a Morphy’s customer, so I’ve seen that side of his operation and, on the other hand, I’ve worked with Dan at other business levels over the past 10 years, so I know how he conducts himself. His word is his bond, and he has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. That’s one of the reasons I’ve joined Morphy Auctions. I know Dan will invest that passion – and his well-proven way of dealing with consignors fairly and honestly – into the new classic car division. I’m going to do everything I can to help make Morphy Auctions’ latest venture a great success.”

Hathazy said he intends to takes a hands-on approach to the consignment process.

“I will personally be paying visits to potential consignors who call us, to inspect their cars and see if they meet our standards. In our sales, we’re going to focus on quality, not volume. Our first auction will not contain any car valued at less than $20,000,” Hathazy said.

Potential consignors of antique or classic cars, motorcycles or other collector vehicles can contact Tom Hathazy for a confidential consultation by calling 412-403-4924 or 412-655-2010; or emailing

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