BROWSE MORPHY HEADLINE NEWS

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 info@morphyauctions.com. 
 
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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 dbushing1@aol.com.
 
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 info@morphyauctions.com. 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 natgateway@yahoo.com.

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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:

July 21-23: Phoenix, AZ
August 12-17: Pebble Beach Show
August 21-24: Baltimore Summer Antiques 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 dan@morphyauctions.com


 

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Tom Miano Joins Morphy Auctions

 

Tom Miano, founder of Serious Toyz™, tapped to head new Pop Culture department for Morphy Auctions
 

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy Auctions’ Antique & Vintage Toy division is in expansion mode yet again. Dan Morphy, founder and president of Morphy Auctions, announced today that Tom Miano of Serious Toyz™ has joined the Pennsylvania company’s team of specialists. Miano, whose new title is Pop Culture Expert, will be acquiring consignments and managing sales of vintage toys and pop-culture collectibles for Morphy’s, starting with a September 6 auction of character, postwar and space toys.

“Tom’s auction house, Serious Toyz™, is a favorite with collectors. They love it. In the       19 years that Tom has been the hands-on owner and operator of the company, he has built an outstanding reputation,” said Morphy. “He’s well liked by everyone in the industry, and consignors know they can depend on his knowledge and expertise. He will be a tremendous asset to our operation.”

The addition of a dedicated pop culture department completes the timeline of toys and collectibles offered in specialty sales at Morphy’s, which is already a worldwide force                                                                                                                              in the auction of antique, prewar vintage, and postwar boomer-era toys.
 
Until now, the only toy classification at Morphy’s that didn’t have its own expert-led department was pop culture and collectibles, said Morphy. “Now, with Tom Miano and Serious Toyz™ merging into Morphy’s, it adds the final link we have been missing. Even better, it eliminates the job of building a new department organically from the ground up. It has already been built and fine-tuned by Tom, who is the best in the business. He has many consignors and customers that we didn’t have on our books, and vice versa. One side complements the other very nicely,” Morphy said.
 
Miano, who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, began his career as an advertising art director at Foote, Cone & Belding. He later held creative director positions at several other leading international advertising agencies, including McCann-Erickson, J. Walter Thompson, and Ogilvy & Mather. In 1995, Miano decided to leave the corporate world in order to pursue his long-held dream of establishing an auction company focused exclusively on toys, collectibles and pop culture memorabilia.
 
“Starting up and building Serious Toyz™ into what it is today was a learning process from day one,” Miano said. “In the beginning, my wife Patti and I did everything manually, with sheets of paper taped to our kitchen wall. Every time a bid would come in over the phone, we’d add it to the sheet of paper for that particular auction item. Of course, over the years our methods became a lot more sophisticated, but it’s nothing compared to the amazing operation Dan has in place at Morphy’s. The first time I visited his gallery, it was like finding the Promised Land. I feel very privileged to have been asked to join his team.”
 
Morphy Auctions’ strength in technology and social media is a natural fit for the Serious Toyz™ demographic, Miano said. “To reach a global audience, the company utilizes four Internet live-bidding platforms, including its own, Morphy Live. They’re ideally positioned to interact with pop culture collectors worldwide.”
 
Tom Miano is currently organizing toy consignments for Morphy’s September 6 auction, which was previously advertised as Serious Toyz™ Auction #56. To contact Tom Miano, call the business number previously used by Serious Toyz™: 866-653-8699, or email Tom@serioustoyz.com
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Prehistoric Ross Blade in Morphy’s May 17 auction looked sharp as it commanded a top bid of $276,000

 Prehistoric Ross Blade in Morphy’s May 17 auction looked sharp as it commanded a top bid of $276,000

 
DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s May 17 auction may have gotten off to a “rocky” start, but that was just fine with bidders, since prehistoric stone artifacts were exactly what they came to buy. The 190-lot auction that featured blades, bannerstones, arrowheads and points of tremendous rarity chalked up a healthy $661,000 (all prices quoted inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium).

The top 10 was led by the exceptional Ross Blade, an exotic flint specimen from the Woodland period, Hopewell phase (2000-1500 B.P.). Crafted to a very high standard, the translucent sunset orange blade measuring 8 1/8 inches would have been reserved for only the elite of Hopewellian society, said Morphy’s Prehistoric Americana expert John Mark Clark.

“The Ross Blade is likely the most beautiful, and largest, known example of its type in private hands,” said Clark. “Legend has it that this blade traveled from the Midwest – probably southern Illinois – all the way to Utah, where it was found during the restoration of an antique truck. The blade had been wrapped in a shirt and stashed inside a door panel. It made its way back to the Midwest, where it ended up being one of few things that survived a massive house fire. That’s why the blade is known to collectors as ‘The Survivor.’” At Morphy’s auction, the Ross Blade reached the upper end of its estimate range, selling for $276,000.

Two other blades achieved top-10 status. A translucent sugar quartz Clovis point from the Early Paleolithic Period (11500-10000 B.P.) was discovered near Buckhart Township in Fulton County, Illinois. Its distinctive white tip was part of the craftsman’s design plan, Clark said, and because it is so unusual, it was chosen for inclusion on the Paleo poster created by Pete Bostrum, Lithic Casting Lab, Troy, Illinois. “The ‘Bostrum blessing’ is given to only the finest of specimens,” Clark noted. Against a $45,000-$60,000 estimate, the point realized $69,000. Not far behind was a corner notch blade of Missouri origin, from the Archaic Period (7500-4000 B.P.). With provenance from several well-known early collections, the 7-inch blade described in Morphy’s catalog as “museum grade” sold for an above-estimate price of $64,800.

Having a gemstone-like color, a ferruginous quartz hourglass bannerstone of the Late Archaic Period (4000-3000 B.P.) was bid to $39,000 against an estimate of $20,000-$30,000; while two discoidal game stones – believed to have been playing pieces for “chunkey” hoop-and-stick games enjoyed by North America’s indigenous population – were in great demand with bidders. A flint discoidal specimen from the Mississippian Period (1000-5000 B.P.), found in Dickson County, Tennessee, surpassed its high estimate to settle at $33,000. Another discoidal highlight from Tennessee – dating to the same general timeframe – was crafted of finely grained quartzite. It changed hands at Morphy’s for $39,000.

One of the most compelling objects in the sale was a grayware headpot discovered at the Golden Lake Site in Mississippi County, Arkansas. Featured in Dr. James F. Cherry’s epic 1990 book dedicated to headpots, the vessel is described by the author as having “an unusual occipital bun…multiple ear piercings, a pierced forelock tab, and a highly burnished finish…with no restoration, [which is] almost unheard of…” The pot was offered together with two X-rays confirming its solid, untouched condition; a copy of Dr. Cherry’s book, and two collector journals depicting the vessel that is known as the Ray Pohler Headpot. It garnered a winning bid of $78,000, just shy its high estimate.

“This was our second auction of North American artifacts and arrowheads, and it proved without a doubt that there is a large and dedicated following for prehistoric specimens. We will continue to develop the Prehistoric Americana division at Morphy’s and offer our ironclad policy of backing the authenticity of each item sold,” said Dan Morphy, president and founder of Morphy Auctions.

Quality consignments are currently being accepted for Morphy’s next American Artifact and Arrowhead Auction. To discuss a consignment, contact John Mark Clark by calling 931-237-3646 or emailing markclarksville@live.com. Visit Morphy Auctions online at www.morphyauctions.com.

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Upcoming Auction of Advertising, Trains, and Toys | Morphy Auctions

 

Super selection of advertising, trains and toys on tap at Morphy’s, May 18th


DENVER, Pa. – Collectors love variety, and that’s exactly what Morphy’s team has prepared for them on Sunday, May 18th. The live gallery auction – with all other forms of bidding available, including live online – includes a great lineup of more than 200 lots of trains, toys and marbles, as well as 120 lots of advertising, 50 doll lots and a sweet selection of some 70 lots of candy and ice cream molds. Also sprinkled into the mix are other general antiques that are popular with today’s collectors.

When Morphy’s offers antique and vintage advertising, it always includes signage from America’s favorite beverages, whether soft drinks or adult brews.

In this sale, a 1950s Coca-Cola illuminating countertop sign asks restaurant patrons to “Please Pay When Served.” Bright and impressive – and in working order – the 19-inch-long sign in vibrant “Coke colors” of red, green and white is expected to bring $800-$1,200.

With crossover appeal to sports collectors, a 1954 Ballantine Ale & Beer sign features the Ralph Houk-era New York Yankees in a full-color team-posed picture. Each Yankee team member is identified – even the batboys. Some of the luminaries include Mickey Mantle, Hank Bauer, Phil Rizzuto and Yogi Berra. The sign identifies the Yankees as being the “first team to win 5 consecutive World Series Championships 1949, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53.” The 17in x 15in Masonite sign is affordably estimated at $200-$300.
 
Mechanical bank collectors looking for a nice J. & E. Stevens’ Speaking Dog need look no further than the all-original example to be auctioned by Morphy’s on Sunday. Showing only minor paint loss, the blue-dress version of a must-have bank is entered with a $600-$800 estimate.
 
In the sweets section, the collection of molds is led by a German devil chocolate candy mold. The full-figure devil is seated on a bed of flames and holds a trident pitchfork. In very good condition, the 6¾-inch mold is estimated at $300-$500.
 
The unmistakable appeal of Roseville pottery, with its gorgeous colors and high standard of artistry, is amply represented in a 7-inch pottery vase in the popular Wisteria pattern. Retaining its Roseville paper label, the vase is in excellent condition and estimated at $300-$500.
 
For additional information on any item in Morphy’s May 18, 2014 auction, call 717-335-3435 or email serena@morphyauctions.com. The sale will start at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. All forms of bidding will be available. Preview the online catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live online as the auction is taking place through Morphy Live (www.morphyauctions.com).

 

 

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Rare Caille Double-Upright Floor Model Slot Machine at Morphy's Advertising & Coin Auction | Morphy Auctions

 Rare slot machine pays $90K jackpot at Morphy’s April 26-27 Advertising & Coin Op Auction
 

Multiple bidders chase collection of antique syrup dispensers entered in $1.64M sale

DENVER, PA. – A superb Caille double-upright floor model slot machine combining a 5-cent Centaur and 25-cent Big Six paid off handsomely at Morphy’s April 26-27 Antique Advertising & Coin Op Auction. Its richly gold-plated façade, paw feet and other embellishments made the early gambling machine the center of attention at Morphy’s $1,640,000 sale, where it garnered a winning bid of $90,000. All prices quoted are inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.

The auction also featured many smaller gambling, arcade and vending machines. A Mills 1-cent “Electric Treatment” machine emblazoned “For One Night Jags” and “Take a shock and look pleasant,” surpassed its high estimate at $11,400. Not quite as jolting was a quaint Chuck-O-Luck glass-dome-topped nickel dice machine. Made in 1926 by the Southern Novelty Company of Atlanta, it attracted multiple bidders who pushed it to $6,600 against a presale estimate of $600-$1,000.

A 40-year single-owner collection of more than 100 early syrup dispensers featured many scarce entries, including a circa 1910 Cherri Bon dispenser and one of very few known examples of a circa-1900 Fan-Taz 5-cent “DRINK of the FANS” dispenser in the form of a realistically “stitched” baseball. Each was bid to $31,200. Other popular syrup dispensers included Beats All and Grape Smash, which realized $20,400 each; and Chero Crush, $19,200. A vibrant, barrel-shape “Drink Orange-Julep” dispenser commanded a sweet bid of $17,400 – nearly triple its high estimate.

America’s classic soft drink, Coca-Cola, was not to be denied a place in the top 10. A framed 1911 Coke calendar in near-mint condition with a beautiful image of a “Gibson Girl” wearing a stylish flower-trimmed hat swept past its $6,000-$7,000 to settle at $17,400. An extremely rare “Hutchinson-style” Coke bottle, with a straight-sided as opposed to cabriole shape, nearly doubled its high estimate at $8,400.

An extensive collection of Orange Crush advertising included a very rare 1936 embossed-tin triangle sign. In near-mint condition, it bubbled up a winning bid of $4,500. Among the other beverage highlights was a brewery sign with regional appeal: a tin pictorial sign for York Brewing Co. Lager Beer, York, Pa. It sold for $5,400 against an estimate of $1,500-$2,500.

A fine array of more than 150 advertising tins was led by a Buster Brown cigar tin with an amusing image of comic strip character Buster Brown and his trusty bull terrier Tighe. Estimated at $2,000-$3,000, the perennially popular container rose to $14,400. One of only a few known examples of a Sweet Violet Tobacco vertical pocket tin was estimated at $1,000-$2,000 but realized a hefty $6,600.

The Sunday session opened with Morphy’s second offering of pinball machines from the 35-year David Silverman collection, previously displayed at the National Pinball Museum. Film-related machines found favor with bidders, including a 1993 Williams “Indiana Jones” pinball that sold within estimate for $6,600. And there was crossover interest from sports fans for a 1953 D. Gottlieb & Co. “Grand Slam” pinball machine. Described as being in 9.75 (out of 10) condition and a “really great game to play,” it surpassed expectations at $3,000.

“Once again, antique advertising showed its strength in the marketplace,” Morphy Auctions’ president and founder Dan Morphy said after the busy two-day event. “Collectors keep coming back to our sales because they know we understand what they want – rarity and condition. Every one of our advertising auctions is different because we specialize in collections, in particular those that have been held privately for decades. You never know when a collector will decide it’s time to sell. But that’s what makes our advertising sales so exciting. They contain things that may only be available to purchase once in a buyer’s lifetime, so collectors pay close attention.”

To contact Morphy Auctions about consigning to future sales, call 717-335-3435 or email serena@morphyauctions.com. Visit Morphy Auctions online at www.morphyauctions.com.

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Morphy’s May 17 Artifacts Auction

Morphy’s May 17 Prehistoric American Artifacts Auction presents a world-class rarity: the celebrated Parks Birdstone
 
Also featured: Hopewell ceremonial Ross blade, bannerstones, points, game stones
 
DENVER, Pa. – One of the world’s five finest prehistoric birdstones occupies the top roost in Morphy’s May 17 auction of superior-quality, vetted and fully warranted prehistoric American artifacts. Known as the Parks Birdstone, the celebrated artifact estimated to be around 2,500 years old has remained in the same family since 1951, when it was discovered in a plowed field in DeKalb County, Indiana. It ended up in the collection of renowned collector Cameron Parks, hence the name “Parks Birdstone.”
 
“Top birdstones have sold privately for $800,000 to $900,000. Because of its mystical and unique blue halo, the Parks Birdstone should set a world record price on May 17th – not only for a birdstone, but also for any North American prehistoric art object,” said John Mark Clark, the department head and specialist who is supervising the auction.
 
Another premier entry is an 8-inch-long translucent orange kaolin flint Ross blade from the Hopewell culture that flourished along rivers in the northeastern and Midwestern United States from 200 BC to 500 AD. An exalted ceremonial piece, the blade is described by Clark as “exotic ceremonial regalia, so rare it would have been reserved for only the most elite. Now, many centuries later, it is still a prize suitable for only the most select, high-end collection.” The Ross blade is expected to make in excess of $200,000.
 
Trophy game stones or, “discoidals,” are well represented in the auction. An exquisite, double-cupped example displays impeccable balance and form, while other highly desirable discoidals include one of red and white "flint" with highly polished cups, three exquisite Jersey Bluff-style quartz discs and several of Cahokia style.
 
What is considered to be the finest cache of Dover flint Copena points yet discovered will add excitement to the auction, along with Earl Townshend's monumental 7-inch Corner Notch Blade. An incredible translucent “white-tipped" sugar-quartz Clovis point is also included in the sale, along with a tremendous Agate Basin spear and coveted projectile points from all cultural time periods.
 
Prehistoric Caddo and Mississippian-Era pottery will be available, including a solid, unrestored Caddo effigy duck bowl and several pottery bottles and bowls engraved with rare Caddo motifs. A huge human "rattle-head" Mississippian bowl (restored) with a fantastic hairstyle will also be auctioned.
 
A fine selection of bannerstones includes a ferruginous-quartz hourglass, a speckled-granite rectangular barrel, and a saddleback-style banner of colorful speckle-chunk granite. Perhaps the rarest of the group is an exquisitely made wiry-granite butterfly banner with an engraved barrel, one of only two known.
 
Another auction highlight is a pair of museum-grade Southern “Dallas” culture limestone ear spools. The prehistoric wearable artworks retain remnants of their original copper-foil covering.
 
In addition to the satisfaction prehistoric artifact collectors derive from owning remarkable pieces of history such as those to be sold on May 17th, Clark says many in the hobby regard the objects as solid investments.
 
“From a worldwide perspective, current prices in the North American marketplace are a fraction of what is being paid for comparable examples throughout the rest of the world,” Clark said. “In part, this is attributable to the fact that often such artifacts are not backed by any sort of warranty. Some of the pieces in our upcoming sale have been tucked away quietly in family collections for more than 60 years, and this will be the first time they have ever been offered publicly. But on top of that, Morphy’s stands behind the authenticity of every artifact they sell. This makes a tremendous difference to collectors. They want that comfort factor in place when they bid.”
 
Morphy’s Saturday, May 17 Prehistoric American Artifacts Auction will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. All forms of bidding will be available, including live online through Morphy Live (www.morphyauctions.com), LiveAuctioneers, Proxibid or Invaluable. For additional information on any item in the sale, call 717-335-3435 or email serena@morphyauctions.com. Visit Morphy Auctions online at www.morphyauctions.com.
 
 

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Morphy’s April 26-27 auction presents iconic American advertising, from soft drinks and cars to tobacco and other vices

 Also featured: coin-ops, figural cast iron and Part II of Silverman pinball collection
 
DENVER, Pa. – Riding on the wake of a buoyant million-dollar advertising sale in February, Morphy’s is gearing up for another wide-ranging advertising auction, with the added bonus of Part II of the David Silverman pinball collection. The April 26-27 event will feature 1,660 choice lots of antique advertising, coin-ops and figural cast-iron pieces.
 
Day one will open with a selection of more than 600 lots of soda pop signs and related items. Both an extremely rare 1930s Dr. Pepper porcelain triangle truck sign and a 1936 Orange Crush embossed tin sign are entered with individual estimates of $2,500-$3,500. Another scarce Orange Crush sign, made of tin over cardboard, is expected to make $3,000-$4,000. Although sampling the contents is not advisable, an extremely rare, unopened 6-pack of Dr. Pepper cone-top cans could rise to the $3,500-$5,000 range.
 
A 40-year single-owner collection of more than 100 early syrup dispensers features many seldom-seen types – among them, one of very few known examples of a Fan-Taz 5-cent “DRINK of the FANS” dispenser in the form of a realistically “stitched” baseball with bat motif. Made around 1900 and retaining its original pump, it carries a $30,000-$60,000 estimate.
 
Other top syrup dispensers include: Chero Crush, $20,000-$30,000; Cherry Chic, $12,000-$18,000; and World Liquid Force, which is shaped as a globe of the world with bas-relief continents, $14,000-$25,000. Morphy Auctions’ founder and president, Dan Morphy, noted that there are many other dispensers whose estimates are well within reach of beginning and intermediate collectors. “It’s a really beautiful collection with impressive examples at every price point. They’ve been on display here at the gallery and the compliments have been constant,” Morphy said.
 
Moving into the Coca-Cola category, the highest-estimated lot at $10,000-$15,000 is a large, 1930s stainless steel and neon outdoor sign made by Flexlume Electrical Advertising Co., of Buffalo, New York. Other desirable Coke signage includes a 1931 cardboard cutout easel sign with the image of a bathing beauty with sunburst parasol, $3,000-$5,000; and a 1935 shield-shape porcelain Fountain Service sign, $2,500-$3,500. From the late 19th century, an extremely rare “Hutchinson-style” bottle, with a straight-sided as opposed to cabriole shape, will be offered with a $2,500-$4,500 estimate.
 
The Saturday session will wrap with more than 150 lots of tobacciana. One of few known examples of a Sweet Violet Tobacco vertical pocket tin is estimated at $1,000-$2,000. A Mayo’s Plug “Cock o’ the Walk” porcelain sign features an appealing image of a crowing cockerel, while a Buster Brown cigar tin displays an amusing image of comic strip character Buster Brown and his trusty bull terrier Tighe. Each of the two lots is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.
 
Day two of Morphy’s April 26-27 auction will open with the company’s second offering of pinball machines from the 35-year David Silverman collection, previously displayed at the National Pinball Museum. Film-related machines lead the grouping, with a 1993 Williams “Indiana Jones” pinball estimated at $6,500-$7,500; and a 1992 “Creature from the Black Lagoon” with fantastic artwork by Kevin O’Connor, expected to reach $4,500-$6,000. Other notable lots include two Gottlieb pinball machines: a rare, low-production 1950s “Buffalo Bill,” $2,000-$2,500; and a 1952 “All-Star Basketball,” $1,500-$2,000.
 
Bidders will want to reserve as much pocket change as possible for the 200+ lots of gambling machines and coin-ops that follow. The highest-estimated item in the auction, at $100,000-$120,000, is a superb Caille double-upright floor model slot machine that combines a 5-cent Centaur and 25-cent Big Six in its gold-plated oak casing. Another handsome upright model, a Mills “Two Bits Dewey Jackpot” upright slot machine, is estimated at $25,000-$30,000. Among the most desirable snack-vending machines are a Ryede Gum, Peanut and Candy dispenser, $12,000-$15,000; and a circa-1899 Wrigley’s Gum slot machine/trade stimulator that was given to retailers if they ordered ten cases of gum, $2,500-$4,000.
More than 300 lots of automotive-related advertising will be auctioned, led by an array of early to mid-19th-century signs. Highlights include: a 1920s Texaco Filling Station porcelain sign, $2,500-$4,500; a near-mint double-sided Cadillac Authorized Service porcelain sign, $3,000-$4,000; and an Armstrong Rhino-Flex Tires flange sign, $1,500-$2,000. A near-mint Oil Creek Ethyl gas globe is entered with a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.
 
Closing out the sale is a selection of more than 100 pieces of figural cast iron. Animal forms include a 15-inch doorstop depicting a bear holding a honey pot, $4,000-$6,000; an all-original, excellent-plus giraffe doorstop, $6,000-$9,000; and a lawn sprinkler replicating a wood duck, $1,500-$2,000. “Human” shapes include a cast-iron black butler string holder, $2,000-$3,000; and a French soldier doorstop, $1,800-$2,500.
The auction includes the beginning of the dispersal of the extensive Figural Cast Iron Collection of Stephen Greenberg. Stephen, a prominent Philadelphia attorney, is a well known figure in the antique world. He and his wife were charter members of the Figural Cast Iron Club, and Stephen served as Secretary/Treasurer of the club for over 6 years.

Collected over several decades, with a focus on cast iron doorstops, the Greenberg collection is one of the top figural cast iron collections in quality, rarity, and variety to hit the market in many years.  The total disbursement of the collection will unfold over four to five auctions.

Morphy’s April 26-27 Antique Advertising, Coin-op & Figural Cast Iron Auction will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. All forms of bidding will be available, including live online through Morphy Live (www.morphyauctions.com), LiveAuctioneers or Invaluable. For additional information on any item in the sale, call 717-335-3435 or email serena@morphyauctions.com. Visit Morphy Auctions online at www.morphyauctions.com.

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