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Hoge’s 15 by 8in Popeye rowboat, made in 1935, is the most sought-after of all toys replicating the punchy cartoon sailor. This is believed to be the only example ever offered at public auction that retains its original box, oars and rudder. It will be offered with a reprint of the original Hoge toy catalog featuring the toy. Near-mint condition. Estimate $5,000-7,000
This classic 1930s velvet Mickey Mouse doll still has its Steiff paper label and exhibits a Mickey Mouse Walt Disney stamp under its foot. This is the 9in, red painted-mouth version. Excellent condition. Estimate $1,500-2,000.
Made around 1900 by J. & E. Stevens, this is known as the Artillery mechanical bank. Its paint is particularly beautiful, and the overall condition is near mint. Estimate $7,000-10,000.
Extremely rare and very desirable both to collectors of cast-iron doorstops and vintage Halloween items, this 13-7/8 by 8¾in doorstop made by Littco Products of Littlestown, Pa., depicts a little girl in her trick-or-treat costumer, holding a jack-o’-lantern. From the Jan and Watt White collection, this is the very example pictured in John and Nancy Smith’s reference book on doorstops due out this fall. Excellent condition. Estimate $7,000-10,000.
(Painted Rearing Horse Marble)
Look closely and you’ll see a delicately painted rearing horse inside this sulphide marble. The detail is superb, from the brown tail and mane to the black eyes and hooves. Condition is 9.5 out of 10. Estimate $3,000-4,000.
This framed, full-color embossed tin litho sign features a late 19th century beauty turn of the 20th century beauty in a Kabo Corset, featuring “no brass eyelets.” Measures 18½ by 24½in. Excellent condition. Estimate $5,000-7,000.
One of the all-time great Disney tin toys, this is Distler’s early 1930s Mickey Mouse Hurdy Gurdy. Its lithography is bright and clean, and it is in all-original condition, retaining the often-missing small dancing Minnie. Excellent-plus condition. $5,000-7,000.
Known as the Mickey Finn Rope Pull or Caille Tug-o’-War, this amazing 6ft tall penny arcade machine was issued around 1906 by Caille Brothers of Detroit. Made of cast iron on a wood base, it measures an opponent’s strength from the pounds of pressure registered when the rope is pulled. When the measurement dial reaches 750 pounds, a devil’s head pops up in the small window above Mickey’s face. This model is unique, in that no other coin-operated strength-testing machine operate by means of a rope. There are, perhaps, 15 surviving examples. Excellent condition. Estimate $20,000-30,000.
DENVER, Pa. - After a sizzling Summer Americana and General Antiques Sale led by Pairpoint and Tiffany lamps, duck decoys and art pottery, Morphy Auctions changes course for the fall season with a 2,100-lot, no-reserve auction of toys, antique advertising, coin-ops and other amusements. The Sept. 1-3 Fall Sale is chock full of fresh to the market merchandise from several mature collections. “It’s always a thrill when the true collectors come to us with things that have been off the market for 30 or 40 years,” said Morphy’s co-founder Dan Morphy. “There’s a dynamite array of items cataloged, most of them from advanced private collections – the sorts of things collectors get excited about when they see them coming up at auction.”
The sale’s opening session, on Thursday, Sept. 1, starts with more than 450 examples of antique advertising, with an abundance of material from the subcategories of tobacciana, automobiliana, breweriana. Within the grouping are many coveted self-framed tin signs such as an extremely rare 18 by 24in Kabo Corsets sign. “The detail and subject matter are incredible,” Morphy said. “No one I’ve spoken to who’s knowledgeable in the field says they’ve never seen an example of this sign before.” The lot is estimated at $5,000-7,000.
A single-owner collection of soda pop items runs the gamut from signs, trays and self-framed ads to festoons, thermometers, calendars and string-holders. Among the companies represented are Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Moxie, Dr. Pepper, 7Up, Royal Crown, Hires and NuGrape.
General store collectors will be able to choose from a fine selection of apothecary jars and drug store “show globes,” which were used to hold liquid remedies. A special entry in the category is a very rare 4in salesman’s sample of a Dakota globe, used for the display of candies. Also, two groups of desirable Greek key-design candy jars, syrup dispensers and early NCR cash registers will be offered.
Several slot machines – by Mills and Jennings – are included in the coin-op and penny arcade section, as are three different variations of Yellow Kid gumball machines. Of the two “digger” machines, one is a claw type that comes with its original grouping of TootsieToy prizes.
In a league of its own is an all-original circa 1906 Mickey Finn five-cent strength tester made by Caille. Few examples are known to exist. “It has an appealing, unique appearance,” said Morphy, “and is very desirable to coin-op and folk art collectors alike.” The presale estimate is $20,000-30,000.
Also to be sold on Thursday is a selection of automobiliana, featuring several original gas globes and a couple of gasoline pumps, including a 1915 Red Crown pump with original globe. Rounding out the session is a large collection of antique shaving-related pieces consigned by a barber from State College, Pa. Within the grouping are early shaving mugs, tonic bottles, razors and other barber shop-related items.
The second session, on Friday, Sept. 2, centers around toys, marbles and Halloween goodies. The fun begins with more than 30 boxed sets of Britains figures, followed by a Florida collector’s contribution to the sale: 20+ Chein toys, 40+ Marx toys and more than 30 colorful tin wind-ups made by the Japanese arm of Marx, Linemar. Most of the toys are accompanied by their original boxes. Pressed steel automotive is next on the agenda, with some very nice examples by Buddy ‘L’ and Smith-Miller.
Next to take the spotlight will be marbles. Approximately 100 lots will be offered, including some very desirable sulphides: a four-color painted rooster (estimate $1,500-2,000) and a rare four-color painted rearing horse ($3,000-4,000). Another standout lot is a 1-1/16in clambroth marble with white base and blue and yellow bands ($3,000-4,000). And there’s more: machine-made marbles including Christensen flames and Akro Agate corkscrews; and an extremely rare box of 50 Peltier marbles including rare tigers, zebras and bumblebees. “Most of the Peltier marbles are loaded with aventurine (shaved metal sparkles),” said Morphy, himself a marble fancier.
An assortment of Western collectibles featuring Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers items is next, followed by 30 cap pistols and 20 space guns. Then it’s time to shout out “Trick or treat!” A single-owner collection from the Midwest consigned the more than 200 pieces of vintage Halloween items in the sale, including some extremely rare 1940s Kokomold hard plastic toys. “There are 10 witches in rockets in that collection that I had never seen before,” said Morphy, “like an ultra-rare cream-colored witch in a rocket that says St. Ann’s Church on its side. Another rare one is clear with black wheels on the rocket.”
There are 60 to 70 jack-o’-lanterns in the sale, depicting pumpkins, devils and cats with differing facial expressions and by different makers, some German and some Japanese. Also cataloged is a colorful lineup of German-made papier-mâché candy containers, and an unusual embossed cardboard firescreen with a witch-on-broomstick theme.
A piece within the collection that is worthy of special note is the 1930s German-made mechanical cat with molded paper mask. It has a cloth body, wooden feet and a squeak-toy papier-mâché head. When the knob on the cat is turned, the mask is lifted up to the feline’s face. “These types of toys never lasted,” said Morphy. “This one not only survived, it’s also in beautiful condition.”
Saturday, Sept. 3 will be a special day for the comic character crowd, since that session’s star attraction is the spectacular Gary Selmonsky collection of early Disney and other comic character toys, including rare, early soft toys. Commenting on the acclaimed collection, Morphy Auctions co-founder Tom Sage Jr., who is particularly knowledgeable in the specialty, said: “It’s one of the very best comic character collections, both in terms of rarity and condition. Gary always went for the best.”
Among the top ten are an early-1930s celluloid and tin quacking Donald Duck waddler with original price tag (est. $5,000-7,000), a spectacular boxed example of Hoge’s 1935 Popeye Rowboat with very rare original box (est. $7,000-10,000), an early 1930s German-made wind-up celluloid Mickey Mouse with wiggling ears and original box and key (est. $4,000-5,000), a 17in 1932 Steiff Mickey Mouse with original tag (est. $2,000-3,000), and a superb early-1930s 10½in celluloid Betty Boop whirligig, near mint, completely original and with its original box identifying the toy as “Jolly Betty” (est. $4,000-5,000).
Other superior lots from the Selmonsky collection include a circa 1925-1930 complete set of Knickerbocker’s Katzenjammer dolls (est. $3,000-4,000), a complete set of three circa 1915 composition Halloween lanterns fashioned as Mama Katzenjammer and her naughty sons, Hans and Fritz (est. $1,500-2,000); a boxed, early-1930s Cameo composition Betty Boop doll with cloth dress, (est. $2,000-3,000); a circa 1920 Schoenhut 10in Ko-Ko the Clown (est. $2,000-3,000), and a 1932 Chein Popeye Overhead Puncher with original box (est. $5,000-7,000).
Morphy commented that most of the Selmonsky toys are in 9.5 condition or better and that the original boxes accompanying many of them are one of a kind or one of only a few known. He also predicts there will be many suitors after the soft character dolls, such as the 18in Charlotte Clark Mickey Mouse, Knickerbocker Mickey Cowboy (with tags) and matched pairs of Mickey and Minnie Mouse dolls. Another category Morphy believes will make a strong showing is the candy containers. “There’s a Mama Katzenjammer candy container in the sale that I’ve never seen before.”
As though all this were not enough, how about the 100+ lots of cast-iron toys by Hubley, Arcade and Kenton; and more than 150 mechanical banks, most from a collection built over 30+ years. Just a few of the beautiful original examples to be sold are: Girl Skipping Rope, Professor Pug Frog, Calamity, Artillery (red and blue Union Army example), Uncle Sam, Harlequin and a Teddy and the Bear with its original box, among many others.
The sale concludes with a great selection of figural cast iron bottle openers, doorknockers, bookends and doorstops. More than 75 bottle openers were consigned by a single owner, with two of the highlights being a black golfing caddy and All-American football player mounted on an ashtray, dated 1962 and one of very few known.
Standouts among the doorknockers include a CJO dachshund estimated at $1,000-1,500 and a Sarah W. Symonds cottage signed on its clapper Nichols House 1780 Salem, Mass. With crossover appeal to those who collect Salem, Mass., material, it is estimated at $500-700.
The majority of the bookends to be offered come from the Bob and Barbara Lauver collection, such as full-bodied white fantailed pigeons; flamingos, football players and a Hubley hunter with dog and rifle, estimated at $500-700.
Likewise, most of the figural doorstops in the sale – many of them pictured in John and Nancy Smith’s reference book on doorstops due out this fall – are from a single prestigious collection, that of Jan and Watt White. Some of the more desirable lots include a Bird of Paradise, $1,500-2,000; Saltbox House with Stone Fence, $1,000-1,500; Hubley’s Wirehaired Terrier, $1,000-1,500; Snowcapped Cottage, $1,000-1,500; West Wind (featuring a girl in a field of flowers), $3,000-5,000; Golf Caddy, Little Red Riding Hood and Highland Lighthouse.
The highest-estimated doorstop lot is Littco’s Halloween Girl depicting a little girl in her Halloween costume, holding a jack-o’-lantern. The extremely rare “book” example carries a $7,000-10,000 estimate. “This is one of the most desired of all doorstops, and I would not be surprised if a new record is set on auction day,” Morphy said.
Morphy Auctions, now in its second year, has gone from strength to strength since its acquisition last spring by Baltimore-based Diamond International Galleries. “Their support is what has enabled us to produce and promote the upcoming sale in the most effective and professional manner. For this sale, we’ve printed 10,000 copies of the hardbound catalog and thousands of brochures. We’re reaching not only veteran collectors but also a younger and relatively active group of collectors, which is great for the hobby.”
Morphy Auctions’ no-reserve Fall 2005 sale will take place Sept. 1-3 in the saleroom area of the Adamstown Antique Gallery, 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517 (on the Adamstown antique strip). Auction sessions will commence at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1 and Friday, Sept. 2, and 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3. 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 only. On all three days of the auction, the preview will begin at 8 a.m.
Bid in person, by phone (please arrange in advance), by fax, absentee, or via the Internet live as the auction is taking place, through LiveAuctioneers.com in association with eBay Live Auctions (www.liveauctioneers.com, www.ebayliveauctions.com).
Contact: Tel. (717) 335-3435, Fax (717) 336-7115