Largest sale ever planned for Morphy’s, Aug. 13-15


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Two-horse cast-iron Hubley Royal Circus Giraffe Cage toy, 16 inches long, includes two giraffe figures. Estimate $3,000-$4,000. Images courtesy Dan Morphy Auctions.

DENVER, Pa. – On Aug. 13-15, Dan Morphy Auctions will conduct the biggest cataloged sale in its history – a 3,000-lot no-reserve absolute auction featuring long-held private collections of Kentucky rifles, fine dolls and toys, mechanical music boxes, decorative art, jewelry and gold coins. All goods will be offered in logically organized categories, selling to the highest bidder regardless of price.

The Thursday session features more than 800 dolls apportioned into 350 lots, with 80 percent coming from a single estate. A highly prized, all-original 1918 Maggie Bessie hand-painted cloth doll made by sisters Maggie and Bessie Pfohl of Old Salem, N.C., is expected to make $12,000-$13,000.

“There are quite a few French fashion dolls, as well as Jumeau and Steiner child dolls, and mechanical walking dolls,” said Morphy’s doll specialist Jan Foulke. The selection also includes Swaines, Lencis, Bye-Lo babies, early parians, papier-mache, wax, celluloid and china dolls, and many German bisque girl dolls and character babies. Additionally, there are Heubach dolls, a Simon & Halbig #1488 baby, character babies, Orientals, multiple sets of Dionne quintuplets and several Madame Alexander dolls.

Thursday’s session includes a portion of the estate of the late Hy and Rae Friedman. More than 150 lots of early decorative antiques will be sold, including desirable painted ivory miniature portraits, some depicting children. Other highlights include a Pairpoint Butterflies and Roses reverse-painted-on-glass table lamp, an Arts & Crafts table, and a table and two lamps by Oscar Boch (1884-1957), a celebrated designer and metallurgist whose work adorns the exterior and interiors of many New York City landmark buildings.

More than 100 silver lots will be offered, led by a Tiffany & Co. ice bucket weighing 40+ troy oz., and estimated at $3,000-$4,000. A spectacular array of gold and platinum jewelry from the Friedman estate encompasses all forms, with more than 20 beautiful cameos and a selection of gold bracelets, bangles and an 18K solid gold necklace (estimate $5,000-$7,000) in the forefront. An antique diamond and platinum necklace is expected to make $5,000-$7,000, as well.

Friday’s session opens with 90+ marble lots, including some of the earliest of hand-decorated china marbles. A complete set of 32 English harlequin china marbles on its original board dates to the 1860s-1870s and is estimated at $6,000-$8,000.

A special inclusion in Morphy’s Summer Sale is the late John and Joanne Holman’s collection of more than 220 Kentucky rifles, 100+ powder horns, Bowie knives, books and other associated items. Morphy’s enlisted the services of Kentucky rifle authority Steve Hench in cataloging the firearms section.

Hench said the collection spans from the American Revolutionary War through the “Golden Age” (circa 1780s through early 19th century), and is “probably the largest collection of Kentucky rifles ever to come to the market at one sale.”

A 1785-1790 J.P. Beck (northern Lancaster County, Pa.) rifle estimated at $20,000-$40,000 features outstanding rococo carving and was “probably one of his upper-level guns,” Hench said. “It won a blue ribbon one year for best relief carving at the Kentucky Rifle Association’s rifle show.” A second rifle Hench said is deserving of special attention is a circa-1800-1820 example by P. Berry (worked in Annville, Pa.), also featuring rococo carving and estimated at $15,000-$45,000.

Other exceptional firearms include a fine circa-1830 Melchoir Fordney (Lancaster, Pa.) Kentucky fowling piece made to accommodate a spinning ball (estimate $5,000-$20,000) and very rare rifle by William McClure, a Virginia gunsmith who moved his operation to Columbia, Pa. (est. $8,000-$18,000).

Friday’s session also includes more than 150 lots of mechanical music boxes from the Hy and Rae Friedman estate. A circa-1900 18-inch New Century table model with four combs and 50 original disks is expected to finish among the top lots in its group. Other mechanical music entries of note include two musical grandfather clocks estimated at $18,000-$25,000 each. Additionally, more than 150 phonographs and other cylinder boxes will be auctioned.

The Friday session will conclude on a monetary note with a selection of approximately 150 gold coin lots. Most are graded, and all have come from a single collection.

Saturday’s session will open with 200+ German hand-painted tin toys with a reptile, bug and animal theme. “This is the second portion of a collection that was a big hit in our spring auction,” said Morphy. The group will be followed by 160 lots of figural cast-iron toys, containing a large sub-section of Hubleys from the Milton Horst collection.

Banks include 180 mechanical and 80 still examples. Most of the mechanicals are from the late Oscar Ryder’s collection, led by a Turtle bank estimated at $40,000-$50,000. Others include a beautiful Butting Buffalo, Confectionary, Circus and Panorama banks, each estimated at $15,000-$20,000. “Mr. Ryder was a condition-only buyer, so they’re all of a high grade,” said Morphy.

The 250+ lots of cast-iron toys feature 170 horse-drawn pieces from the Milton Horst and Ron Seggerman collections. There are vehicles of many types, from 2-seat brakes to cars, trucks and motorcycles. A large and comprehensive grouping of more than 100 Hubley Royal Circus toys is also included.

Dan Morphy summarized: “The cornerstone of this sale is mature, fresh to the market collections. We’re very excited that there is such a high level of quality in literally everything we’ve cataloged for this sale.”

All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet – details available online at www.morphyauctions.com. Tel. 717-335-3435.

More Images:

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13-inch vase marked "Primavera" depicts horses running amongst trees. Estimate $3,000-$5,000.
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All-original 1918 Maggie Bessie cloth doll with hand-painted face, made by sisters Maggie and Bessie Pfohl of Old Salem, N.C. Estimate $12,000-$13,000.
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Dark-green solid-core tri-level swirl marble, 1 7/8-inch diameter. Estimate $5,000-$7,000.
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Platinum bracelet containing 3.4-carat center diamond and 65 European-cut diamonds, plus 10 sapphire baguettes. Estimate $3,000-$5,000.
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Orchestral Corono Regina Style 34 music changer in oak case. Holds 12 discs. Estimate $10,000-$14,000.
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J.P. Beck (northern Lancaster County, Pa.) rifle made around 1785-1790. Won blue ribbon for relief carving at Kentucky Rifle Association's Kentucky Rifle Show. Estimate $20,000-$40,000.
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Cast-iron Turtle mechanical bank manufactured by Kilgore. Estimate $25,000-$50,000.

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