This article was originally published in Antique Trader
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DENVER, Pa. – Morphy Auctions’ March 17, 2012 auction of antique slot, coin-op, gambling and mechanical music machines will offer collectors their choice of more than 415 outstanding lots, including select pieces from the personal collection of the late Frank Zygmunt Sr. Additionally, the auction includes early Coca-Cola items and other types of antique advertising.
Zygmunt, a Chicago-area collector who founded the antique slot machine and jukebox business known as Zygmunt & Associates 25 years ago, was a prominent figure in coin-op circles. The top entry from the Zygmunt collection is a Caille nickel-finish double upright slot machine that combines 5-cent Eclipse and 25-cent Centaur models. A magnificent production in a tiger oak case, the machine is in fine working order and is entered in the sale with an $80,000 to $120,000 estimate.
A visual dazzler from the Zygmunt collection is the H.C. Evans horse race wheel with colorful panels depicting jockeys on galloping mounts. When the wheel is spun, a number appears in a window that indicates the winning horse. Complete and all original, it could reach $4,500 to $5,500.
Another gambling highlight is a Mills 50-cent Chicago jackpot upright slot machine. Designed for the 1900 World’s Fair (Paris), the machine is distinguished by its multicolored pierced-tin wheel and coppered adornments, including cabriole legs with bas-relief griffins and owls; and hounds’ heads. “This particular machine is very special because it takes 50-cent coins,” said Dan Morphy, CEO of Morphy Auctions. “It was a rich man’s amusement. At the turn of the century, 50 cents was a lot of money – maybe equivalent to $40 or more today.” In all-original condition, the machine works well and is estimated at $45,000 to $65,000.
Coin-operated penny arcade lots include a circa-1904 Caille Bros. Mickey Finn Strength Tester, complete with original marquee and faceplate, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000; and a circa-1930 Grandmother’s Prediction fortune-telling machine, estimated at $25,000 to $25,000. Additionally, the sale features a three-reeler tabletop gambling machine and a Watling 25-cent Rol-A-Top machine with rich red convex front replicating cherries. In excellent working order, the Rol-A-Top comes with its original factory stand and carries an estimate of $14,000 to $16,000.
Several exceptional mechanical music boxes will be sold, including a Regina 27-inch automatic changer with carved dragon motif and superior sound quality ($18,000-$22,000). A 25 3/4-inch upright music box, of unknown manufacture but identified as Style 202, is in original working condition and comes with 12 disks.
The antique advertising section contains a number of rare and desirable Coca-Cola items, led by a self-framed 1904 Coca-Cola cameo sign in near-mint condition that features an elegantly gowned beauty of the day ($8,000-$12,000). A 1908 Coke calendar, near mint with a full pad, is entered in the sale with a $5,000 to $8,000 estimate; while a near-mint 1918 Coke festoon with “umbrella girl” motif follows with a $3,000 to $5,000 estimate.
For additional information, and to view the illustrated catalog online at Morphy Auctions.
Resources for vintage advertising, Coca-Cola and slot machine collectors
- Indy Ad Show adding Friday preview, dropping Sunday
- March heats up with roster of Midwest antiques shows
- Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia announces second landmark auction
- Top tier pedal car and toy collection offered live and online at Showtime