Antique advertising, toys, and coin-ops sell at Morphy’s

DENVER, Pa. –Morphy’s May 29-31 auction included 2,247 lots of antiques and art, as well as toys, figural doorstops, antique advertising and late-19th and early 20th-century coin-operated machines. In the decorative and applied arts, collector favorites included a Kate Greenaway figural silver napkin ring depicting a boy and girl on a bench, which earned $6,325 online; and a signed George Ohr art pottery pitcher with black glaze, which left its $500-$700 estimate in the dust as it flew to a closing price of $8,050.

Antique advertising was led by a rare Coca-Cola tin serving tray whose lithographed central image was of a nymph-like semi-nude woman holding a bottle of the classic American beverage. Made around 1908 and measuring 12 1/4 inches in diameter, the colorful tray achieved $16,100 against an estimate of $4,000-$7,000. A “timely” buy, a rare 20-inch reverse-painted-on-glass electric clock advertising Old Reading Beer also outdistanced its estimate, $4,000-$6,000, to close at $11,500.

Morphy’s has always drawn a strong contingent of marble buyers to its sales, and this time was no exception. The prize everyone seemed to be after was an extremely rare, complete 100-count box of Christensen Agate Co. marbles. Some of the marbles exhibited extraordinarily rare color combinations – “maybe even unique,” said Dan Morphy, himself a longtime marble enthusiast. Estimated at $10,000-$15,000, the boxed selection finished its run at $18,400.

Other toys that drew particularly strong interest included a Lionel standard gauge #9E train set with original box, which sold through the Internet for $7,500 against an estimate of $2,000-$3,000; and a 26-inch Buddy “L” pressed-steel Tank Line truck with original decals, which finally applied the brakes at an above-estimate price of $5,500.

An unusual entry that found favor with the crowd was a wonderful 15 1/4-inch-tall painted cast-iron doorstop fashioned as a brown bear. Licking his lips while eyeing a dab of honey held in his paw, the well-detailed bruin had no trouble surpassing estimate to reach $4,600. Also, a historically significant military item, a Nazi dagger with an inscription identifying it as a presentation item from SS commander Heinrich Himmler, finished just shy of its high estimate at $4,900.

Internet participation was popular. More than 100,000 people visited the electronic auction catalog, with 1,695 of them registering to bid online. “There’s always tremendous interest in our sales from collectors in Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia,” said Dan Morphy. “

Morphy’s Spring Antiques Auction was the last of four highly successful sales produced by the Pennsylvania company within an eight-week period. The series included specialty auctions in two new categories: numismatics and fine dolls/dollhouses/teddy bears. Morphy’s next sale, a Fall Antiques Auction, will take place Sept. 11-13, with a special highlight being the Andy Huffer toy motorcycle collection.

 Morphy Auctions is a division of Geppi’s Entertainment Auctions & Publications. For information on consigning to future sales, to view prices realized in past sales or to learn more about upcoming auctions, call 717-335-3435, e-mail or visit