Auctions, Coin-Ops — August 24, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Antique vending machine hits the sweet spot in Morphy’s Aug. 10-11 advertising sale

DENVER, Pa. – An all-original antique vending machine that dispensed both Stollwerck Chocolate and Chiclets chewing gum topped the 1,100-lot lineup at Morphy Auctions’ Aug. 10-11 sale of antique advertising and mechanical music. Adorned with beautiful porcelain panels on its front and sides, the near-mint machine handily surpassed its $10,000-$15,000 estimate to serve up a winning bid of $28,000. In all, the auction achieved $756,000 inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.

Soda pop advertising made a strong statement in the sale’s top 10, with a scarce 1920s Coca-Cola bottle-shape lamp earning an above-estimate $12,000. The red, white and green 20¼-inch-tall lamp was a line-for-line scale model of a Coke bottle, complete with metal cap and the trademark and registration notice below the flowing-script logo.

Two figural metal school crossing signs promoting soft drinks were among the top 10 lots. A rare 1955 sign depicting a policeman holding a “Slow – School Zone” paddle served as an eye-catching advertisement for 7UP. Estimated at $4,000-$6,000, it was bid to $9,000. Similarly estimated and also realizing $9,000 was a rare Pepsi-Cola patrol boy school crossing sign with a base designed as a Pepsi bottle cap.

A selection of antique occupational shaving mugs was offered, with one lot, in particular, producing an unexpectedly fine result. In near-mint condition, a mug with an image of a man pushing a street cleaner’s cart with shovel inspired collectors to bypass the $600-$900 estimate and chase the rarity to an astonishing $11,400.

“This is a category that grows stronger with every collection we bring to market,” said Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy. “There are a lot of new collectors coming into the occupational shaving mug hobby.”

The Friday session was highlighted by music machines and other coin ops. A visually appealing Rol-A-Top 10-cent twin jackpot machine adorned with repousse cherries on its front panel led the offering. An older restoration, it sold within estimate for $6,000.

The auction also included more than 80 apothecary antiques from a Philadelphia pharmacy that closed many years ago. An extremely rare 15-inch “teardrop” apothecary jar with Greek key motif, described in the auction catalog as being in mint condition, easily surpassed its $2,500-$4,000 estimate to sell for $5,700.

There was no shortage of bidders for the many advertising signs in the sale, which ran the gamut of household and tobacco products; alcoholic beverages and sporting goods. An early 20th-century reverse-on-glass sign promoting I.W. Harper Whiskey retained its original wood frame with a metal tag that said “The Kind Your Grandfather Used.” It hit the midpoint of its estimate at $9,000. A celluloid-over-cardboard sign of a pretty lady applying Murine eye drops to her eyes commanded six times its high estimate – $3,600.

To contact Morphy Auctions, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail Visit the company’s website at