DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s will usher in its busy slate of fall sales with a big three-day auction of antique toys, dolls and sports memorabilia, Sept. 13-15. A number of exceptional collections have been consigned to the event, including the Al Winick mechanical bank collection, the Jack Matthews toy soldier collection and the Ed Sandford Japanese die-cast robot collection. All three sessions will commence at 9 a.m. at Morphy’s gallery, located on the Adamstown antiques strip in Denver, Pa.
The Thursday, Sept. 13 session opens with more than 300 doll lots consisting of German, French bisque and china dolls. Among the highlights are a long-face “triste” Jumeau bebe estimated at $10,000-$15,000; a very desirable circle dot Bru, $8,000-$12,000; and a Simon & Halbig 929 character doll, $2,000-$4,000.
The remainder of the session is devoted to the ultra-pristine Ed Sandford collection of die-cast robots. Most of the robots in this collection were made in the 1960s by companies whose designs are now considered the cream of the crop, e.g., Popy, Clover, Takara and Bandai.
The highest-estimated robot is a mint/boxed Popy black Daltanious with a color scheme and silver box produced exclusively for the Japanese market. Collectors consider the black Daltanious one of the hardest to find of all Godaikin-style briefcase robots, as they were made in extremely small runs and very seldom become available for public purchase. The robot in Morphy’s sale is estimated at $6,000-$9,000.
Another Popy production in mint-boxed condition is the GA-50 Daiku Maryu. “This is another toy that just never turns up, and Ed’s example is in near-perfect condition with exceptionally rare blue-variant missiles and original packaging,” said Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy. “The Popy Daiku Maryu was marketed exclusively in Japan, and for a very limited time.” Estimate: $4,000-$6,000.
Popy’s circa-1976 Combine-in-Box was the first large combination robot in the toy-collecting hobby. It pioneered the briefcase-style presentation box with handle. Sanborn’s Combine is one of the best preserved of all known examples and is rated as being in “new-old-stock condition.” It is expected to make $2,800-$4,000 at auction.
Yet another Popy highlight is the SG-01 Tetsujin 28 Chogozoku in mint/boxed condition, estimated at $2,500-$3,000. “The SG-01 sold out after its initial toy release in Japan. It would be challenging to find a nicer one than Ed’s, which is flawless and complete, right down to the original box inserts,” said Morphy.
Other stellar pieces in the Sandford collection include a mint/boxed Clover Zanbot 3 DX Combination, $1,800-$3,000; mint/boxed Takara blue Fairlady Z Diaclone, $1,500-$3,000; mint/boxed Hasbro Transformers AFA 80 Shockwave, $1,000-$2,000; a boxed Popy Grendizer Jumbo Machinder, $1,200-$1,500. A mint/boxed Takara Lancia Stratos “Marlboro Jack,” which was the precursor to the Transformers Wheeljack, is estimated at $1,800-$3,000; while a mint/boxed Popy GA-09 black Raideen – regarded as one of the first transforming-action toys of the super-robot era – is entered in the sale with hopes of achieving $850-$1,400.
Friday’s session begins with 150 holiday lots. A 24-inch Santa candy container with composition face is expected to make $2,000-$4,000, while a 1920s electrified Santa window display carries a $1,000-$2,000 estimate. A Classic Hubley cast-iron Santa in Sleigh could deliver a winning bid of $1,000-$1,500. The Christmas lots will be followed by a nice selection of Halloween items. Highlights include: a papier-mache pumpkin-head nodder, $400-$800; a Halloween Fortune Teller Witch party game with original envelope, $1,500-$3,000; and a large single-owner collection of more than 50 good, early Halloween celluloid novelties.
Morphy’s will take great pleasure in presenting the toy soldier collection of Jack Matthews, one of the world’s foremost composition soldier collectors and a renowned author on the subject of military toys and figures. The Sept. 14 session contains part I of the Matthews collection, which was amassed over a 40-year period and comprises more than 2,000 scarce composition figures from the O.M. Hausser (Elastolin, Pfeiffer) and Lineol companies. In addition to its wealth of rare soldiers, this outstanding collection is bolstered by Tipp airplanes and Tipp, Hausser and Lineol vehicles, with the star attraction being a coveted Hausser half-track with 11 crew and riders. A premier piece, it is estimated at $3,000-$4,000.
“The half-track is the best piece Hausser made. It’s a toy that you would fully expect to see in Jack’s collection because he has always gone for quality and for pieces that accurately reflected military history,” Morphy commented.
The Jack Matthews collection features several hundred figures acquired from the early-1980s auctions of the Hausser Archives and includes more than 100 different flag bearers. In addition, the Matthews collection incorporates the entire Reggie Polain collection, which Jack purchased privately in 1978.
A retired judge who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, Jack Matthews is still an active, enthusiastic collector of newer figures, such as those made by King and Country. “But my wife Meriam and I are downsizing our homes, and the collection I built over the past four decades had to be sold for space considerations,” Matthews explained.
Part I of the most exceptional collection of comic character and Western wrist, pocket and lapel watches ever to be offered at Morphy’s will be apportioned into more than 100 lots. Most retain their original boxes. Among the pocket watches, the most highly valued examples include: Buck Rogers, Superman, Skeezix, Moon Mullins & Kayo; Popeye, and an extremely scarce Betty Boop. The wristwatch selection includes all of the known Disney character watches, many Western favorites and several great rarities: a boxed Superman, Three Little Pigs, boxed Babe Ruth with a classic baseball inner presentation box, and a Mickey Mouse watch with “Fred Astaire” box with top hat and cane.
A nice selection of comic character toys contains examples of perennially popular iterations of such characters as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Popeye. The Popeye assortment includes a boxed Linemar Popeye Basketball Player. Among the additional character highlights are a pair of Buck Rogers roller skates and a battery-operated Superman tank.
The Saturday, Sept. 15 session opens with a 250-lot selection of mechanical banks that includes the centerpiece of the three-day sale: the Al Winick mechanical bank collection.
“I am personally very pleased and excited that we were chosen to sell the Al Winick collection,” said Dan Morphy, who is considered a top expert in the field of mechanical banks. “In my opinion, this is the best mechanical bank collection to come to auction since the world-record Steckbeck sale of 2007. Al was always a condition buyer, and the banks in his collection show just how particular he was about obtaining the best possible examples.”
The Winick collection offers one high flier after another, starting with a Mikado, $125,000-$175,000; and a Merry Go Round, also estimated at $125,000-$175,000. Also a favorite with collectors of black Americana toys, a Freedman’s bank is expected to bring $125,000-$150,000. Another six-figure contender is the Roller Skating bank, estimated at $100,000-$125,000.
The collector’s wish list continues with a Calamity bank, $50,000-$75,000) and another black-theme bank, Uncle Remus, estimated at $15,000-$25,000. Both a Panorama and Horse Race bank are expected to achieve individual selling prices of $25,000-$35,000. In additional, there will be many other in-demand mechanical banks in great original condition.
Cast-iron toys and figural cast-iron antiques (e.g., doorstops) will be offered on Saturday, as well. Standouts in the automotive category include a super-mint Hubley large-size Crash Car, an Arcade Chevy coupe and various horse-drawn wagons, cars and motorcycles. Another stellar automotive entry is the boxed TootsieToy die-cast Deluxe Motor Set with 10 cars in their original boxes.
Japanese postwar toys include a fleet of racecars, with a Champion and Agajanian leading the pack. A rare Robby the Robot driving a space car has its original box with inserts and all of the intact parts that are usually missing whenever this elusive toy turns up – including coil, floating ball and original lithographed-tin lever.
The heavy-metal parade continues with more than 100 pieces of pressed steel. Topping the pressed steel toy list are a Sturditoy side dump truck and three Buddy ‘L’ classics: a Road Roller, Baggage Truck and a Huckster Van described by Dan Morphy as “the nicest [he] has ever seen.”
The sale’s 100+ European toy lots feature an excellent lineup of German-made Lehmanns, including a boxed Uhu car and an always-popular Ski Rolf. The lineup is rounded out by tin-litho toys from other German manufacturers, and European penny toys.
Then it will be time to ride the rails with the introduction of 100 fresh lots of American and European trains. A Marklin 1 gauge passenger set, est. $1,500-$2,000, tops the German-made railroad toys; while the American grouping features a coveted American Flyer Presidential Special train set, $2,500-$3,500; and an early Lionel #4 trolley car, $1,000-$1,500.
A choice collection of approximately three dozen Hartland Western figures will cross the auction block during the Saturday session. Many of the figures are boxed, and some are very rare representations.
More than 100 lots of antique and vintage sports memorabilia will be up for bid. Rare baseball games include an 1886 McLoughlin Brothers “Game of Base Ball,” and a pre-1920 “Major League Indoor Base Ball Game” with several Hall of Famers depicted on the box. Following the games is a grouping of 17 late-19th century baseball photos – similar in style to cabinet photos – that came out of a house in upstate New York. Some of the pictures were staged studio shots, and nearly all say “New York” and are dated either 1887 or 1888. Some advertise a tobacco company, such as Gypsy Queen Cigarettes, Mayo & Bros., Bat Chewing Tobacco or Home Run Stogies.
“Most of the athletes depicted in the photos were minor league players, but some were Major Leaguers or Minor Leaguers who went on to become Major Leaguers,” said Tommy Sage, Chief Operating Officer at Morphy’s.
An excellent mix of mementos includes early nodders, pennants, Hartland sports figures and a number of autographed items with letters of authenticity. There are gloves, bats and signed balls, the most important of which is a 1957 Milwaukee Braves Championship ball signed by the entire team (including Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews), with LOA.
Also, the sale includes an autographed ball, glove and bat from Pennsylvanian Pete Gray (1915-2002), who played in the Major Leagues in spite of having only one arm.” During World War II when so many of the star players were away, Gray got his chance to play semi-pro as well as left and center field for the Major League St. Louis Browns. He had learned to bat and field one-handed, catching the ball in his glove, then quickly removing his glove and transferring the ball to his hand in one motion. All three items to be auctioned come with an LOA.
A Pennsylvania collector was the source of an exceptional collection of approximately 100 top baseball players’ autographs, amassed primarily in the 1950s.
“The collector would write to the players and include a 2½ by 4-inch card, and the athletes would sign and return them to him,” said Sage. “It was a very smart method. He was able to build a wonderful collection of full signatures, with a lot of Hall of Famers represented – Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Honus Wagner, etc.”
Another unusual sports entry is a 1970 Casey Stengel’s All-Time Team poster featuring the signatures of 31 legendary New York Yankees players, including Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Stengel himself. The poster, which comes with an LOA, was presented on Old Timers Day to Jack Dascher, at that time the oldest living Dodgers player.
Morphy’s Sept. 13, 14 and 15 auction will commence at 9 a.m. on all three days. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live (go to www.morphyauctions.com) or LiveAuctioneers.com. Preview now in the gallery or online.
For additional information on any item in the sale, contact Morphy’s by calling 717-335-3435 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the company’s website at www.morphyauctions.com.