DENVER, Pa. – The festive sounds of turn-of-the-century music boxes and coin-op machines will ring through Morphy Auctions’ gallery Aug. 10 and 11 as the company presents a varied and colorful 1,100-lot sale of antique advertising and mechanical amusements.
The Friday session features the 50-year music box collection of Peter V. Fritsch of Kutztown, Pa. The assemblage of 30+ music machines consists mainly of American productions, with highlights including a Regina 27-inch automatic changer, $16,000-$18,000; a Regina 15½-inch automatic changer, $14,000-$18,000; and a Symphonium wood-cased hall clock, $10,000-$12,000. Morphy’s CEO Dan Morphy remarked that Peter Frisch has always been “a very particular buyer. Every machine he owns is special and has an extra or unusual feature that would not be considered standard.”
A selection of 130 occupational shaving mugs will follow. The top-estimated mug originally belonged to professional baseball player William J. Kuehne and reflects his occupation with its image of a player sliding into home plate alongside the catcher, with a full baseball diamond and players in the distance. Between 1883 and 1892, Kuehne played infield positions for teams in Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincinnati; and he was featured on 11 Old Judge Tobacco cards. With its crossover appeal to sports memorabilia collectors, Kuehne’s shaving mug is expected to make $6,000-$8,000. Another interesting shaving mug was quite likely a souvenir, as it features the image of the Lake Roland (Md.) Elevated Railway. It is estimated at $1,000-$1,500.
From a Philadelphia pharmacy that closed many years ago comes a fresh collection of more than 80 apothecary antiques, including apothecary jars, candy jars and show globes. A mint-condition 24-inch apothecary jar with Greek key motif is estimated at $2,000-$3,000; while an extremely rare teardrop-shape apothecary jar with similar decoration could bring $2,500-$4,000. Additionally, there are multiple sets of 3 to 5 matched jars, the type that late-19th- and early 20th-century pharmacists used to store pills, herbs and liquids.
Over 250 general store lots – including showcases and signs – will be offered to the highest bidder. A very rare circa-1880s Perry Davis Pain Killer tin sign is lithographed with busy, colorful images of people performing different tasks to produce a bottle of the pain medicine. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Also within the grouping of signs is a 1914-1915 Buffalo Bill Wild West Show poster estimated at $2,000-$3,000.
More than 50 coin-operated machines will open the Saturday session. An outstanding dual vending machine that dispenses both Chiclets chewing gun and Stollwerck chocolate leads the group. In untouched condition with beautiful porcelain panels, the machine could reach $10,000-$15,000 on auction day. Other noteworthy coin-ops include a 10-cent Rol-A-Top slot machine with an eye-catching cherry design on its façade, $6,000-$7,000; and a functional, circa-1920s Novelty Merchant Co. “digger” machine, $2,000-$4,000.
An attractive array of soda pop advertising awaits bidders, including an elusive and very desirable 1955 7-Up double-sided policeman store display sign. Of double-sided lithographed metal, it is similar in design to the more commonly seen Coca-Cola police crossing-guard figure. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000.
Speaking of the pause that refreshes, more than 200 Coca-Cola advertising lots will be auctioned by Morphy’s. A scarce 1920s-vintage Coke bottle lamp in fine original condition is estimated at $6,000-$9,000; while a 1902 Coca-Cola calendar featuring a beauty of the day could make $3,000-$5,000. A 1954 tin cutout sign depicting a 12-pack of Coke is expected to reach $2,000-$3,000.
The Saturday session will conclude with a 100-lot offering of tobacciana. Possibly by Robb or DeMuth, a well-detailed circa-1900 carved figure resembling Hercules – with a club in one hand and a pack of cigars in the other – is entered in the sale with a $10,000-$15,000 estimate. A circa-1870s plaster sign advertising Hondarez Cuban Cigars will cross the auction block with hopes of achieving $1,000-$1,500.
Both the Friday, Aug. 10 and Saturday, Aug. 11 auction sessions will commence at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live or LiveAuctioneers.com. View the fully illustrated catalog online at www.morphyauctions.com or www.liveauctioneers.com. For additional information, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail email@example.com. Visit Morphy Auctions online at www.morphyauctions.com.