DENVER, Pa. – As the landscape begins to reflect the first signs of the holiday season, with twinkling lights and snow-flocked trees visible through windows everywhere, collectors know it’s time for their favorite buying event of the year: Morphy’s December toy auction. This year the event is slated for December 13-14 and includes a colorful 1,750-lot array of antique toys, rare marbles, banks, trains and Part II of the incomparable Enzo Pertoldi robot and space toy collection. All forms of bidding will be available during the sale, including live via the Internet.
The Friday session will open with 300 lots of antique and vintage marbles. A prized selection gathered by Morphy’s marble expert Brian Estepp includes Lot 165, a rare maglight Indian marble measuring 2 3/8 inches in diameter. This remarkable piece with spotting reminiscent of end-of-the-day glass appears to have a black ground, but under a black light, it turns red. It is expected to roll out of the gallery on auction day for $7,000-$10,000.
Other marble highlights include Lot 135, a 2 5/16 in shrunken-core onionskin, est. $6,000-$10,000; Lot 129, a 1¾in painted-dog sulphide, $1,500-$2,500; and Lot 64, a three-quarter-inch unglazed china floral marble, $1,000-$2,000. Additionally, Lot 41, a near-mint clambroth measuring over 2 1/16in is estimated at $1,500-$2,500; while Lot 15, a 4-lobe onionskin with suspended mica is entered with a $1,000-$2,000 estimate. In addition to the handmade examples, the grouping also includes some very desirable machine-made marbles.
“Everyone is wondering where they should put their money these days, and I still believe the best place to put it is in the bank, as long as it’s a nice, old mechanical bank in fine condition,” said Dan Morphy, CEO of Morphy Auctions. Morphy is an expert on mechanical banks and authored the 2007 reference book titled “The Official Price Guide to Mechanical Banks.”
Morphy’s Dec. 13 session contains more than 100 mechanical and still banks. Mechanicals are led by four coveted J & E Stevens productions: Lot 386, a Girl Skipping Rope, $12,000-$16,000; Lot 378, an excellent-plus Breadwinners, $12,000-$18,000; Lot 385, a North Pole bank, $10,000-$15,000; and Lot 401, a Shoot the Chute, $15,000-$25,000. Made by Philadelphia’s Kyser & Rex, Lot 346, an Organ Grinder & Performing Bear is expected to make $9,000-$14,000.
Topping the still bank category is Lot 343, an extremely rare Board of Trade bank made by Harper. “To my knowledge, this is one of only two or three that exist. It came out of a house in Lancaster, Pennsylvania,” said Morphy. Estimate: $6,000-$9,000.
More than 100 cast-iron toys – both automotive and horse drawn – will be offered in the opening session. The highest-estimated cast-iron lot, at $20,000-$30,000, is a rare 11-inch-long Hubley “Say It With Flowers” Indian motorcycle delivery van. Turquoise blue with a black-uniformed driver, the vehicle retains its factory flower decals on both sides and is an all-original piece. “This toy was consigned to us by its original owner, who is 91 years old and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where the Hubley plant was located,” said Morphy.
Next to cross the auction block will 75+ European tin toys by Lehmann, Gunthermann, Martin and other fabled German manufacturers; followed by 100+ character toys. Highlights include Lot 626, a Schuco tinplate Mickey Mouse holding a balloon and riding in a wind-up cart, $2,000-$3,000; Lot 642, a Tinko Japanese celluloid wind-up dancer, $1,200-$1,800; and Lot 655, a Japanese tin friction Dream Car, $1,500-$2,500. Friday’s activities will conclude with more than 100 lots of pressed steel, including pedal cars, trucks and cars.
The Saturday session will start off on an extraterrestrial note with Part II of the world-renowned Enzo Pertoldi robot and space toy collections. More than 400 lots will be offered, with many classics included, such as Lot 1184, a painted and litho’d-tin Diamond Planet Robot, $6,000-$9000; Lot 945, a boxed, wind-up tin-litho Chime Trooper, $4,000-$8,000; and Lot 991, a near-mint tin-litho and plastic battery-operated Change Man in its original box, $4,000-$6,000. Other top lots from the Pertoldi collection include Lot 1020, a painted and lithographed-tin crank-wind X-27 Explorer, $4,000-$6,000; and Lot 971, a Musical Drummer Robot, $3,000-$5,000. Both robots come with their original boxes.
The remainder of the session is devoted to 350+ train lots. Three lots of particular importance are: Lot 1434, an American Flyer Spiegel passenger train set in original box, $3,000-$6,000; Lot 1436, an American Flyer #1448 Minute Man set in original box, $2,000-$4,000; and Lot 1437, a J.C. Penney department store passenger train set in its original box, $2,000-$4,000.
For additional information on any item in Morphy’s Dec. 13-14 auction, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both sessions will start at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. All forms of bidding will be available. Preview the online catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live online during the auction through MorphyLive, accessible through www.morphyauctions.com, Artfact.com or LiveAuctioneers.com.