Morphy’s Aug. 2-3 Toys & General Collectibles Auction merges antique and vintage classics with in-demand pop-culture categories
Above: J & E Stevens ‘Two Frogs’ cast-iron mechanical bank, estimate $8,000-$12,000.
Featured: Vintage sports cards and unopened Topps wax packs, early video games and consoles, comics, 1950s gumball-vending robot, 8ft tall Gort figure, vehicular toys, dolls, banks, trains
DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s spring toy auction, which took in $3.1 million, made headlines worldwide with its phenomenal single-owner collection of factory-boxed Star Wars figures and a sports card selection that included an $873,300 Topps baseball wax-pack brick. No other event in Morphy’s 20-year history could top that one for the amount of social media buzz or the number of pre-sale inquiries from prospective bidders. The fun will resume on August 2-3, when Morphy’s presents its summer offering of Toys & General Collectibles featuring both classic toys and pop-culture favorites: vintage sports cards, comic books and early video games.
“We wanted to offer variety in this sale – something to please everyone – and to include collectibles categories that are in high demand and still growing,” said Tommy Sage, Head of Morphy’s Toys & Trains department.
Several coveted video games from the mid-1990s through early 2000s will be on deck and waiting to level up. Pokemon highlights include a Nintendo Game Boy Red Version from 1998, WATA-graded 8.0 A+ Sealed, and estimated at $10,000-$15,000; and a Nintendo Game Boy Advance Leafgreen Version from 2004, which is WATA-graded 9.4 and estimated at $5,000-$10,000. A rare and extremely important title, a 1966 Nintendo Super Mario 64, WATA-graded 9.4 A+ Sealed, is entered with a $6,000-$9,000 estimate. A nice lineup of consoles and game systems will be auctioned, including a Sony PlayStation 2, $700-$900; and Mattel Intellivision II, $500-$800 – both sealed in their original boxes – and other boxed examples from Sony, Sega (Genesis) and ColecoVision (with a bonus Donkey Kong cartridge).
Fifty-five lots of vintage sports cards, rack packs, wax packs and boxes; and cello packs and boxes represent some of the all-time greatest professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey players and teams. An unopened BBCE-authenticated Topps NHL Hockey wax box from 1971 contains 24 packs of 10 cards each. There is a good possibility that the cards might include gem-mint examples of Ken Dryden’s rookie card, or cards for Hall of Famers like Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe or Bobby Hull. The box is estimated at $12,000-$24,000.
Another exciting prospect is the unopened 1956 Topps Baseball 1-Cent wax pack, PSA authenticated and graded 8, that potentially includes cards for Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Duke Snider, Hank Aaron and other legends of the sport. Only one other pack of its type has ever received a higher PSA grade than Morphy’s example, which will step up to the plate with a $4,000-$8,000 estimate.
Additionally, there are TV- and film-related wax boxes, including a 1975 Topps Planet of the Apes, 1978 Battlestar Galactica, and 1980 Topps Creature Feature. Each of the three boxes has been BBCE-graded, contains 36 packs and is estimated at $500-$1,000. A 1985 Topps Masters of the Universe 36-pack wax box carries a $750-$1,500 estimate.
Comic book fans might find some unexpected treasures in this sale, like Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spider-Man #194, published in 1979. CGC-graded 9.8, this book presents beautifully and is estimated at $3,000-$6,000.
From the world of sci-fi comes an extremely scarce 1950s gumball-dispensing robot. Made in Italy, this coveted toy stands 55½ inches tall, appears to be all original, and has a working coin mechanism. Robot and space toy collectors, as well as vending machine aficionados, all know how rare this machine is. They’ll have their chance to vie for it on Day 2 of the auction as it steps into the spotlight with a $10,000-$15,000 estimate.
Another fantastic design is the early replica of Gort, the robot from the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still. A towering figure at approximately 8ft tall, the Gort consigned to Morphy’s was purchased in 1996 from Fred Barton Productions, the firm that also made the “laser-eyed” Gort seen in the film. According to Tommy Sage, the auction example came from the estate of a Pennsylvania collector.
“It was the most highly prized piece in his collection. Because he had kept the original sales receipt, we were able to locate the manufacturer in LA. I was pleased to be able to speak with Fred Barton, himself, who told me the Gort in our auction is one of the earliest ones he made, and that there are only a few of them like it,” Sage said. The receipt will accompany the Gort figure when it joins its new owner. Estimate: $6,000-$12,000
Nearly 100 lots of dolls, dollhouses and furniture; and stuffed animals have been cataloged. The antique dolls are led by a near-mint 28-inch Jumeau Triste or “Longface Jumeau” with a pressed bisque head, blue paperweight eyes, and applied pierced ears. Its body is original and stamped JUMEAU MEDAILLE D’OR PARIS. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000. The star of the vintage doll section is a sought-after 1959 first-issue brunette #1 Barbie with its original box, stand and complete set of accessories. In excellent condition, it is estimated at $6,000-$7,000
Hundreds of tin, pressed-steel, and cast-iron vehicles will cross the auction block, including American, European and German productions. An Alps (Japan) lithographed tin friction Pacer Police Motorcycle, 12¼ inches long, is in near-mint condition and retains its attractive original box with applied pictorial label. Estimate: $1,500-$2,500. Another zippy contender is a vintage C & R Curly “long-tail” rail-tether car powered by a Dooling 61 magneto-ignition engine. Fully geared, with its proper fuel tank, this zippy racer is ready for the track. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000
Morphy’s is the place to go for all-original cast-iron mechanical banks, like the J & E Stevens “Two Frogs” bank to be offered on Day 1. A stunning specimen in near-mint-plus condition, it’s in fine working order and ready to “leap” to its next destination. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000
A special treat for Marklin 1 gauge train collectors is the rare circa-1906 hand-painted clockwork swing bridge. Measuring 23 inches long, it appears to be all original, has two of its four original lamps, and is in working order. Currently assessed as VG-Excellent, it could achieve a higher grade with a proper cleaning, Sage said. Estimate: $5,000-$10,000
Over 220 antique and vintage marbles will be in the players’ ring during the opening session – each a distinctive work of art. Among the highlights is a large (2-1/16in dia.) single-pontil, 4-lobed end-of-the-day marble. A generous amount of mica sparkles above the marble’s medley of red, turquoise and blue colors. Displaying high, 8.8 condition, it is expected to reach $4,000-$6,000 at auction.
Morphy’s Aug. 2-3, 2023 Toy & General Collectibles Auction will be held live at Morphy’s gallery, 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517, starting each day at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. All remote forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, phone and live via the Internet through Morphy Live. For additional information on any item in the sale or to purchase a hardbound auction catalog, call 877-968-8880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid live online at www.morphyauctions.com.