Morphy’s Feb. 1-3 auction features huge selection of rare toys, banks, marbles and ultimate in Topps sports card gum packs
Above: Unopened 1954 Topps cello pack containing a discovery selection of 12 cardboard baseball cards. Each card displays both a closeup and action shot of the player. PSA 7. Estimate $20,000-$40,000.
Unopened 1952 Topps baseball brick of eight factory-sealed 5-cent wax packs containing five cards each leads sports category with a $400,000-$800,000 estimate
DENVER, Pa. – If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Morphy’s February 1 auction of “The Morphy Find,” an incredibly rare trove of 1970s/’80s action figures discovered in their original Kenner shipping boxes. The headline-grabbing Star Wars session creates more than enough excitement on its own, but it’s also going to usher in a high-energy three-day event that will wow collectors of all types of toys, banks, marbles and top-grade sports cards. The Pennsylvania auction house is expecting a capacity crowd and a throng of additional competitors on the phones and online through Morphy Live. Auctioneer and company president Dan Morphy will open the bidding at 9 am sharp on all three days, February 1-3.
The February 1 session is packed with sports treasures, including 209 coveted gum cards and packs. The piece de resistance is an extraordinarily rare, unopened 1952 Topps baseball brick of eight factory-sealed 5-cent wax packs. Each of the packs contains five baseball cards, which some experts believe could be from Topps’ first series. The sealed brick’s ownership can be traced most recently to a 1991 transaction, when a few 1952 Topps packs were located in Seattle.
“At that time, two collectors each purchased a brick from the original owner, including the one in our sale,” Morphy said. “One of the two buyers chose to open his brick and sell most of its packs individually, but he also opened a few packs for himself, revealing – amongst other cards – what would become a PSA 10 Andy Pafko No. 1 card. To this day, it is still the only PSA 10 of its type. The other collector kept his brick intact and untouched, and that is the one we will be auctioning with a $400,000 to $800,000 estimate. Who knows what might be inside?” The brick has been inspected and deemed authentic by Steve Hart, the owner of Baseball Card Exchange (BBCE) and the preeminent authority on unopened product authentication.
Another buying bonanza comes in the form of an unopened 1970/’71 Topps Basketball first series wax box containing 24 10-cent packs. Each pack contains 10 cards and a Topps action poster, for a total of 240 cards and 24 posters. This fantastic series is known to be loaded with superstars, e.g., Chamberlain, Alcindor, Robertson, Havlicek, West, etc. The colorful, unopened display box is in near-flawless condition and has been BBCE authenticated. Its auction estimate is $100,000-$200,000.
Other stellar lots in the sports card section include an unopened 1954 Topps cello pack containing a discovery selection of 12 cardboard baseball cards. Each card displays both a closeup and action shot of the player. Graded PSA 7, it is expected to sell for $20,000-$40,000. Baseball’s greatest legend of all time, the immortal Babe Ruth, stands on his own in the auction spotlight on a 1933 Goudey Sports Kings Chewing Gum card in Good condition. This classic card depicting the Bambino in pinstripes presents well and is entered with a $2,000-$4,000 estimate.
The opening session also features the aforementioned “Morphy Find,” an absolutely fresh-to-the-market collection of early Star Wars toys, which will be joined by 148 select Star Wars action and display figures, packs, sets, cases, accessories and playsets from other consignors. Some of the latter figures are packaged/carded, some are graded, and all are worthy of aligning with The Morphy Find on what is sure to be an unforgettable day for Star Wars fans.
On day two, the parade of toys, sports memorabilia and general collectibles will be in full swing, with an enviable array of mechanical banks and antique marbles in the mix. More than 50 mechanical banks at various price points will be introduced to tempt collectors at all levels. They include a J & E Stevens Boy Robbing Birds Nest, $2,000-$3,000; a Shepard Hardware Mason bank with key, $1,500-$3,000; and a gorgeous, near-mint J & E Stevens Two Frogs bank. Boasting 98% bright paint, the playful frogs could leap to a winning bid of $6,000-$9,000.
Marbles have always figured prominently in Morphy’s toy auctions because Dan Morphy, himself, has been an involved collector since he was a boy. This early interest eventually led to Dan’s becoming well known for the specialty and his sales attracting bidders from around the country. The February 2 session includes 74 lots of marbles – each one a unique artwork in miniature. Among the highlights is a large 2-23/32-inch diameter single-faceted pontil end-of-the-day marble with spotting colors of white, yellow, red and cobalt blue. The mesmerizing glass orb carries an estimate of $2,500-$3,500. Similarly estimated, a rare 1-5/32-inch diameter black opaque Lutz marble with attractive green bands is graded a very high condition 9.7.
Name a type of toy and it’s likely to be found during the three-day event. There are pressed-steel vehicles of all types, including pedal cars; nearly 150 robots and space toys; German, French and Japanese tin toys, trains, cap guns, dolls, playsets, and scores of American tin and comic character toys. A huge selection of Popeye toys (many boxed) captures the lovable cartoon sailor in a variety of pursuits, from rowing a wind-up boat (Hoge, $2,000-$4,000); to sparring with Mean Man (Linemar, $1,200-$1,800); and testing his strength (Chein Heavy Hitter, $1,000-$1,500). Entered with a $10,000-$20,000 estimate, an elusive and perennially sought-after Linemar tin-litho battery-operated Popeye And Olive Oyl Tank toy is in excellent condition and comes with a high-quality reproduction box.
Morphy’s Feb. 1-3, 2023 Toys, Sports Cards & General Collectibles Auction, featuring The Morphy Find of rare Star Wars action figures. 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.