Auctions Spotlight

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How To: Michael Bertoia Discusses Collecting Antique Toy Banks

Michael Bertoia, Auctioneer/Coordinator at Bertoia Auctions, has 8 years of experience working with toy banks and other collectibles. He tells us the fascinating story behind the popularity of antique toy banks

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Morphy Auctions to offer robot collection, European toy cars May 30-31

DENVER, Pa. – Robots are on the march again at Morphy’s. The Pennsylvania company’s May 30-31 Toy Auction containing 1,450…

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Barrel of Monkeys opens up about turning 50

Everyone of a certain age remembers playing the game Barrel of Monkeys. The author provides a behind-the-scenes account of how…

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Bertoia’s Mar. 27-28 auction of Max Berry toys Pt. II boosts series total to $6M

VINELAND, N.J. – Washington attorney Max Berry left Bertoia’s gallery on March 28th with a smile on his face –…

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Old Toy Soldier May 29-31 auction features top-notch Mike Endres collection

PITTSBURGH – Bidders are on their marks, and battle lines have been drawn for Old Toy Soldier Auctions’ (OTSA) May…

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Marklin 'Stephenson's Rocket' train sells for $121K at Noel Barrett auction

NEW HOPE, Pa. - If variety is the spice of life, auction house owner Noel Barrett was the undisputed king…

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Slot car sets, farm toys to be featured at M&M Auctions, May 30

HOLBEACH, UK – M&M Auctions’ sale on May 30 is dedicated to specialist farm toys, diecast models and collectibles. The…

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Tag >> Mr. Peanut
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TV series based on Morphy Auctions debuts in Australia
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'Million Dollar Auctions' is an unscripted TV show that documents the activities of Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy and his team. Left to right: Morphy Auctions office manager Ashley Wingenroth; CEO Dan Morphy, and his executive assistant, Serena Myers.
SYDNEY – An exciting new series based on Morphy Auctions of Denver, Pennsylvania, made its primetime debut on Australian television on October 22nd. Titled Million Dollar Auctions, the show is carried on FOXTEL’s A&E channel, which delivers original and exclusive programming from the US cable giant to Australian audiences in high definition. Million Dollar Auctions joins a powerful lineup of hit shows on FOXTEL A&E that includes American Pickers, Storage Wars and Dog the Bounty Hunter.

The Australian deal with FOXTEL was concluded at Mip TV (Cannes, France) earlier this year by exclusive sales agent and production company Icon Television. Icon TV will have 13 half-hour episodes of Million Dollar Auctions finished by December. The show has generated interest from networks in 10 other countries, including the United States.

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Coca-Cola beauties, Mr. Peanut take a bow at Morphy's, Oct. 4-5
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1907 Winchester paper-on-linen poster with image of hunting dogs, 32½in by 41¾ in. Estimate: $3,500-$5,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s Oct. 4-5 Premier Advertising & Coin-Op auction contains more than 1,100 top-quality lots from several high-profile collections. There are dozens of early coin-op, slot, penny arcade and pinball machines in the sale; as well as 60+ lots of superb tobacco tins from the David Hirsch collection, and one of the most comprehensive Moxie collections ever amassed, that of the late Jan Miller Bacci of Boston. Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.com.

The Hirsch collection includes many of the finest known tobacco tins. “All of them are in beautiful condition, and some are believed to be the only ones of their type in existence,” said Dan Morphy, CEO of Morphy Auctions.

Lot 8, a Century Tobacco flat pocket tin is estimated at $1,000-$1,500; while Lot 11, a pre-1900 Old Abe Chewing Tobacco flat tin is estimated at $1,200-$1,600. Images of American Indian chiefs adorn Lot 7, a Prairie Flower Chewing Tobacco tin, $1,000-$2,000; and Lot 12, an extremely rare Kipawa Cigar tin, $2,000-$4,000. Perhaps the star of the collection is Lot 13, an Alcazar round cigar tin picturing a world famous racehorse from which the brand took its name. Near mint, it is expected to make $6,000-$8,000.
windupWesterntinplatetin lithospace toysci-firobotPopeyeMr. Peanutmechanical bankMasudayaJapaneseholidayfarm toycowboyCoca-ColaclockworkChristmascharacter toycast ironcap gunboatbattery opauctionantiqueadvertising 7 Jan 2013
Robots dominate at Morphy's Dec. 6-8 toy, advertising auction
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Hoge tinplate Popeye in Rowboat, 15 inches long, $4,800. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s Dec. 6-8 Premier Auction brightened the holiday season for many who participated in the sale and took their pick from some of the country’s top collections of advertising, robots and other types of toys and vintage collectibles. The auction catalog’s vibrantly illustrated cover, with its compelling images of a cane-tapping Mr Peanut store display, blue-coated belsnickel and movie poster for “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” provided a tantalizing sampler of highlights offered in the $1.68 million sale, which featured Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com. All prices quoted in this report are inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.

Not surprisingly, a Machine Man tin robot from Masudaya’s “Gang of Five” dominated prices realized with a final selling price of $45,600 against an estimate of $20,000-$30,000. The boxy sci-fi favorite was one of 160 robot and space toy lots consigned by Dave DiMartino, a former VP of Guitar Center. After his retirement from the well-known retailer of guitars and amps, DiMartino traveled extensively throughout Europe, acquiring many rare and desirable robots. “But he preferred to remain under the radar, which is one reason this collection had such a curiosity factor with other collectors,” said Dan Morphy, CEO of Morphy Auctions.

The DiMartino collection produced four of the sale’s top 10 lots. Another big winner and “Gang of Five” member, a Masudaya Radicon remote-control robot, rose to $10,800 against a $4,000-$6,000 estimate. Both a boxed Asakusa painted-tin and plastic Thunder Robot (est. $2,500-$3,500) and a boxed silver tin-litho and painted Mechanized “Robby” Robot (est. $6,000-$10,000) achieved an individual selling price of $10,200.

More than 50 cast-iron mechanical banks took their places before bidders, ready to show off their talents at the drop of a penny. An uncommonly seen J & E Stevens Pelican mechanical bank known as a “rabbit variation” because of the rabbit prey visible in the seabird’s mouth, soared past its $2,000-$3,000 estimate to land at $7,800. Leading the metal toys, a 9-inch cast-iron and tin horse-drawn plow with driver, probably by Wilkins, ignored its $600-$900 estimate and garnered $5,600.
winduptraintinplatetin lithosuperherosportsspace toysoldiersci-firobotringprewarpressed steelpetrolianaMr. Peanutmechanical bankLehmannholidayHalloweenElastolincowboycomic bookCoca-ColaclockworkChristmascast ironcap gunBatmanbaseballbankautomotiveauctionantiqueadvertising 16 Nov 2012
Robots, advertising, Western collectibles and toys, toys, toys at Morphy’s, Dec. 6-8
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J. & E. Stevens cast-iron Lion Hunter mechanical bank, est. $40,000-$50,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s big December Premier Auction is many a toy collector’s favorite way to usher in the holiday season. This year’s event, slated for Dec. 6-8, is brimming with 2,800 lots of toys, banks and other choice pieces that would put a Christmas-morning gleam in any bidder’s eye. The three-day offering also features several top-notch collections, including the late Tom Winge’s cowboy and Western toy collection, Part II of the Jack Matthews toy soldier collection, and Dave DiMartino’s collections of robots, space toys, and vintage advertising figures. Internet live bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com

The Thursday, Dec. 6 session will open with 150+ occupational shaving mugs. Estimates range from $500-$3,000. A crane operator mug is expected to fetch $2,000-$3,000.

Approximately 60 lots of upright coin-operated machines will follow. Leading the category is a Gabel’s Double Dewey 5/25-cent machine, which is estimated at $100,000-$125,000. Other upright coin-op highlights include a Mills Lone Star 5-cent machine, est. $90,000-$110,000; and a Caille Bullfrog 5-cent model, $40,000-$60,000.

Next to cross the block will be Dave DiMartino’s figural advertising collection. The figures in this collection – many made in the 1940s/’50s – promote automobiles, clothing, alcoholic beverages, health care products and other goods. Among DiMartino’s favorites are figures pitching Dr. Scholl’s, Bostonian Shoes, Martell Cognac and Keen’s Korn Kure, which is a mechanical window display, est. $1,500-$2,000.
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400 premier Coca-Cola lots in Morphy's Apr. 20-21 Antique Advertising auction
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Coca-Cola trompe-l’oeil window display, 1937, 47 x 51 inches, among the rarest of all Coke advertising items, est. $15,000-$20,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – A wealth of rare antique signs, figures and other promotional items from the golden era of advertising is currently on display at Morphy’s central Pennsylvania gallery, all to be auctioned on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide the Internet live bidding.

The 1,260-lot sale incorporates a fantastic array of signage, with the centerpiece being the revered Coca-Cola advertising collection of the late Michael Narvaez. Also featured are Moxie items from the Dick Shay collection, as well as other soda pop lots.

traintoytin lithoMr. PeanutMarklinmarbleLioneldollcomicCoca-Colacast ironbankauctionantique 6 Apr 2009
Mr. Peanut collectors gobbled up the goodies at Morphy's March 5-7 Early Spring Sale
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DENVER, Pa. - A full house and a noticeable influx of new bidders contributed to a grand total in excess of $1.4 million in Morphy Auctions' March 5-7 Early Spring Sale. Bidding-card registrations indicated that, over the three-day period, more than 750 people attended the event in person. Additionally, Internet bidding through LiveAuctioneers was extremely competitive, with 300 lots selling to online participants who used the service.