DENVER, Pa. – Although Morphy Auctions is one of America’s largest and busiest auction houses, with a year-round calendar of sales in many categories, the Pennsylvania-based company launched its business in 1997 with a specialty in fine antique toys and banks. Their enduring leadership role in the toy community has been paid back handsomely with a loyal worldwide following of antique and vintage toy, still and mechanical bank, and figural cast-iron collectors who never miss their sales. Morphy’s next big toy, bank and doll event will take place at their gallery on Sept. 24-25. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.More than 1,500 lots are entered, including 200+ mechanical and still banks, 200+ boxed Marx and Buddy ‘L’ pressed steel vehicles, over 150 trains, 150 advertising figures, a sweet selection of more than 100 candy containers and much more.
Among the many prized cast-iron mechanical banks in the sale is a circa-1880 Kyser & Rex (Philadelphia) Roller Skating bank. When a coin is placed in the slot on the roof and the lever is pressed, skaters glide to the rear of the rink, and a male figure presents a wreath to a little girl. The Roller Skating bank is one of the most coveted of all mechanicals, and the one offered by Morphy’s is in excellent to near-mint condition. To compare how its value has climbed, a Roller Skating bank probably could have been purchased for around $2,000 in the 1960s. The estimate on Morphy Auctions’ example (above) is $80,000-$120,000 – and it will sell, as it would be a dream addition to any advanced collection.
Another phenomenal bank is the Henry Hart ‘Presto’ cast-iron mechanical, which is the very same example shown on Page 208 of the reference book Mechanical Banks, written by Dan Morphy, president of Morphy Auctions. This rare bank carries a presale estimate of $30,000-$60,000.
A broad array of antique cast-iron doorstops includes animal, human and fantasy forms. From the animal world, the subjects include a stag, squirrel, white owl, rabbit, bear eating honey, turkey, penguin, pelican and various other birds. Among those depicting humans, a leading lot is an example of Judd Co.’s “The West Wind,” numbered “1253” and estimated at $3,000-$6,000.
Nineteenth-century cast-iron horse-drawn toys will take the spotlight, as well. A true classic, Carpenter’s “Tally Ho” depicts a team of four horses – two black and two white – pulling a coach with seven passenger figures. “It’s an imposing toy at 26 inches long, and it’s beautifully designed. It looks like it’s moving even when it’s standing still,” Morphy observed. The presale estimate is $10,000-$20,000.
Another American cast-iron classic, a correctly matched Ives cast-iron horse-drawn pumper and firehouse, is expected to make $3,000-$5,000.
A 1959 brunette Barbie is beach-ready wearing her sleek black-and-white striped swimsuit and cat’s-eye sunglasses. The doll is in excellent condition and comes with a pedestal, original Mattel box (also in excellent condition) and pink-cover Barbie booklet. Estimate: $2,000-$4,000
With eyes to the future, an extremely rare postwar Japanese “T.V. Space Patrol” is friction-operated and has an astronaut driver under a sky-blue clear plastic bubble top. As the eye-catching sky-blue and cream-colored vehicle moves forward, a video camera rotates under the cockpit dome. Just to have a chance to buy the toy on its own would be a thrill for any robot and space toy collector, but this one comes with an out-of-this-world bonus: its ultra-rare pictorial box and original packing tissue. Watch it sail out the gallery door for $3,000-$5,000.
More than 150 trains will be parked at Morphy’s and awaiting new destinations. Included in the mix are several coveted Voltamp productions. A group lot poised for success is composed of three early passenger cars: a No. 2107 Elizabeth Pullman car, No. 2105 dining car, and No. 2140 Hansa observation car. The estimate for this desirable trio is $2,000-$4,000.
“Antique and vintage toys attract auction sign-ups and absentee bids almost immediately after we post a toy catalog to the Morphy Auctions website,” said company president Dan Morphy. “From what I’ve observed in 22 years of running an auction house, there’s no such thing as a toy or bank collector who stops collecting. Even when veteran collectors consign their lifetime collections to us, it’s not long before some of them go right back to buying – sometimes the very next day.”
Morphy’s Sept. 24-25, 2019 Toy, Bank and Figural Cast Iron Auction will be held at the company’s gallery in Denver, Pa., starting at 9 a.m. Eastern Time each day. Bid absentee or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers. Questions: call 877-968-8880 or email email@example.com.