Morphy’s kicks off 2015 with Jan. 4 sale of antique advertising, toys

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s will launch into the New Year with a Sunday, Jan. 4 auction of toys and antique advertising at its spacious, state-of-the-art gallery in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

All forms of bidding will be available for the sale, which includes 987 mixed lots, approximately half of which is devoted to advertising in its many forms. The remainder consists of 100+ toy lots, 50+ figural cast-iron lots, 50+ lots of dolls and accessories; and other compatible categories such as trains, sports memorabilia, mechanical banks, clocks and more.

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A beautiful collection of antique brewery tip trays and serving trays – many with depictions of brewery buildings and pretty ladies – will open the auction. Lot 1 is an especially fine example of a Consumer’s Brewing Co. of N.Y. Ltd. tip tray, in vibrant shades of seafoam green, sky blue and red. In a graphic re-enactment of a busy day at the brewery, horse-drawn wagons laden with product are depicted crisscrossing the road in front of the imposing, six-story headquarters. The estimate is $200-$400, but a higher bid will be required, as there are already eight bids on the tray which have pushed its price beyond estimate.

A variety of other brewery-related items will cross the auction block, including Lot 29, a framed cardboard sign for Robin Hood Beer that depicts the English folk hero and his band of merry men competing in a game of skill. The 25 by 28½-inch picture is expected to make $200-$300.

General advertising will follow, with signs, containers and store displays that advertise motor oil, chewing gum, beverages, ice cream and other foods. Circus and Robert Ripley sideshow posters offer depictions of the Hindu Quarter Man, Lady Leona Psychic Marvel, the Pain Proof Man, and two examples promoting impersonations (including “Pop Eye the Sailor”) by facial contortionist Bob Wallace. The estimate range for the posters starts at $50 and tops out at $500.

A sizable array of soda pop and root beer advertising awaits collectors. Lot 105, an attractive tin sign shaped as a barrel of Richardson Root Beer, is realistic down to the foaming head that billows from the top. It is entered with expectations of $300-$500.

The king of soft drinks, Coca-Cola, dominates the auction and is represented in literally hundreds of lots, both in the advertising and toy categories. Among the dozens of desirable Coke serving and tip trays are Lot 280, a 1907 tip tray estimated at $600-$800; Lot 307, a 1930 serving tray that depicts a woman on the telephone with the caption, “Meet me at the soda fountain,” $300-$500; and Lot 281, a 1909 tip tray with the image of a model against a nighttime harbor scene, $300-$500. Additionally, a large collection of Coca-Cola playing card decks will be offered, as well as menus, calendars, soda fountain accessories, standees (including some with Coke Santa) and many small 1930s-1960s toy trucks and premiums promoting the world’s most famous beverage.

Immediately following the Coca-Cola advertising, Morphy’s will auction a collection of colorful tobacco crate labels. Quite a few will be sold in lots of two or three, with estimates ranging from $50 to $200. Likewise, a collection of tobacco pouches will be presented to bidders in logically grouped lots.

Several cast-iron banks have been consigned, including Lot 554, an Owl estimated at $300-$500. Many other figural cast-iron novelties will be auctioned, including paperweights, bookends, doorknockers, doorstops, lawn ornaments and more.

Dozens of cast-iron toys run the gamut from ox carts to horse-drawn fire and circus wagons, while the tin toy section includes both European and American comic-character favorites.

Numerous cap guns, including examples by Hubley and Kilgore, are found in the toy section, as are Japanese friction and space toys. Pressed-steel vehicles from top makers like Buddy ‘L’ and Structo will cross the auction block, as will several pedal cars.

The doll category contains many German dolls, soft toys and wood structures (log cabin, church, stable, etc.) with estimates that most collectors would find quite appealing.

The sale is rounded out by an interesting selection of mantel, advertising and regulator clocks; games, lithographed tin sand pails, die-cast vehicles, soldiers (including Britains), movie posters, baseball and football cards; early photographica, pottery, stoneware, and holiday-theme candy containers.

Morphy’s Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 auction will be held at the company’s gallery. Start time is 9 a.m. Eastern.

For additional information on any item in the sale, call 717-335-3435 or email


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