From Bing to Barbie: American, Japanese, and European toys at Morphy Feb. 14-16

DENVER, Pa. – It’s toy time at Morphy Auctions, where 1,425 lots of top-notch toys and collectibles will be auctioned on Wednesday, February 14, Thursday, February 15, and Friday, February 16. Virtually every popular toy category is represented in the auction lineup, from classics such as pressed-steel automotive, European tin windups, and cast-iron mechanical banks, to modern-era and vintage favorites such as postwar Japanese tin, Barbies, and Star Wars collectibles.

More than 100 banks will cross the auction block on Day 1 and Day 2, including 56 cast-iron mechanicals. Many favorites by J. & E. Stevens of Cromwell, Connecticut are at the forefront. A near-mint ‘Bad Accident’ bank with bright colors and 97% of its paint retains its original wood factory box and is estimated at $4,000-$8,000; while an excellent-plus Boy Scout Camp bank with its original flag is estimated at $3,000-$6,000. The highest-estimated Stevens mechanical, at $10,000-$15,000, is a near-mint ‘Called Out’ mechanical bank, which has a sentry theme and was assembled from very rare bronze patterns.

Bing is represented within the sale’s approximately 50 European toy lots. A Bing Keiser Wilhelm 40in clockwork tin ocean liner with four stacks is mostly original and has 10 lifeboats. In excellent condition, it is guided by a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.

Lehmann, another revered German producer of tin toys, based many of their most popular designs on actual people Ernst Paul Lehmann encountered in everyday life or during his travels. His only purported self-indulgence was in creating the wonderful flywheel toy known as ‘Walking Down Broadway’ or, alternatively, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Lehmann’ or ‘Lehmann Family.’ It depicts a well-dressed couple out for a stroll with their pug dog on a leash. The sale features a VG-near mint example of this scarce and early toy with its original box bottom and an original pictorial label fastened to a newer lid. The estimate is $2,000-$4,000.

The train category includes productions by American Flyer, Ives, and Lionel, among others. Leading the 85-lot selection of Lionels is a prewar O-gauge Mickey Mouse Circus Train set with accessories, including all 12 of the original tickets, windup key, and a brochure showing the set for sale for $2. In excellent condition, the set is estimated at $4,000-$8,000.

In the Japanese toy category, the sale includes an Alps battery-operated Missile Robot. Pristine and appearing unused, the 15in robot is fully intact, with its dish antenna and original box with cardboard inserts. Missile Robot will step into the spotlight with a $3,000-$6,000 estimate.

Another stellar example of postwar Japanese toy excellence is a scarce lithographed-tin #98 Champion Racer. Measuring 18.5in in length, the friction-powered open racer with helmeted driver is graded excellent to near-mint and estimated at $2,000-$4,000.

The sports memorabilia category is led by an ultra-rare BBCE-authenticated 1976/’77 Topps ‘Hockey’ wax case containing four factory-sealed wax boxes. Each box contains 36 sealed 15¢ bubble gum picture-card packs. “Collectors rarely have the opportunity to acquire factory-sealed boxes of this type,” said Morphy’s Toys & Trains Department Head Tommy Sage Jr. “Morphy’s has a strong following for sports cards, especially since our auction one year ago of an unopened 1952 Topps baseball brick, which sold for $873,300. We expect a lot of interest in this outstanding Hockey wax box, which is estimated at $12,000-$16,000.”

To pop culture fans, there is no Barbie doll more desirable than the 1959 example known as blonde ponytail #850. Morphy’s will offer a very good original and boxed example of the #850 wearing the iconic black-and-white striped swimsuit and with clean original earrings. Accompanied by its stand, booklet, and a nice variety of extra clothing, accessories, and shoes, the lot is estimated at $2,000-$5,000.

Morphy’s Aug. 2-3 auction merges classic toys with pop culture memorabilia

BBCE-authenticated, unopened 1971 Topps NHL Hockey wax box containing 24 packs of 10 cards each, with a likelihood of gem-mint examples of Ken Dryden’s rookie card, or cards for HOFers like Orr, Howe and Hull included in the selection. Estimate $12,000-$24,000

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. Bid absentee or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.

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