Spaced out! Machine Man robot commands $86,100 at Morphy’s

Machine Man battery-operated robot from Masudaya’s (Japan) Gang of Five robot series. Sold for $86,100. Morphy Auctions image

DENVER, Pa. – An imposing lithographed-tin visitor from the future, a Masudaya “Machine Man” robot claimed the top slot in Morphy Auctions’ March 13-14 toy auction, selling for $86,100. Big and boxy and standing 15 inches tall, the late 1950s/early 1960s Japanese production is one of few known examples of its type from the so-called “Gang of Five” robot series.

“We were not surprised that this robot sold for more than its high estimate,” said Morphy’s President Dan Morphy. “It’s in near-mint to mint condition, which is rare in itself for a 60-year-old robot, but on top of that, it has only ever had one owner. The person who consigned it to our auction received the toy brand new when he was a boy. It’s very unusual to come across a toy this desirable that has remained with its original owner throughout its existence.” The robot had been entered in Morphy’s sale with expectations of selling for $50,000-$80,000.

The Machine Man robot was designed with a bump-and-go action, and when in motion, its ears, eyes and mouth light up. “To many robot fans, a Machine Man — in any condition — would be the crown jewel of their collection. To have the chance to buy one this nice is almost unheard of.”

Other members of Masudaya’s Gang of Five include: Lavender Robot, Directional Robot, Giant Sonic (or ‘Train’) Robot, and Target Robot.

Auction Central News will be running a full postsale report about Morphy’s March 13-14 auction.

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