Big sale scheduled at Morphy Auctions

By on January 25, 2012

At Morphy Auctions’ first sale of the year, slated for Feb. 9 through 11, more than 2,000 lots of antique toys, trains, advertising and rare superhero comics will go across the action block, attesting once again that Morphys is fast becoming one of the big players in the antique auction business. The business recently expanded their facilities, adding additional parking, display and staging areas, offices, a large auction gallery and lots more.

"We are unique in the auction business," said Mike Landis, an employee who spends his time preparing and displaying items for upcoming sales. According to Landis, his company provides a number of services that separate them from other auction houses. "Every sale we have has a catalog so when items are consigned here, they are professionally photographed in-house for that particular sales catalog, available to potential bidders and distributed through their extensive mailing list."

Two studios and three full-time photographers are kept busy accomplishing this arduous task.

"After consigning an item, it may be several months before it is sold," explained Landis. "In addition to making the catalog, items for an upcoming sale are displayed for public viewing for usually a month or more. People from the New York or Washington, D.C. areas may travel here to preview something they are interested in. We pride ourselves in our extended preview time which is another service that separates us from other auctions," he said. The recent expansion also included large, well-lit areas for this purpose.

The upcoming Feb. 9 to 11 sale includes a vast amount of antique toys and vintage soda advertisement memorabilia, two groups of antiques that collectors have grown to associate with Morphy Auctions. The fun begins with 350+ lots of Coca-Cola and other soda pop advertising. Highlights include a 1929 Orange Crush calendar with full pad, est. $700-$1,200; a 1900 Coca-Cola serving tray, $3,000-$4,000; and a complete set of 10 original Coca-Cola advertising pocket mirrors from the years 1906 to 1916. The set is expected to fetch $1,800-$2,500. Following the soda pop section, there will be 150 general advertising lots and a small grouping of dye cabinets, including examples promoting Peerless Dyes and Diamond Dyes.

The Saturday session begins with 50+ figural cast iron lots, including bottle openers, doorknockers and paperweights and cast-iron mechanical banks including a very nice Perfection Registering bank that could bring $25,000 to $35,000. Other mechanicals include a Mammy with Spoon (blue dress version) and a near-mint Santa at the Chimney. In all, over 100 cast-iron toy lots will cross the auction block, with a large assortment of motorcycles, trucks and cars by Hubley, Arcade and Kenton.

A wonderful selection of more than 200 toy train lots awaits bidders, including an outstanding Lionel Mickey Mouse Circus Train set, complete with its original box and cardboard inserts. Additionally, there are many excellent prewar Lionel 0 gauge passenger sets with original boxes, an American Flyer standard gauge stadium set in original set box, German-made trains and a number of more contemporary trains.

Of special interest in our local area are cast iron toys made by the Hubley Company in Lancaster. The upcoming sale features several 1890s Hubley four-seated brakes, which are cast-iron horses and carriages containing removable people. According to Landis, these brakes will command prices in the $3,000 to $6,000 range. After transportation methods changed in America, the Hubley Company followed suit and manufactured many cars, trucks and motorcycles, some of which are offered at the upcoming auction.

However, the real excitement at the February sale is something relatively new for Morphy’s — a collection of super-hero comics including the first issue (1963) of "Amazing Spiderman" which is expected to bring between $25,000 and $30,000. "We also have the first issue (1963) of "The X-Men" which is valued at $17,000 to $20,000," said Landis. In all, over 250 prized comics from an original-owner collection will be offered; each expected to bring several hundred to several thousand dollars.

"Comic books are a new thing for us. We need to keep our minds open for new things," explained Landis. "Today’s collectors are interested in things they had growing up and that most likely was during the ’50s and ’60s. Some of the older antiques are not as collectible as before because the people who used or remembered them are no longer living."

All forms of bidding will be available for Morphy’s Feb. 9 to 11 auction, including live at the gallery, phone, absentee and live via the Internet through Morphy Live or

According to Landis, this is another service that sets Morphy’s apart.

"A lot of our buyers are bidding at home either over the Internet or on the phone. Basically, the whole world is our market," he said. "Two people are kept busy full-time shipping items to our customers all over the world."

To view items scheduled to sell at the Feb. 9 to 11 sale, visit Morphy Auctions, located at 2000 N. Reading Road, Denver, daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Have fun! More AUCTION, page A11

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