Morphy Auctions' March 30-31, April 1 Spring Sale Morphy’s 2200-lot no-reserve Spring auction features rare antique toys and banks from the Bob Brady collection and part II of the Gary Selmonsky comic character collection. Illustrated catalog online.
one opportunity to buy this toy, which is quite obscure,” said Brady. Another gem is Brady’s HFD (Hubley Fire Department) horse-drawn pumper that weighs a hefty 8 or 9lbs and comes complete with its original license plate.
Brady emphasized that all of the toys he has placed in Morphy’s Spring auction are from his personal collection; none are from his dealer inventory. “I’ve selected things from every part of my collection – still and mechanical banks, clockwork and American toys, paperweights, doorstops, etc. – to put in this sale. The reason I’m selling is because my wife and I are redoing our will and want to put together trusts for our grandkids. The only way to finance that is to go where all the assets are, and that’s the collection.” Brady noted that all toys chosen for consignment are in extremely nice condition, the result of the collection’s having been “upgraded and pared down many times” over the past three decades.
The fleet of Hubley cast-iron motorcycles arriving from the Brady collection is a testament to buying with condition as the watchword. Included are two small Say it with Flowers bikes, a Parcel Post and U.S. Mail – each with original pull strings – a Traffic model and two Crash Cars in different colors. Twenty-eight cast-iron motorcycles will be offered, as well as four tin motorcycles, one of them made by Gunthermann.
Early black-themed American toys in the Brady group include two circa 1865 Jerome Secor rarities. Secor made only five clockwork pieces during the 1860s. One is known as the Tambourine Player, and in Brady’s opinion, the example he has consigned is the nicest of the three or four known to exist. “The man turns his head back and forth, shakes the tambourine in his hand and keeps the beat by moving his foot up and down,” said Brady, explaining the toy’s action. The other Secor toy is called Brudder Bones, and depicts a man playing the “bones” as his head goes back and forth while his foot taps. “For that era, it was a very sophisticated toy.”
Both still and mechanical bank enthusiasts are excited over the opportunity to buy premium-quality pieces from the Bob Brady bank collection, which is widely known and admired. Within the still bank category, Brady amassed only Hubley productions. In many cases, he was able to secure examples that had their original boxes – such as Fidos, mammies and cats – which he paid his dues to obtain. “I used to go to markets like Renninger’s and Shupps Grove at 4:30 in the morning, when the dealers were still unpacking their wares. Often I’d return home at noon with toothpicks in my eyes and falling asleep, but I would have a Hubley still bank or paperweight to show for it.”
“There weren’t a lot of big ‘hits,’ even back then,” Brady observed. “The best stuff was in collections, so whenever a major collection came along – like that of Stan Sax or Bill