Crush of Internet bidding pushes Morphy's Winter sale total to $2 million The biggest crowd ever to attend a Morphy Auctions event, coupled with incredibly strong Internet bidding, led to a $2 million total for the Pennsylvania company's Winter Sale held Dec. 6-8.
News-Antique.com - Jan 10,2008 - DENVER, Pa. - A “strong, lively crowd” and “unbelievably strong Internet bidding” were the key elements that fueled a $2 million gross in Morphy Auctions' Dec. 6-8 Winter Sale, said the firm's chief operating officer, Dan Morphy. “It was the biggest crowd we've ever had for a sale, and people were in a buying mood - maybe it was the holidays that did it,” said Morphy. “There were never fewer than 50 people in the audience, and the pressed steel buyers were there to the very end.”
Internet bidding also played a significant role in the auction's success, Morphy said. “We sold 35 percent of the lots through the Internet, and at any given time, half the lots had an online bid in play. The numbers were very impressive.”
The sale's top lot was a 55-inch-long by 53-inch-tall painted-wood hanging trade sign made for the Alaska Fur Co. Dating to around 1890 and depicting a gold seal climbing atop a corporate logo, the carved, double-sided sign was described in the catalog as “one of the finest original examples in existence.” Estimated at $50,000-$100,000, it realized a very respectable $86,250 (all prices quoted inclusive of 15 percent buyer's premium). After the auction, Dan Morphy confirmed that, in recognition of the sensitive nature of what the sign represents, Morphy's would be making a generous donation to an organization devoted to wildlife protection.
In excellent, colorful condition, a 64-inch-tall “Tiger Pull” coin-op machine made in 1928 far surpassed expectations of $15,000-$25,000. With a wood cabinet base and cast-iron pillar decorated with a richly painted image of a toothy tiger, the machine made by Exhibit Supply invites the user to “Place Foot Here” and “Pull the Tiger's Tail and Make Him Roar!” It leaped through its estimate range to land at $42,550.
Pressed-steel toys rose to the occasion, with several over-the-top prices noted. “That's a category that really popped,” said Morphy. “In total, it did twice what I thought it would do.” Among the highlights was a circa-1925 Sturditoy ambulance measuring 26 inches in length. Painted white with red crosses on its sides, the vehicle sped past its $7,000-$9,000 estimate to settle at 17,250. Also, a circa-1926 American National Packard Fire Chief roadster with side-mounted spare tire and nickel-plated accessories, estimated at $10,000-$15,000, cruised to $14,950.
Cast-iron vehicles also scored in a major way. A very rare Arcade 9-inch Checker Cab toy with nickel grille and driver, and white rubber tires had come “straight from a house,” Morphy said, and was “one of the most desirable automotive toys ever made.” It took in a hefty fare, selling for $25,300.
Within the tin toy group, a Linemar battery-operated Mickey the Magician with original box sold for $2,588, while an ultra-rare Atom 13-inch wind-up Batman walking toy, 1960s, with original Japanese-language box, turned on its superhero powers to achieve $13,800.
Exceptional provenance was what drew “our largest-ever turnout of marble buyers,” said Dan Morphy. “Gary and Sally Dolley have always been known for buying only the