Collectors could strike gold when California toy collection is offered at Morphy's, Jul. 16-17 At the heart of Dan Morphy Auctions’ 1,300-lot July 16-17 Premier Auction is a collection of mostly mint/boxed toys that has flown under the radar for nearly three decades.
News-Antique.com - Jun 22,2010 - DENVER, PA. – At the heart of Dan Morphy Auctions’ 1,300-lot July 16-17 Premier Auction is a collection of mostly mint/boxed toys that has flown under the radar for nearly three decades. Running the gamut from European, early American and Japanese toys to pressed steel, pedal cars and even two actual hot rods, the collection was amassed by retired California architect and Victorian home restorer Michael O’Hearn. It will be offered at auction “unpicked and in its entirety,” said auction company CEO Dan Morphy.
“Very few people have even heard of this truly exceptional collection,” said Morphy. “Mr. O’Hearn never sold a toy; he only bought, and in each of the 46 categories of his collection, he kept the emphasis on condition. All of the O’Hearn toys are a strong 9 out of 10 or better.”
The auction’s flagship collection came to Morphy’s as a result of the 20-year business association and friendship between O’Hearn and Morphy’s chief operating officer, Tom Sage Jr. “I started selling toys to Michael in the late 1980s or early 1990s through my magazine ads,” said Sage. “For many years I had no idea how large and impressive his collection was, until Michael extended an invitation to Dan and myself to visit his home and view the toys. It was something to behold. There were some 4,000 toys in his collection, at least 2,500 of them in their original boxes. As toy collections go, it’s a California gold mine, right up there with the very best.”
The Friday, July 16 session will open with more than 75 boxed robot and space toy lots. Highlights include boxed examples of a New Space Station (estimate $1,000-$1,500), a Space Refuel Station ($2,000-$4,000) and a friction Space bus ($1,200-$1,800). A TV Space Patrol Car is expected to make $1,500-$2,500.
More than 100 European tin toys will be auctioned in the first session. A French Gem #42 racecar is entered with a $1,500-$2,000 estimate, while a German lithographed-tin #15 Super Racer friction toy shows its rarity and desirability with a $4,000-$8,000 estimate. A Fisher windup bus with “Joyville” as its destination is expecting a fare of $2,000-$4,000.
The panoramic sub-collection of Japanese toys spans the era from pre-World War II through the boom years of postwar toymaking. “It covers quite a range – celluloid, battery ops, tin airplanes, big ’50s cars,” said Morphy. A #58 Atom Jet racecar is estimated at $2,000-$4,000.
Michael O’Hearn also gets a kick out of full-size cars, as evidenced by the two beautifully appointed contemporary hot rods consigned to Morphy’s sale. His 1927 Ford Model T coupe ($20,000-$30,000) is fitted with a Ford Cobra engine and Jaguar front and rear end. Described by O’Hearn as “a deluxe mini racecar in an antique body,” the car has air conditioning, power steering and a 50-gallon gas tank in its trunk.
“At first glance, it looks like a Model T, but it’s deceptive,” said O’Hearn. I would take it out for a spin and have a little fun