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.
when people would drive by, pointing at the old Model T. I’d hit the gas and leave them in the dust.” The second hot rod, which O’Hearn has owned for 30 years, is a 1929 Ford Roadster convertible pickup truck customized with a big-block Chevy engine ($18,000-$20,000).
The Saturday, July 17 session opens with more than 125 high-end advertising lots. A parade of pretty girls from the turn of the 20th century includes the fabled model Hilda Clark on a near-mint 1903 Coca-Cola tray; and another beauty sipping Dr. Pepper as the central image of a 1908 cardboard sign ($8,000-$12,000). Cardboard signs from the 1930s and ’40s touting Coca-Cola include a 1940s example with the image of a girl lying on the beach ($3,000-$5,000).
An early Lawrence Paint Company porcelain sign emblazoned with a tiger’s head is expected to leap to a winning bid of $2,000-$4,000; while an oval tin sign for Robert Smith Ale, Philadelphia, with a Bengal tiger’s head “breaking” through it, will require $5,000-$7,000 in order to be tamed.
Representing an American classic, a porcelain Campbell’s Soup sign in near-mint condition is mm-mm-good looking and carries an estimate of $3,000-$5,000; while a custom sign depicting a cook holding a pan and frying chicken over a fire carries an estimate of $2,000-$4,000.
In the tobacciana section, a large Mayo Cut Plug Tobacco porcelain sign with a rooster image could reach $4,000-$6,000. Smaller but no less desirable, a Hi Ho Tobacco pocket tin with a wonderful image of scullers rowing also carries a $4,000-$6,000 estimate. Three complete sets of Roly Poly tins, advertising Dixie Queen, Navy Cut and Red Man Tobacco, could realize $4,000-$6,000 per set. “These are going to fly. It took the consignor 30 years to collect them all,” Morphy remarked.
Additional lots include a large assortment of tip trays, 78 occupational shaving mugs, and 20 large, double-sided porcelain neon signs sourced from a warehouse in Duluth, Minnesota, where they had been stored for many years. “Some are 10 to 12 feet tall and weigh 300 pounds. They came off 1920s storefronts in Duluth and advertise such retail establishments as a furniture store, jewelry store, a brewery, etc.,” said Morphy. Among the more eye-catching examples is a 10-foot-long, quintessentially Art Deco, lime green and yellow neon sign for Nolander’s Furniture ($3,000-$5,000) and an 8-foot-long 1920s sign for Hotel Arrowhead ($3,000-$5,000).
Sixty mechanical and still banks, more than 200 tin toy lots and 100+ pressed-steel toys and pedal cars will be auctioned on day two of the sale. “Many of the O’Hearn pedal cars were custom made, and very unusual,” said Morphy. A1914 Ford C-Cab could bring $5,000-$7,000; and a Say It With Flowers motorcycle pedal car is entered with a $7,500-$9,500 estimate.
All forms of bidding, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live or LiveAuctioneers.com, will be available for Dan Morphy’s July 16-17 Premier Toys & Advertising Auction, which will be held at the Adamstown Antique Gallery, 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517.