A superb Caille double-upright floor model slot machine combining a 5-cent Centaur and 25-cent Big Six paid off handsomely at Morphys
April 26-27 Antique Advertising & Coin Op Auction. Its richly gold-plated façade, paw feet and other embellishments made the early gambling machine the center of attention at Morphys $1,640,000 sale, where it garnered a winning bid of $90,000. All prices quoted are inclusive of 20% buyers premium.
The auction also featured many smaller gambling, arcade and vending machines. A Mills 1-cent Electric Treatment machine emblazoned For One Night Jags and Take a shock and look pleasant, surpassed its high estimate at $11,400. Not quite as jolting was a quaint Chuck-O-Luck glass-dome-topped nickel dice machine. Made in 1926 by the Southern Novelty Company of Atlanta, it attracted multiple bidders who pushed it to $6,600 against a presale estimate of $600-$1,000.
A 40-year single-owner collection of more than 100 early syrup dispensers featured many scarce entries, including a circa 1910 Cherri Bon dispenser and one of very few known examples of a circa-1900 Fan-Taz 5-cent DRINK of the FANS dispenser in the form of a realistically stitched baseball. Each was bid to $31,200. Other popular syrup dispensers included Beats All and Grape Smash, which realized $20,400 each; and Chero Crush, $19,200. A vibrant, barrel-shape Drink Orange-Julep dispenser commanded a sweet bid of $17,400 nearly triple its high estimate.
Americas classic soft drink, Coca-Cola, was not to be denied a place in the top 10. A framed 1911 Coke calendar in near-mint condition with a beautiful image of a Gibson Girl wearing a stylish flower-trimmed hat swept past its $6,000-$7,000 to settle at $17,400. An extremely rare Hutchinson-style Coke bottle, with a straight-sided as opposed to cabriole shape, nearly doubled its high estimate at $8,400.
An extensive collection of Orange Crush advertising included a very rare 1936 embossed-tin triangle sign. In near-mint condition, it bubbled up a winning bid of $4,500. Among the other beverage highlights was a brewery sign with regional appeal: a tin pictorial sign for York Brewing Co. Lager Beer, York, Pa. It sold for $5,400 against an estimate of $1,500-$2,500.
A fine array of more than 150 advertising tins was led by a Buster Brown cigar tin with an amusing image of comic strip character Buster Brown and his trusty bull terrier Tighe. Estimated at $2,000-$3,000, the perennially popular container rose to $14,400. One of only a few known examples of a Sweet Violet Tobacco vertical pocket tin was estimated at $1,000-$2,000 but realized a hefty $6,600.
The Sunday session opened with Morphys second offering of pinball machines from the 35-year David Silverman collection, previously displayed at the National Pinball Museum. Film-related machines found favor with bidders, including a 1993 Williams Indiana Jones pinball that sold within estimate for $6,600. And there was crossover interest from sports fans for a 1953 D. Gottlieb & Co. Grand Slam pinball machine. Described as being in 9.75 (out of 10) condition and a really great game to play, it surpassed expectations at $3,000.
Once again, antique advertising showed its strength in the marketplace, Morphy Auctions president and founder Dan Morphy said after the busy two-day event. Collectors keep coming back to our sales because they know we understand what they want rarity and condition. Every one of our advertising auctions is different because we specialize in collections, in particular those that have been held privately for decades. You never know when a collector will decide its time to sell. But thats what makes our advertising sales so exciting. They contain things that may only be available to purchase once in a buyers lifetime, so collectors pay close attention.