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Morphy's Aug. 30-31 Fine & Decorative Art Auction features fine jewelry, rare coins
1848 Germantown (Philadelphia) fire company parade hat. Est. $8,000-$12,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, PA.- Over the weekend of Aug. 30-31, Morphy’s will once again partner with the Pennsylvania State Treasury to auction fine jewelry, rare coins and medals; and other hand-selected valuables from the Commonwealth’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property vault. The 554-lots containing goods from the Treasury’s storehouse are the highlight of Morphy’s 1,360-lot Fine & Decorative Arts Auction, and proceeds from their sale will generate revenue for programs benefiting the citizens of Pennsylvania. All Treasury lots will be offered without reserve.

“The Treasury, under the supervision of State Treasurer Rob McCord, makes an exhaustive effort to locate the rightful heirs of unclaimed valuables from banks and credit unions, police departments, hospitals, nursing homes and many other sources,” explained Morphy’s founder and president, Dan Morphy. “After three years have passed and all due diligence and advertising have been completed, the goods become eligible for auction under Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property law. Morphy’s is honored to work cooperatively with Treasurer McCord and his team in this ongoing joint venture.”

Saturday’s session will open with 150 lots of coins. Lot 5 is a complete Lincoln-head penny set that includes an elusive 1909-S VDB, lot estimate: $1,000-$1,500. Lot 69 contains five proof sets spanning the years 1950-1954, est. $1,000-$1,500; while Lot 86, a US gold type set including 11 gold coins is expected to make $8,000-$12,000. Additionally, the selection includes more than 100 1-oz gold Krugerrands, and a paper currency collection that includes Lot 121, an 1882 $20 gold certificate note, $2,000-$3,000; and Lot 136, a 1901 $10 large note, $2,000-$3,000.

A 30-lot single-owner collection of superior-quality Bakelite jewelry in a rainbow of colors leads the way for 350+ lots of fine jewelry, most of which comes from the Pa. Treasury vault. Lot 234, a ladies ring with 1.8 carats of emeralds and 1.2 carats of diamonds is estimated at $6,000-$9,000. A ring boasting a 2-carat natural brown diamond is entered as Lot 274, with a $25,000-$25,000 estimate. Lot 258, classic 14K white gold tennis bracelet, is set with 46 emerald-cut diamonds and has a total weight of approximately 40 carats. It is estimated at $25,000-$40,000. Other highlights include: Lot 451, a ladies Victorian yellow gold filigree brooch with 29 emeralds (15.5 carats) and 153 mine-cut diamonds (4.5 carats), est. $20,000-$30,000; and Lot 503, a chic 18K gold Tiffany ladies watch with oval lapis lazuli face, est. $7,000-$10,000.

Next up will be a single-owner collection of more than 80 figural napkin rings. Among the many desirable forms are Lot 588, a pair of tennis players, $2,500-$3,000; and Lot 590, a baseball player, $2,000-$2,500.

The Saturday session will conclude with 30+ lots of silver. Lot 631, a Georg Jensen flatware set, includes 344 pieces with a total weight is 381ozt, est. $10,000-$15,000. A William Gale (American) 4-piece sterling tea and coffee set dates to 1862 and weighs in at 138ozt. It is catalogued as Lot 650 and carries a presale estimate of $3,000-$4,000.

Sunday’s offering begins with a single-owner collection of more than 100 lots of early firefighting memorabilia. Lot 712, a dated “1848” parade hat for a Germantown (Philadelphia) fire company is estimated at $8,000-$12,000; while Lot 752, an 18in Gamewell ball-top fire gong carries a $5,000-$7,000 estimate. Another firefighting gem is Lot 703, a water bucket for the Columbian Eagle Fire Society. Manufactured in Boston, the pictorial leather container is expected to earn $2,000-$3,000 at auction.

Listen for the thrilling sounds of mechanical music as the next 40 lots take the spotlight. Lot 809 is one of few known examples of Lochmann’s coin-operated duplex disc music box – a double-disc version of their Model 172. Walnut cased with 24 tubular bells and 12 pairs of discs, the machine is from the collection of Dr. Coulson Conn, past president of The Musical Box Society International. Est. $30,000-$40,000.

Described in Morphy’s catalog as “the true and final incarnation of what was known as the ‘orchestral’ style music box,” an elegant six-cylinder box made by the Swiss firm Ami Rivenc was produced sometime between 1885 and 1890. Its six cylinders play 48 melodies listed on the original framed tune label, with six tuned bells, a drum, castagnettes and a 22-note full reed organ. Estimate: $25,000-$35,000.

The next 100 lots encompass numerous subcategories of Americana. Lot 884, a weather vane replicating a horse-drawn fire engine, is estimated at $2,000-$3,000. Lot 861, a handsome Pennsylvania tall-case clock in a George Hoff case, with “Lancaster” written on its face, could reach $5,000-$8,000.

A wonderful 30-lot assortment of stoneware includes Lot 925, a John Bell 1-gallon water pitcher, $5,000-$8,000; and Lot 926, a rare Remmy cobalt-blue paint-decorated chicken water-feeder, $3,500-$5,500. Lot 915, a 3-gallon jug, is richly decorated with the image of a deer standing in a fenced setting amongst foliage, and is impressed “Giles & Company” and “Variety Store Cherry Valley.” Its estimate is $5,000-$8,000.

More than 100 pieces of British, European and American pottery will be auctioned. Two of the section’s top lots were manufactured by R.W. Martin, the turn of the 20th century English company known for its whimsically grotesque – and highly sought-after – bird-shape vessels. Lot 960 is a Wally Bird tobacco jar marked along the neck of its stopper: “Martin Bros London & Southall.” Exhibiting superior color and detail, the 6½-inch figural jar is estimated at $13,000-$15,000. Lot 959 is a 24-inch handled pitcher designed in the form of a standing Eskimo clutching the folds of his full-length, hooded cloak. In excellent condition and incised “R.W. Martin & Bros London & Southall” and 14.9.1903 (Sept. 14, 1903) on its base, it has a presale estimate of $10,000-$12,000.

American pottery highlights include Lot 1040, a Roseville Egypto Arts & Crafts vase, $2,000-$3,000; Lot 1073, a Rookwood iris-glaze urn by Sara Sax, $1,000-$2,000; and Lot 1135, a Weller Sicard lobed vase, $2,000-$2,500.

More than 100 lots of art glass are included in the Sunday session. Among the key pieces are Lot 1153, a 12-inch Daum Nancy cameo vase, $2,000-$4,000; Lot 1162, an 11-inch, signed L.C. Tiffany iridescent art glass vase, $4,000-$6,000; and Lot 1175, a monumental 13-inch Quezal gold-luster Jack in the Pulpit vase, $12,000-$15,000.

The day will close with a single-owner collection of more than 40 beautiful bronzes. Lot 1273, a depiction of a girl in riding attire, holding a crop, is one of Bruno Zach’s most iconic subjects. Cast by Argentor and standing on a marble base, the near-mint 14¾-inch bronze is estimated at $6,000-$7,500. Lot 1274, a 13½-inch bronze nude of a young woman arranging her hair before a cheval mirror, is signed “Pinedo.” Est. $5,000-$8,000.

Commenting on the outstanding array of fine and decorative art to be sold, Dan Morphy remarked that anytime his company announces an upcoming sale will contain unclaimed valuables from the Pennsylvania Treasury’s vault, “the phones start ringing.”

“Typically, jewelry, coins or other goods from safe-deposit boxes are heirlooms or high-end items,” Morphy said. “Each time we’re invited to visit the vault in Harrisburg to help select the items to be auctioned, it’s an exciting treasure hunt for us. We always look forward to it and make an effort to choose pieces we know will appeal to the largest number of bidders and generate the greatest revenue for the Commonwealth.”

Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord commented that the “ongoing partnership with Morphy Auctions has proved incredibly valuable,” noting that long-forgotten items from the Treasury’s vault have achieved $459,161 so far in Morphy sales.

All forms of bidding will be available for Morphy’s Aug. 30-31, 2014 auction, including in person at the gallery, by phone, absentee or live via the Internet through Morphy Live, LiveAuctioneers, Proxibid and Invaluable.

Preview the entire auction inventory daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On both auction days there will be a one-hour preview from 8 a.m. till the auction’s commencement at 9 a.m. Morphy Auctions is located at 2000 N. Reading Road in Denver, PA 17517.

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