On October 29-31, Morphys will auction the last and very best of the renowned Mel Getlan collection, along with other fresh-to-market collections, at an all-star 1,635-lot Coin-Op & Antique Advertising Auction. The live event will take place at Morphys gallery in Lancaster County, Pa., starting at 10 a.m. ET. All forms of remote bidding will also be available, including absentee, phone, and live via the Internet through Morphy Live
Mel Getlan grew up in the coin-op business and started collecting coin-op and gambling machines in the early 1970s, said Morphy Auctions president, Dan Morphy. In the coin-op hobby, his collection is considered one of the all-time greats. We expect strong competition over Mels machines because his fellow collectors know just how rare some of them are.
The star of the Getlan collection is a sensational Caille Bros., Triple Centaur Jackpot musical upright slot machine in working order with keys the only one known to exist. Housed in a single oak cabinet, it accepts nickels, quarters and nickels, respectively, in its three separately operating sections. Back in the golden age of slot machines, operators had to pay for a gambling license for each machine, but the innovation of double and triple upright slots allowed operators to increase their revenues while still paying for only one license, Morphy explained. That was outside-the-box thinking. The Triple Centaur Jackpot musical upright slot machine is in original condition, including its metal castings, and has been a part of the Getlan private collection since the 1970s. Its pre-sale estimate is $200,000-$300,000.
Also manufactured by the Detroit firm Caille Bros., a 1904 Peerless Roulette 5-cent floor model slot machine is housed in a rich oak cabinet accented by decorative iron castings with a high-contrast, antiqued finish. Players deposit nickels into their choice of seven coin-slots and pull the lever to spin the wheel and watch the ball bounce beneath the glass window. The color the ball lands on determines the payout. This fantastic original machine, with older restoration, comes to auction with a $180,000-$250,000 estimate.
Many other extremely desirable slot machines are entered in the sale. A circa-1905 Caille Eclipse and Big 6 twin upright slot machine that accepts nickels on one side and quarters on the other is in fine restored condition with impressive nickel-plated coin heads. It plays and pays perfectly and will cross the auction block with a $75,000-$125,000 estimate. An exquisite 1899 Mills Duplex 5-cent upright slot machine in a light oak cabinet has attractive castings with a mottled brass patina. Up to 10 nickels can be played per pull on this machine, whose auction estimate is $60,000-$100,000.
In a league of its own, the 5-cent Liberty Bell slot machine in Morphys sale was created circa 1898 in San Francisco by German-born mechanic Charles Fey (1862-1944). This particular model is important to the history of gambling machines because it represents the first-ever three-reel or dial payout slot design. Fey was 29 years old when he invented the machine, which he named the Liberty Bell because it rang a bell upon payout. The highly sought-after slot offered on Day 1 of Morphys sale works perfectly and comes with keys. Estimate: $175,000-$250,000
With its ornate Art Nouveau casting and novelty action, its hard to resist Caille Bros. 1-cent Teddy Bear vending machine. When a penny is dropped into the slot, a bas-relief black bear figure performs a complete somersault as a tab of chewing gum is dispensed from one of two visible, glass-front columns. The machine works well and comes with its key, so its ready for action. Estimate: $40,000-$80,000
Antique coin-op machines with a baseball theme are especially hard to find because they are coveted by collectors of coin-ops and sports memorabilia alike. Two of the very best will be ready to knock it out of the park at Morphys, starting with a 1927 1-cent All-American Baseball Game. Known as Model H and manufactured by Amusement Machine Co., for a three-year period from 1929-1931, it comes with a key and is estimated at $50,000-$80,000. Collectors will also be stepping up to the plate to vie for an all-original 5-cent Little Rip baseball-theme payout trade stimulator made by Mills Novelty Co. In its decorative cast-iron case with a placard that reads Get in the Ball Game! this very special machine not only displays phenomenal condition, it also plays perfectly. Estimate: $40,000-$70,000
The antique advertising section is loaded with great pieces from every imaginable specialty category, including alcoholic beverages, candy, soda pop, tobacco, barber shop, circus/carnival, and more. An incredible late-19th-century reverse-on-glass sign advertising Brown The Prompt Sign Artist is elaborately detailed with gold and silver inlay, and mother-of-pearl accents. This framed sign, which is possibly the earliest reverse-on-glass sign ever handled by Morphys, is expected to reach $10,000-$20,000. For Coca-Cola collectors in need of refreshment, a gorgeous 1935 triangular double-sided porcelain Coca-Cola sign with original porcelain wall bracket should hit the spot. Marked for Tennessee Enamel Manufacturing Co., Nashville, the signs condition is graded an amazing 9.2-9.5. The pre-sale estimate is $9,000-$15,000.
Morphys Thursday/Friday/Saturday, October 29-31, 2020 Coin Op & Advertising Auction will be held live at Morphys gallery, 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517, starting at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. Preview Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All remote forms of bidding will be available as well, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live.