Morphy’s to auction premier Bob Levy collection of antique, vintage coin-op machines in Sept. 2-3 sale

August 4th, 2011 by

DENVER, Pa. – On Sept. 3, 2011, Morphy’s will be transformed into an arcade of color and sound as the central Pennsylvania company auctions the late Bob Levy’s revered personal collection of gambling and coin-op machines. The painstakingly amassed collection of 400 antique and vintage machines will be offered unpicked and in its entirety during the second session of Morphy’s Sept. 2-3 Coin Op, Antique Advertising and General Store sale.

 

Superior 5-Cent Horse Race slot machine, $20,000-$25,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Bob Levy was a renowned expert on coin-ops who bought and sold only the rarest and best examples. For many years he based his antiques business “The Unique One” in a Pennsauken, N.J., showroom, but his clientele was a global one. He was a fountainhead of coin-op knowledge and such a presence in the hobby that collectors far and wide referred to him as simply “the slot machine guy.” In October of 2009, Levy joined the Morphy Auctions team to manage sales of gambling and coin-op machines.

 

“After Bob passed away in February, we were informed that, in his estate planning, Bob had entrusted us to auction his collection of prized machines, which he called his ‘keepers,’” said Morphy’s CEO Dan Morphy. “Bob was our good friend. Our goal is to represent him in a way that honors what he did for the coin-op collecting hobby.”

 

Perhaps the most important piece in the collection is the Superior 5-Cent Horse Race slot machine described in the catalog as “the best of the best.” One of the most coveted machines in coin-op collecting, it has a confection-vending feature and gold medal designation, and carries an estimate of $20,000-$25,000.

 

Caille’s Centaur upright slot machine, $16,000-$20,000. Morphy Auctions image.

A Caille Centaur upright slot machine, 65 inches tall with black-oxidized, finished cast-iron trim, is expected to make $16,000-$20,000; while a Mills 5-Cent Dewey upright slot in all-original condition with earlier paneled oak cabinet is estimated at $14,000-$18,000.

 

The decorative details on the Mills 2-Bit Jackpot Dewey coin-op machine make this particular model very special. It has extra-fancy castings that include lion heads on its legs, owls on its handles, dogs on its façade and figural ladies on its head. The 65-inch-tall machine commands an estimate of $12,000-$16,000.

 

A Mills floor model Black Beauty $1 machine could realize $3,000-$5,000. “It is unusual to find a factory Mills $1 machine that has a ‘hand-load’ jackpot, as this one does,” said Morphy.

 

The Bally Reliance 5-Cent dice machine has a clever design that allows the user to play craps. The payout machine boasts various awards. Although a complex machine, the Levy example is in fully functional condition and is estimated at $8,000-$12,000.

 

Mills Dewey 2-Bit Jackpot coin-op machine, $12,000-$16,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Beautifully restored, a Buckley Bones 25-Cent dice slot machine is similar in concept to the Bally Reliance and is also very appealing to collectors. In working order, the Buckley Bones could fetch in the vicinity of $8,000-$10,000.

 

Perhaps one of the greatest and most ornate of all cast-iron poker machines, the Mills Little Duke machine is noteworthy for its intricate castings, even on the rear door. The example in the Levy collection retains its original marquee and reel strips – always a plus. Estimate: $8,000-$10,000.

 

Seldom found in excellent working order, a wooden Jennings golf ball vending machine operates with 25-cent coins. This particular model was installed primarily in country clubs, where golfers could try their luck at winning a pay-off in golf balls. It could make $3,000-$5,000 at auction. A counter-top golf ball vending machine from Jennings is in excellent condition and estimated at $3,500-$5,500. Yet another golf ball vendor is the Mills floor model “Extraordinary” slot machine with motor-driven dispenser. Fully functional and in excellent condition, it has a $6,000-$8,000 estimate.

 

Carrying on the sports theme, a Mills 5-Cent Baseball slot machine is complete with its original marquee, reel strips and mint rolls. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000.

 

J. & E. Stevens Girl Skipping Rope cast-iron mechanical bank, $16,000-$22,000. Morphy Auctions image.

An ever-popular Baker’s Pacers Racers horse race machine has a beveled glass panel that allows viewing of the internal mechanism. It could bring $4,000-$6,000. Made by Bally, a Ray’s Race Track gambling machine is also estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

 

The Saturday, Sept. 3 session also includes 300 antique advertising lots, figural cast-iron antiques and 75 mechanical banks. Leading the banks are a J. & E. Stevens Girl Skipping Rope ($16000-$22,000) and Professor Pug Frog ($10,000-$15,000). Both are in excellent-plus condition.

 

The Friday, Sept. 2 session features more than 150 antique occupational shaving mugs, including a rare example depicting a steam-powered railway shovel, estimated at $2,500-$3,500; as well as 180 tobacciana lots and 350 lots of soft drink advertising. Of the latter category, 170 pertain specifically to Coca-Cola. Highlights include a 1908 serving tray with the image of an ethereal semi-nude woman holding a bottle of Coke ($4,000-$7,000) and a 1923 cardboard trolley sign with images of a young woman holding a glass of Coke and dressed for each of the four seasons ($2,000-$4,000).

 

1908 Coca-Cola serving tray, $4,000-$7,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Additional advertising items include a Rough Riders cigar box featuring an image of Teddy Roosevelt leading a charge, presumably up San Juan Hill ($1,500-$3,000), a 1940s Eastside neon sign with eagle motif ($1,500-$2,000) and a beautifully illustrated 1923 Orange Crush calendar with full calendar pad.

 

All forms of bidding will be available for the Sept. 2-3 auction, including live at the gallery, by phone or absentee, and live via the Internet through Morphy Live (sign up at www.morphyauctions.com) or LiveAuctioneers.com. The sale will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

 

For additional information, call Morphy’s at 717-335-3435 or e-mail serena@morphyauctions.com. View the fully illustrated catalog online at www.morphyauctions.com.

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