Morphy’s May 11-12 auction of toys, trains, dolls and famous airplane collection could be a high flier

April 6th, 2012 by

Marklin O gauge passenger train set, est. $2,000-$3,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – A remarkable cross-category collection of vintage toy airplanes, three outstanding train collections and more than 400 lots of dolls and accessories will join a widely varied array of other fine toys to form the core of Morphy’s May 11-12 auction.


The Friday session starts with a major offering of antique and vintage trains that comprises a good 40% of the 1,615-lot sale. “Every train collector will find something that pleases them,” said Dan Morphy, CEO of Morphy Auctions. “There are hundreds of prewar, postwar and contemporary trains of many different gauges.”


Bing O gauge freight train set, est. $600-$800. Morphy Auctions image.

The railroad selection boasts many sought-after brands – Marklin, Bing, Ives, Dorfan, Lionel and American Flyer. There are even two rare sets by American Flyer’s predecessor, Edmond-Metzel – one with original box and three Chicago passenger cars.


Within the German train group are coveted early Marklin O gauge sets, a handsome Bing 1 gauge set, and half a dozen mostly hand-painted buildings and stations, including a Leipzig station. “Golden age” highlights include an American Flyer President’s Special with original box and a Lionel #400 freight set with some of its original individual boxes.


Marklin Leipzig train station, est. $4,000-$6,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Most of the early Marklin trains are from the Arizona collection of Ray Dextraze, while many of the Lionel and golden age trains came from New York-based collector Jack Moore. A Pennsylvania collector consigned the contemporary trains.


The stellar Geoffrey “GR” Webster collection is a comprehensive lifetime assemblage of American cast-iron, English die-cast, and pre- and postwar European and Japanese airplanes. More than 50 prized pieces – many of them reference book examples – will go under the hammer during the two-day sale.


Underside view of the top airplane in Morphy’s sale: Britains Short Bros. flying boat monoplane with 14.25-inch (36.2 cm.) wingspan, Bakelite and heavy tin, made 1936 only, one of the rarest and most valuable airplane toys ever made, est. $12,000-$16,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Webster is not only a collector but also a highly decorated wartime pilot, aviation scholar and author who built his panoramic collection with an eye toward rarity, originality and historical accuracy. His fascination for flight – which began during childhood as the son of a naval pilot – led to his amassing a world-class collection of aviation toys and models. Portions of the collection are documented in his 2009 book Collecting Vintage Aircraft Toys and a 2011 co-authored edition titled Dinky Toys Aircraft 1934-1979.


The top prize in Webster collection is an ultra-rare 1930s Britains Short Bros. Monoplane Flying Boat with original box. One of only three known to exist, the Bakelite and heavy tin plane is also the only example to be offered for public sale in the last 30 years.


Ingap Italian M-202 lithographed-tin friction airplane with 9.5 in. (24 cm.) wingspan, est. $800-$1,200. Morphy Auctions image.

“James Opie, who authored the premier guide on Britains soldiers, rates this toy at the top of rarity for Britains,” said Morphy. “GR’s book example might even reach $20,000.”


A fleet of iconic 1920s cast-iron aviation toys is led by a Hubley America, the largest cast-iron plane ever made. There’s also a massive Hubley Friendship float plane with Amelia Earhart’s silhouette in one window; a Spirit of St. Louis, and numerous other period cast-iron tri-motors and gliders.


Prewar German tin planes include Tippco productions from 1935 to 1942, including a Junkers JU-52, a Siebel twin-engine transport, and the only known surviving example of a Heinkel He-100. There are also rare prewar Rico (Spanish) and Ingap (Italian) craft, including the only known original examples of the CR-42 biplane fighter and the Macchi C.202; and a seldom-seen Chein tinplate Martin seaplane. Arguably the largest tin toy ever produced, a Yonezawa tinplate 10-engine B-36 bomber had plenty of room to spread its expansive wings in the Webster collection. Two boxed prewar Dux constructor planes depict a German Stuka divebomber and civilian Messerschmidt ME109.

Yonezawa B-36 tin bomber with 26-inch (66 cm.) wingspan, est. $600-$900. Morphy Auctions image


“Usually toy plane collectors focus on one category, for instance American cast-iron or British planes. There aren’t many who collect all toy planes, but GR was one of them. His collection is an overview of aviation history in toy form,” Morphy said.


Early German toys include a 1st series Marklin battleship, Fleishmann and Carette boats; and many tin autos by such makers as Bing and Fisher. A hand-painted late-19th-century Marklin firewagon, Lutz hansom cab, 30 lots of penny toys and a rare Uberlacher swimming toy set with original toy boats and tin animals round out the selection.


Uncle Remus cast-iron mechanical bank, est. $2,000-$3,000. Morphy Auctions image.

The Saturday session is led by cast-iron still and mechanical banks, including an Uncle Remus, and Hen on Nest; as well as vehicles and airplanes from the Webster collection. An Ives Phoenix horse-drawn fire-ladder toy is another cast-iron highlight.


More than 400 lots of fine dolls, doll clothing, accessories, furniture and wardrobe trunks represent a 200+ year timeline, ranging from 18th-century Queen Anne wood dolls to modern artist dolls. One of the finest dolls in the sale is a 1910 Kammer & Reinhardt 101X – a rare boy character doll with composition body, bisque head and flocked hair. In beautiful condition, it is expected to make $5,000-$6,000.


Kammer & Reinhardt K*R 101X German bisque character doll, est. $5,000-$6,500. Morphy Auctions image.

A 12-inch Simon & Halbig 153 boy with molded hair, also known as a “Little Duke” doll, was found in a dry attic. It commands an $8,000-$12,000 estimate. Two 1910 composition Munich Art dolls – a boy and girl – are considered to be forerunners to bisque character dolls. Each is estimated at $5,500-$8,500. A large black stockinet Beecher baby was handmade by members of an Elmira, N.Y., church group between 1893 and 1910 to raise funds for missionaries. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000.


Also poised for success are an all-wood Schoenhut “bonnet doll, French dolls, including a 33-inch Steiner child, est. $8,000-$10,000; Ideal Toni dolls, and two Miss Ondine swimming dolls patented in 1878. German dolls [Kestner, Heubach, Kley & Hahn, etc.], French Jumeaus, SFBJ children, Kathe Kruse, Lenci, and Barbie dolls; wax and papier-mache dolls; and an array of artist dolls also will be offered.


The May 11 session starts at 10 a.m. Eastern Time; the May 12 session at 9 a.m. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live or Tel: 717-335-3435; e-mail

Mosby & Co. to auction fine and decorative art, Chinese soapstone collection, hundreds of early posters on April 28

April 3rd, 2012 by


Cased circa-1870 faro set, includes engraved Moore’s patent Derringer. Mosby & Co. image.

FREDERICK, Md. – Ask any regular who attends auctions conducted by Mosby & Co., and they’ll tell you what the Maryland-based company is best known for: everything. Owner Keith Spurgeon makes a point of personally selecting only the most interesting, best-quality pieces from dozens of collecting categories for his well-attended sales.


Spurgeon’s April 28 Spring Antiques Auction, which will be held at the Mosby & Co. gallery in the Washington suburb of Frederick, Md., features 550 lots that range from sculptures, clocks and an old collection of Chinese soapstone to toys, historic Americana and a spectacular assortment of 19th- and early 20th-century posters.


The approximately 100 pieces of soapstone, to be apportioned into 30 lots, are from a single-owner collection that was started 60 years

‘Two Old Timers,’ Western bronze by Frank Polk, one of eight bronzes in the sale. Mosby & Co. image.

ago. “It’s a completely unpicked collection. It hasn’t been touched in 30 years,” said Spurgeon, who regards the contents as a buying opportunity for dealers or those who may be seeking a way to get into the Asian art market.


Sculptures from multiple consignors represent both European and American artists. Among them are three Frank Polk Western bronzes, including one of a cowboy and horse titled “Two Old Timers.” A bronze depicting a male archer is signed “Schwatenberg, Germany,” likely referring to Spiro Schwatenberg (1898-1922). Another noteworthy sculpture was created from wood by the Lithuanian artist Romas Kvintas.


Eighteenth-century Continental painting, possibly Dutch. Mosby & Co. image.

The auction features several paintings and prints by listed artists, including a late 18th-century French religious genre painting of the Holy Family and John the Baptist; and a Dutch oil on canvas depicting a man praying before a meal. A small collection of mantel and wall clocks, mostly American in origin, are entered in the sale, as are a dozen pieces of fine porcelain, including a large Rosenthal nude with horse.


Around 110 lots are reserved for toys. The lineup includes Easter Parade toys (new/old stock), a turn of the 20th-century Buster Brown and Tige cast-iron pull toy by Watrous, a near-mint/boxed Popeye Express with circling airplane, and an Effanbee Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll that is part of a small collection of McCarthy toys, including automotive types. Also in the mix are a Lionel 2271 train set with GG1 locomotive, and a collection of Punch and Judy toys, books, inkwells and cap guns, including an American-made figural example by Ives. A collection of toys simulating insects includes examples from as early as the 1890s.

Cast-iron Buster Brown and Tige pull toy by Watrous (American). Mosby & Co. image.

A full set of 12 carved wood folk art figures, probably from the 1970s, portrays the cast of characters from the Popeye cartoons. They include some of the more offbeat characters, such as Sea Hag, Alice the Goon, and The Three Birds, with the largest figure standing 89 inches tall.


More than 50 original animation cels will be offered. Most originated at Warner Bros. Studios, and some date to the 1940s.


1899 original Alphonse Mucha poster of Sarah Bernhardt in La Tosca, untouched condition. Mosby & Co. image.

The highlight section of the sale is the posters. Among the top lots is an untouched 1899 Alphonse Mucha poster of Sarah Bernhardt in La Tosca. The consignor, a Hollywood producer, purchased the poster in Paris in the 1950s and has owned it ever since.


A complete set of Richard Avedon Beatles posters published in 1967 by the German magazine Stern will be offered as one lot. Each of the now-famous, vibrantly hued psychedelic posters measures 19 x 27 inches.


A tremendous variety of posters will be auctioned: circa-1890 Buffalo Bill Wild West Show promos from the showman’s French tour, a circa-1895 La Marque Georges Richard poster with artwork by “PAL” of both a bicycle and early auto, and many others with a circus, magic or transportation theme. An 1896 two-sheet panoramic published by Strobridge for Barnum & Bailey is a scrupulously detailed and colorful depiction advertising a traveling Indian village whose home life and occupations are “revealed to Christian eyes in living groups of strange and curious people.”


Among the best of the magic posters is an 1870s three-sheet that came from a Florida collection. The woodblock print advertising Samri S. Baldwin, a k a “The White Mahatma,” measures 81 x 42 inches.


Circa-1910 linen mounted poster of skeleton holding ‘Wheel of Death’ velodrome with three riders on early motorbikes, printed by Adolph Friedlander for English market, 37½ x 28 inches. Mosby & Co. image.

Lithographed by Friedlander, a 1910 Wheel of Death motorbike-racing poster presents a bizarre scene of a skeleton holding a wood-slatted velodrome with three riders going full throttle around its inner sides.

The sale also includes a large selection of black Americana, including slave collars and shackles; a 19th-century faro gambling set, complete with a Moore’s patented Derringer; and a Virginia Confederate ballot for the election of Jefferson Davis. An Indy 500 “Pacemaker” medallion awarded to driver Paul Russo will be auctioned, as well. These medallions are presented exclusively to drivers who have led laps at the famous car race, and it is known that Russo qualified for the award both in 1956 and ’57.


Mosby & Co.’s Spring Antiques Auction will be held on Saturday, April 28, 2012 commencing at 10 a.m. Eastern Time at the company’s gallery at 5714-A Industry Lane, Frederick, MD 21704. Preview hours are noon till 5 p.m. on Friday, 8-10 a.m. on Saturday, and by appointment during the week prior to the sale. Catered food service will be available during both auction sessions.


All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through either or For additional information, call 240-629-8139 or

Sotheby’s London – Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints

April 3rd, 2012 by

To view results from this sale visit

Sotheby’s New York – American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture – Exhibition Reminder

March 30th, 2012 by

Exhibition in New York:

Sat, 31 Mar 12 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sun, 01 Apr 12 | 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Mon, 02 Apr 12 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tue, 03 Apr 12 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Wed, 04 Apr 12 | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM


We are pleased to present our sale of American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, which takes place on April 5th and features a wide selection of works from the late 19th through the 20th century.

A few highlights include a small group of watercolors by early modernists Arthur Dove, Burgoyne Diller and Oscar Bluemner from the estates of M. Michael Eisenberg and M. Michael Eisenberg and Barbara Yetka-Eisenberg.  Later modernist works are John Graham’s bold oil, Untitled (Adolfo and Ann Saporetti) and a charcoal study of the same subject.  A group of works from the Art Institute of Chicago includes a large brass sculpture by Sidney Gordin and two major paintings by Jack Levine, Adam and Eve and The Old and the New.  19th Century focal points include Still Life with Apples in a Hat by Levi Wells Prentice, our colorful cover lot and Edward Darley Boit’s picturesque view of Monte Carlo from 1886.  American Impressionist highlights are three lovely works by William James Glackens, Central Park Idyll, Still Life with Japan Box and Terraces, South of France and Theodore Earl Butler’s, Flowers in a Garden.  A stunning portrait by Robert Henri, Segovia Girl should also be noted.  Finally, a remarkable tour de force in egg tempera by illustrator Ayers Houghtelling presents the entire story of Alice in Wonderland.


Leslie Hindman – Fine Books and Manuscripts

March 30th, 2012 by

Phillips de Pury – Photographs

March 30th, 2012 by




LOCATION: Phillips de Pury & Company, 450 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022









Leslie Hindman Auctioneers – Milwaukee Spring Auction

March 27th, 2012 by

Catalogue for this auction is now available online.

Sotheby’s New York – Photographs

March 27th, 2012 by

Sotheby’s April 3rd Photographs auction in New York features an exciting range of material from the 19th to 21st centuries.  American modernism is represented by an early print of Brett Weston’s Hand and Ear, originally from the collection of photographer and filmmaker LeRoy Robbins.  Four impressive Ansel Adams murals, including Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake and White House Ruin, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, are featured, along with other Adams photographs.  Ray Metzker’s Tall Grove of Nudes, a unique work composed of 140 individual photographs mounted together, is a superb example from his Composites series.  Diane Arbus’s A Box of Ten Photographs, the photographer’s only portfolio, features a myriad of her most iconic and sought-after images.  Larry Clark’s Billy Mann, perhaps the most famous image from his landmark Tulsa series, is offered as an early, oversized print.  An arresting mural-sized print of Peter Beard’s Heart Attack City presents an astonishing array of collage and photographic elements.

Sotheby’s Paris – Livres Illustrés Modernes de la Bibliothèque R. & B.L.

March 26th, 2012 by

Paris auctioneers Binoche & Giquello, in conjunction with Sotheby’s, are delighted to announce the sale of Part II of the Library of R. & B. L. in Paris on 28 March 2012. The sale features an exceptional ensemble of nearly 200 works, with an overall estimate of €3 – 4 million ($3.9 – 5.2 million), and abounds in illustrations by a host of 20th century masters – Bonnard, Braque, Chagall, Delaunay, Dufy, Giacometti, Gris, Laurencin, Léger, Maillol, Masson, Matisse, Miró, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and Wols – and also features sophisticated bindings by such internationally renowned bookbinders as Rose Adler, Bonet, Creuzevault, Madeleine Gras, Hugnet, Leroux, Martin, Mercher, Miguet, Germaine Schroeder and Séguy.

Many of these highly desirable volumes are personalized with artists’ dedications, some accompanied by original drawings

Sotheby’s Paris – Art Contemporain

March 23rd, 2012 by

The forthcoming auction of Art Contemporain will take place in Paris on 29-30 May, 2012.