Don Presley’s New Year’s auction features sterling, Asian art, clocks and Scottish Rite’s treasured antique marble sculpture ‘Paetus et Aria’

December 20th, 2011 by

Antique marble copy of ‘The Gaul Killing Himself and His Wife,’ a k a ‘Paetus et Aria,’ 94 inches tall, 42 inches wide inclusive of custom-made marble base. Provenance: Collection of the Scottish Rite Library & Museum. Estimate $40,000-$75,000. Don Presley Auctions image.

ORANGE, Calif. – A superb European sculpture unveiled at the Los Angeles Scottish Rite Cathedral on Christmas Day of 1913 is the highlight of Don Presley’s Dec. 31-Jan. 1 New Year’s Auction. The sale features 1,000 lots of antiques, Asian and other fine art, plus a bumper selection described by Presley as “a gallery of amusements.”


The headliner – a Carrara marble grouping known variously as ‘Paetus et Aria,’ ‘The Gaul Killing Himself and His Wife,’ and ‘The Galatian Suicide’ – is a copy of the Hellenistic 3rd century B.C. original by Epignonos, ex Boncompagni Ludovisi Collection. In 1900, the Italian State purchased the original – and 103 other sculptures – from the royal Boncompagni Ludovisi family for ensconcement in the Pergamum Museo Nazionale at Palazzo Altemps.


A deaccession from the Scottish Rite Library & Museum, the antique copy of the famous Greek statue in Presley’s sale – whose exact age is unknown – comes with a written history from Masonic archives. In its post-Christmas 1913 “Bulletin to the Los Angeles Consistory,” an article describes the statue – a gift from Scottish Rite member V.M. William Rhodes Hervey – as “one of the finest marbles in America, not unworthy of being the center of [the Cathedral’s] collection of statuary, pictures and books.”


The statue measures 94 inches tall by 42 inches wide, inclusive of custom-made marble base, and is expected to make $40,000-$75,000 at auction.


Pair of antique Chinese huanghuali chairs in mint condition, previously in a Los Angeles residence. Est. $15,000-$25,000.

Presley’s New Year’s sale also features an extensive selection of top-quality ivory and Asian antiques. A pair of coveted Chinese huanghuali chairs in spotless condition came from a Los Angeles residence. Auctioneer Don Presley explained that one reason chairs of this type are so scarce is because the wood from which they are constructed is only rarely found in pieces large enough to be used in furniture.


“Huanghuali chairs were made for emperors and royalty from exotic hardwoods in the rosewood family that have an especially beautiful grain and pattern of knots,” Presley said. “They can fetch high prices at auction. We have placed a conservative estimate of $15,000-$25,000 on the chairs consigned to our sale.”


Another Asian highlight is a 19th-century carved bone over wood statue of Guanyin. The figure, which has an ivory face and hands, holds a candle and has a phoenix (bird) ornament in its hair. It carries an estimate of $8,000-$15,000.


Rolex Daytona wristwatch, Model 16520 with Zenith movement, original box, est. $12,000-$20,000. Don Presley Auctions image.

Approximately 200 antique clocks will be auctioned, including 40 more from the same Beverly Hills collection that highlighted Presley’s Nov. 5-6 sale. The grouping includes French and other European clocks, carriage, boulle and tortoiseshell; champleve, gilt-bronze, jewel-face and American clocks (Tiffany, Ansonia, etc.). There are also a few wall and mantel clocks.


Several impressive diamonds, sized from 2 to 3 carats each, add a fine edge to the sale, as does a Rolex Daytona Model 16520 Oyster Perpetual man’s wristwatch with Zenith movement. With original box, the classic timepiece could realize $12,000-$20,000.


An Art Deco sterling silver tea set marked “Jimenez” is a premier example of Mexican craftsmanship. The teapot and accessory pieces are stamped ‘Sterling 925’ and have a fluted exterior, while the stamped tray is adorned by a substantial, wide repousse trim. The stylish set weighs in at 159.6 troy ounces and is estimated at $8,000-$12,000.


Art deco sterling silver tea set, Mexican, marked ‘Jimenez,’ 159.6 troy ounces. Est. $8,000-$12,000. Don Presley Auctions image.

The perfect furnishing in which to display a tea set of such quality is the 19th-century bronze ormolu vitrine that comes to the auction from a residence in the exclusive Orange Park Acres section of Orange County. With cartouches hand painted in the vernis Martin style, and with its original glass intact, the elegant vitrine could fetch $4,000-$6,000.


Don Presley has amassed an assortment of unusual amusements for his Dec. 31-Jan. 1 sale. Several were featured on the History Channel’s new show Real Deal, which is taped at Presley’s gallery. They include a 1957 Williams “Deluxe Baseball” pinball machine, est. $3,500-$5,500; and a fully documented circa-1891 binnacle from the Spanish flagship Infanta Maria Teresa, $15,000-$25,000. A third item that appeared on Real Deal is a circa-1900 medical device called a “nebulizer.” Presley explained that the device was used in upscale medical or dental practices and produced a mist for inhalation by patients. Estimate: $1,200-$1,800.


Circa-1900 nebulizer, 46in. tall, used in upscale medical or dental practices to produce mist to be inhaled by patients. Restored, retains original bottles. Featured on History Channel’s ‘Real Deal.’ Est. $1,200-$1,800. Don Presley Auctions image.

A special transportation attraction that would be right at home at Knott’s Berry Farm is a Butterfield stagecoach, 3/4 size, made around 1942 for use in parades, rodeos and other festive events. The vehicle has perfect wheels, is leather slung with barrel sides and even has lanterns to accommodate candles, in the manner of 19th-century stagecoaches. The auction estimate is $25,000-$30,000. For those who favor the Mod era, a pair of zippy 1960s Vespa scooters may fit the bill, with an estimate of $2,000-$3,000 apiece.


Additional entries of note include a Capodimonte chess set on a wood base with bronze ormolu, est. $1,500-$2,500; a sizable collection of Roseville, Bauer and other California pottery; fine porcelains, various other fine and decorative-art objects; and 200 Hummel figurines. A 5ft. 6in. electric automaton organ grinder and monkey comes with cassettes to provide a musical accompaniment.


Both the Saturday and Sunday sessions will commence at 12 noon Pacific Time. Preview Mon.-Sat. 10-5. The gallery is located at 1319 W. Katella Ave., Orange, CA 92867. All forms of bidding will be available, including live at the gallery, by phone, absentee or live via the Internet through For additional information, call Don Presley at 714-633-2437 or e-mail Visit the company’s website at



Marklin boat, Ives man on rocking horse top the parade of toys at Bertoia’s $1.55M auction, Nov. 11-12

December 14th, 2011 by

Top lot of the sale: Ives cloth-dressed man on tin rocking horse, ex Tom Anderson collection, $39,100. Bertoia Auctions image.

VINELAND, N.J. – Collectors in a quest to find rare antique toys in superior condition struck gold at Bertoia’s Nov. 11-12 Toys on World Tour auction, which realized $1,550,000 (inclusive of 15% buyer’s premium). The 1,502-lot sale was very well attended, with phone bidders keeping Bertoia’s staff members constantly engaged. Internet bidding played a major role in the auction’s success, as well. The daily average of purchases attributable to online buyers was 27.4%.


Cast-iron toys proved to be a category with resiliency, as evidenced by the setting of several world auction records. “I would say that at this auction cast iron was not only back, but back to the future. That’s how strong it was,” said Bertoia Auctions associate Rich Bertoia. “The Donald Kaufman auction series, which grossed over twelve million dollars, seems to have reignited the fever of collecting cast iron. We even saw a few new players at the sale.”


Circa-1932 Arcade cast-iron Mack dump truck, ex Larry Seiber collection, finest of all known examples, $17,250. Bertoia Auctions image.

A circa-1932 Arcade cast-iron rendition of a Mack dump truck in bright red and yellow, came with provenance from the respected Larry Sieber collection, Considered the finest known specimen of its type, the 9-inch, near-mint truck claimed the top spot in its category at $17,250.


Having passed through Bertoia’s gallery before, during the Kaufman series, a 17-inch Kenton cast-iron “Speed” truck painted green with a stake-side open body toppled its previous auction price to sell for $12,650 against an estimate of $6,000-$7,500. “There were many other pieces from both the Don Kaufman and Dick Ford collections that followed that same pattern, selling for much more than they had in recent auctions. They still had their previous Bertoia tags on them,” Rich Bertoia noted.


Marklin ‘Avalanche’ tinplate clockwork gunboat, 16 inches long, $41,400. Bertoia Auctions image.

Another surprise was the buoyant prices achieved by German clockwork tin boats. “Normally in a single auction we don’t get as many all-original or nearly all-original boats of such outstanding quality, but it happened this time,” said Bertoia.


An exceptionally well-scaled Marklin “Avalanche” painted in light blue and with all four lifeboats, two stacks, flags and other original accessories had no trouble sailing to $41,400 against an estimate of $20,000-$22,000. Other big winners by Marklin included a “Puritan” oceanliner, $23,000; “Columbia” battleship (partially restored), $18,400; and 1930s “Freya” battleship, $17,250 against an estimate of $8,000-$10,000.


Additional European tin toys that won favor with bidders included a Hans Eberl two-seat clockwork tourer with turbaned driver, clown passengers, and Punch & Judy and other clown images lithographed on its exterior panels. Estimated at $600-$750, the vibrantly colorful open car made $10,925. An earlier production dating to around 1900, a Guntherman 12-inch vis-à-vis with hand-painted driver figure surpassed its estimate to reach $5,175.


Circa-1870s Fallows American hand-painted tin wagon advertising ‘Fancy Goods, Toys & Notions,’ $10,350. Bertoia Auctions image

“What was interesting about the European toys is that there were many Europeans on the phones who were extremely competitive but could not win against bidders in the room. It seemed that the estimates didn’t matter,” said Bertoia.


Over the past decade, the market for early American tin toys has confirmed that demand continues to exceed supply for rare and fine examples. A nice selection of this specialty was included in Bertoia’s sale, with the leading piece being an extremely rare Ives Man on Rocking Horse, ex Tom Anderson collection, that raced past its $6,000-$8,000 estimate to cross the finish line at $39,100.


Of the collection of biscuit tins offered, “those in great condition brought great money,” Bertoia said. A circa-1920 W. Crawford & Sons “Fire Brigade” tin – one of the featured items on Bertoia’s auction catalog cover – benefited from crossover bidding from firefighting fans and commanded $6,900 (est. $1,000-$1,200). One of only two or three known examples of a tin pram with baby and golliwog lithographed on its lid was a runaway favorite and earned $6,325 against an estimate of $700-$900.


Hand-painted cast-iron doorstop depicting snow-capped cottage, book example, $5,175. Bertoia Auctions image.

Almost every sale conducted by Bertoia’s features an array of excellent-quality cast-iron doorstops. The Nov. 11-12 offering included a charming rarity: a snow-capped yellow cottage with hand painting reminiscent of Grandma Moses’ primitive New England style. The doorstop was a book example and had been entered in the sale with a $1,200-$1,600 estimate. “Apparently there were many bidders who wanted this doorstop for their collections. It sold for $5,175,” said Bertoia Auctions’ owner Jeanne Bertoia, who is, herself, a renowned expert and author on the subject of antique doorstops.


Other sale highlights included an Asahi 1962 Chrysler Imperial tin car in rich cobalt blue, $6,900; and a 30-inch-tall, signed Vichy automaton of a beautiful lady with hand mirror. Superbly modeled and painted, with a Jumeau bisque head accented by pearl “drop” earrings, the elegantly dressed automaton soared to $18,400 against an estimate of $6,000-$9,000.

Figural foot-shape Halloween lantern, $4,025. Bertoia Auctions image.


The much-anticipated selection of Christmas antiques attracted bidders across the board, but most especially toward the rarely seen antiques. “Collectors are waiting for the great things to come out, and they’ll pay the price to get them,” said Rich Bertoia.


The Christmas section was led by a late-19th-century chalkware belsnickle, 22 inches tall, painted in brown and red with holly and berries on the hood of its knee-length coat. Estimated at $10,000-$12,000, it was pushed competitively to $18,400.


Bertoia’s Spring Auction will be held March 23-24, 2012 and will feature doorstops from the Chuck and Barbara Cook collection, comic character toys from the Ronnie Rosen collection, cast-iron rarities from a private collection, Lehmann and Martin windups, steam engines and many other choice pieces. For additional information call 856-692-8697, e-mail, or visit

Morphy’s to launch Comic Book division with superhero selection in Feb. 9-11 auction

December 8th, 2011 by

The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1, 1963, CGC-graded 8.5 with off-white pages, to be auctioned in Morphy’s Feb. 9-11, 2012 auction. Estimate: $25,000-$30,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – With the widely publicized $2.1 million auction price achieved recently by a rare copy of Action Comics No. 1, some investors are contemplating a shift of focus from gold and silver to paper. Vintage comic books – once considered a niche collectable for nostalgic boomers – have become a potent alternative to stocks and bonds. In recognizing this trend, Morphy Auctions recently forged an alliance with the specialist company Sparkle City Comics, of North Bergen, New Jersey.


Morphy’s, with the expert oversight of Sparkle City, will launch its new Comic Book division during a Feb. 9-11 Toys & Advertising sale that features 200 prized comics from an original-owner collection. The top lot, a 1963 The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 in 8.5 condition, is expected to realize $25,000-$30,000. Other anticipated top lots include a 1963 X-Men No. 1 and a 1963 Tales of Suspense No. 39 featuring the first appearance of Iron Man.


The association between Morphy’s and Sparkle City came about when the latter company’s principal, Brian Schutzer, purchased $40,000 worth of comics in a previous Morphy’s sale.


“Brian called me after the sale to finalize his purchase, and during our discussion he suggested that we consider building a relationship,” Morphy Auctions’ CEO Dan Morphy recalled. “I had been wanting to launch a comic book division in-house, and during that conversation with Brian, it became clear to me that the smartest and most direct path to our goal would be a collaboration with Sparkle City. They’re an energetic, extremely knowledgeable company with a tremendous database of comic book buyers.”


“On the other side of the coin, Morphy’s has the physical gallery and marketing team to promote and produce successful live sales,” Morphy continued. “It’s an exciting combination that could prove very successful, given collectors’ insatiable interest in rare comics.”


Morphy’s first auction dedicated exclusively to comic books will be a 700 to 800-lot event held either in April or May. “My goal is to have two, if not three, sales per year devoted exclusively to vintage comic books and also original comic book art, a subcategory that has a long collecting arc ahead of it,” Morphy said.


To contact Morphy’s, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail Online:

Milhous Collection, offered by RM Auctions in association with Sotheby’s

December 8th, 2011 by

The Milhous Museum, compiled over the past fifty years by brothers Bob and Paul Milhous, focuses on rare and important automobiles, mechanical music, and collectibles, boasting one of the world’s most notable assemblies of orchestrions, fair, dance and theater organs.  RM Auctions, in association with Sotheby’s, is delighted to offer the Milhous Collection in situ at auction on February 24-25, 2012.

The collection began in 1959 with Paul’s purchase of a player piano; meanwhile Bob honed his interest in desirable motor cars.  His first purchase was a 1934 Packard Eight Convertible Victoria, which won awards at all major concours events including ‘Best of Show’ at the prestigious 1976 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  Since then, they have accumulated over 30 fine automobiles – from high-horsepower Brass era cars to coachbuilt classics and Indianapolis racing cars – and over 100 mechanical musical instruments.

The latter group is highlighted by the renowned Weber Maesto orchestrion, an exceptionally large instrument replete with a Feurich piano, xylophone, drums, traps, and endless pipes (est. $900,000 – $1,200,000).  The Weber Maesto is also very rare, with only seven known to exist, four of which are in museums.  Perhaps one of the most decoratively appealing and whimsical of the instruments is the Ruth Style 32-B Fair Organ by A. Ruth & Söhne of Germany, with carvings of animated flute and guitar players, bell ringers, a bandleader, swans, satyrs, cherubs and angels playing herald trumpets (est. $1,000,000 – $1,200,000).

Central to the collection is the Illions-style carousel built over the course of four years for the Milhous Collection and featuring 44 intricate animal figures carved by hand from historically accurate designs ($1,000,000 – $1,500,000).  An extensive assortment of petroliana, neon and porcelain signs and rare and unique gasoline-powered tether cars and models adds to the collection’s variety.  Furthermore, the Museum features decorative pieces from Louis Icart, Alphonse Mucha, and Tiffany & Co., and ornate hall clocks, tower clocks and street clocks from makers like Seth Thomas & Howard and Black, Starr & Frost.

RM Auctions, in association with Sotheby’s, looks forward to offering the contents of the museum on premises this February.  For more information, please visit

Extremely rare Panama-Pacific $50 gold coin leads Morphy’s Dec. 17 Coin & Sports Memorabilia auction lineup

December 8th, 2011 by

View of both sides of extremely rare 1915 Panama-Pacific $50 gold coin, est. $120,000-$150,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – Two of America’s most popular collecting categories – coins and sports memorabilia – will join forces for an outstanding 866-lot auction on Dec. 17 at Morphy’s.


“Certain types of collectibles never seem to lose favor,” said Morphy’s CEO, Dan Morphy. “Coins have been a favorite with collectors and investors for many generations, and important memorabilia from professional and collegiate sports just keep on setting new records at auction. We decided to put the two categories together for a holiday auction that many collectors could enjoy.”


The Dec. 17 auction starts with a collection of more than 320 lots of silver and gold coins, and currency. The centerpiece of the numismatic offering is an extremely rare Panama-Pacific International Exposition octagonal $50 gold coin that was struck in 1915. Graded MS65 (mint state) by PCGS, the coin is expected to make $120,000-$150,000.


There’s quite a story behind the Panama-Pacific coins, and it’s entwined in the lore of one of America’s greatest cities: San Francisco. Six years after the devastating earthquake of 1906, the “City by the Bay” was in dire need of an economic boost. It came in the form of the 1915 World’s Fair, also known as the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Many cities had vied for the right to host the event, with New Orleans being one of the favored contenders. After an intense advertising and lobbying campaign, however, President Taft proclaimed earthquake-ravaged San Francisco as the official host city.


The fairgrounds and buildings took three years to construct, providing much-needed jobs for out-of-work San Franciscans. The project sparked a revitalization that changed San Francisco forever, putting it on the map as one of America’s greatest and most cultured cities.


2011 Chinese Panda gold coin, 1/300, ultra cameo, weighs 1kg (2.23 lbs.), est. $120,000-$150,000. Morphy Auctions image.

The Panama-Pacific International Exposition ran from Feb. 20 through Dec. 4, 1915, and to commemorate the fair, the United States Government authorized the San Francisco Mint to issue a $50 gold coin depicting Balboa on the obverse and an owl encircled by dolphins on verso.


“Very few of these coins were made, and an example graded this high – a ‘70’ is perfect and impossible to find – is very exciting to collectors. Today, it’s common for commemorative coins to be issued, but that wasn’t the case back then,” said Dr. John Morphy, Head of Acquisitions & Appraisals for Morphy Auctions.


In total, more than a million dollars worth of gold and silver coins will be auctioned in Morphy’s Dec. 17 sale. Another rarity that’s expected to stir interest amongst bidders is a 2011 Chinese panda gold coin, one of only 300 made, which weighs one kilo (2.23 lbs.) and is valued at $130,000-$150,000.


1896 Liberty $5 gold coin, est. $23,000-$30,000. Morphy Auctions image.

The sale also features more than 100 BU rolls of silver dollars with rare dates including 1891 CC, 1882 CC, 1883 CC, 1889 S, 1897 S, and 1899. Among the more than 80 gold coins are an 1855 D 2½ dollar AU 53, 1879 $5 PF 64+ Cameo NGS, 1896 $5 PCGS PR 64D CAM, 1857 S $20 double eagle PCGS MS 61, 12 oz. Panda and more than 100 limited gold commemorative sets.


Additional lots include 1902 National Bank notes, 5 uncut sheets PCGS 69, Tyler Texas; and many types of other coins, among them a 1909 S VDB cent, 1955 double-die cent, and a 3-legged buffalo nickel.


Autographed and worn Mickey Mantle golf jacket, framed, acquired through Mantle’s personal attorney. Comes with LOA from PSA DNA, est. $2,000-$4,000. Morphy Auctions image.

The second half of the Dec. 17 session is devoted to sports memorabilia. There are early baseball and football buttons, pennants and some bobbing-head dolls, including Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Roberto Clemente. Hartland collectors will find themselves spoiled for choice with the array of boxed figures that includes Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra, Don Drysdale, John Arnett and others. Some non-sport figures, such as cowboy and historical Hartlands in original boxes, will join their sports counterparts.


Sporting equipment is abundant and includes some great baseball gloves in scarce original boxes, plus autographed game-used and store-model baseball bats. One of the highlights of the sale is an unusual grouping of approximately 50 Mickey Mantle autographed items, some limited edition and most originating from Mickey Mantle’s girlfriend Greer Johnson, and Mantle’s personal attorney. The autographed Mantle items include framed prints, gloves, bats, balls and his personal golf jacket.


Boxing trunks worn and autographed by Muhammad Ali, est. $1,000-$2,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Boxing fans should get their bidding cards ready for a pair of autographed Muhammad Ali Everlast boxing trunks and autographed lace-up boxing shoes. These extremely desirable items were worn by the legendary Ali and donated to a public auction 30+ years ago. The shoes are inscribed in blue pen: “From Muhammad Ali June 5-80 The Greatest Boxer of All Times.”


Sports-related ephemera will also make an appearance in the sale in the form of a personal collection of the historical publication “The Sporting News.” There are several hundred issues with cover dates ranging from the 1930s through the 1980s. In some cases, there are runs of entire years.


One of only two known examples of a 1928 Harrington’s Ice Cream card with the image of baseball player Earl Smith, est. $10,000-$20,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Also crossing the auction block are baseball coins, tobacco cards and various-era baseball cards, including an extremely rare 1928 Harrington’s Ice Cream redemption card with the image of baseball player Earl Smith. Other standout cards feature Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. There are also some fine lots of graded and ungraded cards from the 1950s through present day. Also, a big selection of unopened wax boxes and cases include baseball, basketball and hockey cards.


Always-popular player-endorsed items include a Jackie Robinson doll in the original box and a very scarce circa-1930 Babe Ruth brass locker tag. In summary, the sports section runs the gamut from sports-related advertising signs and Major League memorabilia to coveted autographed items, which include letters of authenticity.


All forms of bidding will be available for the Dec. 17 auction, including live in the gallery, absentee, by phone, or live via the Internet through Morphy Live or


For additional information about the coins, e-mail For questions pertaining to sports memorabilia, e-mail tom@morphyauctions. To reach the gallery, call 717-335-3435.


Holiday fun awaits bidders at Stephenson’s Dec. 16 Dolls, Trains & Toys auction

December 7th, 2011 by

Lionel standard gauge No. 400E steam locomotive and No. 392T tender. Stephenson’s image.

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – An old-fashioned American Christmas traditionally includes a statuesque, fragrant tree, topped by either an angel or star and accompanied by a vintage toy train that chugs energetically around its base to announce that Santa has arrived.


Finding the perfect train to complete the classic holiday scenario is as easy as bidding in Stephenson’s Dec. 16 auction, which contains hundreds of classic loco/tenders, boxed sets and coveted accessories by Lionel, American Flyer and other revered names. Nearly all of the train lots have come from three multi-generational estates in the Greater Philadelphia area.


Selections from the approximately 75 lots of European and American dolls and group lots of doll clothing, dishes and reference books. Stephenson’s image.

“Our business is based on auctioning contents of estates or homes whose owners are downsizing,” said Cindy Stephenson, owner of Stephenson’s Auctioneers. “We set aside the best toys and trains from those estates to offer in specialty sales held a few times a year. The pre-Christmas train and toy session is always very popular with collectors.”


The Friday, Dec. 16 Dolls, Trains & Toys auction, which will start at 2 p.m. Eastern time, opens with approximately 75 doll lots, including antique and vintage examples of both European and American manufacture. The selection features German bisque-head and composition dolls, a Shirley Temple doll in a middy dress, Barbies, a Skookum Native-American doll with papoose, a Mori Mora Bros. character doll, and groupings of miniature dolls. Doll clothing and dishes, and doll reference books round out the section.


Lionel standard gauge No. 408E electric locomotive. Stephenson’s image.

The bulk of the auction consists of estate trains and toys. An extensive array of early Lionel standard gauge trains includes a No. 408E electric locomotive, a No. 384E steam locomotive and tender; Mojave passenger cars, freight cars and a No. 400E steam locomotive with No. 392T tender – the big boy of the standard gauge era.


Lionel prewar O gauge passenger set with No. 253 locomotive, two No. 607 Pullman coaches and a No. 608 observation car. Stephenson’s image.

O gauge fans won’t want to overlook the two No. 2333-20 Santa Fe engines and a prewar passenger set featuring a No. 253 locomotive, two No. 607 Pullman cars and a #608 observation car.


American Flyer aficionados won’t be left out in the cold, either. The brand is well represented by a boxed Mountaineer No. 20320 set.


An always sought-after, original Lionel standard gauge No. 444 roundhouse section. Stephenson’s image.

“Collectors will appreciate that many of the train sets are boxed and that an enormous selection of accessories will be available, as well,” said Stephenson. The comprehensive array includes numerous bridges, signals, crossing gates, platform buildings and figures, which will be apportioned into group lots. Highlights among the accessories include an excellent and always sought-after Lionel standard gauge No. 444 roundhouse section, a No. 124 station and two No. 913 illuminated bungalows.


The toy box at Stephenson’s will be brimming with boys’ toys of all types from the pre- and postwar eras. A Buddy ‘L’ pressed steel Railway Express truck with all original paint is in “good to very good” condition. Another vintage piece is the Keystone parking garage and gas station.


Britains figurines, both military and civilian types. Stephenson’s image.

The toy lineup continues with slot cars (including Aurora), pond boats, an abundance of Britains civilian and military figures, and a scale-model remote-control helicopter. Numerous scale model cars produced by Danbury Mint and Franklin Mint are also part of the colorfully varied toy mix.


Stephenson’s Friday, Dec. 16 Dolls, Trains & Toys auction will take place at the company’s gallery located at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton, PA 18966. The session will begin at 2 p.m., with a two-hour preview from 12 noon till commencement of sale. There will be ample onsite parking and a food and beverage concession at the venue. For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail


All forms of bidding will be available, including live in the gallery, absentee, by phone, or live via the Internet through View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at Visit Stephenson’s online at

DiMaggio jersey rounds the bases at $256,858 in Grey Flannel’s $2.3M Holiday Auction

December 6th, 2011 by

1948-49 Joe DiMaggio NY Yankees game-used flannel road jersey, $256,858. Grey Flannel Auctions image.

WESTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Joe DiMaggio may have retired his bat in 1951, but the legendary Yankee Clipper continues to slam in home runs at auction. A game-used road jersey with the team name “New York” on the front and DiMaggio’s long-retired Yankee number “5” on the back commanded $256,858 in Grey Flannel’s Nov. 30 Holiday Auction. (All prices quoted are inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.)


DiMaggio wore the jersey in 1948 and possibly into 1949. Its left sleeve shows evidence of a black armband worn through the end of 1948 to memorialize Babe Ruth, who died on Aug. 16th of that year. In addition to a chain-stitched “DiMaggio” nametag inside the rear collar, the DiMaggio jersey retained its original Wilson manufacturer’s label and size 44 flag tag. It was entered in the sale together with a photo-match of DiMaggio wearing the jersey, the picture overwritten with “$100,000,” a reference to the fact that he was the first baseball player in history to earn six figures in a single season.


“Joe DiMaggio is one of baseball’s immortals,” said Grey Flannel Auctions’ president, Richard E. Russek. “The DiMaggio jersey we sold was an outstanding example and will always rank among the most important mementos of professional baseball history.”

1927 NY Yankees ‘Murderers Row’ World Championship team-autographed baseball, $86,581. Grey Flannel Auctions image.


Grey Flannel’s $2,360,499 auction total was bolstered by another iconic Yankee treasure – a baseball signed by the 1927 World Championship team powered by the fearsome lineup of batters known as “Murderers Row.” The signatures on the ball include those of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, which, together, would be quite a prize even without the addition of their other teammates’ autographs. Entered in the auction with a $5,000 reserve, the ball flew out of the park with a winning bid of $86,581.


The West Coast had a strong presence in the sale as well, and was led by a 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers flannel road jersey game-worn and autographed by pitching ace Sandy Koufax. Representing the World Series season in which Koufax won his third Cy Young Award by unanimous vote, the jersey was described in the auction catalog as “immaculate” and “all original.” Against a $10,000 reserve, it was competitively pursued to $131,770.

1967 Bill Russell NBA All-Star Game-used uniform, $88,826. Grey Flannel Auctions image.


Hardcourt highlights were topped by Hall of Famer Bill Russell’s NBA All-Star Game-used uniform from 1967. Exhibiting a bold color motif of royal blue with gold felt lettering, red stars and a distinctive image of the Golden Gate Bridge, the jersey with matching satin-type shorts sold for more than eight times the reserve, at $88,826.


Other notable basketball lots included Bobby Jones’ 1983 Philadelphia 76ers Championship ring, $71,544; and Dennis Johnson’s 1977-78 Seattle SuperSonics NBA Finals game-used road uniform, $58,465.


1983 Tony Caldwell Los Angeles Raiders Super Bowl XVIII Championship player’s ring, $33,600. Grey Flannel Auctions image.

Gridiron winners included Tony Caldwell’s 1983 Los Angeles Raiders Super Bowl XVIII Championship player’s ring, which sold for $33,600; and a circa-1968 Gale Sayers Chicago Bears game-used home jersey that concluded its bidding run at $22,796.


“Once again, collectors helped make our annual Holiday Auction an exciting and very successful event,” said Russek. “We look forward to a full house and a lot of fun on February 11th, when we host our Babe Ruth Auction at the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Sports Legend Museum at Camden Yards in Baltimore.” Absentee and online bidding will precede the live auction. Additional details will be announced soon.


The fully illustrated Nov. 30 auction catalog, complete with prices realized, may be viewed online at To contact Grey Flannel, call 631-288-7800, ext. 223; or email

New HISTORY series premiering Sunday, Nov. 27 reveals risky business for collectors hoping to cash in

November 23rd, 2011 by

Hold ’em or fold ’em? Let the seller beware when angling  for a….REAL DEAL

Las Vegas dealer Glen Parshall (left) considers making a cash offer on a fossilized woolly mammoth tooth brought in during the taping of 'Real Deal,' HISTORY Channel's new auction house reality show based at Don Presley Auctions in Orange, Calif. Image courtesy of HISTORY.

ORANGE, Calif. – A 1956 Lincoln Mark II in flawless condition rolls into the lot. Its owner knows that only a handful of these beauties were produced, and he thinks he can get $70,000 for it. The dealer offers him $30,000. Should he take the money and run? The tension builds. No, the seller decides. For a collectible car in perfect running condition, he’s sure he can get top dollar at auction.


The market for collectibles is unpredictable, and everyone wants to make a profit. ‘Real Deal,’ a new 10-part / 30-minute series premiering Sunday, Nov. 27 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on HISTORY, zeroes in on the dramatic interaction between buyers and sellers as they haggle over the best price for a piece of history.


Taped at Don Presley Auctions’ gallery in Orange, Calif., Real Deal captures the tension that fuels the art of the deal. Antique dealers must summon their expansive knowledge of antiques – and human nature – to clinch the deal. But it’s the sellers who have the advantage. They can walk away from the table at any time and head straight to the auction block, where big money could be awaiting. But there’s always the risk of going home with far less than the dealer offered – or even empty-handed.


Whether it’s a collection of footballs signed by NFL legends or an autograph by Harry Houdini, a WWII German Storm Trooper dagger or a 19th-century spittoon, everything that comes into the auction reveals something about an earlier time and the way people lived in the past. But an article that’s rich with history doesn’t necessarily make its owner rich. One seller thinks he can get $580 for a 1904 home electrotherapy machine. The dealer offers $240. No deal, decides the seller, and heads to the auction house, where he gets only $225 for it.


But a gamble can sometimes pay off, as it did for Gary, the owner of the Lincoln who rejected the dealer’s $30,000 offer. At the auction house, he gleefully looks on as bids keep rising. Eventually the vintage vehicle fetches $45,000…and Gary goes home a winner.


“With this show, the name tells it all. It’s the real deal – the most authentic antiques and auction show on television,” said auctioneer Don Presley. “I believe auctions are the best way of determining fair market value, and that’s what this show does.”


Presley explained the premise of the show: “People come into the auction house with an antique or collectible item and sit down at a poker table across from one of a team of four very smart dealers with a stack of cash to spend. They discuss the item and haggle back and forth on price; then the dealer makes them an offer. The seller can accept the offer or consign the item to auction. Viewers get to watch the entire process as it unfolds, all the way through to the bang of the gavel. It’s very entertaining,” Presley said.

New episodes will air on the following dates, with back-to-back new episodes on Sundays:

Sunday 11/27 –  9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Monday 11/28 – 11 p.m.

Sunday 12/4 – 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Monday 12/5 – 11 p.m.

Sunday 12/11 – 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Sunday 12/18 – 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

REAL DEAL is produced for HISTORY by Zodiak USA. Carl Lindahl is Executive Producer for HISTORY. Natalka Znak, Claire O’Donohoe and Rhett Bachner serve as Executive Producers for Zodiak.


HISTORY® and HISTORY® HD are the leading destinations for revealing, award-winning original non-fiction series and event specials that connect history with viewers in an informative, immersive and entertaining manner across multiple platforms. Programming covers a diverse variety of historical genres ranging from military history to contemporary history, technology to natural history, as well as science, archaeology and pop culture. Among the network’s program offerings are hit series such as American Pickers, Ax MenAmerican Restoration, Ice Road Truckers, Top Gear, Pawn Stars and Top Shot, as well as acclaimed specials including  Vietnam in HD, Gettysburg, America the Story of Us, WWII in HD, 102 Minutes That Changed America. HISTORY has earned four Peabody Awards, eleven Primetime Emmy® Awards, 12 News & Documentary Emmy® Awards and received the prestigious Governor’s Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network’s Save Our History® campaign dedicated to historic preservation and history education. Take a Veteran to School Day is the network’s signature initiative connecting America’s schools and communities with veterans from all wars.

The HISTORY website, located at, is the leading online resource for all things history, featuring over 20,000 videos, images, audio clips, articles and interactive features that allow visitors to dig deeper into a broad range of thousands of historical topics. For more information go to




USA Theatres to host new antique toy and coin-op show

November 23rd, 2011 by

HERSHEY, Pa – USA Theatres, which operates drive-in and outdoor theatres in Central Pennsylvania, is entering into the world of antique toys by launching the American Antique Toy & Coin-Op Show.

According to the company, the show will feature quality exhibitors buying, selling and trading a wide array of antique and collectible toys, including tin, cast iron, mechanical, pressed steel, banks, advertising, holiday, Marx, soldiers, coin-ops, and more.

“Since outdoor movies are a seasonal business, trade shows and conventions have become an important part of our annual programming,” said Ronald M. Vastola, Outreach Coordinator of USA Theatres.  “The show will be promoted and marketed through various media outlets, including television, Internet websites, daily and weekly newspapers, trade papers, and direct market mailers and magazines.”

A previous show organized by USA Theatres was the Baltimore Non-Sports Card Convention, which featured numerous exhibitors from the non-sports hobby, including artists, authors, manufacturers, publishers, and dealers.

The American Antique Toy & Coin-Op Show is set to debut for the general public on Saturday, March 3, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Eastern Civic Center, situated within walking distance from the Metro-North Train Station in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

General admission into the event is $10 for adults and free for children under 12.  Early buyers are welcome Friday evening at 6:00 p.m. and also Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. for $20 per person each day.

A variety of food and beverages will be available for purchase at the show, provided by Joemomma Foods Incorporated of Hershey, Pennsylvania, according to the show’s promoter, USA Theatres.

“It’s going to be a brisk and fantastic show,” Vastola said.


Want to exhibit?

8 ft. by 8 ft. exhibitor spaces are currently available for $150 each and include one 8 ft. table, two chairs, and two exhibitor badges; while 16 ft. by 8 ft. spaces are available for $250 each, and 24 ft. by 8 ft. spaces are available for $350 each.

For more information, call (717) 542-0567 or email

You may also visit the website,

Morphy’s to host its largest-ever auction of antique and vintage marbles on Dec. 3, featuring the Paul Baumann collection

November 21st, 2011 by

Amber glass latticino swirl marble, 1 5/8 inches in diameter with 14 birdcage latticino bands, ex Paul Baumann collection, est. $4,000-$6,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – Marbles are essentially miniature works of art in glass, and the number of collectors who are drawn to them just keeps on growing, said Dan Morphy, whose Pennsylvania auction house has become a virtual collectors’ clubhouse for the specialty hobby. On Dec. 3, his company will conduct its largest-ever offering of marbles – a total of 762 lots. As has become the custom, the event is likely to attract a throng of collectors from several states, all keen to see what sorts of fresh finds have come out of collections for this particular sale.


“We’ve had collectors come from as far away as California to attend our marble sales,” Morphy said. “Those who can’t attend in person – including the many Europeans who collect marbles – are always quick to sign up for phone lines or to bid via the Internet.”


Morphy – himself a longtime buyer and seller of marbles – believes the Dec. 3 event may very well gross in excess of $300,000, noting that several marbles are poised to reach $20,000 apiece.


Onionskin Peacock lutz marble with mica, 2¼ inches in diameter, ex Paul Baumann collection, est. $10,000-$20,000. Morphy Auctions image.

The renowned Paul Baumann collection is the auction’s centerpiece and comprises the first 430 lots of the sale. The collection was started in the summer of 1952, when Baumann was a mere five years old. Baumann’s parents were antique collectors who enjoyed prowling through shops, but they worried about their son’s short attention span and wanted to think of a way to keep him occupied. The solution Paul’s dad devised was to give the boy a portion of his own marble collection, with instructions to keep an eye out for similar types of marbles during their shopping expeditions.


“That was what sparked a lifetime of marble collecting and expert scholarship on the subject,” said Morphy. “Paul was

way ahead of his time. He wrote a book about marbles that was released in 1969 and has been reprinted several times, with 44,000 copies sold in all. That’s unheard of for what was such a narrow specialty for so many years.”


One of the most highly prized pieces in the Baumann collection is a 2¼ inch diameter onionskin peacock lutz marble with mica. Its medley of colors includes purple, orange, yellow, blue, pink, red, green, turquoise and baby blue; and as described in the auction catalog, it contains “large chunks” of mica and lutz. The consignor purchased the marble over 50 years ago at a high-end antique show in Chicago, paying $75 for it. Its surface is in “fabulous” condition, and overall, the marble is graded 9.7 to 9.8. In the Dec. 3 auction, it is estimated at $10,000-$20,000, which Morphy described as “a very nice return on the consignor’s investment.”


Christensen Agate No. 00 Guinea Marbles boxed set, believed to be the only extant example of this set, contains 13 blue guineas and 12 clear specimens. Provenance: John Early, marble grader for Christensen Agate Co. Est. $9,000-$12,000. Morphy Auctions image.

The only Christensen Agate No. 00 Guinea Marbles boxed set Dan Morphy has ever seen is another highlight of the sale. The box contains 13 blue guineas and 12 clear specimens. The set was found in a trailer in Cambridge, Ohio, and belonged to John Early, a marble grader for the Christensen Agate Company. In 9.6 condition, it is estimated at $9,000-$12,000.


A rare and beautiful amber glass latticino swirl marble, 1 5/8 inches in diameter, has 14 equally spaced birdcage latticino bands just beneath its surface. “This marble is extremely rare to find in this size and condition,” said Morphy. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000.


Single pontil end-of-day marble, 2¼ inches in diameter, est. $3,000-$5,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Another rarity is the 2¼-inch single-pontil end-of-day marble with two opposing red and white panels and other opposing panels of turquoise and white, and turquoise, yellow and white. Graded 9.8 to 9.9, it is cataloged with a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.


Many collectors pursue sulphide marbles, which contain suspended figures of animals, people, numerals, fantasy characters or objects of various types within the glass. The Dec. 3 sale features a wonderful sulphide with the figure of a court jester, or possibly a Punchinello or Punch character [from Punch and Judy], seated with outspread legs. “This is one of the best figures we’ve seen in a sulphide,” said Morphy, who estimates it will sell for $2,500-$3,500.


, est. $2,500-$3,500.”]The sale contains not only rare, early marbles exhibiting the creativity of past generations of artisans, but also a fine assortment of contemporary designs, with desirable examples by Matthews and Beetem.


“We expect an exciting day of bidding on December 3rd,” Morphy said. “Provenance from the Baumann collection adds a premium to any marble, and collectors are well aware of that. Paul is one of the most respected and most knowledgeable collectors in the marble hobby. Morphy’s is greatly honored to be auctioning his collection.”


Morphy’s marble auction featuring the Paul Baumann collection will take place on Saturday, Dec. 3, commencing at 9 a.m. Eastern time. All forms of bidding will be available, including live at the gallery, by phone or absentee, and live via the Internet through Morphy Live (sign up at or


For additional information on any lot in the auction, call Morphy’s at 717-335-3435 or

e-mail View the fully illustrated catalog and all other auction information online at