In The News
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Online:
Swann Galleries’ auction of Important Photobooks & Photographs on Tuesday, December 13 features beautiful and poignant images and books ranging from the earliest photographs to works by artists living and working today.
Among the photobooks, Edwin Hale Lincoln’s lavishly illustrated Wild Flowers of New England Photographed from Nature, a complete set of 8 volumes with 400 platinum prints, one of perhaps 50 copies of the self-published work, 1910-14 (detail top right).
William Eggleston’s 2 1/4, a limited-edition book featuring the artist’s early color photographs, with a signed print. One of 50 copies, 1999.
A large selection of New York City photographs including Harry Callahan’s Untitled (World Trade Center), a silver print, 1974.
Stephen Shore’s Ginger Seippel, Miami, Florida, a C-print, 1977, printed 1980.
Aaron Siskind’s Viterbo Broom portfolio, containing 18 abstract photographs, all silver prints, 1967
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 www.rmauctions.com/milhous.
Extremely rare Panama-Pacific $50 gold coin leads Morphy’s Dec. 17 Coin & Sports Memorabilia auction lineupDecember 8th, 2011 by admin
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 LiveAuctioneers.com.
For additional information about the coins, e-mail email@example.com. For questions pertaining to sports memorabilia, e-mail tom@morphyauctions. To reach the gallery, call 717-335-3435.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
All forms of bidding will be available, including live in the gallery, absentee, by phone, or live via the Internet through www.LiveAuctioneers.com. View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com. Visit Stephenson’s online at www.stephensonsauction.com.
Features the complete works of the celebrated travel poster artist Roger Broders, whose name is synonymous with French Art Deco. Not only is this the first time that all of Broders work, including previously unknown variants and non-travel images, has come to auction, it is the first time the complete works of any poster artist have been offered at one time. The posters comprise an outstanding private collection that is remarkable for its range and for the fine condition of most of the pieces.
The January 26th auction of Important Old Master Paintings & Sculpture in New York features significant works by artists from across Europe, including masterpieces by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Federico Barocci, Canaletto, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Francesco Guardi, Fra Bartolommeo, and Simone Martini, among many others.