Collectors prepare to gather ’round the circle for Morphy’s May 26 Marble auction

May 9th, 2012 by

Christensen Agate cyclone guinea marble with ‘submarine’ effect, est. $700-$1,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – Some of the finest handmade and machine-made vintage marbles ever to be offered at auction will be available to bidders on May 26 at Morphy’s gallery in Lancaster County, Pa. The 783-lot specialty sale is all about marbles, and nothing else.


Manufacturers represented in the sale include such coveted names as Christensen Agate, Akro Agate and Peltier. The selection includes boxed sets as well as single marbles.


One of the auction’s special highlights is an Akro Agate Kullerbubbel Gum marble set, a display that was designed to offer children a stick of gum and one agate marble for a penny. The lucky person who purchased the last stick of gum from the display box would receive the only included corkscrew “shooter” as a bonus. The boxed set with 120 marbles, 120 sticks of gum and shooter is expected to make $3,000-$5,000.


Four-paneled controlled mica onionskin marble, est. $2,000-$3,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Christensen singles include three teardrop guineas. Also among the top lots by Christensen are a rare cobalt with orange and white marble, est. $1,000-$2,000; a hard-to-find red devil that is estimated at $1,500-$2,500; and a blue devil with electric-yellow stripes, similarly estimated at $1,500-$2,500. The latter two examples are pictured in all four editions of Everett Grist’s “Big Book of Marbles.” A third red devil, with yellow striping and spotting is also estimated at $1,500-$2,500.


Onionskins are led by a rare 4-panel controlled mica with faceted pontil. It has two opposing panels of almost solid red and two other opposing panels of turquoise and white with blizzard mica. Extremely hard to find in this configuration, the 1 1/8 in. marble could realize an auction price of $2,000-$3,000.


Circa-1870 gutta percha marble with multiple colors creating an ‘iris’ effect, est. $3,000-$5,000. Morphy Auctions image.

A circa-1870 marble made of gutta percha (papier mache) displays a color palette of mustard yellow, oxblood red, tan, blue and gold on a black base. Together, the colors create an iris effect. An early, seldom-encountered marble, it is in 9.5 condition and estimated at $3,000-$5,000.


A rarity known as a “birdcage” marble because of the distinctive cage-like shape its latticino forms within the glass boasts a medley of five colors. “In fact, we have never seen this many colors in a birdcage marble,” said Morphy’s marbles specialist Brian Estepp. The condition is rated 9.7 and it is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.


Five-color single-pontil birdcage marble, est. $3,000-$5,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Many wonderful sulphide marbles, with figures suspended in the glass, are included in the sale, including a standing Jester, Kneeling/Praying Angel and a wonderful Painted Dog. The well-centered figure of a spotted canine with brown eyes and nose stands on a green “grass” base. It could bring $2,500-$3,500 on auction day.


Morphy’s Marble auction will take place on Saturday, May 26, 2012, 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