Morphy Auctions has announce this highly anticipated sales event to be held on Saturday, May 27th and Sunday, May 28th, 2017 starting at 9am PST both days. All lots are on display in Morphy’s Las Vegas gallery and available for preview now.
It’s no work and all play when it comes to this sale’s great offerings of antique floor model arcade games. Lot #238, a c. 1892 Roovers Bros. Educated Donkey amusement machine is a smart place to start this review. This rarity, only one of 3 or 4 known, features a donkey automaton in a lighted cabinet; the donkey turns the ship’s helm to select a number that corresponds to the operator’s fortune. This example was included in the Gay Nineties Museum until the late 1970s and is estimated at $75,000-150,000. Lot #768, a c. 1895-1904 Roovers Bros. Mlle. Zita Fortune Teller Machine, is only one of 5 or 6 examples known and is estimated at $50,000-125,000. It features a fortune teller automaton who, at the crank of the handle, pulls a lever with one hand and turns to grab the dispensed fortune card with the other. And lot #898, a Rockola 1937 World Series Baseball Arcade Machine, just may be a perfect game. This machine, considered “The Holy Grail” of baseball coin operated arcade machines, is in almost original condition with little wear, housed in a wood cabinet, and features a baseball field with figural cast iron players and a cardboard litho stadium filled with spectators. It is estimated at $35,000-45,000.
Collectors will no doubt care to take a gamble on this auction’s fine selections of antique countertop games and slot machines. Lot #338, a c. 1910 Caille Operators Bell slot machine decorated with detailed nickel plated castings of New York landmarks – including the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty – is estimated at $20,000-30,000. It’s love at first site with lot #7, a Watling Cupid Counter wheel slot machine with a side vendor, estimated at $30,000-50,000. This very rare c. 1902 example is detailed with colorful wheels, a central image of a cupid, and basket weave textured castings. Lot #8, a c. 1935 Superior Confection “Races” counter horse race has a lovely green body with red, blue, and silver accents. This mane attraction is estimated at $20,000-30,000. And lot #339, an early 1900’s Charles Fey “On the Square” dice game offers “two plays for a nickel.” On the first play, players shake all the dice in the glass tubes and then have the chance to hold any of the dice before the next turn; winnings were paid out in drinks. This rarity is estimated at $20,000-40,000.
It’s time to change things up and drop a dime on this sale’s impressive vending machine selections. Lot #706, a c. 1911 Eagle Square Deal gum vender features its original reel strips, wheel, and glue chip glass. It is in great working condition and is estimated at $30,000-40,000. And two Doremus Automatic Vending Co. cigar vending machines should light up the bidding audience. The first, lot #7811, is a c. 1898-1905 copper-clad cast iron vendor, estimated at $15,000-20,000. This machine, in original condition, is handsomely decorated with Victorian flourishes and beveled glass. And the second, lot #79, a c. 1898-1901 cast iron vendor with decorative scrolling on both sides, is estimated at $10,000-15,000. This example has great patina, intact beveled glass panels, and a front plaque marked “6315.”
This sale’s amazing selection of almost 125 trade stimulators will unquestionably energize collectors. Lot #341, a Lukat “The Lucky Cat” trade stimulator, will have collectors feline groovy with its $10,000-$25,000 estimate. This unique design, produced by the Lu-Kat Novelty Company, rewards players with a ticket and a gumball. Lot #705, a c. 1902 Royal Novelty Royal Trader trade stimulator, is another crown jewel in this category. It features an exquisite cast cabinet with copper flashing and a rotating wooden base and is estimated at $20,000-30,000. Lot #5, a c. 1910-1914 Mills Little Scarab roulette trade stimulator comes to life with its decorative castings depicting scarabs dancing about. This example, which has its original paper, wheel, back door, and tokens in its pay tubes, is estimated at $20,000-30,000. And lot #832, a c. 1894 combination card and dice machine, is the best of all worlds. This rare countertop model – possibly the only one known – has 5 poker card reels and five glass dice tubes. Made by J. Watson of Buffalo, New York, this fantastic example is in working condition and is estimated at $30,000-50,000.
Let’s end this tour on a high note by checking out a few of this auction’s outstanding musical selections. Lot #67, a c. 1899 Encore automatic banjo, was manufactured by The American Automusic Co. of New York. It features an oak cabinet with a beautiful honey oak finish, brass fretwork, and a 137” power cord. It is estimated at $10,000-20,000. Lot #262, a c. 1904-1908 Regina Corona automatic changer music box, is certainly in tune with its $10,000-15,000 estimate. This beautiful floor model features a mahogany cabinet with curved legs, intricately carved spiral columns on either side of its art glass door, and a carved top crest; it holds 15-1/2″ discs, 15 at a time. And things are twice as nice with lot #88, our final highlight. This offering consists of a coin op Kalliope Panorama Automat Musicbox and nine circular tune sheets and is estimated at $10,000-20,000. This Kalliope was named the “Panorama” because of the bottom display of running horses that moves during play; its design includes 12 bells and dual combs with a total of 120 extra wide teeth.
According to Dan Morphy, President of Morphy Auctions, “Our antique coin op auctions always generate enormous interest and participation, and our May event offerings certainly confirm this worldwide leadership role in this exciting and key category. I am positive all eyes will be on the Roovers Bros. Educated Donkey amusement machine. It is extraordinary in its rarity, design, and appeal. We welcome you to visit our gallery in Las Vegas to view this machine and all the sale’s other museum-quality merchandise in person, or of course check them out online anytime at www.morphyauctions.com.”