Highlights: 1976 Topps football rack box with 24 packs of trading cards, $24,600; boxed Japanese Space Refuel Station, $11,070; boxed first-issue brunette Barbie #1, $10,455
DENVER, Pa. – Classic toys and pop culture favorites joined forces to deliver a $1.3 million result at Morphy’s August 2-3 auction, which offered “something to please everyone.” The all-encompassing Toys & General Collectibles sale ran the gamut from antique mechanical banks and dolls to fast-rising categories that are making waves in the marketplace, like vintage sports cards.
Morphy’s has been on everyone’s radar in the sports card hobby ever since the Pennsylvania company sold a Topps baseball wax-pack brick for $873,300 last February. Their summer auction lineup, which strived for bidder inclusion at all price points, included 55 lots of cards, rack packs, cello and wax packs plus boxes representing some of the all-time greatest professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey players and teams.
The top seller ended up being an extremely rare, unopened 1976 Topps football rack box containing 24 pristine packs of trading cards. The packs featured images of star athletes of the period, including Fran Tarkenton, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Bubba Smith, Mel Blount and many others. The 1976 Topps set is also known to include rookie cards of the Chicago Bears’ legendary Hall of Famer Walter “Sweetness” Payton. BBCE-authenticated, the coveted box sold within its estimate range for $24,600.
Dozens of high-quality cast-iron mechanical banks crossed the auction block, including many made by J & E Stevens of Cromwell, Connecticut. Leading the group was an appealing Stevens Elephant and Three Clowns bank with rich original paint. The circa-1882 production in near-mint condition sold for $13,530 against a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.
Sci-fi fans had their eyes on a battery-operated tin-litho Space Refuel Station marked “Waco Made in Japan.” An elusive toy, especially when complete with its original satellite, jet plane and rocket accessories, it even retained its original pictorial factory box. Estimated at $2,000-$3,000, it hit the stratosphere at $11,070.
With the blockbuster Margot Robbie/Ryan Gosling movie packing theaters worldwide, this has been the summer of Barbie, and that also includes in the toy-collecting world. Morphy’s August sale featured a 1959 first-issue brunette #1 Barbie Doll with its original box, stand, and complete set of accessories. Harder to find than its blond counterpart, the early brunette doll in excellent condition was bid to $10,455 against an estimate of $6,000-$7,000.
An EJ Model Jumeau French Bebe was expected to impress on auction day, and did not disappoint. Measuring 24 inches long, the stylishly-dressed, curly-locked blonde retained her original fully-jointed French wood and composition body and a stamp on the back of the torso reading JUMEAU MEDAILLE D’OR PARIS. With a distinctive portrait-like expression and blue-grey spiral eyes, the bisque-headed beauty achieved an above-estimate price of $11,685.
Hundreds of tin, pressed-steel, and cast-iron vehicles were available to collectors, including American, Japanese and German productions. An Alps (Japan) lithographed tin friction Pacer Police Motorcycle, 12¼ inches long, boasted near-mint condition and came with its attractive original box with applied pictorial label. It ended its bidding run at $5,658 against an estimate of $1,500-$2,500.
Matching the police bike with a closing price of $5,658, a McCoy #5 Invader tether car showed off a carved-wood top by Stanley Betz and was powered by a .60 race motor. The 20-inch-long racer had been estimated at $1,000-$1,500, prompting Tommy Sage, Head of Morphy’s Toys & Trains department, to remark, “The popularity of tether cars has been growing steadily, and this particular car had a few things going for it that made it special. It has a sleek, low design – almost futuristic – and a glossy polished-wood finish. There’s an artistic quality to it.”
Classic toy vehicles included a scarce Vindex cast-iron two-door sedan, all original with a partial Vindex label. It captured interest in part because of its unusual mint-green color. With no damage or repairs to challenge its high condition, it sped to a $3,936 finish against an $800-$1,200 estimate.
To discuss consigning antique or vintage toys, dolls, banks, sports cards/memorabilia, or other quality collectibles to a future auction at Morphy’s, please call 877-968-8880 or email email@example.com. All enquiries are kept strictly confidential. Visit Morphy’s online at www.morphyauctions.com.
All prices quoted in this report are inclusive of the buyer’s premium as detailed on Morphy’s website.
All images courtesy of Morphy Auctions
J & E Stevens Elephant and Three Clowns cast-iron mechanical bank, near-mint condition, sold for $13,530 against a $3,000-$5,000 estimate
Scarce Vindex cast-iron two-door sedan, all original with partial Vindex label. Sold for $3,936 against an $800-$1,200 estimate
Beautiful and highly desirable example of the earliest EJ Model Jumeau French Bebe doll, 24in long. Sold above high estimate for $11,685
1959 first-issue brunette #1 Barbie Doll in excellent condition with box and original stand and complete set of accessories. Sold for $10,455 against an estimate of $6,000-$7,000
Extremely rare BBCE-authenticated 1976 Topps football rack box containing 24 packs of trading cards with images of star athletes, including Fran Tarkenton, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and many more. Sold within estimate for $24,600
McCoy #5 Invader tether car with carved-wood top by Stanley Betz and .60 race motor, 20in long. Sold for $5,658 against an estimate of $1,000-$1,500
Alps (Japan) lithographed tin friction Pacer Police Motorcycle, 12¼in long, with original pictorial box. Near-mint condition including original driver’s helmet. Sold for $5,658 against an estimate of $1,500-$2,500.
Battery-operated tin-litho Space Refuel Station marked ‘Waco Made in Japan,’ with original satellite, jet plane and rocket. Accompanied by original factory box. Sold for $11,070 against an estimate of $2,000-$3,000