Exciting live event was led by rare penny arcade ‘lung tester,’ upright double musical Puck and other Caille slot machines, Art Deco neon automotive signs, pre-Prohibition brewery signs
LAS VEGAS, Nov. 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Morphy Auctions has returned to Vegas, and West Coast collectors are loving it. After a four-year hiatus, the Pennsylvania company’s $5.1 million sale held October 27-30 at its new Vegas satellite location was the first step toward re-establishing Morphy’s presence in America’s entertainment capital. Motivated bidders, including many who have been loyal Morphy Auctions customers for years, came from literally all western states to attend the 2,214-lot sale of premium-quality coin-op and gambling machines, antique advertising and country store treasures.
“It was refreshing to see so many old and new friends in attendance. The energy and excitement of the sale went beyond anything witnessed since pre-COVID. With a profound exclamation point, it’s rewarding to simply say, we’re back!” said auction curator Tom Tolworthy.
Those in attendance gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to Tolworthy’s confirmation that, going forward, the spacious new Las Vegas facility will serve as the permanent venue for all of Morphy’s popular Coin-Op & Antique Advertising sales. But that’s not all. In recognition of the West Coast’s dynamic car culture, a February 24-25, 2024 Automobilia & Petroliana auction has been added to the company’s Las Vegas calendar.
Spectacular coin-ops included 15+ coveted upright slot machines. A circa-1903 Caille 5¢ and 25¢ double musical Puck upright slot machine displayed not only mechanical ingenuity but also great decorative beauty with its colorful gaming wheels set behind two cherub decals. Complete with a rare interchangeable cylinder music box, it exceeded its high estimate at $74,400.
Another top seller was the circa-1910 Caille “Tourist” cast-iron slot machine. Tolworthy observed that this particular model is “unique among the single-reelers produced in the early 20th century.” The player would select a country from the list provided, deposit a nickel, and pull the handle. If the chosen country appeared after the handle was activated, the machine would pay out accordingly. In wonderful overall condition with an attractive natural patina, it sold for $66,000.
Bidding paddles were airborne for an original circa-1904 Mills 1¢ novelty “Hats Off” lung tester. Its design incorporated the faces of eight men whose tin (designed to replicate “straw”) hats could be blown off if a user’s lung strength was sufficient. A message on its front panel enticed potential players with the message “Come On Boys…Who Blows Best.” One of very few known, the machine sold well above high estimate for a powerful $119,000.
Other highlights included a rare and outstanding Chevrolet Art Deco single-sided porcelain neon sign with a Telechron clock that sold above estimate for $98,400; a scarce eight-color porcelain corner sign advertising Excelsior Brewery of Buffalo, NY, which doubled its high estimate at $44,280; and an extremely rare “Bambino” tin tobacco canister with graphics depicting a baseball player in silhouette. It commanded $25,830 against an estimate of $5,000–$15,000.
An advanced collection of more than 150 antique occupational shaving mugs boasted some of the finest examples ever to appear at auction. The mugs attracted intense bidding and chalked up extraordinary prices. The top seller was a mug dated “1924” with the image of a policeman riding on a motorcycle. It raced to $30,000 against a $1,000–$1,500 estimate.
To discuss consigning coin-op or gambling machines, antique advertising or any other types of high-quality antiques to a future Morphy auction, call 877-968-8880 or email
. Online: https://www.morphyauctions.com.
Dan Morphy, 877-968-8880
SOURCE Morphy Auctions