Fresh-to-market advertising and country store antiques join major railroadiana collections at Morphy’s, Nov. 15-16

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Featured highlight: Magnificent and complete 1925 Karl Muller 18-character carousel restored to the most exacting European standards

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s Antique Advertising department will conclude its 2023 schedule on a high note with a November 15-16 auction that combines coveted antique advertising and country store items with rare railroad memorabilia. The lineup of 1,415 expertly-cataloged lots includes several premier collections that are absolutely fresh to the market, including two advertising and country store collections, and a bonus assemblage of more than two dozen complete late-18th-century cast-iron stoves. With the addition of two top-notch railroadiana collections and even a glorious 1925 German carousel, Morphy’s sale has all the essentials for an entertaining two-day event that collectors will find hard to resist.

Over 400 advertising signs are in the mix, touting a huge array of products such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco, candy, Coca-Cola and other soda pop brands, and the various products that would have been offered in general stores. Two dozen clocks are entered, many of them illuminating, and with the majority touting soft drinks.

Several circa-1950s Sunbeam Bread signs in the auction selection feature the image of Little Miss Sunbeam, a delightful child with curly blond hair who first appeared in the bakery’s ads in 1955. A single-sided embossed tin sign that exclaims, “Come In! We Serve The Best Made With Sunbeam Rolls” measures 54¾ inches long and is estimated at $3,000-$5,000, while a second sign of similar size and construction urges the customer to “Reach For Sunbeam Energy-Packed Bread” and is estimated at $2,000-$4,000. Both signs are graded a strong condition 9.0, exhibit outstanding color and gloss, and would likely be difficult to upgrade. 

An amazing single-owner collection of complete, late-18th-century cast-iron stoves will make its auction debut on Day 1 of Morphy auction sale. The fresh-to-market, museum-quality collection is a virtual representation of many of the great manufacturers of the period, including Acme, Temple, Quaker, J L Mott, Mt Penn, and Colebrookdale, to name but a few. An early Penn-Franklin parlor stove patented 1888 is an especially ornate example with all-original castings, doors and skirting. Its brass panels are decorated with charming images of birds. Estimate: $1,000-$2,000

The auction’s atmosphere will remind many of the golden era of railroads and train stations, with its abundant array (783 lots) of railway antiques from two advanced collections. There’s a touch of Harry Potter to the bronze locomotive bell mounted in a large yoke with original black paint and cast with the name “C of GA RY” (Central of Georgia Railway). The bell is expected to ring out at $1,000-$5,000. Also, an extremely rare, 18in-diameter round Erie Railroad cast-bronze number plate comes from Number 2547, a K-1 6-2 Pacific passenger engine built by Rogers Locomotive Works in 1906. It has applied bronze numbers and appears to retain its original paint and patina. Assessed a condition 8.0, it could claim a winning bid of $1,000-$4,000. 

You can almost hear the ear-piercing sounds of a steam locomotive whistle just by the sight of a Nathan five-chime example made of cast iron. With bronze fitments, the unit is complete with its mounting flange and shutoff value, as well as a separate valve for the actual whistle. Its estimate is $1,000-$5,000. A cast-iron GTR steam whistle has an intact actuation lever intact and is mounted to a post with a split base. The entire piece is painted a flat black, “G.T.R.” embossed on the whistle’s body, along with a casting pattern number. This sizable (43½in) relic is in VG condition and estimated at $1,000-$3,000.

Magnificent and complete Karl Muller 18-character restored carousel, Germany, made in 1925. Mid-sized and in full operating condition, including illumination. Impeccably painted facade. Features include horses, sleighs, suspended gondola, boat and more. Size: 29½ft by 12ft. Estimate: $120,000-$150,000
Magnificent and complete Karl Muller 18-character restored carousel, Germany, made in 1925. Mid-sized and in full operating condition, including illumination. Impeccably painted facade. Features include horses, sleighs, suspended gondola, boat and more. Size: 29½ft by 12ft. Estimate: $120,000-$150,000

Make way for the entertainers that top the bill, starting with a magnificent and complete Karl Muller (Germany) carousel. Made in 1925, the restored mid-size carousel shows off Old World artistry with its impeccably-painted façade and 18 “features” that include horses, sleighs, a suspended gondola, and more. Its fully functional illumination adds excitement to the rider’s experience through its canopy of overhead lights and interior art panels skillfully adorned with painted images of cherubs and flowers. “Fully-operating carousels do not come around very often, and hardly ever fully restored and ready for any location,” noted the auction’s curator, Tom Tolworthy. Measuring 29½ft by 12ft, the carousel is presently located in the collector’s warehouse in the Netherlands and may be viewed by appointment (contact Morphy’s to schedule). Estimate: $120,000-$150,000

Additional amusement comes in the form of a rare Symphonion Style 38AT “Eroica” 3-disc music box with desirable coin-operated play. The unit is housed in a beautiful walnut case with a deep, rich finish and full gallery. A hard-to-find version, it plays three discs simultaneously on three separate music movements, each with 100 teeth and two 50-note combs, with the result being a sublime harmony arrangement. A collector favorite, the Style 38AT Eroica will convey to its new owner with a bonus stack of elusive music discs. Estimate: $3,000-$6,000

Morphy’s November 15-16, 2023 Advertising, Country Store & Railroadiana Auction will be held at Morphy’s gallery located at 2000 N Reading Rd, Denver, PA 17517. Start time on both days is 9am ET. All forms of remote bidding will be available, including absentee, by phone, or live via the Internet through Morphy Live. Questions: call 877-968-8880 or email [email protected]. View the full catalog online at

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