Morphy Auctions is ready to entertain with rare antique coin-ops and advertising signs, April 11-13 in Las Vegas

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Caille Bros Musical Triple Eclipse upright slot machine from 1960s ‘Dobby Doc’ Nevada warehouse find leads stellar lineup with $150K-$300K estimate

Very Rare 5¢, 50¢, 5¢ Caille Bros. Musical Eclipse Triplet Upright Slot Machine
Very Rare 5¢, 50¢, 5¢ Caille Bros. Musical Eclipse Triplet Upright Slot Machine

DENVER, Pa. – At the turn of the 20th century, coin-operated machines could be found nearly everywhere, from arcades and boardwalks to hotel lobbies and bars. They stood ready to entertain, dispense a treat, tell a fortune or offer patrons a chance to win a jackpot, all for the cost of a penny, nickel or quarter. But it will take much more than pocket change to take home one of the fabulous treasures of that era offered in Morphy’s April 11-13 Coin-Op & Antique Advertising Auction. The 1,919-lot sale, which is chock-full of rarities from acclaimed collections, will be held at Morphy’s spacious Las Vegas gallery, with all forms of remote bidding also available, including live online through Morphy Live

The diverse selection features beautiful gambling, vending, music and pinball machines, plus a spectacular array of antique advertising. Categories represented within the 1,225 lots of advertising signage and related items include tobacco, alcoholic beverages, snacks and gum; barber shop, general store, circus/carnival and many more.

The sale’s top-estimated lot figures prominently in Nevada’s long gambling tradition. It is a rare and highly sought-after Caille Bros Musical Triple Eclipse upright slot machine whose design incorporates three separate machines – accepting 5¢, 50¢ and 5¢ respectively – in one stunning oak cabinet. An artistic masterpiece with its all-original castings and most of its original nickel plating, the unit was made sometime between 1902 and 1904. It is marked with Serial No. 121, confirming it is the earliest of only four extant examples of this particular model. Following its period of service as a gambling device, the machine became part of the fabled Dobby Doc collection, which was amassed in the 1930s and ’40s and lay dormant until it was discovered in a Nevada warehouse in the late 1960s. A breathtaking production in working order, the Caille Musical Triple Eclipse even retains its Yale locks and keys. The pre-sale estimate is set at $150,000-$300,000.

Has there ever been a time that Americans weren’t sports-mad? Judging by some of the entries in the upcoming auction, the answer is no. An extremely rare circa-1930 Fair-Weigh Golf Scale made by Colonial Golf Scale Co., is believed to be one of only three machines of its type still in existence. Its actions would have thrilled any would-be Bobby Jones or Byron Nelson of the pre-war era. When a penny is inserted, the machine displays the patron’s weight and allows them to play a complex golf game by means of an internal golf club operated by a knob. Morphy’s is pleased to present one of only three known examples of this machine, with provenance from the lifelong collection of Bill Howard. Its estimate is $15,000-$30,000.

Not surprisingly, since baseball is a national obsession, All-American coin-operated baseball games have held their value well over the years. The April 11-13 auction includes one of the treasured productions made by Amusement Machine Co., sometime between 1929 and 1931. The 1¢ floor model is housed in a walnut case with a glass slant front and represents the 1927 World Series, which pitted the Pittsburgh Pirates against the ultimately victorious New York Yankees. The machine is unrestored, with original cast-iron figures of the umpire and players and the original cardboard grandstand. Both coin-op and baseball memorabilia collectors are expected to step up to the plate and bid on the game, which is estimated at $40,000-$70,000.

Moving into the advertising category, a purr-fect choice is the rare circa-1952 black “Lu-Cat,” which combines a trade stimulator with a gumball-vending machine. Its action ensues when a nickel is inserted and the painted-aluminum feline’s tail is pulled. Fewer than a dozen “Lu-Cats” are believed to exist, and of those, the auction example is the only 5¢ version. One of the great prizes of the Bill Howard collection, it is expected to sell for $10,000-$20,000.

Get your red-hot peanuts from any of two dozen lots devoted to tasty goobers, like the Mr Peanut cast-iron roaster/dispenser that was made as a point-of-sale display for Planters Peanut Co. By means of an electric motor, a top-hatted, three-dimensional Mr Peanut figure that straddles the transparent roaster renders the illusion that he is operating the machine. One of very few of its type known to exist, it stands 89 inches tall and is in impeccable restored condition. Estimate: $30,000-$60,000. Another “nutty” gem is the ornately decorative Kemaco “Lion” 1¢ peanut vending machine. Its unusual form features a “lantern” globe and a facade adorned with a bas-relief lion’s head. It stands 21 inches tall and is depicted in Bill Enes’ reference book Silent Salesman Too. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000

Vending machines of a century ago were capable of dispensing a variety of merchandise, sweets or chewing gum. The auction’s circa-1905 1¢ “See Diavolo Loop The Loop,” made by Mercer Manufacturing Co., is one of the most ingenious and desirable of all arcade vending machines. They seldom appear at auction. When a penny is inserted, a daredevil bicycle stuntman – patterned after an actual circus performer of the day – performs a full loop on his bike as a tab of gum is issued. The all-original auction example is yet another exceptional rarity that appears in Silent Salesman Too. Estimate: $15,000-$30,000

Recalling the heyday of quackery, a recreation of a Caille Simplex 1¢ “Electricity Is Life” arcade machine has cast-iron castings, an oak base and two visible dry cell batteries. The shock machine’s marquee announces: “Electricity Is Life” and promises the “Mild Current” issued for the price of a penny is “Good for the Nerves” and “Cures Headaches.” Without suggesting it has any medicinal value at all, Morphy’s will offer this curious machine with a $5,000-$10,000 estimate.

Antique advertising signs are led by an amazing three-dimensional stained- and leaded-glass trade sign for S & S Shoes (Schauder’s Shoe Store, Rhinelander, Wis.), a firm that was established in 1890. Measuring a sizable 41 by 25 by 12 inches, the sign illuminates if a light bulb is inserted. Morphy’s experts have never seen another example of its type and have estimated the advertising highlight at $40,000-$80,000.

A very special painted wood sign advertising Chas Wagner Furs is painted with a detailed image of a woman who wears a fur gilet and hat, and carries a fur muff. The 58- by 28-inch sign boasts thick paint and strong color throughout and is graded 8.0. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000

“Classic” is the word that comes to mind when describing the single-sided self-framed tin sign that promotes Schlitz “The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous.” A pre-Prohibition advertisement made circa 1900s-1910s, it depicts an ethereal woman opening a spigot to fill a bottle of Schlitz Beer. Displaying excellent color and gloss, the 22¼- by 28½-inch sign is graded 8.7 and estimated at $5,000-$10,000.

Also not to be missed is a charming 1890s Vichy (France) automaton of a young man serenading a crescent moon. Fully functional and in excellent condition, the 20- by 22-inch entertainer comes from the revered Bill Howard collection. Estimate: $5,000-$10,000Morphy’s April 11-13, 2024 auction of Coin-Op Machines, Antique Advertising and General Store Items will be held at Morphy’s Las Vegas location: 4520 Arville St., #1, Las Vegas, NV 89103. Start time on all three days is 9am Pacific Time / 12 noon Eastern Time. 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 https:///

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