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Fine Pennsylvania Impressionist art collection headlines Morphy's Dec. 7-9 auction

(EMAILWIRE.COM, November 02, 2006 ) DENVER, PA – Morphy Auctions will expand its horizons into the realm of fine art Dec. 7-9 with a Winter 2006 sale highlighted by an exceptional collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist and other American paintings. “This auction represents a milestone for Morphy Auctions,” said the company’s chief operating officer, Dan Morphy. “While this sale includes a strong selection of antique toys, banks, antique advertising and soda fountain antiques – categories for which we are well known – this time we’re also taking a giant step forward into new and exciting territory: fine art.”The auction’s centerpiece is a select grouping of paintings, mostly by late 19th- and early 20th-century Pennsylvania Impressionists of the New Hope school. “We were extraordinarily lucky to have been chosen as the auction house to handle this single-owner private collection,” said Morphy. “It all came about because of antique toys. The owner of the art collection is also a major toy collector, and in the past had been pleased with our business platform and the emphasis we place on customer service. He could have gone anywhere with his collection. It contains very crisp, early artworks by the most desirable names, but he chose our team, and we are committed to publicizing the collection with every marketing tool we have available, including a full two-month preview.”Many of the paintings to be auctioned (on day three of the sale) represent an unusual buying opportunity in that they have been off the market since the 1970s. Robert Spencer’s (1879-1931) 20 by 24 inch oil on canvas titled Flowing Water with a David David Gallery (Philadelphia) label is estimated at $180,000-250,000. A highly desirable 20 by 24 inch artist-signed Edward Willis Redfield (1869-1965) Bucks County winter landscape featuring a horse-drawn sleigh and rustic buildings could end up being the auction’s star lot, and is estimated at $200,000-300,000.Other paintings from the same collection include Daniel Garber’s (1880-1958) 20 by 18 inch oil on canvas The Quarryman’s House (estimate $80,000-120,000), in a Ben Badura frame; quintessential Manhattan snow scenes by Johann Berthelsen and Guy Wiggins, and an Andrew Wyeth painting of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. Also featured are a Raoul De Longpre floral still life, an original Walter L. Green oil painting that served as the art for a 1925 New York Central Railroad calendar (estimate $10,000-15,000), an Edouard Cortes Parisian street scene (estimate $15,000-20,000) and two American folk paintings of children executed in a semi-naïve style. “There are so many important artworks in this sale, we encourage any art collector or gallery in pursuit of fresh to the market paintings to call us for a catalog or view the fully illustrated catalog online,” said Morphy. “This is an opportunity not to be missed.”While the fine art is the sale’s main attraction, the two days leading up to the auction of the artworks are packed with highlights of their own. The Thursday, Dec. 7 session is wall to wall with outstanding antique advertising. Among the 170 general store and advertising lots are Diamond Dye cabinets, syrup dispensers (Orange Julep, Buckeye, Ward’s Lemon and Orange Crush) and early signs, including a framed example promoting De Laval Cream Separators.The opening session also features the superb Joe Rodriguez tobacco tin collection, much of which comes with provenance through the acclaimed Dennis and George collection. “Joe has always been a condition buyer,” said Morphy. “He’s big on seeking out the best examples available, and stepped up to the plate to buy a number of tins when the famous Dennis and George collection was sold. He has some of the top, if not the top examples known of quite a few tins.”The Rodriguez consignment of more than 300 tins includes such rarities as Scissors Cut Plug, Bambino, Loving Cup, Edward St. Leger and Hindoo Granulated Plug, among many others. Some of the rarest tins in the collection are expected to fetch between $2,000 and $5,000 apiece, “if not more,” according to Morphy. But some other tins will be well within the grasp of mid-range collectors, with presale estimates of $500-700.Through the new association of prominent specialists Gary and Mary Pat Metz, Morphy’s has acquired outstanding consignments of soda-pop advertising. The December sale showcases more than 75 premium Coca-Cola lots, including early trays, signs and soda fountain items. Among the leading lots are a triangular 1930s-vintage Coca-Cola sidewalk sign estimated at $8,000-12,000 and a complete set of early etched Coke glasses. A 1939 Coca-Cola dual-taps porcelain sign in 9.7 out of 10 condition is estimated at $5,000-7,000. Rounding out the opening session’s inventory are 50 children’s stoves and 100 old store-stock lots and playsets.The Friday, Dec. 8 session is dedicated entirely to toys. More than 50 early tin toys, 40 Tootsie Toys, 80 pre-war train lots and 20 dolls will be offered. The focal point of the session is the 300-piece pressed-steel toy collection of Gene DeGraw, of Indianapolis. “Like Joe Rodriguez, Gene DeGraw is known for being a stickler on condition, and over the years he has continually upgraded the pieces in his collection,” said Morphy Auctions general manager Tommy Sage. A realistically detailed red and yellow trencher, cement mixer and steam shovel – all by Buddy ‘L’ – are among the “tracked” toys in the DeGraw collection. Other desirable entries include a Buddy ‘L’ sit-n-ride aerial ladder truck and Buddy ‘L’ overhead crane. The collection also features rare Kelmet trucks, including a steam shovel truck; Sturditoy vehicles including a coal truck and oil tank truck tractor-trailer; a 31-inch-long1920s Keystone sit-n-ride bus in original condition (estimate $5,000-7,000) and many construction accessory pieces. A selection of Buddy ‘L’ junior series toys also will be offered, supplemented by rare baggage truck accessories for trucks, such as oilcans, carts and mailbags. “Many toys in the collection come complete with their correct accessories,” said Sage, “but for those collectors who may be looking for just accessories, this will be an excellent buying opportunity.” More than 50 pieces of quality figural cast iron, 100 figural match safes (or “vestas”) and 50 holiday lots have been cataloged in the Saturday session, as well as 20 lots of art glass, including a handsome green-and-yellow Tiffany Studios lamp. More than 20 marble-top tables and 300 early clocks of every imaginable style and period – all from a single-owner collection – will take the block, as will 50 Americana lots, including a 25-star American flag and three weather vanes, led by a sensational Ethan Allen with horse-drawn sulky vane. The latter piece, of copper and zinc, was made by A.L. Jewell & Co. (in operation 1852-1867) of Waltham, Mass. Research indicated the sulky was added at the factory upon the request of a special client who owned racehorses. With its beautiful original patina, the highly important 46-inch-long vane is estimated at $75,000-100,000.All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through eBay Live Auctions. View the fully illustrated electronic catalog online at For additional information, call 717-335-3435, email or log on to # # #

Morphy Auctions Inc.
Catherine Watson


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