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A $90,000 Payday from an Antique Slot Machine

Certainly those who originally played the fabulously designed and crafted Caille double-upright floor model slot machine never expected the jackpot it yielded at a recent Murphy’s Antique Advertising & Coin Op Auction. The device was a hit as it showed its unique double play, combining a 25-cent Big Six and a 5-cent Centaur. The handsome machine boasts of a number of embellishments in addition to its detailed gold-plated façade. The unusual use of a paw foot stand added to the uniqueness of this antique slot. After spirited bidding, the gavel went down on a $90,000 sales price, inclusive of the 20 percent buyer’s premium.

The popular Morphy auction is known for its focus on arcade, gambling and vending devices from years past. The total auction netted a total of $1.64 million. Other items in the auction that received winning bids included:

  • Coca-Cola calendar. Always popular with its many collectors, any genuine item of Coca-Cola advertising is well-received. A framed 1911 Coke calendar considered to be in near-mint condition placed in the top 10 of items purchased. The calendar highlight was a “Gibson Girl” image and this was one reason the final price was $17,400, double its $6,000-$7,000 estimate. A highly sought after “Hutchinson-style” Coke bottle also doubled the early estimate of $8,400.
  • Electric Treatment machine. A Mills 1-cent device that carried the slogans, “For One Night Jags” and “Take a shock and look pleasant,” also surpassed a high estimate and was won with a bid of $11,400.
  • 1910 Cherri Bon syrup dispenser. More than 100 early-period syrup dispensers were offered by a single owner, a collection assembled over 40 years. It included one of the few extant circa-1900 Fan-Taz 5-cent “DRINK of the FANS” dispensers It is unique in its rendition as a realistically “stitched” baseball. Another dispenser coming in at triple its estimate was the barrel-shaped “Drink Orange-Julep” item that settled at $17,400.
  • Advertising tins. More than 150 tins with advertising included the iconic Buster Brown and his dog Tighe on a cigar tin. One of the bigger surprises of the auction, this always popular item brought $14,400 in heated bidding, several times its estimated $2,000 to $3,000 pre-auction price.
  • Orange Crush and beverage advertising items. A seldom seen 1936 embossed tin in a distinctive triangular shape pushing the once dominant orange drink brought $4,500, and another tin sign for another beverage with an adult target brought more than double its estimate, closing at an impressive $6,500. This was a pictorial sign for York Brewing out of York, PA.
  • Pinball machines. The Sunday session did not disappoint after the very successful Saturday bidding. David Silverman’s 35-year old collection, once displayed at the National Pinball Museum, brought a number of cross-over bidders, including movie and baseball fans. The 1993 pinball celebrating Indiana Jones brought at estimate, $6,500 and a near-mint 1953 Gottlieb, the Grand Slam, moved off the floor with an above expectations $3,000.

Dan Morphy, the president and founder of Morphy’s, noted after the sale how the popularity of early advertising continues to grow among collectors in several markets. He also touted the way in which his firm focuses on the handling of complete collections, offering collectors unique opportunities to add rare items to their own treasures.

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