Morphy’s May 4-6 Auction Shines Spotlight on Exceptional Examples of Antique Coin-Op Machines and Early Advertising Signs

Featured: early arcade, music, gambling, vending and other slot machines plus alcohol, soft drink, gum, tobacco, soda fountain and other desirable advertising and signage

DENVER, Pa., April 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Long before the era of instant entertainment from downloaded music and streaming videos, Americans could amuse themselves with a pocketful of change at an arcade, where coin-operated mechanical machines could tell your fortune, play a song or let you try your luck at a game. Today, most antique coin-op machines are displayed in private collections, often flanked by advertising signs of the same period. Many of the rarest and finest examples have passed through the doors of Morphy Auctions, which will hold its next live sale of these popular specialties on May 4-6. All forms of remote bidding, including online through MorphyLive, are also welcomed.

The connoisseur’s selection features more than 2,100 coveted 19th- and early 20th-century coin-ops and advertising signs that would seldom be available elsewhere in such beautiful condition.

Morphy’s will strike up the band with a JP Seeburg Style "G" Art Style Orchestrion, a technological marvel designed as an upright piano with four art glass panels illuminated from within. It houses violin and flute pipes; a mandolin attachment, tympani, bass and snare drums; a cymbal and triangle. With exceptional volume, it plays a Style "G" music roll with a selection of 65 notes. Estimate: $40,000$60,000

A rare pre-1902 version of Schiemer-Yates’ 5-cent Musical Cupid upright slot machine is notable for having been manufactured prior to the formation of both Caille-Scheimer and its successor, Caille Brothers. Its original music mechanism rests atop an attached echo chamber that renders outstanding sound and tone. Estimate: $30,000$50,000

One of Regina’s earliest musical accomplishments is the extremely rare Style 3 Seth Thomas hall-clock model, whose popularity peaked between 1895 and 1905. Towering over 9ft tall, it was designed to automatically play music upon striking on the hour, or by the pressing of a side button. The example offered by Morphy’s is unique in that it is the only known Regina Style 3 with a coin slot. Bowers’ Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments refers to the existence of only one known model with a coin slot, stating that it stood in a hotel lobby for years. Estimate: $10,000$20,000

A very rare circa-1902 Watling musical "Puck" 5-cent upright slot machine was originally owned by boxing legend Jack Dempsey’s friend and sparring partner, Eddie Bohns. For 65 years, Bohns presided over Denver’s legendary Pig ‘N Whistle, a restaurant and sports bar that attracted scores of professional athletes and celebrities. In impeccable condition, the Watling Puck is estimated at $30,000$50,000.

Collectors of early vending machines will have 120 stellar options from which to choose. Leading the category is an incredible 1899 Huyler’s 1-cent vending machine designed to dispense both Huyler’s Chocolate and St Nicholas Pepsin Gum. Its rich cobalt blue-and-white porcelain panels feature images of St Nicholas holding advertising placards for the gum brand. A similar example appears in the reference book Silent Salesman Too, by Bill and Peggy Enes. Estimate: $40,000$60,000

More than 400 lots of Coca-Cola advertising await bidders, including a circa-1914 self-framed, lithographed tin Coca-Cola sign showcasing the pretty-in-pink model known as "Betty Girl." The 41- by 31-inch sign, in gorgeous 9.25 condition, invites bids in the $6,000$10,000 range.

For additional information on any item in the sale, call 877-968-8880 or email
. View the auction catalog and sign up to bid live online at

Media Contact:
Dan Morphy 877-968-8880

SOURCE Morphy Auctions