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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Morphy Coin Op & Advertising, May 14-15

Following a couple of the most impressive ever sales of coin operated machines, Morphy Auctions have assumed the mantle from Victorian Casino Antiques of market leaders in this field. They are very pro-active in rounding up fine collections to sell. I believe the predominance of horse-themed games in last weekend's sale reflected the collecting interests of one of the vendors. Some of the handful of European games, especially British, garnered exceptional prices.

Catalogue descriptions of these were a little wayward, with a Bradley Challenger oddly identified as an "English Penny Jennings Challenger Trade Stim" and 'The Hunt' described as "English... Possibly La Chasse Jentzsch et Meerz, circa 1907." So English, French or German? It is almost certainly German, Jentzsch und Meerz, late '20s to early '30s version.

The "English Payout Horse Race Game" was made by Essex Automatic Manufacturing Company, I believe, but I don't blame Morphy's for not hazarding a guess. That they got the right country was impressive. Perhaps someone read our discussion of these games. This example had an inappropriate modern carved pediment atop it, out of keeping with the game's date and style.

No attribution was attempted on another English horse racing rarity, described appropriately as a "Rare English Jackpot Horse Race Machine." This unusual example of a British-made gambling machine, designed by Walter William Burton of Birmingham (probably under the O.K. Novelty Co. badge) is not much better known here than in the States.

The most misleading information was attached to Lot 899, an "English The Racer Horserace Arcade Machine... Normally found in a much larger size, this small table top version is perhaps the only known example. Overall in very good, functional condition with an older restoration to the wooden cabinet with original interior façade and exterior signage of a newer vintage." The vendor may have believed this when it was bought from the UK, but the accurate part would seem to be mention of the new top sign. This Doughty and Barrett game started as a mechanism only; the cabinet is new, there is no larger version, and several examples have survived. I doubt the vendor was disappointed by the sale price though.

Most remarkable result of the day must have been the "1¢ Artillery Duel Two Player Gun Game". This beautiful mermaid we know, thanks to diligent research of our members, would have started life as an Automatic Sports Co. Yacht Race. A truly impressive example of the British slot machine makers' art, it made considerably more than the "5¢ Caille Peerless Roulette," which is generally considered one of the finest vintage products of the American slot machine industry.

A full list of realized prices is provided by Morphy Auctions. A much briefer list, of British/European machines only, is in the Arena.