Morphy Auctions sets new world record with $7.7 million auction of Steckbeck mechanical banks

. October 29, 2007 – DENVER, Pa. – On Oct. 27 as a CBS Television film crew rolled tape, the 489-lot Stephen and Marilyn Steckbeck collection of antique mechanical banks and related ephemera set a new world record for a toy auction, grossing $7.7 million. A near-mint-plus example of J. & E. Stevens cast-iron ‘Jonah and the Whale/Jonah Emerges’ bank led the sale’s top 10 with a selling price of $414,000 (all prices quoted are inclusive of a 15 percent buyer’s premium). The late-1880s moneybox depicting Biblical character Jonah being expelled from the mouth of a whale flew past its $150,000-$200,000 estimate to become the second-most-expensive mechanical bank ever sold at public auction.

An 1886 Kyser & Rex ‘Mikado’ illusionist bank and an 1880s Charles A. Bailey bank depicting an African-American boy landing a fish at the end of his pole tied for second place, with each achieving $287,500. Another tie landed two items in the third-place slot: an 1888 Stevens bank in which an African-American man kicks a football over a watermelon, and an 1880s Kyser & Rex ‘Roller Skating’ bank. Each of the banks realized $195,500.

The internationally renowned Steckbeck collection was built over a 53-year period, and its high-profile sale attracted a who’s who of bank collectors and dealers from throughout the United States, the United Kingdom and Continental Europe. CBS will air a special feature on the Steckbeck auction and the world of mechanical bank collecting on a future edition of its venerable Sunday Morning program.

Watch for a full report on Morphy Auctions’ sale of the Steckbeck collection, which will appear soon on Morphy Auctions is a division of Geppi’s Entertainment Publications and Auctions. To contact Morphy’s call 717-335-3435 or e-mail

Category: Auction News

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