Morphy’s to Auction Antique & Vintage Marbles

Marble collectors will be gathering around the circle at Morphy’s gallery on Saturday, Nov. 6, as the Pennsylvania company known for its top-quality toy sales presents at auction 300+ lots of marbles, boxed sets and affinity items. The inventory includes early handmade, transitional and machine-made marbles, as well as coveted boxed sets and novelties.

“As far as I know, this is the first cataloged auction exclusively for marbles,” said Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy. “We’ve put together a well-rounded sale containing fresh to the market items from old-time collections. Collectors are excited about it. Some are flying in from as far away as the Midwestern states.”

Among the rarities to be offered are 1½ inch Lutzes (estimate $3,000-$5,000 each), a sulphide with a beaver figure suspended in green glass (estimate $4,000-$6,000) – the first one Morphy has ever seen – and a 100-count box of Akro Agate “corkscrew” marbles in rare color combinations.

“I think we’ll see a lot of bidding action on the corkscrew set,” Morphy said. “Some of them contain as many as five colors, and some of the colors, like turquoise, are considered very unusual.” Morphy explained that the set was a commissioned production made specifically to a particular client’s specifications. Reflecting its unique status, the box is stamped “Specials.” Morphy said that, individually, some corkscrew marbles can fetch as much as $500. The boxed set is expected to make $6,000-$8,000 at auction.

A category featured in the sale that has created a buzz of excitement is the “transitional” marbles. Attributed to Elias Greiner of Lauscha, Germany, these marbles were found in Europe and pre-date handmade swirl and machine-made marbles but are the precursors to later glass marbles. Made around 1855-1860, transitionals represent the earliest attempt to create marbles known to collectors as swirls, oxbloods, bricks, cobras, ribbons and tornados.

“The transitional marbles in our sale were hand gathered,” said Morphy. “The selection is in superb condition, with each marble displaying a pontil polished on a hand-loom grinder and the usual tiny micro-pits, which collectors consider their mark of authenticity.”

Morphy noted that of the dozens of categories of antiques and vintage collectibles auctioned by his company, marbles are among the top five in terms of current interest to new buyers. “Right now the interest in marbles is the strongest it’s ever been. They appeal to a broad demographic – young and old, male and female. Everyone can relate to marbles,” Morphy said. “They’re beautiful little works of art that can be easily displayed in any home, and there’s a price point to suit every pocketbook.”

All forms of bidding will be available for Dan Morphy’s Nov. 6 Marbles auction, including in person in the gallery, by phone, absentee or live via the Internet through Morphy Live, or

For information on any lot in the sale, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail Dan Morphy at [email protected] View the fully illustrated color catalog online at Morphy Auctions’ website:, or at

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