Machine Man 'Gang of Five' robot fetches $45,600 at Morphy



2015-06-26 10:38:08

Machine Man 'Gang of Five' robot fetches $45,600 at Morphy

The rarest of Masudaya’s original ‘Gang of Five’ robots, the appearance of a Machine Man tin robot at Morphy Auctions’ December Toy sale was a treat for collectors.

The Masudaya ‘Gang of Five’ mechanical toy robots were produced in Japan during the late 1950s-early 1960s, and are among the most sought after vintage toys in the world. Of the five, the Machine Man is the rarest, with only 10-15 examples thought to remain extant.

The Machine Man is generally considered to be the world’s most expensive toy robot. It was snapped up at Morphy’s for $45,600, over a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.

A second ‘Gang of Five’ member, consigned from the same collection, a Masugaya Radicon remote-control robot, brought in $10,800.

Several more robots found new homes, including a boxed Asakusa painted tin and plastic Thunder Robot, and a mechanised Robby robot, sold for $10,200 a piece.

In addition to these sci-fi relics, an impressive selection of rare mechanical banks, a Morphy speciality, were on offer. An uncommon J & E Stevens Pelican mechanical bank known as the rabbit variation sold for $7,800.

Character toys made an appearance with an early Yellow Kid figure that tips its top hat selling for $3,600, and a 15-inch Hoge tinplate Popeye in Rowboat sold for $4,800.

Vintage advertisement items saw heated bidding. A one-of-a-kind Reinhold Studio panoramic show display, custom made for Oilzum Oil Company’s use at the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair, sold for $38,000. A Mail Pouch Tobacco Tin cutout display fetched $9,600, and a rare 1920s Coca-Cola cardboard poster fetched $4,200.

Dan Morphy commented: ‘the stock market continues to be unpredictable from one day to the next, but antique toy and advertising collectors already know the value and rarity of what they’re buying…. collectors don’t have the worry of wondering what publicly traded companies might be doing behind the scenes’.

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