Published: September 9, 2003
– Dan Morphy, owner of Adamstown Antique Gallery on the Denver/Adamstown antiques strip, is joining forces with dealer Tom Sage, Jr, of Coopersburg, Penn., to establish a new auction company at the existing gallery premises. To be known as Morphy Auctions, the business will host three to five sales per year, commencing with a spring sale of antique advertising, Americana, toys, trains, dolls and early holiday rdf_Descriptions. Smaller midweek “discovery” sales eventually will be worked into the company’s agenda, as well.
Initially, auctions will be held within the antique mall, but in time, the partners anticipate adding onto the building to create a 5,000-square-foot auction gallery and an additional 5,000-square-foot lower level storage space. Morphy said it makes sense to incorporate the new auction business into the existing antique gallery because there is more than sufficient room for the eventual expansion, and the location on Route 272 near the junction of Route 222 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike is one of high visibility.
“We have a heavy traffic flow already in existence here,” said Morphy. “Adamstown is known as the antiques capital of America, with well over three dozen multidealer galleries and shops in the area, which attract a huge number of shoppers. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re able to draw between 300 and 400 people at our bigger sales.”
Morphy Auctions is in the process of building a stable of specialists to catalog future sales and so far has lined up what Morphy describes as a “who’s who of top people in their respective fields.” He added that, between himself and his partner, a formidable joint client list has been developed.
The two principals of the new auction house have had a lifelong involvement with antiques, both growing up with fathers who were active dealer/collectors. Morphy’s father, Pittsburgh physician Dr John Morphy, has been a collector of mechanical banks since the younger Morphy was a child. “He would take me along to shows, where we would set up our booth and sell, and Dad would go out shopping for things to add to his collection. He didn’t lock everything up in cabinets; he let me play with his banks, which allowed me to develop an interest in them on my own.”
Tom Sage, Jr, is a respected dealer of antique and vintage toys, with a specialty in trains, robots, postwar Japanese toys and pop culture memorabilia. His father, Tom Sage, Sr, of Allentown, Penn., is one of the best-known antique toy dealers in the world. “Tommy” remembers from an early age watching his dad conduct transactions at antique shows and realizing he had both the ability and desire to do the same thing. Of the new venture, Sage said, “I’ve known Dan for six years, and we get along very well. Soon we’ll be going on the road for three months to pick up consignments, which we’ll catalog during December and January for the spring sale. We’re in this for the long haul.”
Asked if southeastern Pennsylvania has room for yet another auction house, Sage replied, “I’ve been coming to Adamstown for 24 years, and there never has been a general auction house right in the towns of Adamstown or Denver. So far the feedback we’ve gotten has been very positive.”
Sage said one of the strongest points in favor of operating the auction company onsite at the Adamstown Antique Gallery is that consigned lots can be viewed in showcases prior to auctions for “weeks, if not months … and people can leave absentee bids right on the spot. We think that feature is going to be real plus for the business.”
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