Morphy Auction #4 – The Kyle Moore Collection, July 23 and 24, 2016.
The History, the Meaning, the End…
It’s hard to believe that this collection is now gone, that this unbelievable collection is now dispersed all over the country and perhaps the world, never to be duplicated again. Only if you knew Kyle Moore as long as I did would you feel the weight of the auctioneers hammer as the last piece was sold to the public, a final gas pump globe. How bittersweet for me. I sat there to the end with my friend, Lonnie Hop and I think we were the last two holdouts. Dan Morphy, owner of Morphy Auctions, walked over to personally thank us for being there. Yes, I had to stay until the very last piece of this collection was sold. The two day, 22 hour auction, was grueling but necessary and also fun. I peeled myself from my seat, yes that’s what it felt like, and went back to the lobby to view the remaining pieces that had yet to be packed up or picked up, for one last look. Still could not believe this was it, it’s all over, all gone. I would lie to you if I didn’t tell you the sadness I felt. But it was done, over and now it’s time to move on.
I had a goal about this time last year when I heard the collection was going up for sale. Kyle had about 1,000 gas globes, 1,500 signs and a hundred or more gas pumps, some cans, etc. Being a gas globe guy my goal was to obtain 1% of his globe collection, or 10 globes! Considering the fact that the average gas globe in Kyle’s collection was worth a lot of money, I would say, I felt it to be a challenge, a worthy goal and plus there were a few I just really had to have. Most I knew would go down the road, out of my price range, but if I reached my goal I could always tell myself I got 1% of Kyle’s globes and well, that would make me feel good!
Just so everyone knows the correct history of this collection and I think this is important, let me give you some brief facts. I’m sorry if this gets confusing but I can assure you the facts are correct coming directly from Kyle himself and later facts from Kyle’s wife, Pat whom I stay in touch with on a regular basis. Most of you already know Kyle started this collection in the early 1970s. I first met Kyle, I think, around 1974 or so, about the time I started collecting too. Kyle was the founder of several cable TV companies that he started in the 1950s. Having the resources to buy the most and the best, over the decades, Kyle amassed his great collection. But in 2007, as prices were up, Kyle saw an opportunity to sell the whole collection intact to one individual, billionaire Aubrey McClendon, who promised to Kyle that a museum would be built in Oklahoma to house this great collection intact. Though the collection from 2007 until last year was owned by Aubrey McClendon, ironically the collection had never left Kyle’s premises. Aubrey, running into various personal and business legal issues from 2007 until he accidentally died in a car wreck just last March of 2016, never got the chance to build that museum. Yes, they ruled the accident just that, an accident, squashing speculation that it was something else because of Aubrey’s ongoing problems. So there the collection sat, at Kyle’s house, still enjoying it to the very end. Kyle Moore then passed in March of 2014. In the summer of 2015, Aubrey decided the collection must be put up for sale. Before Kyle passed he and I spoke about that issue of his collection being in a museum many times over the years and obviously Kyle was concerned to say the least.
So enter Morphy Auctions in the summer of 2015. Morphy Auctions and Aubrey, before he passed, decided that the collection was to be sold in four groups from October, 2015 until July 24th, 2016 by Morphy Auctions.
By the way, you may find this interesting. Kyle Moore, being the collector that he was, did not stop collecting in 2007 as many people thought. You know the saying, once it’s in your blood it’s there to stay! He continued to buy items until his passing. By 2014, he had accumulated another 175 plus globes, about three dozen gas pumps and numerous signs. This second collection was also sold, though privately, from the spring of 2014 until very recently. After he passed, I was able to purchase several items for my own collection from this second collection until it was announced the main collection would hit the auction block too.
My goal was still that 1%, by the way.
So what did I see at the final auction in terms of the prices realized? Honestly nothing significant. As in all auctions many pieces went close to retail, some fell through the cracks and some went well above retail. Again nothing unique. But I would say prices remained good through the last of this huge auction. You can look up the results at MorphyAuctions.com. I just did and they are very easy to find on their website. The crowd was down a bit albeit the online bidding was strong. As usual we saw many good friends there and that made it all worthwhile. We were able to purchase more at this auction than the prior three. So I was able to get several more for my collection and several more to resell. Signs did well with strong prices for the really good ones like another Kelly Springfield porcelain, a Polly Gas porcelain and a rare 48” porcelain Smitholene Aviation sign to name a few. It should be noted also that as these auctions from the first one on progressed to the last auction, other items from other consignments were mixed in with the Kyle/Aubrey auction. People were asking me about some common gas globes and common signs wondering were those Kyle’s and I told them they were not. This helped round out the collections so everyone could go home with something.
I remember talking with some close friends about the Kyle Moore/Aubrey collection and its effects on the hobby. I was worried that the hobby could not absorb that many great items in one year without serious effect on my business and the whole hobby in general. Yes, we all have a few less dollars in our pockets. But honestly the hobby grabbed all this up and swallowed it whole! Business as usual because our hobby has grown so much in the last few years. Overall, I feel the effects were very little.
Morphy Auctions were great hosts as usual. They had good food offered up very cheap, free drinks and free pizza for everyone both days. Their crew was eager to help you pack up, offering free boxes, packing material and tape and offering to load your vehicles up as needed.
I must say Dan Morphy was a great host! I also wish to personally thank Dan Matthews for letting us stay at his place for three nights and his partner Sidney for being a great host too! Thanks you two!
Oh, by the way, I just counted the globes from both of Kyle’s collections I was able to buy and keep since 2014. I hit 2%, you can do the math.