Saturday, September 29, 2012

Some Photography and Photoshop Learning

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Some Photography and Photoshop Learning

I have  another blog on Professional Photography whose address is  

It doesn't attract as many viewers that I'd like, so I'm going to add some of my posts
from there to here.  I'm doing this in order to have viewers read new material, and at the same time to assist  people who might be selling on E-Bay. 

Also, I need you, my viewers to help out by by volunteering to submit your photos and stories to that I can add new material. As you already know, I've temporarily stopped buying and selling toys on E-Bay. So, I need your assistance if I'm to continue writing.

My address is

Instructions for  those who would like like to help:

1. Send JPEG files at least 4" x 6" (100mm x 130mm) @ 300 dpi (pixels/inch) in colour).

2. Write a small story about the photos that you are sending.

If you need help with what you'd like to write, I can offer you suggestions through the mail. It's not hard, and I'm sure everyone has interesting stories to tell. Where do you find the toys, how did you start collecting, do you restore toys, what's the history of the toy?

I usually can work on the material as soon as I get it.

What I will do, is to give you credit for each and every photo, and add the following:

Copyright 2012  Your Name
Please do not copy without the permission of Your Name

I also will add your name, your e-mailaddress (if you want), your website, and your sellers' ID on E-Bay if that's where you sell your items.

The Green Screen
(Originally posted 
Thursday, July 4, 2012 American Independence Day

    You've undoubtedly heard of the technique called  green screen, but didn't ever use it, or maybe you didn't know how to use it. Basically, the technique started in Hollywood. The technique is used to "extract" people when photographed against the green screen, and then place them in a new scene.  

    What you do is light the people with the same lighting (intensity, angle, height) as the new scene.  You then film them (movie or still camera), extract them, and then place them into the new scene. So, for example, you could photograph them in the studio, then place them in a gladiator arena, such as in the movie "Gladiator". 

    The reason the colour green is used is that it's the opposite of  magenta, which is a colour close to your skin tone. Thus it's then easy to select the green and then remove the people and their clothing and props from the green.

    You usually light the green at least 2 f-stops brighter than the subjects. For today, I did a fast set-up and didn't set the lights for that exposure difference. Also, whatever area is not in the frame (green), you try and use black material or seamless or black cardboard. What this does is to prevent the green from reflecting light into the areas that are going to remove from the green. Later on, I'll explain and give an example of what I mean .

    For today's example, I used a newly-acquired Hoge pressed steel car, circa the 1930's.

Here's the Hoge Car on the Green Material

You can purchase an actual "green screen" material on e-Bay, or you can buy material from any wholesale fabric store. Most stores where women buy fabric to sew their own dresses will have such material. 

Be sure to go on the net to check out the specific colour of green that you want.
In the above example, the green is overexposed as the car paint was dark, thus the overexposure.

In Photoshop, you'll use the Select >> Color Range Tool

Notice that parts of the car were also selected.

You need to adjust the "Fuzziness" slider to reduce any green colour capture from the use of  the Select>>Colour Range.

As you select, you can also use the + or - eyedroppers to add or remove parts of the selection.

Notice in the above screen capture, how I've adjusted the - eyedropper to further remove the dark green shadow under the car side.

IWhen you make the selection, the side panel will show the colour selected.

You'll need to change that to the regular white, otherwise, when you extract the green, it will be replaced with the same green.

To revert to the black and white colours, just press on the green above.
That will bring up a colour window, whereupon you simply select white.

Here is the "extraction".

It's for sure imperfect, but that will happen.
What I'll do now is simply to do another select>>color range
 to further remove more unwanted green.

Here is the second stage of selecting green for removal.

Better, but still not "perfect".

From here, I could do another Select>>color range.
Instead, I'll simply use the eraser tool to remove the remaining.

The Final Result.

Ugh!  Green Tires

At the beginning of this instalment, I mentioned that you had to add black material,
 black cardboard, or black seamless around areas of the car not in the camera frame.

What this does is to prevent the green material from reflecting green into the car.

That's why the tire is green!

So now you know what the green screen technique is all about.
It's a useful skill to know, but if you're good at Photoshop there are 20 other ways to remove the car from the background.

So to all of my American readers, have a wonderful 4th of July. 

 To the rest of my readers, as always, have a fgreat morning, afternoon, or evening, wherever you are.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Texan to the Rescue!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Texan to the Rescue!

A.C.Williams Austin Cast Iron Toy Toy Car Hauler 
with its Antique Trailer and Cars
      For the second day in a I've been helped out. Today, I was fortunate to see a beautiful listing of a cast iron hauler with its cars. I saw Ken's listing and immediately asked for his assistance in helping me with my blog.  He replied "toute-de-suite (French for right away), and off I went.

   Ken Church's  e-Bay ID is  texaxmantiques.

     Besides the very interesting cast iron toy set, I immediately noticed the high-quality of Ken's photography. I have another blog on Photography, but I haven't written much lately. Photography Blogs are hard to attract viewers!

    I may be wrong, but what got my attention from Ken's photography was:

1.  Focus. Perhaps a tripod was used.
2.  Proper exposure.
3.  Colour-balance.
4.  Detail all over.
5.  The subjects are on a light-toned foundation (what the items rest on). 
     (This helps to keep the attention on the toys, and avoids distractions).
6. Close framing to show detail.
7. Placing an item (US $ 1.00 dollar bill) in the photo as a size reference. 

I'm going to add more of his other listings tomorrow, but for now it's this listing of an:

A.C.Williams Austin Cast Iron Toy Toy Car Hauler with its Antique Trailer and Cars

     What I like about old cast iron toys is that they have that tactile (touch) firmness to them. they're solid and heavy. I sometimes wonder though how may kids might have had sore toes from having dropped the toys.  I also like the fact that these toys have lasted so long, compared to todays plastic toys!

The Hubley Kits
(Added Thursday, September 28, 2012)

     The Hubley kits were manufactured by the Hubley toy company in the early 1960's. They were made quite well, with lots of detail, and a more-costly finish. As you can see, there were both metal and plastic components. The metal, of course could be painted. Eventually, like everything else,  times changes, and the company was purchased by the Gabriel Toy company, and later, by other companies.

    You can find these cars on e-Bay both as finished cars and as kits. The example below is from Ken. Thanks to him, I was able to write some new material, as well as presenting a new area of the Hubley Toy Company.

    These cars were meant to compete with the plastic car models of the time. However, because of the costlier materials, there were only so many different models and car brands manufacturer. If you go on E-Bay, or do a search  on the Net for Hubley Car Kits, you'll be able to see a wide range of these well-made toys.

Once again, I'd like to thank Ken Church for 
helping me out. His E-Bay ID is Texmantiques.

Thanks to all who have dropped by,
and to everyone wherever you may be, 
have a great morning, afternoon, or evening.

I can be reached at

Anyone who'd like to share their photos and write a short 
or long narrative or story is always welcome.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beautiful Restorations

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beautiful Restorations

If you've been following my blog, you'll have realized that I haven't written much lately. The summer is slower for selling, and so I sold off most of my inventory, and am waiting probably for after Christmas and New Year. There are the American elections, then American Thanksgiving, and people have more important things to do than purchase toys.

If you also follow this blog, I sometimes try to have "guest appearances". For today's instalment, I happened to notice on E-Bay, the items that I am presenting today. They are beautifully restored. As well, there were several people who actually wrote the seller (Mr. Tom Ossman) to help him in the indentification of these toys.

I phoned Tom to get his permission to write about him and his beautiful toys for sale. He's quite busy, so he  doesn't have the time to write a narrative until after Christmas. When I get that narrative, I'll add it to this instalment. However, what I was able to get from Tom in our conversation was that he is retired, and makes toys for his grandchildren. He also used to make 

tie-flying tables (for fly fisheman who make their own flies). Of course, that would be a whole other instalment altogether!

Tom's E-Bay ID is: rto37
If you go to E-Bay and do a search be seller, you will find all of these wonderful toys currently for sale 
(September 25-Oct 20, 2012)

Here's what Tom had to write about this particular listing:

"Based upon knowledgeable comments from fellow E-Bayers I included " Girard" in the title and now believe that these were produced by Girard and modified in Wyandotte's design shop.  I'm confident that my father didn't modify them but can't rule out Don Mc Elroy.  My guess is that they relate to Wyandotte's new product development.  Don lost a hand in a school shop accident so I doubt he could have performed the modification fabrication.
This set includes one roadster w/ rumble seat and 5 semi-trucks, a van, stake, side dump, oil, and an open cargo.  The 6 pieces have been beautifully restored and as such are a very rare matched set.  I believe they came from the Wyandotte design shop, but they also resemble those attributable to the Girard Toy Company.  The pieces are unique due to the headlight and front bumper assembly on each vehicle as well as a rear bumper with spare tire and tail light on the roadster.  While it doesn’t show very well in the photos, the added trim parts are made of the same gauge steel as the rest of the vehicle and attached via the same slot and tab techniques used to fabricate the rest of the toy. 
These toys were restored by my father and his friend Don Mc Elroy.  My father was a principal in the Detroit School System and Don was the shop teacher at the same school.  They shared the hobbies of playing bridge and toy restoration.  Don’s father worked for Wyandotte Toys and lived just outside of the city of Wyandotte which is a suburb of Detroit.
On the bottom of each cab or chassis are the following hand inscribed comments.  Blue Cab  (front end assy., Cab only, PX-120, b.n.d., 4-21-23, dao-ok).  Maroon Cab  (head lite assy., tnkp, PX-137, dao, save, 2-12-30)  Yellow Cab  (big eyes, cab only, c.m.w. inc., PX-187)  Green Cab  (big eyes, bumper assy., c.m.w., inc., PX-186)  Orange Cab  (bumper + lite assy., T+T, PX 115, dro, 91827) Red Roadster, big eye coupe, bumpers head + tail lights, c.m.w., spare, PX-207.  Except for guaranteeing that these are restored originals and not reproductions of any kind, that is all I know.  I hate to part with these but feel they should stay together as a set even though I could probably sell them for more individually. 
Many thanks for looking, 

Here are the comments of people who wrote to Tom on the E-Bay Listing

1. "Yes, the trucks are all Girard. The Girard Company was bought by the Marx toy company. The Wyandotte toy company would never take a competitors toy trucks and modify them. The Wyandotte company would modify Wyandotte toys."

2. "What a great bunch of trucks. these were also sold in sets, with one cab and 3 or 4 trailers with a little axle/hitch thing that goes between them. and I agree with everything the other ebayer said. Mike"

3. "Hi Tom, You definitely have some unique vehicles here, but I highly doubt they are rare Wyandotte or Girard prototypes. So here's what I know. All the trucks are 100% Girard as evidenced by the 'butterfly' hood ornament & closed in rear cab with window. Wyandottes had completely open cab backs & had either a 'rooster comb' or no hood ornament. All the front & rear bumpers are not original, & were most likely conveniently added by your father when he restored them. The red rumble seat coupe is 100% Wyandotte (with a 'butterfly' type hood ornament most likely added by your father to match the other vehicles). These coupes never had a rear spare & from looking at it closely, adding the spare was a clever way to attach the rear bumper. As to the engraved text on the bottom, could have been done by your father to keep the items organized prior to repainting them, or could have been done by Wyandotte as a means to identify/research the competition. Scott"

As you can see, there are several people who wrote to Tom to help in the authentification of the listed items. One of my last instalments on this blog had to do with  learning about toys. I mentioned and showed the books that I have, but people are the greatest resource sometimes!

I hope that Tom won't mind if I enhanced his photos from E-Bay. I though that they would show better, and these are truly very nice. AS Tom wrote, both his father, and his father's friend, Mr.Don McElroy worked on the restorations,which are truly super!

So without any more narrative, I'll let the photos speak for the beautiful work that these 2 men put into the toys.

 Copyright 2012 Tom & Dessa Ossman
Please Do Not Copy Without Their Permission

 Copyright 2012 Tom & Dessa Ossman
Please Do Not Copy Without Their Permission

  Copyright 2012 Tom & Dessa Ossman
Please Do Not Copy Without Their Permission
  Copyright 2012 Tom & Dessa Ossman
Please Do Not Copy Without Their Permission
 Copyright 2012 Tom & Dessa Ossman
Please Do Not Copy Without Their Permission 

 Copyright 2012 Tom & Dessa Ossman
Please Do Not Copy Without Their Permission

 Copyright 2012 Tom & Dessa Ossman
Please Do Not Copy Without Their Permission 

 Copyright 2012 Tom & Dessa Ossman
Please Do Not Copy Without Their Permission 

 Copyright 2012 Tom & Dessa Ossman
Please Do Not Copy Without Their Permission 

 Copyright 2012 Tom & Dessa Ossman
Please Do Not Copy Without Their Permission

   The items above, and many more toys in other listings can be found on E-Bay. Tom Ossman's ID on E-Bay is rto37. If you do a search for Tom, you'll come across his other listings and this one.

The items below were added later, after I had posted this instalment. I'll title them at a future date.

What I still can't get over is how well done this restorations are. It's as if I was transported back into the 1940's. They're just unbelievable!

  When I have more time, I will try and add more views of the above toys to this instalment. It's wonderful to view restored toys as they might have looked 70-80 years ago when they had just come off an assembly line!

I'm always looking for people to help me out by writing a narrative and sending photos. Please don't be shy!
It doesn't take long, and I'll try to enhance your photos if there are minor problems with them.
My e-mail is

As always, thanks for dropping by to view my blog, and this special contribution by Mr. Tom Ossman.

Have a nice morning, afternoon, or evening wherever you
may be.

(Mr.) Stacey Bindman

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Learning and Identifying Toys through Books

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Learning and Identifying Toys Through Books

     Through my blog, a few people have asked me how I've learned about toys.  I've replied that I've read about them on the Net, on E-Bay through the descriptions, by asking questions to E-Bay sellers, and by buying books. Also, some readers have helped me out by writing, and even correcting me when I have made mistakes in my writing.

     I decided that for today's instalment, I would present the books that I have purchased while I've learned about old toys. The toys that I've purchased on E-Bay are mostly limited to no more than a dozen companies.

Some of the ones that I've bought and sold were from the following companies:

1. Tootsietoy
2. Manoil
3. Arcade
4. Hubley
5. A.C.Williams
6. Barclay
7. Kenton
8. Kilgore
9. Wyandotte
10. Jane Francis

Below are the books that I've purchased. I'm only presenting the covers of the books, as it take too much time to get permission from both the publishers and authors to be able to show you the inside pages.

A few Notes About Old Books and Toy Books

Before I write about the books that I've purchased, I'd like to mention a few thinks.

1.  Old books may be musty, Musty is that old smell like old damp towels that have been left in the bathroom and don't dry. When you buy an old book, you might want to "air it out" on a nice sunny and slightly windy day. Just be sure to place something on the book so that it doesn't fly away into your swimming pool. Hopefully, this will "air out" the smell, since some people might be allergic to the musty smell.

2. Most old toys are no longer in production and their respective companies have long since gone out of business. As such, you don't really need to have the lastest edition or  the latest book. An old book that was written about toys at the time the toys were actually in production, will do just as well as a 2012 book about the same topic.

This hand-drawn book has many illustrations of old toys.
The images are small, but are well-drawn, thus helping any collector to easily identify 
any toy in his/her possession.

Dictionary of Toys Sold In America
Volume I
Author: Ernest A. Long
P.O. Box 272,
Mokelumne, California, U.S.A. 95245
83 pages
Soft Cover / 8 ¼” x 10 ¾”

This is the sister booklet to the one above

Dictionary of Toys Sold In America
Volume II
Author: Ernest A. Long
P.O. Box 272,
Mokelumne, California, U.S.A. 95245
71 pages
Soft Cover / 8 ¼” x 10 ¾”

This is the "Bible" of toy books.
It has more writing thatn photos, but there is lots and lots of information about all kinds of toys.
If you have trouble falling asleep,then this book will help you. It's the largest book in my collection with an astounding 791 pages.

O’Brien’s Collecting Toys
12th edition
Edited by Karen O’Brien
Krause Publications,
700 East State Street,
Iola, WI 54990-0001
791 pages
Soft Cover / 8 1/8” x 10 ¾”

This book is a great "coffee table" book.
It's informative, and has lots of easy-t-read narratives.
The photography is super!

The Golden Age of Automotive Toys
Identification & Value Guide
Authors: Ken Hutchison & Greg Johnson
Collectors Books (A Division of Schroeder Publishing Co., Inc.)
P.O. Box 3009
Paducah, KY 42002-3009
159 pages  
Hard Cover / 8 5/8” x 11 ¼”

This is a nice book written by actual collectors.
It's well-written, and loaded with lots on information.
The publisher is  Schiffer Publishing  who produces lots of authoritative books about many different hobbies and collectibles of all kinds.
The company even invites people who might be interested in writing their own books on a topic to write to them.

Cast Iron Automotive Toys
Authors: Myra Yellin Outwater & Eric B. Outwater
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,
04880 Lower Valley Road,
Atglen, PA, 19310
263 pages
Hard Cover / 8 ¾” x 11 5/16”

This book has well-photographed images, and some narratives about the company.
Its main strength is in the information provided abou the Hubley toys from the period that the author writes about.
The airplane in the upper right corner of the cover is a Hubley P-38. In the book the author identifies the different colour themes of this airplane, as well as the dimensions of the toy.
The various values of the toys are also identified, but of course are only applicable to the time the book was written.

Hubley Toy Vehicles
Author: Steve Butler
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,
04880 Lower Valley Road,
Atglen, PA, 19310
160 pages
Soft Cover / 8 1/2” x 11”

This is a much-needed book if you buy and sell rubber toys.
When I started to buy toys, I was only interested in cast iron and die-cast toys. One day, while on E-Bay, I took an interest in a rubber toy, and naturally bid and won the toy. I was amazed that a rubber toy could last so many years and be in the great condition that it was. TGHe Auburn and Sun Rubber COmpany are 2 of the main companies written up in the book.

Rubber Toy Vehicles
Identification & Value Guide
Author: Dave Leopard
Collectors Books (A Division of Schroeder Publishing Co., Inc.)
P.O. Box 3009
Paducah, KY 42002-3009
144 pages
Soft Cover / 8 1/2” x 11”

I purchased this book without having read the title. Naturally, when it arrived at my home, I was disappointed, but then realized that I should have read the description more carefully!
The book is well written and has nice photos and descriptions of this "niche" area of the Barclay toys. What I was originally looking for was a book about the older Barclay toys. THese toys are slush mould made, and the older toys are just sper to see hands on. Perhaps, there is a book out there about those Barclays!

Barclay Toys
Transports & Cars 1932-1971
Authors: Howard W. Melton & Robert E. Wagner
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,
04880 Lower Valley Road,
Atglen, PA, 19310
127 pages
Soft Cover / 8 1/2” x 11”

This book contains many of the other toys in the author's previous book.
What's interesting is how the toys were advertised in their catalogs, as well as which toys were removed as time advanced.
The book is good for knowing the timespan of when most of these toys were manufactured.

Hubley Catalogs
Author: Steve Butler
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,
04880 Lower Valley Road,
Atglen, PA, 19310
176 pages
Soft Cover / 8 1/2” x 11”

This book is a wonderful book about this German toy manufacturer.
One day, while I was looking at the toy listings on E-Bay, I finally decided to bid on a Schuco toy.
I bid, and I won the toy. It wasn't the most-valuable or the oldest toy, but it gave me an appreciation of German toy craftsmanship, like any of Germany's other industries.
Thebook presents the older and newer toys, and is well written and well-photographed.

Schuco Classic Tin Toys
The Collector’s Guide
Author: Chris Knox
Krause Publications
700 East State Street,
Iola, WI 54990-0001
127 pages
Hard Cover / 9” x 9”

This is the smallest book that I have.
The book has loads of information, and came with lots of inseets with more information.
The photos inside the book are in black and white, but  will easily help you to  identify most fo the Tootsietoys.

Tootsie Toys
World’s First Diecast Models
Authors: James Wieland & Edward Budney
Motorbooks International Publishers & Wholesalers Inc.
Osceola,WI, 54020, USA
99 pages
Soft Cover / 6” x 9”

The Kenton Hardware Company made lots of horse and wagon cast iron toys.
However, they also made some very nice cars as well.
Notice that the publisher is again, the Schiffer Company. As I previously mentioned, this company is a great resource for anyone who needs to find a book on many different collectibles.

Kenton (Cast Iron) Toys
The Real Thing in Everything But Size
Author: Charles M. Jacobs
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,
04880 Lower Valley Road,
Atglen, PA, 19310
183 pages
Soft Cover / 8 1/2” x 11”

IThis book by David E. Richter is well-photographed in colour, and had lots of information and data about these toys. THe photos are large enough to show plenty of detail, and hi sbook covers both the older and newer toys.

Collector’s Guide To Tootsietoys
Second Edition
Author: David E. Richter
Collectors Books
A Division of: Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,
04880 Lower Valley Road,
Atglen, PA, 19310
270 pages
Soft Cover / 8 1/2” x 11”

I think that I bought this book on through 1 of their affiliate book store partners.
You have to keep searching on Amazon because they have lots and lots of listings that come and go every week. What's interesting about this book is that it was removed from a library and was placed on the market so that the library could buy new books. I even have the library card jacket on the indsdie cover, along with the name of the library printed on the top white pages.

This is  another nice coffee-table book with large-sized photos both in black and white and in colour.
It's very well written, and has lots of stores and information both aboutt particular toys, and of course the manufacturers.

American Toy Cars and Trucks
Author: Lillian Gottschalk
New Cavendish Books
Abbey Press, Publishers
New York, New York, 10022
328 pages
Hard Cover / 11 5/8” x 11”

I saved this last book for last. Bertoia is an auction house that sells some of the most sought after toys in the USA and of course, the world. I once e-mailed the company, and got to correspond with, I believe the owner. I was impressed with the fact that he would have the time to  write back.

The company has their auction house in New Jersey, and also accepts Internet bidding.
What imprtessed me about Bertoia is that they get to auction off the rarer and better quality toys in the USA! Furthermore, their photography (coming from a photogra[her myself) is A-1.

Their pages are professionally laid out and excellently designed. As well, there are short descriptions about each item that will be auctioned off in their next auction. You can buy an upcoming auction catalog or past catalog directoly from them,or toy can sometimes find thise books on Amazon or on E-Bay.

Their site is the place to go when you want to see what the really rare and interesting toys are

The Ralph Tomlinson & Fred Castan Collections
September 23 & 24, 2011
Bertoia Auctions
189 pages
Hard Cover /8 ¾” x 11 ¼”

So that's another instalment. 
Thanks for dropping by, and  as always, have a great morning, afternoon, or evening wherever you may be.