This blog discusses old toys from the early 1920's to the end of the 1950's. All kinds of topics are discussed.
The time span was the greatest period for "hands-on" toys, where a young child could actually go outside and play for hours at a time.
You can see the elegance but simple design of these toys. It was a time when huge machines, and people made and finished toys by hand.
The era has long passed, but many of the toys are still around, and that is what I would like to share.
I'm quite fortunate to have such great resources as Morphy Auctions. With their many auctions throughout the year, I can periodically visit their website and see what will be up for auction. When I went there today, I set the search condition for bidding from highest to lowest, and found 4 cast iron mechanical banks. So far, in writing about toys, I've seen seen just one of the four bans below (the lady feeding her baby), so it's always great to be able to add new material to a post.
Once upon a time, mechanical banks were quite popular, and many people had them. A mechanical bank is one whereby you cock a movement and set the trigger. You then place a coin on some part of the mechanism that will move the coin into a hole and deposit the coin into the storage area of the bank. Mechanical banks are very collectible items, and there is even an antique mechanical bank association dedicated to their discussion and presentation of the thousands of different designs and many companies that manufactured these in the USA.
J & E Stevens Co., Designed by James H. Bowen, Circa 1907. "To operate bring figures with upraised hand half way round to position. Place coin in slot and press lever. Minor touch up at screw on the back of the clown. This bank possibly finest example known. Condition (Near Mint Plus). Size 8" L.*
* Description Courtesy of Morphy Auctions
Grey Unknown Manufacturer, Designed by Samuel Clark, Brooklyn, New York, Patented 3/20/1877. "Pull back the ring until the rod is held in position by the lever. Tip the Bank, lay the coin on the target and drop the shot in the cannon. The shot generally follows the coin into the bank and escapes out the perforated bottom. The coin placed in the position forms the target. The ball projected by a spring strikes the coin placed in position forms the target. The ball projected by a spring strikes the coin with sufficient force to carry it into the bank. A percussion wafer can be used to add to the amusement, and will encourage saving money." Tiny area of touch up to the strips on the bottom left of flag. This bank possibly finest example known. Condition (Near Mint Plus). Size 7 - 1/4" L.*
* Description Courtesy of Morphy Auctions
Grey, J & E Stevens Co., Designed by James H. Bowen, Patented 4/21/1891. "Place a coin in front of the mouse over the cat. Press the lever, and as the coin disappears into the bank, the kitten, in fancy dress, appears, turning a somersault, holding the mouse and ball." Minor crack on base. This is a beautiful example. One of the best examples known. Condition (Near Mint) Plus. Size 11 - 1/2" T.*
* Description Courtesy of Morphy Auctions
(Light Brown-Rare). Kyser and Rex Co., by Alfred C. Rex, Patented 10/21/1884. "Place a coin n the slot on the mammy's apron and baby, her head lowers, the baby's legs rise, and the coin falls into the bank. The coin may also be deposited directly into the bank by placing it into the baby's mouth. (Resting the coin on spoon does not cause it to fall into the baby's mouth when the is operated.)" The spoon and trap 100% original. Condition (Near Mint). Size 7 - 3/4" T.*
* Description Courtesy of Morphy Auctions
When I first saw these mechanical banks, I thought that they were larger, but they aren't. I have a"reproduction" bank and it's also small. However it can probably hold 200 nickels, dimes, and quarters. We don't have pennies anymore in Canada since the government decided they were too expensive to produce, and nobody (I did) wanted them. I still have pennies all over the house, and perhaps I should keep them in my bank! I wonder what will happen to all of the expressions with the word penny in them?
A Penny for Your Thoughts?
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Thursday, January 30, 2014 (Cold and Partly Sunny)
A Surprise Request
Wheatland Auction Services
I checked my mailbox yesterday and found a surprise request. Kim Briner from the Wheatland Auction Services Company had sent me an email with a request which I've presented below:
I found your blog and was very interested in the items you highlight! I am the Sr. Auction Coordinator for Wheatland Auction Services and we're hosting a Vintage Toy and Comic Collectible Auction in Pennsylvania. I have a few Rempel Rubber Toys (among other vintage items- Hartland Plastics, etc.) up for bid and thought you or your followers might be interested. The auction will be Live AND Online so anyone can bid and own! Thanks in advance, just trying to reach out to potential collectors.
I went to their website to see what I could find in terms of old and antique toys. They are an auction company that works with estates, as well as auctioning sports cards and memorabilia.
Wheatland is well known for our MONTHLY Sports Auctions which are hosted both LIVE and ONLINE! With 40 combined years of experience and knowledge in the area of sports memorabilia, we are the auction company you can trust to get you the biggest return for your consigned items as a seller and great realized prices at auction as a buyer! Please contact us is you would like to apply to consign items with us!*
* Courtesy of Wheatland Auction Services
I'm always looking for new "guests" to appear on my blog, so I was happy that Kim wrote to me. I searched out their current upcoming auction and was able to find some interesting items to present today.
Every baby and child under the age of 3 probably has had a squeaker in his or her time.
I'll have to do some research on the Rempel company, but these squeakers are certainly nice collectibles, and they still work!
What's of interest in the above photo montage are the last 2 comic books.
I'm "assuming" that of you purchased candy bars or box of cereal, you could get a comic book with either enough candy wrappers or cereal box tops.
When I was a "kid", everyone had comic books.I didn't have any of the ones above. I was a Superman reader, as well as a "Classics" reader. The "Classics" were for those kids who didn't want to read a 400 page book, but wanted to get a fast read with pictures.
The above 2 die cast airplanes are modern-era toys.
They're actually quite nice as collectables for today.
I didn't find any old and antique metal toys, but the comic books and the squeakers certainly can count as old. Comic books and trading cards (as we called them in the 1950's) will always be in demand and collectible. So if you're interested, please drop by the Wheatland Auction Services website or if you're near them in Pennsylvania (USA), you can go to the live auctions.
Yesterday, I posted about an exemplary Doepke Jaguar convertible toy car that originally came as a kit to be assembled. That item was being sold by Mr. Tom Harkness a fine ebay seller. Today, I'm introducing you to Tom. He's been on ebay since 1988, which is a long span. Tom prefers any toy that was made before 1970. What I noticed about Tom, and recently several other people, is that they like to use their Apple iPads to communicate. I would't be surprised if they also use their iPads to list new merchandise on ebay. He certainly has some nice items for sale this week on ebay, and that's what I decided to post for today.
Doepke certainly made their toys to be played with hard. This earth mover has a lever that allows earth to be spread out through the bottom of the holding unit. When you look at the 2 lower photos in the image below, notice how the bottom 2 photographs illustrate the opening of the bottom.
The gearing movement mechanism certainly were built well.
Remember, that this is a toy made in the 1930's
Wolverine is a lessr-known toy company,but it did make some very interesting toys.
This Marx certainly is a colourful toy that has lots of nice lithographed detailing. What's of interest is the fact that the roof is canvas. It's rare that a car part would be made form canvas when metal would be more readmit available and easier to work with. Being a 1956 toy, plastic was now being used more, and you can see this in the windows.
Here's another great-looking and in very good condition Marx toy from 1931-1932.
More than 80 years old, and it still can be played with!
Tom's selective process certainly is excellent, and he has good luck in finding and reselling his toys.
What's more is that they are very good shape, and certainly present themselves well on today's post.
Last week, I saw that someone had commented on one of my older posts. The post had to do with a Hubley cast iron racer. The person happened to be Mr. Cliff Olsen - a fine seller on ebay who I had written about several times. I wrote back, and we corresponded back and forth a few times. n The name of his store is Gothamcitytoys.
My original post talked about what is called a "Hubley Animated Cast IronToy Racer". There are 2 long rods underneath the car that move irregular up and down. This happens because there is an irregular-shapedfront axle that cause this movement. The movement in turn causes the red flaming "fire" to move up and down through a set of 8 holes to mimic the piston explosions. Below are the original set of photos from that post.
Cliff initially commented that he thought that this mite might not be authentic as these particular original and authentic toys are quite expensive. If I remember correctly, I did not pay a lot for this toy, but sometimes to you do see these authentic" animated racers selling for low prices.
Cliff mentioned a website that discusses ways of checking for "reproductions" compared to original cast iron toys. The address is below:
What I would also do is to do a search with words like "authenticating antique toys" or other similar searchers. The more varied references, the better that you are. Also, you should only buy from someone with an excellent record (ebay) or an antique store that has a very good reputation.
In the ensuing correspondence, I had asked Cliff how the market was doing with regard to antique toys. I had heard from another person months ago who asked if I sensed that the American antique toy market was slowing down, and that prices were dropping. I couldn't comment to that person because I don't buy and sell, and I don't want to comment since I am writing about toys and sellers, and I wouldn't want to comment on something that I have not researched enough.
Cliff mentioned though that prices can fluctuate broadly from year-to-year. I agree, and this might be similar to my thoughts on the stock market. Some of my retirement funds are in Canadian stocks, and their share value does go "up and down". My personal opinion is that as long as I don;t need the money right now, in the long term, I will keep the stocks. They pay good dividend, and I usually reinvest the dividends into more stock. However, this last quarter, I decoded to take the dividend in cash.
Cliff's opinion was similar regarding antique toys, but from his viewpoint as a collector. He has some superb cast iron cars and trucks, and even a set. This set is the Dent set of Lasalle trucks and cars.
These fine items came as a set with interchangeable parts. You could change the top parts (upper frame) with the lower part (nickel-plated chassis). So one time you could have a convertible the next time a hardtop, and another time a truck. Cliff sent me 3 photos, which I decided to both whiten the background, and to make some enlargements of the originals. His collection is fabulous, and having the complete sets with individual complete frames and chassis is even more astounding!
These take apart cast iron toys are great because children could disassemble and reassemble the toys. As well, I like cast iron because of the tactile feeling in your hands of a heavy weight. The above toys are Dent LaSalles, but Hubley and I believe Kilgore also had these "hands-on" kits from which you could really play around with. When you see the completed set above, you have to admire Cliff and the collection. These are truly vintage collectibles!
Monday, January 27, 2014 (Flurries and Milder Temperature)
Nice Photography of a
Doepke Road Grader
Yesterday, I posted about a Doepke Jaguar Convertible circa the 1950's. Naturally, while having found this Doepke, I had used the words "Doepke Toys" while searching on ebay, and came up with many Doepkes. One of the toys, a road grader caught my attention. I liked the photographic elements of the pictures, as well as the interesting details and cropping (framing). So I did the "usual" and contacted the seller. Mr. Levi Benton, wrote back and agreed to allow me to use his photos.
He has other toys that I'll be posting this week, when I introduce you to Mr. Levi Benton, but for today it's the Doepke Road Grader. However, for today, the grader gets an exclusive post, all by itself. I was going to extract the grader and place it on white, or remove the stucco background leaving that white. However, I really enjoyed these photos,and decided, after all that they're best left alone. I ddi do some "minor" changes, and even have one photo against an all white background. However, as the old expression goes - "if it works don't fix it!".
A vintage model toy of the Charles Wm. Doepke Mfg. Co.
An Adams Road Grader ( Model # 2006)
Painted pressed steel with rubber tires, and decals,
All parts are in good working conditions with patina, rust scratches, and some clay on the tires.
Length x Width x Height:
26.5" x 8 .5" x 8"
273 mm x 217 mm x 203 mm
It was he above photo caught my attention. Initially I thought that parts were missing from the Doepke grader,but that wash;t so. I like the low camera angle and the elevated inner pair of rear tires. Bit it's the nice texture of the stucco wall, and glass table with its metal rim that also makes the photos great (please see those details below).
I like this high camera angle that presents many of the features and details of the toy. These Doepkes are not the rarest of toys, but they're quite in demand. Also there are several ebay sellers that sell replacement parts and decals, so there's never a worry if you see a nice toy for sale and the bidding is low.
Here's where the circular rim of the table works well with the straight lines of the toy. That creates a nice contrast of elements in the photo. The same all plies to the 2 different textures of the wall and glass table.
My favourite photo.
I did do some photo-editing here. I removed the colour of the grass and tabletop. Bit why I really enjoy is the truck in the upper left corner and on the ground, contrasting with the Doepke on the tabletop.
Here's the front underside of the toy.
Many sellers on ebay rarely show the underside of a toy. I would like to see that because there is lots of detail that helps identify a toy. The best example is that trademarked wind-up mechanism of the Kingsbury toys. Just from that feature, you know it's a Kingsbury.
What works well here as a photo is how Levi framed the photo so that the table is not centred in the photo. If that were so, the photo would be too balanced. Leaving the table rim to the 1/3 position makes the photo great! That curve certainly attracts your attention, but is not over-dominant. The stucco wall contrasting with the textured grass and the bright orange grader helps make a "well-rounded" photo.
There a seller or maybe an auctioneer who uses the term "fresh" to describe his merchandise.
You got to "love" the dried brown earth on those large tires. Now that is certainly "fresh"!
My second-favourite photo, but for an entirely different reason. It's the way the toy gads been presented, with its rear pair of wheels illustrating how the 2 sets of wheels can bend. I've seen lots and lots of these toys on ebay, but never with this feature presented - Kudos to Levi!
Of course, the Doepke Label.
You can always recognize the large red type against gold background, and the oval shape.
There is never second guessing as to who made this toy!
A rear view of the grader.
You can see the small hook that I assume would allow other Doekpe toys to be pulled by the grader.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I did do some photo-editing. But I decide Levi Benton's photos were best presented "as is".
My maximum budget when I was buying on ebay was about $ 250.00. For that amount, I was able to purchase some of the Doepke toys. If you look for the Doepke name on the right side of this page, you will find some of the Doepke toys that I wrote about in my earlier posts. As 2 examples, I had purchased a Doepke Barber-Greene bucket loader and a Jaeger cement mixer. These toys were heavy, well-made, and made to play with in the bard yard. They are also quite heavy. Of course, I never purchased one of these in the condition of today's Jaguar. It's in near-mint condition!
I saw this particular toy a few days ago, and wrote to the ebay seller. Mr. Tom Harkness wrote back to give me the permission to write about this toy. I'll write an introductory post later this week about Tom and his fine store, but for today, the Jaguar gets "prime space".
This car was being sold as a finished and assembled item. However, it originally came as a kit that would be assembled. Not only would a child be able to put together the toy, but he or she could play with it later.
Talk about having fun!
Thanks for dropping by to visit,
and as always, have a great part of the day or night,