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.
Non-Toy Mechanical Banks (More from the Clive Devenish Collection)
I'm continuing to write above Mr. Clive Devenish's outstanding collection of mechanical banks.
Included in hide collection that was auction through Bertoia Auctions were several "non-toy" mechanical cast iron banks. At the time (1890's-1930's), millions upon millions of these mechanical banks were manufactured. However, there were also the non-toy banks for adults, and these were made in large numbers.
You have to remember that coinage (pocket change) had value at those times.As an example,A penny could buy you a handful of candy, or have you send a letter. Today, our poor Canadian penny is gone - the government decided it had no value! And to mail a letter costs $ 1.15. I remember a bag of potato chips in 1956 was 5 cents, a pack of bubble gum cards was also 5 cents, and a bus ticket was 9 cents for a child (or was it for an adult). 4 ounces of smoked salmon were 50 cents, and a haircut was about $2.00 plus the tip. So imagine what these items were in 1890-1930!
Fortunately, Clive Devenish also liked to collect valued non-toy mechanical banks, and I decided to present 3 for toddy's post.
ATLAS MECHANICAL BANK Mfg. Unknown, circa 1890’s, mixed mediums make up this well designed bank Atlas displayed in strength pose holding up the world made of lithographed paper. Slide the lever to the left, exposing coin slot, insert coin, release lever and the globe spins counter-clockwise for several revolutions. Provenance: Tim Walsh Collection Minimal paper loss to top of globe, otherwise (Pristine Cond.)
What makes the Atlas bank so fascination is the exceptional casting of Atlas and his muscles. Toy can see every anatomical muscle on his torso.
GEM REGISTERING MECHANICAL BANK J&E Stevens Co., Cromwell CT, cast iron with paper register, patented 1893 Intricate side dial allows coin removal when full, heavily embossed floral patterns in nice contrasting gold bronze colors, one of the finest specimens known. Coin deposit involves turning side wheel clockwise then back again. Provenance: Hall Henry Collection through Millie Henry by Descent.
(Near Mint Cond.)
Once again, we see the exceptional details from the original casting. For those who don't know, most of the cast iron toy companies and mechanical banks companies had lots of very gifted Europeans who were new immigrants to the USA. These people got jobs in the foundries making hardware for houses (door handles and knobs, hinges), as well as mechanical banks and toys.
MUSICAL SAVINGS MECHANICAL BANK (REGINA)
Regina Music Box Corp., NJ, circa 1900, ornate wood case with tin scrolls Scrolls at corners with twenty discs and certificate of shipment from 1900, works well, quite an attractive piece. Upon coin deposit a tune is played on changeable discs. Provenance: Wally Tudor, Steven Steckbeck Collections. (Near Mint Cond.)
Of course, if you're over 60 years old or "young",you'd immediately recognize how the is bank made music. Inside the banks are tunes (like a fork) . They are different lengths, and were punched from a metal plate. As the musical disk rotates, the tunes fall into the slots, and make music in the form of notes. Different lengths create different notes. When all of the notes are played in sequence, you get a melody.
What I like about this bank is the large metal plaque that was screwed into the back portion of the bank. When my wife, Heidi and I, moved to our home in 1992, the sidewalks had a brass maple leaf
embedded in the sidewalk. It was from the construction company, who took pride in their work,and of course advertised. I always regretted not hammering out the "souvenir", when the sidewalks were replaced. The sidewalks that replaced the original sidewalks are now cracked and have lots of missing parts from the tractors that clear snow in winter. However, the original sidewalks that I remember didn't seem to even need replacement.
Of course, I'm sure that embedded brass maple leaf with the name of the manufacture got my attention more than the sidewalks!
Sunday, November 22, 2015 Partly sunny and seasonally cold.
The Tootsietoy Company manufactured the best small toys at the time in the United States. They are my favourite small toys, and were die cast. However, the company also manufactured miniature furniture for children to play with. These too were die case. In the upcoming Lloyd Ralston Gallery auction (December 5, 2015), there is a fine collection of 8 small boxed sets of miniature furniture.
I would think that most of the furniture sets were manufactured about the same time. However, I have no references to corroborate (substantiate) this statement. THe kitchen sets allow me to date the toys, so long as the toys were made at the same timeas the real life-size furniture.
If you knew American furniture and American upholstery patterns and their history, I'm sure you could date the period of these toys. I would say (based solely on the kitchen furniture) that these sets were manufactured around the late 1920's and early 1930's.
The light stands are certainly old from the first quarter of the 20th century.
The kitchen stove and countertops definitely are late 1920's-early 1930's. Also, the "icebox" in the lower right corner helps to date the furniture. The electric refrigerator did not come along yet, and was invented later. Of course, toys could in fact be manufactured at a later date, but provided a "retro" look for children wanting an "older" play set. The kitchen sink with its' side preparation side certainly again was an early design. The kitchen sink in North America did not change until the later 1940's and progressively later into the 1950's.
What's interesting about the set below is that the insert could be removed. The insert shown is the wooden floor and the blue and yellow patterned carpet.
There is no reference to the size of the furniture, but if the sets are similar in size to the Tootsietoy cars and trucks of the era, then the chairs are about 2" (50.88 mm) high, and the above table is about 4" (101 mm) wide).
What I'd like to know is whether or not there were Tootsie miniature people to go along with see wonderful room furniture sets. It would be interesting to see how the designers created different characters for the play people, as well as their clothing.
Whomever had collected these 8 sets certainly was highly motivated to collect them, and was certainly interested.
I was able to actually find 2 furniture pages in a reproduction catalogue reissued by Noble House of Mundelein, Illinois (USA) in 1989.
Below are the 3 pages (catalogue face cover, the page of furniture illustrations, and the page of descriptions and catalogue numbers. The catalogue is from 1933.
My date "guesses (please read at the beginning) estimated the toys having been manufactured from the late-1920's - mid 1930's. I was "close". However, the screen-captured LLoyd ralsotn photos have the box cores,. These box covers are an earlier "style" and design as far as the style and type go. Therefore, I wouldn;lt be surprised if the 1933 catalogue was updated, even though the toys continued to be made and were made originally in the late 1920's.
Such is the value of having original catalogues or reproductions.-
Saturday, November 21, 2015 Partly cloudy with mild temperatures
A Fine Hubley
Cast Iron Airplane
Since Dan Morphy has expanded his auction business, his photography has improved with the use of larger-sized photographs. A lot of his expanded business has been old cars and firearms, which require superior photography. I'm glad this has happened, as it's great for myself to see more detail of the toy photos. In this way, I can expand on my writing and the fine toys.
All cast iron with aluminum wing marked "America" on wing and has star marks on circles on both sides of wing. Looks to be all original. Some paint chipping and wear on top of fuselage. Original pilots and motors. Original rubber tires marked "Hubley", one has a flat spot. Still has clicker. Condition (Excellent). Size 17" Length ( 431.8 mm)"*
* Description Courtesy of Morphy Auctions
I like how the first 4 photos have been photographed. Since I have removed most of the grey background, the first 4 images appear to illustrate a spiral downward "dive"by the airplane.
THe second-to-last photo above illustrates the fine detail of the trimotor castings. Look at the engine assembly to note all of the back parts of the propeller. As is usual, the propellers were made of plated nickel,and have truly stood "the test of time" for an 85 year old toy.
The 2 pilots in the cockpit certainly are "cute". They were hand painted, and even the paint on these characters have also withstood the test of time.
There are no photos to show you how the propellers moved,but you can vaguely see a criss-cross (X-shaped) expandable coils in the back attaching the 2 side propellers. The front wheels have another stretched wire coil that attached to the rear wheels and their coils. As the airplane was pushed or pulled with a string, all 3 propellers would rotate. Also, in the written description, you will have read the word "clicker". THe airplane had a clicking devise attached to the airplane. AS the airplane was pulled a nosy clicking would arise, with the noise getting faster and louder as the airplane was pulled faster.
The larger-sized cast iron airplanes from the 1930's are very much in demand and achieve high values at auction.
I decided to choose Dan Morphy Auctions for today's post. Mr. Dan Morphy was one of the
original people who had allowed me to use his images after I stopped buying and selling on ebay. Since then, Dan has been quite active and successful in expanding his business. He has now expand his original location in Maine with the successful purchases of another auction company and the antique toy division of Mr. James D. Julia of James D. Julia, Inc.
Carlisle & Finch No. 45 Loco, Tender, & Passenger. No. 45 locomotive nickel finish with black trim. Passenger car No. 111 Baggage Express with considerable wear. Trucks on car are new. Locomotive and tender are in excellent condition. NYC&HR black tender has yellow lettering together with two 8-wheel brass ten window passenger car and No. 51 orange body baggage car marked "No. 111". Roof on baggage car is quite rough and needs restored. Trucks on baggage car are replaced. On eight-wheel brass passenger cars, one roof is totally restored and both have new trucks. Second car's roof should be restored. Condition (Very Good - Excellent).*
* Description courtesy of Liveauctioneers & Morphy Auctions
I don;t have catalogues for the 2 articles presented today, but they are definitely very old! If you ever watched an old western movie from the 1930's or even today,these are the train engine and train cars thought you would see in the movie.
Excellent original condition with a few scratches on the roof.
Condition (Excellent). Size 20'' L. (454 mm)*
* Description courtesy of Liveauctioneers & Morphy Auctions
Below is another very old train. This one would be a "streetcar" that would have been used to transport people around a city. I remember the last year that such a streetcar was used here in Montreal. My memory is vague though since I was about 5-8 years old. But I do remember the above the streetcar wires, and the nice wooden panelling (real wood, not your plywood!) that the cars were made of. Also, there were train rails all over the street.
The cord would have been used to raise and lower the mast to electrified wires above the train rails.
When the mast was raised and connected to the electrified wires, the train would have electric current, and the train could move.The "real trains" moved this way,and so did the toy.
It appears that the wire springs have lost their tension, but I'm sure new ones could be found.
Of course, the big question would be whether or not to play with an antique toy that costs as much as a new Toyota Corolla (I drive a 7 year old Corolla). You'd have to find a compatible electric power source compatible with this train, since you wouldn't want to burn out the wiring inside.
Of course, if you "played" with the toy carefully who's to know?
It would't have an odometer attached to tell how much mileage was on it!
Bertoia Auctions always seems to find beautiful and rare items that come to auction. Today's presentation is from their March 23, 2014 auction from their season opener. Throughout the year when Bertoia staff are not working with their auctions, they are travelling all over searching for
for items to come to market. As well, clients are coming to see them to offer their collections to auction.
I discovered this item while looking for cast iron toys. However, realizing the beautiful 111 year old toy was something to share with you, my readers, I deduced to forego cast iron for this fine item.
Very nicely detailed example, Doll et Cie ferris wheel from Germany is exquisitely hand enameled in rainbow colors, features working hand crank mechanism and composition figures, complete with pennants, lights and ladder. Canopy needs resoldering at supports, flags repainted, otherwise (VG Cond.)
There are 6 gondolas that make up this fine Ferris Wheel. The toy is wound via a hand crank, then the tension is released, allowing for the riders to rotate in their seated positions.
What'a amazing is that this toy is 111 years old and still is in workable condition.
I'm not sure what the yellow gated platform is. Perhaps, riders could get off and have a standing view high up on the deck of this enclosure.
What's noticeable is to see that the Ferris Wheel was built on a permanent base made of concrete and large stone bricks. Correspondingly, I would assume that actual real-sized Ferris Wheels would be built in the same manner.
A toy of this size standing 16 3/4" (m426 mm) tall, would not have been inexpensive. Considering the toy was built around 1904, only the children of wealthy parents would have been able to play with such a fine toy.
I like how there are so many people dressed in different clothes. Furthermore, like most toys of that era, colour is very rich in saturation and tonality.
One doesn;t often see such com;lldx toys coming to market, so I 'm glad that I found this toy to share with everyone.
A few days ago, I introduced you to Mr. Clive Devenish. Besides being an antiques dealer, he was able to amass an exceptional collection of mechanical banks that he recently sold (October 2015) at auction through Bertoia Auctions.
J&E Stevens Co., Cromwell CT, cast iron, circa 1888 One of the notable Bailey pedestal series banks,
this example not only appears unplayed with, but is the only one known to be offered at auction all original
with no repairs in the last 20 years, minor wear to forehead which is the natural place of contact, an opportune
offering for the discriminating collector, this a solid high grade bank. Place coin on cow’s back, press lever and cow will kick her hind legs and tail and knock the boy and pail backwards as the coin is deposited into cow’s back.
(Near Mint Cond.)" *
* Description Courtesy of Bertoia Auctions
What makes these toys so fascinating are the quality of the castings, as well as the fine detail
that has been created. Notice how the ribs of the cow are poking out into the cow's skin. Have a
look at the hairs on the tail, the hair on the farmer, the posh detail on the grass, and the farmer's
yellow hat on the ground. Of course, the main attraction for this selection is the fact that it is in
such excellent condition. And finally, the bank itself, one of thousands of
different designs but unique unto itself.
"MERRY GO ROUND MECHANICAL BANK Kyser & Rex Mfg., Philadelphia PA, cast iron, circa 1889, a perfect theme for a child’s bank, intricate casting details
and red, white and blue canopy adds quite a dramatic appeal, the seated children on carousel figures makes a
beautiful visual, each atop a varied animal, incredible movement, spectacular overall condition, the Philadelphia
company at its best with this example. Place coin on slot, as handle is turned, amusement ride with carousel figures revolves around base and attendant appears to push coins into awaiting slot. (Pristine Cond.)"*
* Description Courtesy of Bertoia Auctions
Here's another beautiful and rare bank. It's larger and involves more figures and metal. The key point for me is the gracefulness of the golden swan in flight, with its' legs behind, and large eyes. There are 6 figures altogether, since of course a merry-go-round would have lot as of people, and a worker to manage the rides.
I decided to simply select two fine pieces and have you look at them. For those who would like to
see the rest of this most exemplary collection, please click on the Bertoia Auctions' link, and go to the
October 2015 auction of Mr. Clive Devenish. I'm quite sure Clive must have had some sentiment in
selling his collection, but at the same time, he had a warm feeling that he'd be passing on these fine
"time pieces" to some other collectors. I used the term "time piece" in a different meaning, since in
fact to me, these mechanical banks are parts of the past from a certain time in history.
Monday, November 16, 2015 Sunny and seasonally warmer than usual
A Fantastic ebay store
When I first started to block, I'd purchase my own toys, photograph them,then resell them on ebay. I didn't have a "plan b", so buying toys was my first choice. After 2 years or so, the market slowed down, and I stopped. Also, the Canadian dollar (I'm Canadian, eh) took a nosedive,ebay started to demand that sellers ship via their Global Express mail, and the Canadian Government decided that they wanted to collect taxes (15% total) on all merchandise that came to Canada.
Needless to say, my days with v were over. As it was before the changes, I was barely making a profit, but buying and selling to start my blog. I came up with "plan B" under pressure. What could I do instead of buying and selling?
I decided to write everywhere to all kinds of people and companies. I wrote to manufacturers newer toys), I wrote to antique dealers, toy sellers, collectors, museums. You name it, I wrote to them. In time, people would write to me and give me their permission. I would write their blog post, and send then an e-mail when the post was added and ask them if there was anything that they would like me to edit, add, delete, or change.
My "plan B" turned out to be a great idea. Now I could write about toys above the price of
$ 175.00 Canadian. That was the most expensive toy that I ever purchased. Now, I could write about 5-6 figure toys -I was in "heaven". I preferred to select people who had lots of merchandise , excellent descriptions of their toys, quality photos, and excellent reputations. Opamerica had all four criteria.
The people at Opamerica work very hard with their ebay , and their many positive feedbacks show that. AS well, you can't find a finer place to read about old toy descriptions, and of course quality, quality photography.
"Antique Hubley Cast Iron 8-1/2" Tail Fin Racer Toy Car w/ Driver Exhaust Stacks
Antique Hubley Cast Iron Tail Fin Racer Toy Car! This fantastic c. 1930s Hubley is a perfect addition to any Cast Iron Collection! This large car features raised exhaust stacks on the hood, and a cast iron driver figure. The racer has a large tail fin on the end, and sits on 4 white rubber tires. This is one of Hubley's more rare large sized racers.
This antique Hubley Racer is in good condition for its age. The body shows some moderate loss to the paint around the edges, and between the driver and the stacks. The white rubber wheels, rims, and axles have been replaced. The car rolls very well when pushed.
Measures approx. 8-1/2" L x 2-3/4" W x 2-5/8" H 216mm x 70 mm x 67 mm"*
*Description Courtesy of Opamerica
What's interesting in both cars is how the parts are kept together. With the fin racer below, the race car driver is held in his seat by the rear axle. The axle rod runs throughout an eyehole.
"Antique 1930s Hubley Cast Iron Take-Apart Brubaker Ford Coupe Toy Car 4" L
I am pleased to offer this Antique 1930s Hubley Cast Iron Take-Apart Brubaker Ford Coupe Toy Car! This fantastic early Hubley was designed by Jacob Brubaker, and features a two piece design. The body is solid cast iron that attaches via the rear spare tire to a nickel plated chassis. The spare tire holder has the early Ford V8 symbol. The coupe sits on wood rims and original white rubber tires.
This Antique Hubley car is in good condition for its age, showing some light scratching and very light paint loss. The nickel plated chassis and the areas of paint wear show some light oxidation. The rubber tires are very cracked and only roll well on surfaces that provide friction.
Measures approx. 4" L x 1-3/4" w x 1-1/2" H 102 mm x 45mm x 39mm"*
*Description Courtesy of Opamerica
In the case of the Brubaker below, the undercarriage and number are held to the chassis (green) by the rear rubber tire. When you remove the rear spare tire, the chassis and the undercarriage separate.
Cast iron toys started in the early 1900's and continued until the late 1930's and a bit later. There main companies of the time in the USA were Hubley, Arcade, and Kenton, with a few others. They were located principally in Pennsylvania (USA).There many new immigrants who had come to America, knew of the huge factories that produced cast iron toys. When you search out these factories, you'll come across lots of historic and interesting photographs.
Initially, cast iron toys were a supplement to many other products offered by the cast iron factories. Mostly their primary products were household products such as keys, locks, hinges and other materials. With the huge increase in immigration and of course, children, toys would become a larger and larger part of their businesses.