Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who's the Rarest of Them All?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Partly sunny and seasonally cold


Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall,
Who's the Rarest of Them All?

   I like to get up early every day. I find that I can go to my regular "haunt" for toast and a coffee then return home by 07:00 A.M. If I have time, I can then prepare future posts for the upcoming period. I found some time this past Sunday, and ventured over to Bertoia Auctions

   For those who don't know, Bertoia Auctions is one of the most prominent antique toy auctioneers in the world. The company was established by the late Mr. Bill Bertoia, and is now owned and operated by the family. 

   The 4 toys presented today were from a 2013 auction, and were owned by Mr. Bertoia himself. They aren't the "rarest, rarest", but are rare enough for Mr. Bertoia to have seen the value in these toys. When they went to auction, they are received handsome bids. All 4 are from the great cast iron era of the United States, which lasted from approximately 1890-early 1940's. By then ,transportation of such heavy toys was costly by train, and the public was more interested in more complicated and better-made toys such as the pressed steel toys or pressed tin lithographed toys.


Cast iron toys were still popular in the 1930's, even though more complex and more advanced toys were starting to appear from Europe. As well,  American pressed steel toys were starting to become more and more popular.

The cast iron toys of the 1930's also were more complex than their early brethren in that they too were more complex and had more moving parts that the earlier decades of toys.  

The "Oh Boy Tractor" below is not as valued so much for its' complexity as its' rarity. The rubber treads are sat ill original  - imagine 85 years later!
Cast iron toys 

Steam engines were more popular in Europe than in America. You see these toys being manufactured by a company like Carette in the early 1900's, but time wise, America is manufacturing cast iron toys. 

So what makes this particular toy so valuable is that it is a rarity in the sense of being a "steam engine". I placed the words "steam engine" in quotation marks as this was simply a hand-cranked copy of a live steam engine with many moving parts. It's rarity lies also in the fact that it still works and has all of its original parts.



The Vindex company made many fine toys, and are sought after today for their beauty, functionality, and of course, their rarity. THe toy is probably late 1920's or early 1930's and as you can see, it has lots of moving parts, allowing a clild to play with it.  There is a turret that allows the base and cabin to rotate in a 360 degree circle, and the crank allows for an up and down movement of the bucket.


And finally, another rare Vindex toy. As a footnote, the 1920's and 1930's in the United States were a major boom to the country. Millions of immigrants continued to arrive to the United States, and the country started to build major cities from one end of the country to the other.

As such, "toys mimic reality", and a lot of new toys replaced the horse and wagon toys of the earlier decades (1890's-1910's). Cars became more and more common, so were trucks, and heavy-duty machinery such as the steam shovel, cement trucks, and of course, the portable and location utility- the cement mixer.

What's also interesting is that many toys of these 2 decades had parts that were nickel-plated. The cranks and levers are nickel-plated, and were meant to last and not rust.


Thanks for dropping by,
and as always,
Have a great part of the day or night
wherever you may be.

Stacey Bindman

toysearcher@gmail.com



1 comment:

Bob Walden said...

Long live cast iron toys!