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.
From time-to-time, I receive letters from readers asking me about different things. Last week
I received an e-mail from Rebecca Kirkland from the USA. Rebecca has inherited a McCoy tethered racer from her father. Rebecca remembered that when she was a young girl, she would accompany her father to the a park, where there would have been a place for her father to race his tethered racer.
Tethered racers race around a fenced-in circle. The reason they are called "tethered" is because they are attached by a steel wire attached to a pole in the middle of the racetrack,in order to keep the car from driving off the track.
What is a tethered car?
"Tether cars look a lot like the vehicles that break land-speed records. The cars are narrow and most of the engine parts are enclosed inside the body of the racer. They're comprised of parts similar to a full-size car, including a combustion engine, exhaust pipe, air intake, flywheel, gears, driveshaft and wheels. The racers also have a tailskid, located in the back that stabilizes the vehicles at top speeds. The cars are typically about one to two feet (30.5 to 61 centimeters) long, and weigh anywhere from two to six pounds (0.9 to 2.7 kilograms).
In the international competitions, there are five different engine sizes that compete. The smallest is the 1.5 cubic centimeter (cc) engine, which has a top speed over 65 miles per hour (104.6 kilometers per hour). The other engine sizes are the 2.5cc, 3.5cc, 5cc and 10cc classes. The 10cc engine class cars are capable of producing speeds over 200 miles per hour (321.9 kilometers per hour) [source: Macropoulos]. These two-cylinder engines typically run on a fuel mixture of 80 percent methanol and 20 percent castor oil and are capable of producing engine speeds up to 45,000 revolutions per minute."*
Tethered cars were developed in the early 1930's. They were designed and made by amateur enthusiasts who were usually machinists or engineers. By the time that these cars got popular, many "racetracks" were made in the USA. WWII created an interruption for these racers, as the war effort required people to focus more on winning the war, and metals became restrictive, as they had to be used to manufacture armaments such as bombers, tanks, and guns. Standard tether cars were built to 1/6 or 1/8 scale. Engine size typically was .60 cubic inches, and overall length was between 14 and 24 inches (35.5 cm - 61 cm). "Mite"cars were about half the size of standard models, and their lower price made them increasingly popular. After WWII, the sport was not as popular compared to what it was in the 1930's.
Below are photos that Rebecca sent me of her father's car. It was manufactured by Dick McCoy, who was more-famous for manufacturing the small engines that were used to propel the cars.
Rebecca's tethered car is a vintage "Real McCoy" brand. It is one of the
more desirable tethered cars on the market.
That flat metal piece attached to the car is where the steel wire
is attached to from the pole in the centre of the round track.
The reason that Rebecca had contacted me was to find out about where she should sell her car. Initially, Rebecca mentioned Craig's list, but she had agreed that perhaps this was not the correct place to sell such a unique car. I did some research, and suggested ebay.
When I visited ebay, I was surprised at how much people were asking for these nice collectibles.
Prices (frm high to low) ranged from $ 6000.00 - $ 160.00 US Dollars. Of course, the older and rarer the car, the more expensive it was. Also, some of the listing had cars that did not have engines.
Monday, October 22, 2018 Clear skies and Sunny 7 C 43 F
Another Fine restoration
of an Old Keystone Toy
I was chatting with Mr. Christopher Ferrone last week. Chris is a successful businessman in the bus industry. However, one of his hobbies, for those who don't know, is taking old toys and restoring them with modifications. Being in the bus industry, Chris's company has lots of machinery to repair busses. What Chris does is to use this machinery to create his "masterpieces".
His latest masterpiece is an old Keystone riding truck (circa 1940's) that was in good body shape, but quite rusted. Chris sandblasted this riding toy, and metamorphosed (changed) it into a superb steam-shovel/truck riding toy.
As you can see, this toy is in very good condition. It even has its' rubber tires and wheels.
Chris decided to change the riding truck into a riding stream-shovel truck. You can see how much work that Chris put into designing, and then machining the new parts. He also did a fantastic job in sandblasting and priming the old rusted and new parts.
Below: The Finished New Toy
This certainly is a fantastic new toy. It looks brand new! ALso, the toy can be ridden or it can be pushed. Notice that there are 2 handles on this toy. One for a small child when seated on the to of the steam-shovel cabin, and another at the end of the steam-shovel grey part, which would be used to push the toy.
Chris even added a new "old" Keystone label
in the back of the truck cab.
I did some restorations on smaller toys, but never did I do such
exhaustive and quality work as Chris. I just wonder where he finds the time to
Thursday, October 18, 2018 Sunny and Clear Skies 3 C 37 F
A Big Surprise on a Fine Autumn Day
Yesterday, I received a pleasant surprise from a friend in Chicago. I call Chris a friend because I know him a bit, and he has helped me with my blog. For those who don't know, Chris owned a sightseeing bus company in Chicago, as well as a garage for maintenance on the busses. When he had the time, Chris was busy making new toys out of old ones. I just checked and I've been able to write 10 posts about this very-talented man. Today will be my 11th post.
Chris sent me photos of a toy that was wasn't 100% happy with in the past, and so he improved on it and added a hauler/loader as a second toy. I also liked his original toy that is the first one shown below.
Below is the original superb toy that Chris restored
back on May 7, 2015. Wow, the time certainly went by fast!
Below is Chris' ( or Chris's) remodelled truck/dumpster. I like both variations of this toy.
In the toy above, I like the sheet metal that was used for the dumpster portion of this nice truck.. The metal looks like the type of flooring that one might find on the steps of a bus.
I also like the new wood variation of the truck/hauler. Using a combination of wood and metal, gives the toy a more old and "retro" appearance. In either case, both are superb!
Below is a screen-capture of all the posts that I've had the pleasure in writing about Chris and his
exceptional talent in restoring old toys with his own personal touch.
When I had searched for the date when Chris send me the original remodelling of this old toy, I got an idea for a new post about Chris. I'm going to have a post about all of the fine toys Chris has created, and I'm going to title it
Lloyd Ralston Gallery has been one of the busiest and best auction galleries since its inception. The primary focus has always been full-color, professionally-described cataloged auctions of vintage collectible antique toys, trains, soldiers and die cast vehicles.
Family owned since 1978, it is located in Shelton, Connecticut. The 10,000 sq. ft., showcase-lined gallery has seating for 100 people. Fully air-conditioned and heated, it offers a comfortable atmosphere for attending bidders. The hours are 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday or by appointment.
When you contact us at Lloyd Ralston Gallery, you are speaking directly to a helpful and knowledgeable owner who is ready to assist you. Their goal has always been to maximize consignor's profit while also making the auction friendly and easy for the buyer.
We are members of the Antique Toy Collectors of America, the Train Collectors Association, and the Mechanical Bank Collectors of America.
Not all model cars are toys. There are companies that manufacture models for the car manufacturers, as well as large dealerships. These companies were much more popular in past times, but there may still be a few left. National Products was one of these companies that existed from the 1930's-1950's. They would manufacture model vehicles for cars and these would either be sent free or charged to the dealerships. These models were usually 7" - 10" (178 mm - 254 mm) long, and made of rubber or metal. Sometimes the models would have the names of the car dealership on them, and other times there was no writing on the models.
As I was checking for these models, I was fortunate to come across a large selection of these items on Liveauctioneers, specifically from a Lloyd Ralston Gallery Auction. What garnered my attention, when I did a search for sales descending from the highest price to the lowest, was the fact that these fine car models did in fact receive final high bids.
Thus, this is what I decided to write about for today's blog.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 Cloudy with Sunny Periods 8 C 46 F
Toys of Times Past Auctions'
Latest Upcoming Auction
If you've been following be of late, you'd see that I've returned to writing. I can't promise for how long, but there have been nice upcoming auctions that have given me the impetus (incentive) to write. I ventured over to Toys of Times Past Auctions and was surprised to see so many toys that I had not yet seen before. Also, the owner is quite knowledgeable, as the dates of when these toys were around are inclusive in the descriptions.
Like many auctioneers recently have done, Toys of Times Past Auctions have
decided to use an auction service company to have their bidders bid. The auction
service organizes the auction, takes bids, and of course receives a commission for their work on -line. Below is the auctioneer organizer's (Invaluable) website for Toys of Times Past Auctions. This auction consists mostly of an exceptional collection of Schuco (Germany) toys in very good conditions. I have not seen so many of the same toys in an auction before!
early comic character tin windup toy with original box.
Measures 7" ( 178 mm) L x 7.25" (185 mm) H.
Made in Germany by Schuco. Rare & hard to find 1933 tin wind up 853 Mouse Riding Tricycle Scooter with original celluloid balloon and attached key. This is the largest version of all of the Schuco tricycle scooter toys that they produced. 5" long x : 4.5 high.
Made in USA by Marx. 1920's tin litho windup
Ring A Ling Circus with the rare & hard to find rose base
version of this circus performing act toy.
All four of the circus performing acts work correctly
and as they should!
Measures 7.5" (191 mm) in Diameter x 8"(203 mm) T.
Made in Germany by Schuco.
1930 fabric covered tin wind up 940
Short Tails Jacket Version
Dancing Charlie Chaplin with original key.
6.5" (166 mm) high.
Made in Germany by Schuco.
Scarce & hard to find 1937 tin wind up s:
1. # 496 Walt Disney Dancing Donald Duck with Umbrella and original key. 5.5" high.
2. # 495 Walt Disney Dancing Donald Duck with Back Pack and original key. 5.5" high.
3. # 497/1 Walt Disney Dancing Donald Duck Drummer and original key. 5.5" high.
I decided to return to people and auction houses that i had written before. After all, I have their permission to write about them, and they are very reliable when it comes to having fine items up for sale.Pook & Pook auctions all kinds of antiques, but I know that when I visit them for old toys, they will have some nice ones that are going to auction. Lo and behold, after perusing their auctions, I came across a nice auction from March 24, 2018. The toys were very nice, but what caught my attention was the fact that there were toys that I either had not seen before or were not necessarily manufactured by a toy company. So for today, I'm presenting a small group of toys. What is also interesting is that some of the toys were non brand-named toys but at the top of the list in terms of what they were purchased for (their final price).
"Pook & Pook Inc. was founded by Ronald and Debra Pook in 1984 out of the Pook’s thriving antique business, which they began a decade earlier. Located in Chester County, Pennsylvania, Pook & Pook, Inc.’s offices are approximately thirty-five minutes west of Philadelphia, in an old stone inn built in 1761 with an adjacent state-of-the-art auction gallery. Right from its inception, the company’s auctions incited the interest of major museums, estate representatives, and serious collectors."
There's a lesson to be had from this auction.
There can be some "treasures" found that may not be
It's now the (autumn) fall season, and many auctions have auctions at this time. Bertoia Auctions is the first no exception. Bertoia Auctions is one of the first company that allowed me to use their excellently-photographed images for my blog. They're located in New Jersey, and as many other auctioneers have modernized their company. One of the ways that they have done this is to use Liveauctioneers to show their photographs and descriptions, and to allow buyers to bid there. The date for this current auction is November 9-11, 2018.
The reason for my blog title is that most everyone throws away the box that a toy came with. Of course, if you like to do puzzles, you naturally keep the box for storage. But everything else, you usually throw away the box. Keeping the box with the toy enhances its' value, and also provides information about the toy, in terms of who manufactured the toy, and sometimes the date.
I didn't provide information for the toys today, as you can readily see the name of the toy maker on the box. Most of the toys have winding mechanisms, and all of the toys are manufactured from pressed steel, except for Henry and the Swan, which is made from celluloid, except for the wheels and the small wagon, which are also made from pressed steel.
I've only selected a small group of boxed toys for this auction, buy there in total fine groupings of many different types of toys for sale.
In Bertoia Auctions Own Words:
"This is certain to be “A Sale for Everybody” with impressive highlights throughout all categories.
Just in time for the Holiday season, we present our two day annual fall auction with a bonus third day event. Highlighting the Pressed Steel & Pedals Cars will be the Tiny Moyer and Eugene DeGraw Collections. An added bonus is a outstanding Kingsbury collection from the midwest with many scarce variations purchased in the Kaufman auctions. Collectors of cast iron will be delighted with the line-up of autos, cycles, and horse-drawn toys. A special offering of a series of Vindex farming toys which had been boxed up in a Michigan barn for over two decades will be sure to draw interest. Doorstops and mechanical banks in quality condition will be offered on the Saturday section.
The Christmas section is sure to impress the most advanced of collectors with candy containers, nodders, nice kugels, and belsnickles leading the category. A decades old Halloween collection from a Pennsylvania farmhouse will be debuted in the November auction with an exciting variety from masks to lanterns to display figures. Very clean tinplate wind-ups will be presented with a range from boxed Comic Characters examples like Mickey Mouse to scarce Lehmanns and unique European obscurities. Autos, cycles, airplanes, and trains will cover the European transportation toy category. Approximately fifty penny toys will be sure to capture attention with nice motorcycles, whimsical figures, and more. Advertising and country store memorabilia will be well represented with signage, trade stimulators, gasoline globes, and more."