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've written about Drfrakenstoy before, but forgot I had written about him and his find toys on ebay. So when I got a reply to my usual letter requesting permission, I was a bit embarrassed that Tomas mentioned that I had written about him and his toy store before.
I had a look at what Tomas was selling, and came across a beautiful Tippco motorcycle.
Very scarce first version of this large Tippco motorcycle with sidecar. Made in Germany circa 1927. Motorcycle shows very intricate lithography with beautiful colors. Usually known as "The mother-in-law cycle" referring to the passenger on sidecar. Very hard to find piece. It is 10 inches long by 5.5 inches wide by 6.5 inches tall. (254 mm long x 140 mm wide x 155 mm tall) This is most certainly a very large toy. Lithographed metal (tin most probably) with a wind-up mechanism
The middle illustration (below) shows a smaller version of the toy that Tomas is selling.
The top illustration (below) shows the larger-sized version of the motorcycle that Tomas
is selling. But in this 1937 catalogue, this motorcycle comes with a light, which was probably
illuminated by a battery.
If you click on any photo, the image will magnify (get larger). Also, at the bottom of the page, there will be smaller photos that are the same ones as in this post. The advantage of this is that you can see the toys much better, when they are enlarged.
So keep in mind that the motorcycle offered by Tomas is older (circa 1927),
and did not come with a battery-operated front headlight.
The high-quality photos certainly present this fine toy well.
As of Wednesday, January 17, 2018, there were 55 bids, with the
William H. Bunch , the owner of the auction house and appraisal business bearing his name, had a passion for auctioneering spanning thirty years. After growing up in Northern Delaware, and attending the University of Delaware, he found himself living in a charming Cecil County, Maryland farmhouse and attending local auctions looking for appropriate furnishings. Soon after, he began planning a future in the auction business. Becoming certified as an auctioneer by attending The Reisch College in Mason, Iowa was the beginning of his formal training as an auctioneer and appraiser. Bill has built a nationally respected antique & fine art estate auction business based in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania (USA).
A Brief History of the Steiff Company (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Richard Steiff (1877-1939) was a German designer, best known for helping create the teddy bear.
As an adult, he entered his aunt's toymaking business in 1897. He attended the School of Arts and Crafts in Stuttgart, and he would regularly visit a nearby zoo, where he spent lots of time, sketching the bears of the zoo. His sketches were used to create a prototype of a bear in 1902.
The manufactured bear was introduced at the Lipzig Toy Fair in 1903, but attracted very little attention. However, an American toy buyer bought the entire lot of 100 bears and ordered another 3000 bears. Thus began the popularity of the Steiff company. In 1904, at the At. Louis Word's Fair, the Steiffs sold 12,000 bears and received the Gold Metal, which was the highest honour at the event. The Steiff bear became associated with legends of Teddy Roosevelt, and thus the bear took on the name "Teddy".
Over the years, the company has expanded from bears into all kinds of animals., as you will see below. These Steiff animals are famous worldwide both as toys to be played with by young children as well as people who collect them both for interest and as investments.
"Real" collectors make sure that the Steiff tags are part of their purchases. The tags include the Steiff name and the catalogue number of each toy. As well, original labels are very important. For sure, in this condition with the labels and tags, collectors do not let their children or grandchildren near these wonderful toys.
I 've only presented 10 wonderful and well-taken photographs of different Steiff animals. However, to see more of these wonderful toys, please visit either Liveauctioneers or the William H. Bunch Auctions & Appraisals website.
Steiff animals use to be made from mohair, alpaca, cashmere, 100 percent cotton velvet, 100 percent wool felt, wood shavings, Kapok and valuable woven plush – a material usually reserved for the high fashion industry. Manufacturing is still done by hand in our 103-year-old factory in Germany. In the 1940's Steiff switched over to woven plush and synthetic materials. They still use some Mohair as well as cotton and polyester. Steiff products are often considered family heirlooms and are passed from generation to generation.
Steiff toys last so long because they are extremely well-made and vigorously tested – surpassing all U.S. and international toy safety standards. Vintage Steiff toys from the company’s earlier years have sold at auction for more than $100,000. Collectors treasure Steiff products for their artistry, beauty, and lasting value. Children love their friendly faces, cuddly fur, and realistic designs. When "only the best" is good enough, Steiff is the only choice.
You've probably read many of my posts about cast iron toys. However, most interestingly, these companies manufactured other products. They produced hardware for houses. This would include door hinges and door locks. They also produced doorstops. Back in the 1870's and later on, houses weren't built as well. Many houses also were quite old, so settling of the houses into the ground created some problems. One of these problems was tilting. This might not have been so apparent from the outside of the house, but inside, the doors often would slam into walls if the doors didn't have doorstops. So,doorstops were manufactured to keep the doors against the wall or keep them at any angle needed (such as when keeping the front door open for fresh air in the summertime. Being made of cast iron, these doorstops were heavy, and you had to watch out to ensure that you didn't smash your toes or foot against them! These items are very desirable as collectibles, and can be seen at flea markets and at auctions. The category of these collectibles is Cast Iron Figural Doorstops, as they were manufactured in many common forms, as you can see below. I've only taken a "sampling" of these fascinating items, but if you go to Liveauctioneers, you will see many of these items listed at auctions.
A. C. Williams Blue Cast Iron Boat Tail Racer w/ Driver & Embossed Pistons
Antique A. C. Williams Cast Iron Tail Fin Racer Toy Car! This fantastic c.1930s is an A. C. Williams cast iron toy. This large car features raised exhaust stacks on the hood, and a seated cast driver. The racer has a large tail fin on the end, and sits on 4 white rubber tires. The car rolls very well when pushed.This is one of A. C. Williams more rare large sized racers.
Measures approx. 8-1/2" L x 2-3/4" W x 2-5/8" H
216 mm L x 70 mm W x 67 mm H
Antique Hubley Red SPEED Motorcycle
Rare Hubley Cast Iron SPEED motorcycle with rubber wheels and rare red paint. Has SPEED raise letters on both sides of motorcycle tank also raised number 5 on riders back. wear from age . Length: 4" ( 102 mm)
Hubley Cast Iron Futuristic Streamline Blue Coupe
This great little cast iron coupe was produced by Hubley in the late 30’s.
The car is 6″ ( 152 mm) long and is in great,
original condition with red wooden hubs and rubber tires.
The photography helps to present the cars with their features in
their most appealing manner.
It's also a good business strategy when selling your merchandise.
I recently introduced you to the RSL Auction Company, which is a multi-faceted company that has several subsidiaries selling all kinds of fine toys. One of these divisions is the Old Toy Soldier company. This is a specialized company specializing in, as the name suggests - old toy soldiers. The company, which was acquired by Mr. Ray Haradin under the ownership of The RSL Auction Company also happens to own a fine old toy journal titled- The Journal for Collectors - Old Toy Soldiers.
Both the auction company and the magazine are excellent resources for collectors of these great collectibles. I haven't added any descriptive narrative to any of the photos today, but I do promise to do so in the future. Nevertheless, if you visit Liveauctioneers, you will be able to see all of the auctions that the Old Toy Soldier company has done, along with the respective photos and descriptions. All of the fine examples today are from a famous British company called Britains.
The reason for my selecting Britains to present is that the company is world-famous, and has been in business and still is, for a very long time.
A brief history of the Britains company courtesy of Wikipedia
The W. Britain brand name of toy and collectable soldiers is derived from a company founded by William Britain Jr., a Britishtoy manufacturer, who in 1893 invented the process of hollow casting in lead, and revolutionized the production of toy soldiers. The company quickly became the industry leader, and was imitated by many other companies, such as Hanks Bros. and John Hill and Co. (Gibbs 2009; Joplin 1996). The style and scale of Britain's figures became the industry standard for toy soldiers for many years.
In 1907 the family proprietorship, William Britain & Sons, incorporated as Britains, Ltd. The Britain family controlled the firm until 1984 when it was sold to a British conglomerate, Dobson Park Industries. They combined the operations with an existing line of toys and renamed the company Britains Petite, Ltd. (Opie 1993). During the first half of the 20th century, Britains expanded its range and market. By 1931 the firm employed 450 at its London factory. The catalogue had expanded to 435 sets and twenty million models a year were being produced. (Wallis 1981). In the early 1950s Britains was associated with W. Horton Toys and Games which made the diecast Lilliput ranges of small-scale rather generic cars and trucks and other vehicles. Later, Britains acquired Herald Miniatures, plastic figures designed by Roy Selwyn-Smith. The company was also known for its American Revolutionary War soldiers.
In the 1950s, besides soldiers, a variety of vehicles began to appear, mostly in the military field. One such detailed diecast vehicle was a Royal Artillery 4.5" Howitzer towable cannon that fired toy shells. For a toy, it was intricately designed, with a special threaded post with rotating knob to raise and lower the cannon. Also in early 1950s, one of the first Britains vehicles was a Bluebird land speed record car of famed driver Sir Malcolm Campbell. It had a removable body and the box showed a detailed cut-away illustration of the car.