Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Tale of 2 Cast Iron Vintage Gasoline Trucks

April 30, 2011

Today's blog is another case of identity (with forgiveness from Alexander Dumas and his book Title "A Tale of Two Cities".

I recently purchased 2 cast iron gasoline trucks form the 1930's. The danger with old cast iron toys, is that you never know if they were made 80 years ago, or last week in China or India. You can refer back to my last entry before this one to see what I mean.

I just purchased these 2 items from E-Bay sellers who ranked in with 4000 buys+ sales, so you have to give them some credence and be confident from whom you buy. Unfortunately, the previous items  (see the previous blog) was the same story in terms of the numbers, but the items were not real!

As a Canadian, it's hard enough to buy from the U.S. Many E-Bay sellers are happy just to sell in the U.S.
Why have to make a trip to the local post office to fill out a form, when you have 350,000,000 potential customers there compared to 35,000,000 up here in Canada, and you don't have to get out of your computer chair! I don't want to complain, because I'll lose 1 potential source of toys. Anyway, I digress, and so let's get back to the topic today.

 The above is an Arcade 

It's more in demand and fetches a higher price than the one below, which is a Hubley.
 The above is a Hubley

Initially, they seem quite alike. I'm still sceptical as to whether they are what the sellers claimed they are. That is to say old and authentic Arcade and Hubley cast iron toys. However, you can't lack faith in everyone, otherwise there would be no point in my being an E-Bay member. So let's look at some enlargements and detail images to see the differences.

 Vent Designs Differences
1. Gas Caps
2. Arcade has word "gasoline" on its' sides
3. Design next to word "gasoline"
4. Gas Exit Valves
5. Arcade has springs like a car has to support the weight
6. Wheel Design

 Left Side
Right Side

So what have I learned? Well I have 2 gasoline trucks. They're supposedly an Arcade and a Hubley, are old, and are in fact what they say they are.

As with all of my blogs, if anyone out there reads this instalment, please feel free to help me out to authenticate these 2 items. I wanted to add "debunk and disprove", but you gotta have faith in people most of the time!

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Is It or Isn't It-That Is the Question?"

April 15, 2011

My question today is "is it or isn't it- that is the question (with forgiveness from Mr. Shakespeare).

I purchased 2 small cast iron toys lately that have had lots of questions about their authenticity. Are they real or are they reproductions. So in line with that, I decided to write today's entry just about that. Please however, do not take this information as the absolute truth, as I've only been in toys for about 7 months.

                                                                                                  Photo Courtesy Mr. Joseph Desaulniers

The above 2 small authentic toys are "real"
Hubley Brewster Ford toys.

Joseph was the first one to raise a red flag when I posted my recently-acquired "vintage" toys". If you look at his 2 beautiful toys ( I hope to have more photos to add) you'll see 4 characteristics that corroborate  the authenticity of these old toys.

1. The front grills are nickel-plated
2. The back spare tire is riveted to the chassis
3. The tires are rubber
4. The hubs are wood

Now lets' have a look at my "reproductions"

My toy looks like Joe's.

1. My front grills appear to be painted as there is chipping like the rest of the red car parts.
2. The back spare tire is screwed into the chassis.
3. The tires are metal because a magnet sticks to them.
4. The hubs are metal because a magnet sticks to them.

The above small limo is also a "reproduction"

Now there's 1 more characteristic that also authenticates the "real McCoy".
What it is, is the ability to disassemble the toy, which the "reproductions" do not do.

I'm sure you can figure out how the car is disassembled and reassembled.
The trick is to get the tire on the back of the 1 piece nickel-plated chassis.

From what I've read, the solution is to wet the tire in warm water.
That makes the tire slippery and softer in order to fit over the "hub" or rear part of the single-pieced nickel chassis.

                                                                                                                                                  Photo Courtesy Mr. Joseph Desaulniers

                                                                                                                                                 Photo Courtesy Mr. Joseph Desaulniers

                                                                                                                                                Photo Courtesy Mr. Joseph Desaulniers

And below, 1 more fine example of an "authentic" Hubley Cast Iron car.
                                                                 Photo Courtesy Mr. Joseph Desaulniers

So what's the conclusion? 

If you're buying on E-Bay, always ask whatever questions you have to.

1. Is this an authentic "Hubley" or "Arcade", or "Williams"? 
2. Are those wood hubs and rubber tires?
3. Is the front bumper nickel-plated?
4. Can the item be disassembled and reassembled?

Also, read the description. If a dealer is trusted or knows his/her merchandise, they will label it with the manufacturers's name and will describe is with characteristics that form the above make the real item "real".

If you're unsure, try and find someone who can help you. Of course, if you like the reproduction and the price is right, then buy it!

Don't forget that you can double-click on any photo to get it magnified, and see the lovely detail in any of the photos. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good Toys Come in Small Packages

April 12, 2011

There's that old expression "good things come in small packages", so I decided to modify it to reflect upon those small toys.  I have a feeling that collectors and sellers prefer the larger toys over the smaller ones. However, if you have limited space and a limited budget, you may try and collect the smaller versions of the larger toys.

I just received today the 3 toys below, and wanted to share them with you.
The above coupe was described as a Hubley ? coupe, so when I sold it I also added the  "?"
FOr a small toy, it feels quite heavy, and I believe it's cast iron.

The coupe above is from an unknown manufacturer and is a lead slush coupe.
It's quite fragile and can easily break to the nature of the metal which is lead.
The limo above is again from an unknown manufacturer, and again is quite heavy for its' small size. It's most likely a cast iron car.

What you can see from all 3 small toys, is the beautiful detail, even on such a smaller scale. And like I said, for whatever reasons (space or finances), you can enjoy these items also.

I purchased a few more toys and they arrived today, April 14.
Here they are for everyone to see.
This is a Hubley cast iron # 2234B pick-up truck.
It measures 5" (L) x 1 3/4" (W) x  1 1/2" (H) but missing its' tires
It's from around the 1930's
A die-cast Tootsietoy car circa 1930's

A die-cast Hubley car circa 1930's

A nice Tootsietoy die-cast cement truck from the 1950's or later.
The plastic tires give away its' time, as does the front grillwork.
It measures 6" (H) x 2" (W) x 2 1/2" (H) - a giant by small toy standards!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Frailty of Die Cast Toys

April 4, 2011

      This instalment is about the fragility (frailty) of die-cast toys. Being a  Canadian buyer/seller of old toys on E-Bay  requires myself to try and save on shipping from the U.S.A. I live in Quebec, and it's hard to find antique toys here. There's more in Ontario, but that requires travelling. Also, even in Ontario, it's hard to find E-Bay sellers form Ontario on E-Bay. However, I digress.
Photo Courtesy of the seller

      I always ask if U.S. sellers will ship via USPS First Class International, as this method is the least expensive of all  the services from there.  The downside of this service is that there is no tracking, and no insurance. So far, this item that I will talk about is the only 1 of about 100 items that I received broken via the USPS First Class Service. I have great faith and confidence in both the USPS and Canada Post.

   This item arrived at my house, and unfortunately, it was broken. Naturally, I contacted the seller, and he/she reminded me that I did agree to not to make any claim should the item arrive damaged. I then wrote back to say that I would honour what I said.

   Flash forward 2 weeks later, and someone else on e-Bay who had about 2000 transactions was kind enough to answer a question about die cast. I asked exactly what die-cast was, and the person answered. Die-cast is a process of pouring molten metal into a mould to form the shape, which in this case was a vintage Hubley tow truck. However, the person said that in this process, lesser-quality metal with impurities is used.

   My conclusion would then be that the impurities make the final toy much less strong and weaker. If you read this and have further information, would you please add a comment to this particular instalment, so that I may add or correct what the process is.

The packing by the seller was adequate. 
I would guess that the shaking and dropping of this item in transit was what broke it.

An outside view of this nice toy.
Notice the fine hairline cracks in the metal.
Remember that you can "double-click" to
 enlarge any image

Another angle to the side of the truck part

Here's an inside view of a part of the toy.

The outside part of the above photo.

Here's a puzzle for anyway to piece together in Photoshop

So the "bottom line" is to make sure that when packing, you soften the item and insulate it as much as possible against damage from any movement or dropping. And of course, take insurance! It doesn't cost much , but it at least will refund you the cost of the item (shipping not included).