Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rare Buddy "L" Wooden Toys from the War Years (WWII)

Thursday, July, 31, 2014
  Starting out sunny with some cloud

Rare Buddy "L" Wooden Toys
from the War Years (WWII)

   It's easy for us to take thing for granted in North America and Europe. However, during WWII  conditions were a lot different. The world was at war for the second time, and rationing occurred in North America for the war effort. Of course, all of Europe was in great danger. When I walk  our dog Buddy every morning, there's not a day that does;t go by where I don't pick up screws that fell off cars, or  aluminum soft drink cans that people throw on the streets. Yet during WWII, the American toy industry had rationing, and many toys had to be made of wood.

   I wrote 1 post about a wood toy from the WWII era, but I always kept the idea of posting again. So when I saw someone on ebay having sold 3 American WWII era wood toys, I know that was going to be my post for today, if of course, the seller agreed. The seller  is Mr. Shawn Hartman who goes by the name of Shawniern on ebay. However, he is selling the toys on behalf of his father, Mr. Mark Hartman, who goes by the name of toyman1955. I ended up writing both men, and eventually got the permission- from both.

   The Buddy "L" company, like most early -American companies produced fine pressed steel toys that still are in big demand today. The company called the Moline Pressed Steel Company, was located in Moline, Illinois and started in 1910 by Mr. Fred Lundahl.  Originally, the company produced fender and other body parts for the car industry, and parts for McCormick-Deering (farm machinery) , and  truck parts for the International Harvester Company. Toys started to be produced in 1921.Rhe first toy was made of scrap toy parts for his son Buddy, and soon after Mr. Lundahl made pressed steel toys until the Buddy 'L' name with the logo "toys for boys. Many of the toys were large enough for children to ride on, and others wet pull toys that were pulled with a string. The company did well until the Great Depression,when Mr. Lundahl had to sell the company.

I like these wooden toys, especially the Ice truck below. It's pure design with futuristic looking  design. (at that time) 

For a wooden toy, this Pepsi-Cola deliver truck has  lots of hands-on features, with the side doors and the back doors being able to be opened and closed.

What's interesting to see is that these toys are still in playable condition after 60+ years old.
It does;t surprise me because they were well made. Even the hubcaps have not rusted or fallen off, and the axles on the undersides of the 3 trucks are still intact!

This "woody" as the real type of car (station wagon) was called in certainly a nice collectible.  The "real" car of the time had a rounded back that opened up. However, I'm sure, time and cost to produce the rounded rear door made the toy modification.

What I like about the toy is the contrast of the rounded and straight surfaces and edges, 
which work very well together. What's also interesting that although the Buddy 'L' company had to many toys from wood, they at didn't stop them from keeping the size of their toys large.

Thanks for visiting,
and as always,
have a great part of the day or night,
wherever you may be,

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Exceptional Beauty and Rarity Combined-Rock & Graner

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
      Sunny, clear skies, and cooler

Exceptional Beauty and Rarity Combined
Rock & Graner

     The other day, I revisited the upcoming auction (September 19-20, 2014) of Bertoia Auction. It's an exceptional auction because I have not seen so many toys that I have not seen before. One of the items happened to be a rare Rock & Graner ship. I had written only once before about a Rock & Graner ship, so I went looking for the post., but I couldn't find it. I'm sure I posed, but sometimes I don't add labels to a post, so having to search post-by-post through 830 posts would take forever. I'm stubborn, so I will eventually search and find it! However, I decided to combine the exceptional toy ship from the first post with the exceptional toy ship for the upcoming action.

I didn't want to add the loegthy descriptions directly to each of the 2 photos of the ships, 
so I've presented these superbly-written descriptions by themselves.

The first ship below was auctioned by Bertoia Auctions on November 4, 2009


1875, this 134 year old steam driven toy ship was found 15 years ago in South America and authentically restored by Tin Toy Works. Examples of original R & G N ships were used to match the paint. The masts, flag, and lifeboat are replacements, yet care was taken to approximate the original by matching originals and those pictured in an early catalog. The ship stand is original, having been found with the toy. This vessel is pictured on p.162 of "The Allure of Toys Ships" by R.T. Claus. As an added touch, Furst Bismarck comes with a reproduction wooden crate. Rock & Graner toys are extremely rare in any condition, only a handful of their boats have come to auction over the past 20 years, this particular ship may be the only example extant. 28" bow to stern, 33 1/2" overall length.*
* Description courtesy of Bertoia Auctions

This old toy built in 1875 was found in South America and then restored all that time later.
It was also described as  "this particular ship may be the only example extant".

* The word "extant" means:

ex•tant (ˈɛk stənt, ɪkˈstænt) 

1. still existing; not destroyed or lost: only three extant copies of the document.
2. Archaic. standing out; protruding.
[1535–45; < Latin ex(s)tant-, s. of ex(s)tāns, present participle of exstāre to stand out, exist =ex- ex-1 + stāre to stand]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. 
Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Courtesy the Free

This other exceptional Rock & Graner toy ship will be auctioned by 
Bertoia Auctions on September 19020, 2014


Germany, c. 1900, very rare hand painted example with only one other so far reported to exist, detailed deck features observation platform in blue color against a natural wood colored decking and tan and red hull, clockwork driven, lifeboats and single stack with wooden mast on board. This boat came from a family in Europe that guarded it for years and current owner attests to originality. After careful inspection, minor paint enhancements to lifeboats and rudder and prop restoration were observed, mast flaking and appears to have been replaced at one time, some flaking to platform, but the ship is quite original and in exceptional condition! 19" l.*

* Description courtesy of Bertoia Auctions

What I find interesting is the fact  these fine toys (expensive at the time) would have been played with in a local park man-made lake by children of rich parents. The toy could be pulled on its own stand equipped with small wheels until it came time to place it in the lake.

Of course, which I also find interesting is the fact that these toys were man-made and hand-painted- Craftsmanship at its finest of a time long ago!

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Lionel Pre-War Automobile Race Car Set

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
   Sunny, clear skies, and cooler

A Lionel Pre-War 
Automobile Race Car Set

   I'm always elated to discover something new in the old toy world, so when I saw a headline description titles "Lionel Race Car", I was ecstatic! Lionel started out in 1900,went through some financial problem in the mid-later 1950's, and still continues to engine along. Seeing the words "Lionel Race Car" is an oxymoron to me. The discovery that Lionel would have manufactured a race car set complete with tracks was fantastic. What's also interesting is that these sets are in high demand. Ever more interesting is that in the 1990's the Lionel Corporation came out with their "Classic" return of this fine set for a short period. These are not as valuable, and if you like "Classic old", you can find these periodically on ebay and at auction.

 The one thing that I didn't see  in all of the sets today is the transformer.
I'm sure that the set came with one, or perhaps, the set would be an accompaniment to a regular Lionel model train set.  
I'll have to check this out!

What's interesting to note on these cars are the double tanks behind the seat. Notice that each have their own cap and have 2 straps each to hold down the tanks. I'm thinking that they were modelled after real cars that used to participate inn those long cross-country races a long time ago.

2 words to describe these toys - Well Made!!!!
Do they still make toys like this in 2014?

I kept seeing the orange and maroon colours on most of the Lionel race car sets that I found,and then AI saw this one. The third colour appears to be a deep blue.  

Don't ask me why, but I'm always asking questions! 
I had a question come to mind  and had to search out the answer. 
When was corrugated cardboard invented?

Of course, Wikipedia would have the answer, and here it is below:

"Corrugated (also called pleated) paper was patented in England in 1856, and used as a liner for tall hats, but corrugated boxboard was not patented and used as a shipping material until December 20, 1871. The patent was issued to Albert Jones of New York City for single-sided (single-face) corrugated board.[14] Jones used the corrugated board for wrapping bottles and glass lantern chimneys. The first machine for producing large quantities of corrugated board was built in 1874 by G. Smyth, and in the same year Oliver Long improved upon Jones's design by inventing corrugated board with liner sheets on both sides.[15] This was corrugated cardboard as we know it today."**

When the real races in the real cars occurred, there would be an accompanying navigator who would read the maps and guide the driver. That's why there are 2 people in the car.

It's interesting that the Lionel Corporation (as they are called now),reintroduced this fine set  in the 1990's. These can be found at much lower prices that the originals, and they would still be fun to play with.

Thanks for visiting,
and as always,
have a great part of the day or night, 
wherever you may be,
write to me anytime….

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Reader Asks "Are These Toys Real?"

Monday, July 28, 2014
          Lots and lots of rain!

A Reader Asks:
Are These Toys Real?"

  Our nephew went to camp today for 2 weeks, so we had him over with his parents and 2 of his grandparents and  we had a lunch. Later,  we dropped him off to the bus pickup stop and said our goodbyes. I went home,  checked my e-mail and a reader had sent me photos of 6 items that he recently purchased.  3 of the toys were quite rusted,and the other 3 not as bad.  All of the toys are cast iron.

 I sometimes get email from readers asking if their toys are "authentic" (real) or if I might estimate the price of them. I'n not an expert,and most toys, I have never seen, so It's hard to reply. What I can do is search out other similar items and then "offer an educated guess". I phoned the  reader, who prefers to remain anonymous, and we talked. He got the sense that the seller was an "up and up" (honest) person, so that answered one of my questions.  There are lots of reproductions in the marketplace for these old cast iron toys. Long ago, there were in fact "forgeries" o"counterfeits" made at a similar time to the originals. Nowadays, with old toy companies no longer in existence, or nobody to buy the name, and trademarks or copyrights,the toys are "free to be reproduced honestly".

  The first thing that I checked were the prices of the toys, while I left out searching for the banks.
Except for the motorcycle toy, the other 2 toys (of which I have bought and sold), the prices were not  sky-high (not expensive), so I was more assured that they might be authentic.

  Also in our conversation, I asked the collector if he might send me the dimensions (sizes) of the toys. Manufacturers, especially older toy manufacturers would often make some toys in different sizes. The cast iron motorcycle that we'll seed later is a good example. The reader sent me the dimensions and I added them to the descriptions.

Because, the 3 toys were in a rusted condition, I wasn't as worried about saying the toys were "real". My reasoning was that they looked "real", and the collector would not be able to make a huge profit buy reselling them ,not that I would wish this. I suggested Thomastoyantiquetoyparts as a seller of replacement parts, and that the reader might try and restore these toys, as they are quite nice, and make nice conversation pieces.

The Hubley motorcycle below would appear to be authentic if you were to visit any of the auctioneers or Liveauctioneers and compare real sold ones to this model. This particular model when in excellent condition receives handsome prices at auction.

I was fortune to be able to say with 95% certainty that this orange toy is real. It's called a Hubley Animated Racer", circa 1930's and is not that expensive to purchase. I've written about it, and if you do a search on my blog, you'll find the post.

Below is the actual toy that I had purchased and resold.

The reason for the word "animated" in the description of this toys can be understood by how the toy works. The longitudinal red parts underneath the driver move up and down irregularly and our-of-sequence to each other. This is due to an "S"-shaped axle. As a result, each side that projects out from the hood of the racer (those small red projections), show and disappear alternatively. They were meant to simulate explosions" of the engine pistons.

 The toy below is called a Hubley Huber Road Roller.
The original "real" life-sized machine was used to flatten asphalt and dirt roads.

As you can see, my toy is in better condition, and also has a driver 
and a chain in the front of the roller. However, the bottom rear part that helps smooth the pavement or road had been broken and was missing when I purchased it!

Normally, I like to present toys against a white background, and I did get the collector's permission to do so. I decided to leave his photos as they were taken. I just adjusted the exposures and resized them. I especially admired how the owner placed the different photos together in a horizontal arrangement. This works extremely well.

My problem is that with this Google product (Blogger), I am locked in forever to the format that I already selected 3 years ago. If I change at any time, (e.g. today) every one of my 827 posts will rearrange, and they don't rearrange nicely - it's a big mess!

Here's a small cast iron bank that I presented to my wife in memory of her father who passed away about 10 years ago. When he was 5 years old in the 1920's, a  door-to-door photographer with one of those large-sized camera came to their house and took pictures of my  father-in-law in a sailor suit   that the photographer provided. Sadly, at the time, his mother did not have the money for the photos, and so he never saw them. He always wanted to find those photos one day, but never did.

I am able again to "stick my neck out" and say with 95% certainty, that the 3 banks are authentic. 
The sailor bank that I purchased was not that expensive, and is quite common. I will try in the near future to see if I can identify these 3 banks presented today. In the 1900-1930's, all of the cast iron companies made 2 types of banks.One was a mechanical bank that went through interesting motions  as it took the coin and deposited it into a small chamber. The other version we was the one that you see above - a simple straightforward bank with a slot. After you filled it, you could unscrew the 2 halves to collect the money.

Millions and millions of cast iron banks were manufactured, and the rarer of the mechanical banks can receive 6-digit figures at auction. As for the 3 banks above, I'll try and search for who made them and their estimated value. Of course, if one of them turns out to be of "Mona Lisa" rarity, I will have to assess my certainty downwards to 5% - I'm no expert, of course!

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

The Rare and Magnificent Marklin Water Tank Truck

Monday, July 28, 2014
Overcast, coller, with rain forecast

The Rare and Magnificent
Marklin Water Tank Truck

   I first saw this fine German Marklin toy presented on Liveauctioneers for the September 19-20, 2014 Bertoia Auctions auction. It's description mentions that it came from the Donald (Don) Kaufman collection that had been sold a five years earlier. I decided to search for more of this toys on a search for sold toys on Liveauctioneers. Sure enough, I saw the previous listing for this toy, as well as another similar Marklin water tank truck, but a smaller version.

   What was interesting for me was that Bertoia had rephotographed the toy since I'm sure they wanted to photograph it from its new owner should there be anything different. But was more interesting is how the new images make this toy look even more magnificent. Also, the smaller version is just as great  with its attention to detail, and its sheer size and beauty, even for a smaller version measuring 15 21 1/2" or 546 mm" or  381 mm. The larger version is 21 1/2" or 546 mm.

You have to look closely to find the differences between the smaller (top) and larger (bottom) water tank trucks. Since they're modelled after a real truck, there would not be too many differences.

1. First and foremost is the painting of the circles on the back of the tank part of the truck. The smaller truck has the 2 circles (yellow and black more towards the centre,  and equal in thickness. THe larger truck has a thinner yellow circle and a wider black one. Their positions are placed outwards than in the centre. 

2. The smaller water tank truck has only 1 rim and tire on each side of the back of the truck,while the larger one has 2 rims and tires on each side on the rear.

3. The larger truck has more spokes on its rims than the smaller truck.

 4. The  larger truck has 2 water spreaders (sprinklers) at the back of the truck,while the smaller truck has only 1.

These are the major easily-identifiable differences. I'm sure there are more, especially in size and proportions of the parts. However, it's hard to see this from photos that are similar in framing and camera distance, and lens selection.

   It's the attention to detail that makes these 2 Marklin trucks so interesting and valuable. The dimples of the seat,   the use of what appears to be brass parts, the springs of the trucks, the holes in the sprinklers, and so on.

Below is what I assume is the same truck as was previously auctioned. As I mentioned earlier, I especially like the photos for this relishing. The higher and lower camera angles help to present different features of the truck better. I also like the use of a wide-angle lens or focal length selection on a zoom lens to also emphasize certain features.

You can see the Marklin logo  next to the right tank in the photo.
I'm assuming that these are gas tanks.

This wide-angle and lower camera angle help to emphasize the size of the truck. AS well, the rear pairs of rims and tires, and the dual sprinklers are well illustrated. You also get to see the leaf springs at the rear of the truck. 

As Bertoia Auctions mention above, people, especially children must have certainly been attracted to the real truck when it appeared to clean the streets way back in 1912. However, you also have to realize how much dirt and waste there was back then considering all of the horses that still outnumbered automobiles and trucks at that time. There certainly was lots to clean up.

Thanks for visiting, 
and as always, 
have a great part of the day or night,
wherever you may be,