Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fisher Price Revisited

Sunday, August 31,2014
 Cloudy with occasional rain, warm

Fisher Price Revisited

   Bertoia auctions is auctioning a nice collection of early Fisher Price toys. I've already presented a few posts of other fine toys in this collection, but I decided to also present the early Fisher Price toys. In the 1960's I'd watch early morning  TV with cartoons on Saturday with my brothers and sister, and you could not watch a program without a Fisher Price advertisement. I always thought the company started up at this time, but whenI wrote my original post, the company had started in the 1930's.

   I always have mixed feeling about collections being sold. On the one hand someone got lots of pleasure from collecting, and on the other hand, the collection would now be dismantled. On the positive side, more people, who probably grew up with these toys would now have the opportunity to recollect weigh their early childhood memories.

The early toys were actually fun toys that children would play with. IN the 1960's the advertisement on TV was geared to stimulating your children to learn early childhood skills.





An angry Donald Duck.

I didn't know that there was a Donna Duck.
I just remember Daisy.




What's interesting to see is how these toys have stood up to "the test of time".
Almost all of them are in quite good condition, and I'm sure make sounds.

(The year that I was born)

If you venture over to Liveauctioneers and type in Fisher Price, you'll get to see the rest of the collection up for auction.If you also press "sold", you'll be able to see all of the Fisher Price toys that have been sold and resold over time.

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Return to the Beautiful American Mechanical Banks

 Saturday, August 30, 2014
      Partly sunny and colder with a 
                     chance of rain

A Return to the 
Beautiful American Mechanical Banks

  Yesterday, I added a post titled "The Old Centurions". I had misspelled the word centenarian (100 years old) and had written centurion - a term for a battle-experienced roman leader of a group of soldiers. I like "my mistake" and so kept the word as the title. I was writing about the true antiques (100 year old and older) mechanical steam engines. 

  With the words century, centenarian,  and centurion,  I decided to return to American National Banks, which also are true antiques. At the time in the last quarter of the 19th century, many of the hardware companies made toys and banks for children. Their main products were the cast iron an depleted hardware that you would find in a house. These included door handles, door hinges, the metal frames for strung windows with weights, locks, and even cast iron door stoppers.

  A mechanical bank differs from a  normal bank in that you need to crank or activate a spring or "trigger" on the bank. You then place a coin on a part of the bank, and when you release the trigger, the coin "shoots' into a slot of the bank and is then saved.  

* I am currently redirecting everyone to Bertoia Auctions past auctios. Like many companies on the Net, Bertoia is redoing their website, and it is "under construction" right now. When it is up and running, I will advise everyone. In the meantime, should you want to see their alters offerings and current or future actions, simply go to Liveauctioneers.

The word "hod" means a container for carrying bricks. It is the "V"-shaped  item on the shoulder of the man in the red shirt and green hat.  Mechanical banks are extremely popular in the United States, and there are even large internet sites that present lots of these banks and the history behind them.

The bank below has a more sophisticated movement and mechanism. The cupola ( the red-domed top of the building" would be in the closed position. When the doorbell lever is pushed (paint chipped and showing a brass-colorer metal), the  cupola rises through the movement of three rods.  The coin is placed on his hands, he then continues moving tilts his  hands down, and the coins drops into the small slot in the front of him.

I wrote the description as it is written by the auctioneers. Also the description would have been written this way when the item is sold. Of course, today, I would describe the bank as 
"A native American  with a brown bear".

A bank made in 1883 is 131 years old. However, what I always like to think about is what was happening in 1883. When you try and relate the year of the toy's manufacture to historical events, the toy becomes all the more interesting. 

Try that!
Of course, you're allowed to use Wikipedia to go back in time and check historical events!

With the bank below,there are more-complicated movements. Both the bear and the organ grinder move. Based on this, I would assume that this bank would be more softly than those that were simpler in their movements.

Of course, my assumption above only relates to the  cost of the banks at the time of their manufacturer and sales. As it turned out, this particular bank which had complicated movements, 
is not in the higher value when it comes to the antique market!

I'm sure a few are wondering how you get the money out of the bank when it full of coins. SOme of the banks allowed you to remove a part of the bank with a screwdriver, while others might have had a small plug at the bottom. 

A word of Caution:

  I've written about mechanical banks before, and one time I presented one of mine - a reproduction probably made in China or India in the 1990's or early 2000's. Like many other companies that are no longer in business and have not been bought by a newer company, their products can be freely reproduced.  Also, the toys can be reproduced if the intellectual properties or inventions have not been purchased. So you have to be sure that if you ever go to a flea market.garage sale, or antique store, that you  ask lots of questions. Otherwise you may be buying a reproduction . It's better than calling it a fake, and of course it's perfectly legal to remake these toys!

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

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Old Centurions

Friday, August 29, 2014
    Sunny but seasonally cooler

The Old Centurions
(Live Steam Engines)

   I decided  to go back into my old posts, and search for old toys.  Sure enough, I came across steam toys. So that's how I came to write today's post. As I selected some prime and choice toys from Bertoia Auctions, I kept coming across the phrase "Live Steam Engines".  I didn't know what the term meant, so I decided to do a search and Wikipedia had the answer.

A live steam machine or device is one powered by steam, but the term is usually reserved for those that are replicasscale modelstoys, or otherwise used for heritage, museum, entertainment, or recreational purposes, to distinguish them from similar devices powered by electricity or some other more convenient method but designed to look as if they are steam-powered. Revenue-earning steam-powered machines such as mainline and narrow gauge steam locomotivessteamships, and power-generating steam turbines are not normally referred to as "live steam".*

What's interesting to note when reading the actual descriptions is how renowned and long-established auction house mentions all of the descriptive worn parts, as well as the replacement parts. Over the years, I'm sure they get to see at least several similar items, and this can readily identify replacement parts or re-soldered parts.

For today's post, I decided to enlarge the images to their full size. Normally, I present then smaller, and occasionally will add a note for you, my readers, to look at the photos in Google Blogger mode (the blog company that I use).

I don't have all of the dates to these toys, but they are all very old, and many are true antiques
 (100 years old or older).

What's interesting about these toys is the fact that would be played with by children, with I'm sure supervision of their parents. Also, I would like to think that these centenarians (100 year olds) could still operate if you started them up. As I was typing the word for 100 years old, I wrote centurion (A term for a battle-strong  and experienced Roman soldier and leader of a group). I knew that I erred, so I checked the correct spelling for centenarian. However, the word centurion was so apropos or appropriate, that I thought of retitling this post - The old centurions, and I did!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Part II of Bonham's Mr. Yoku Tanaka's Toy Collection

Thursday, August 28, 2014
Overcast, windy, and cooler temperatures

Part II of Bonham's
Mr. Yoku Tanaka's Toy Collection

   I received a nice note from Joalien Johnson of Bonhams yesterday. Joalien e-mailed me to say hello, and to thank me for my initial presentation of the  Yoku Tanaka Toy Collection Auction that had occurred on January 16, 2014 of this year. Wow, how time does fly!  I had known about a second part of the auction that had occurred on  August 25, 2014 of this year, but I was very busy writing writing post after post to try and reach my 200,000 page view milestone.  The two auction are a fantastic collection of post WWII toys from the 1950's-1960's with some much earlier entries.

  These will be the great collectibles in 50 years from now, just like I like the 1920's cast iron American toys, and the early 1900's French, German, and English tin toys. The Japanese toys of the 1950's and early 1`960's still are sought after and achieve good returns at auction. They usually have lots of lithographed detail, are larger in size, and have movement (windup, friction, or battery).

Bonhams is one of the oldest and long-established auction houses (companies) in the world. They were established 321 years ago, and I always wonder about all of the fine items that have come to auction in such a long and illustrious career.

Not all of the  Yoku Tanaka collection was Japanese-made. 
There were earlier-era (1930's) toys that appear below

Of course most of the toy collection was in fact Japanese-made. What I find personally interesting is that I do remember the actual cars and trucks of the 1950's and early 1960's because I was a "kid" then. But at that same time, I was not a car or truck fan. I was too busy playing outdoors or going to school. 

Most of Bonhams listings consist of a single photo. However, they present each and every image in a large size. As such, it's quite easy to magnify the image to view the small details on any item.

I decided to enlarge a portion of the above image,  as you can see below.
I particularly like the  S-57 and D-196 speedboats for their detailed lithography.
I'd also be curious to know if these toys were able to float and move on water, or were they land-based with wheels?

 These 1950's car look so  "old" to me now, yet in the USA, collectors love to restore the original cars, as ell as to collect them.

If you ever see a modern-era movie taking place in the American South or southwest, you'' inevitably see a truck similar to the one below. Either the old trucks (and you even often see 1950's or 1940's trucks) are the "standard fixture" in these movies or these trucks actually exist and are still going strong after 300,000 miles!

What's interesting about "real" old cars and trucks is that there are so few parts under the hood (bonnet), compared with today's vehicles. One of my friends purchased a 1960's Dodge Valiant from an old lady. When he lifted the hood, you could see a lot of ground underneath the engine. THere was a fan belt and blades the radiator, the engine, the air filter and carburator, and the power steering and brake cylinders.

Today, everything seems to be enclosed with plastic coverings, and there is so much "stuff"
under the hood that I have no idea (not do I care to know) what it is!

One thing that you can definitely say for sure is that these toys have lots of colour.
It helps to cheer you up when you're writing a post on a cloudy or rainy day!

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

But Can They Float?

Thursday, August 28, 2014
     Partly sunny with chance of rain

   We've had quite nice weather this past week, as students have returned to school. For those of us who are retired (somewhat), there's always things to do with sunny weather. I mowed the lawn, cycled a few times, and tended to my small city garden. The week before the weather was cooler and there was a good amount of rain. This week with the sun, and cooler weather, I've been water in every day, ad "harvesting" mostly tomatoes. Italian, cherry, and medium-sized tomatoes. I also took a few cucumbers. Cucumbers like to "hide" among the leaves and you have to search hard to find them!

   On the topic of toys, I've written a "bit" about today's Hubley cast iron boats. I sent one to my brother one year for wither his birthday or just like that. We grew up with our father who liked to fish, so we have the "itch" in our blood.  Even when we were young, when I was 13, and Michael 10, we'd take a small raft and go fishing. Later, when we were older we'd take a motorized boar and motor and go fishing. That was certainly better and less effort to move rowing and fishing at the same time.

Hubley made several versions of boats with outboard motors. The one below has "waves" at the bottom of the toy. THe outboard motor is modelled after the famous Johnson Seahorse. THe Johnson logo had an actual  ocean seahorse as its logo, and was an excellent motor of the time, and later on. 

The "wave model" of the Hubley  speed boat came in three (3) different colour variation - yellow, green, and red.

The red/yellow combination below is my favourite. 
The bold colours certainly attract the most attention!

Below is a similar version, but without the "waves". I'm not sure why the toy is called "static". This particular toy is called a "pull toy", since a child would pull it behind him /her with the wooden ball and cord attached to the front of the boat. This model had three (3) rear wheels and one (1) front one. As the toy was pulled, a clicking sound would be emitted to simulate the" roar "of an outboard.

Below is the red/yellow colour combination without the waves. However, it might have been a boat with the waves that somehow got lost. If you look at the "waveless"boat above, the motor fits into a recess at the back of the boat, where the "wave" variation rests flat against the back of the boat!
THat'smy photographer's eye" looking at the differences at the "blink of an eye"!

Hubley also made the two (2) blue boats below.  I purchased a similar "baby" Speed Boat for my brother. My budget is "limited", and the above toys are way out of my budget!
I also like the boat to the left that appears to read "Weed Boat", although I 
can't be sure of the last letter. I like the pronounced front part runner under the boat.

The "true story" about this boat probably made the toy all the more valuable. 
I'll let you read the "story" yourself. I like how the front light has the green and red colours that would appear on real boats. These help other boats at night know which was the boar is going. I think airplanes also have similar colour themes on their wings - details, details!

And one more small detail. Most cast iron toys had a steel smooth shaft that joined the two halves of of the toy. A left and right side were made and then attached together. A peen hammer (rounded head) would be used to hammer flat the end if the shaft, so that the two parts of the toy would  stay together forever. This in one of the ways to identify a "true" antique cast iron toy. However, as in the case of the Hubley boats - there can sometimes be an "exception to the rule".

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