Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tinplate, trains and celluloide toys

Horse-drawn carriages, boats, submarines, cars and even airships are just some of the plethora of tinplate toys made during the late 19th century which reflect contemporary developments in transport. German toy companies led the field in the manufacture of tinplate toys and those made by well-known firms such a Bing, Marklin and Lehmann are famed for their accuracy.

 Trains were one of the most important forms of transport from the mid-19th century and not surprisingly trains provided toy makers with a fertile source of inspiration. The earliest toy trains were clockwork or made from wood but by c 1900 electric trains - the dream of every school boy ever since - began to be produced in substantial numbers.

On the picture above is rare Gebruder Bing Nuremburg Bavaria Etappen Station Military Saloon Car made from tin. This vintage toy dates back to the WWI and shows a German Military symbol on both rear doors. This car is in great condition with nice litho paint strips showing little paint loss from age and play wear.The mechanical windup is in working order moving the car forward on a smooth surface. Includes it's fixed key. Bing makers mark in the rear of the vehicle. Measures 7" inches long.

 This type of Marklin toy trains are the most valuable, and they are made between 1895 and 1914, and they are nowadays well out of the price range of the average school boy. For example the train showed above, Marklin gauge 1 FE locomotive, is estimated $4,000-$6,000. Some of the trains could reach the price of more than $15,000.

The earliest toys representing Disney characters were produced by German toys manufacturers such as Distler. This 1930s clockwork Mickey Mouse barrel organ toy, probably American, showing rather gloomy-looking Mickey is very valuable. Lithographed tin street organ with double spoked wheels and colorful designs of Mickey Mouse at play has a miniature dancing Minnie Mouse on organ lid and is being pushed by Mickey Mouse wearing red short pants and yellow gloves. When wound, Mickey bends forward and back at the waist, winds the organ with his right arm, and Minnie dances. If in excellent condition could be estimated around $6,000 easily.

Toys made from celluloid are highly flammable and prone to denting and cracking. The substance is almost impossible to restore satisfactorily, so avoid damaged celluloid toys.

What makes this old Mickey Mouse toy so valuable? The fact that it’s from 1930 Prewar Japan, the included extremely rare original box, the manufacturing defect on Pluto’s foot and maybe even the fact that celluloid isn’t used anymore due to how flammable makes this vintage Mickey Mouse Cowboy Celluloid Windup Toy is truly a rare find. Some pieces might be estimated c $500. 

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