Saturday, January 12, 2013

Toy Show Finds

Just got home from one of my favorite vintage toy shows. It's an annual event that happens each January, which really seems like a lousy month for a toy show, coming as it does right after Christmas. This year I planned strategically: when my family asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said "money for the toy show please!" Here's what I spent it on:

There were all kinds of toy treasures, including a tin litho grocery store playset made in the 1950s by Wolverine; a scarce (and creepy) Hugo, Man of 1,000 Faces from the 1970s; a two-headed Doublenik troll from 1965 along with a tiny vending machine troll; a Weinermobile whistle; a bunch of 1950s space guys; Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon newspaper comics from the 1930s-1940s; a 1960s Batman puzzle; Barbie's original convertible; and a 1950s tin wind-up robot. I'll post properly about them later, but here are some quick pics and sneak peeks.

The robot has some rust, but he also has lots of character.

1950s space guys.

A Doublenik two-headed troll from 1965,
with its gumball prize friend.

Hugo, Man of 1,000 Faces, was a bizarre toy made in the 1970s. It's essentially a creepy looking guy's torso and head, along with a package of "disguise" accessories, including false chins, fake scars and warts, various noses, glasses, an eye patch, and hair pieces. I'm guessing it was inspired by spy films, but who knows. It's weird and now rather rare.

Hugo, Man of 1,000 Faces with some of his original accessory pieces.

Barbie's convertible, made by Irwin in the 1960s, was her first car.

The two shelf units on either side of this tin litho grocery store fold inward to close up the playset. Originally it would also have had a separate counter with accessories like a scale, but these are usually missing. The center span features great imagery of a 1950s supermarket.

The iconic weenie whistle.

The 1930s Buck Rogers newspaper comic above is complete, while the Flash Gordon strips below are only portions (but they feature a fantastic alien giant squiddy monster) :

These two mechanical bears were made in Japan in the 1950s. When wound, the bear on the left turns the pages of his book, while the one on the right wipes his glasses before holding them up to his eyes.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Antique Photographs of Children and Toys

Like many toy collectors, I'm always on the lookout for old photographs of children with toys. Such photos add character and life to a toy collection; they remind us that the toys were originally made for and owned by real children, who played with them, loved them, and eventually grew up, leaving their toys behind for us to find and treasure.

I found two such photos just before Christmas. The first is this posed studio portrait of a little girl with her doll. The doll looks like she might be an Alabama Baby, a cloth doll with a painted face in a primitive style.

The little girl and her doll share strangely similar expressions. Are they anxious? Alarmed? Needing to use the bathroom? If only they could tell us...

While this photo has a homely charm, the second photograph I found is very different, capturing the image of a wealthy Victorian child surrounded by expensive toys, including a platform horse, a train, blocks, a musical push toy, bowling pins, a horn, and a small horse drawn cart.

The skin covered horse on its wheeled platform would have been a German import and a pricey toy. In the foreground is a cast iron train.

It's a bit difficult to see, but in the right foreground is a little horse drawn cart, with an alphabet block in the open seat.

Here's a closeup of the lithographed tin musical push toy. What a lot of beautiful toys! This child must have been very good all year.