Tin Litho Toys

June 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Antique & Vintage Toys

Tin litho toys are made from tinplate which is thin sheets of steel plated with tin. Toys using tinplate began production in the mid 1800s. The material was used because it was an inexpensive yet durable substance for wooden toys. The earliest tin litho toys were made and painted by hand. In the 1850s spring activated tin toys were produced in Germany. Offset lithography, a technique used to print designs on tinplate using a rubber roller, was introduced in the 1880s.

Germany was the major producer of tin litho toys during the early 1900s. Ernst Paul Lehmann was a renowned German manufacturer of tin toys. It was said that he exported 90% of his production. Subsequently, England and France joined the tin litho toy industry.

The United States had also started to produce tinplate toy with some smaller manufacturing firms, but experience real growth after World World I. There was an ample supply when tin ore mines were opened in Illinois. After WWI, there was a high level of anti-German sentiment. This yielded an overwhelming demand for American produced products. By the 1920s American firms were the industry leaders.

By far, the largest and most successful firm to produce tin litho toys from the 1920s to the 1960s was Louis Marx and Company. Brothers Louis and David Marx had a formula for success: to produce a large volume of a large number of designs. This allowed them to keep their prices at a reasonable level. They purchased the tooling for two obsolete tin toys from toymaker Ferdinand Strauss, a former employee of Louis Marx. They made subtle changes to Alabama Minstrel Dance and Zippo the Climbing Monkey. These two tin litho toys became top sellers, selling 8 million of each within two years. By 1922, David and Louis Marx were millionaires. The original Marx tin litho toys are highly sought after by collectors.

It was during this time that another manufacturing innovation was discovered. The process was known as chromolithography. Used previously in the printing industry, it involved making a drawing on special stones using a grease pencil before the printing ink was applied. When wetted, the ink holds fast to the drawing and not the wet stone.
The production of tin toys was halted during World War II because the metal was needed in the war effort. Following the war, The Marshall Plan was a program enacted to help European countries rebound from the devastating effects of war. The U.S. helped the Japanese in these efforts to granting them the right to resume production of tin litho toys. It was thought that producing these toys were not extremely profitable because they were labor intensive. The Japanese perfected the process and became a leader in tin toy manufacturing until then end of the 1950s. The tin toys were changed in the 1960s. They became made of plastic due to safety regulations. Currently, China is considered the leader in tin litho toy productions.
A great example of a tin litho toys was a 1950 replication of TV puppet, Howdy Dowdy. It was recently sold at $1200. Tin litho toys in excellent conditions are considered collectibles.

Antique Porcelain Dolls

March 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Antique & Vintage Toys

Antique porcelain dolls are an object that is collected and displayed and the value of antique porcelain dolls depends on many factors.

The price of antique porcelain dolls is contingent upon the quality. There is a distinction between a true antique and vintage. A vintage porcelain doll is one from the 1940s and after while an antique porcelain doll is a doll made before the 1930s.

One major concern with antique porcelain dolls is how to properly clean them. In order to determine if cleaning is safe to do, test an area such as the bottom of the feet. The cleaning solution should be a gentle dishwashing liquid on a soft cloth. Careful attention must be paid not to get any of the cleaning solution on the wig or hair because this can loosen the glue. A can of compressed air can rid the doll from dust without damaging. Soiled clothing can usually be hand washed with diluted Oxy-Clean or Woolite. Also, antique porcelain dolls must be properly stored in a moisture-proof container in order to maintain the quality. If value is the collector’s goal, the dolls should be kept in their original boxes to maximize their value.

Antique porcelain dolls are often found at estate sales or auctions as well as online auctions like the dolls listed below.

Antique Board Games

January 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Antique & Vintage Toys

monopoly Pictures, Images and PhotosFor many families, playing board games is one activity that can be enjoyed by all members of the family, whether young or old.  The first board games to ever hit the market were created during the Victorian era and were quite simple in design.  At the time, a  company named McLoughlin Bros. was one of the first companies to get into building board games.   Early in the companies history they developed advanced color printing techniques for the day that were used to print books.  Soon the company started to build board games but by 1920 the company was bought by Milton Bradley & Company, which is of course the maker of some of the most famous board games ever developed including the Game of Life.  The first version of the Game of Life was actually called The Checkered Game of Life and was released by Milton Bradley in 1861.  Other famous board game makers include Parker Brothers, which is the maker of the highly successful Monopoly game, which ironically was released during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

For collectible purposes, a valuable antique board game has a number of attributes including a board that is in excellent condition,  a box also in good condition, a manual or directions as well as all game pieces.

Antique & Vintage Toy Price Guides

January 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Antique & Vintage Toys

Keeping track of the value of the antique and vintage toys on your list can be difficult.  While you may know a lot about the subject, it’s still best to purchase a good antique toy price guide to give you a basis for negotiating a price, whether it’s through an online auction, flea market, garage sale or antique toy show.

Here are a few good antique and vintage toy price guides that can help you determine the right price for an antique for vintage toy that you’re considering for purchase.


Popular Antique Character Toys

January 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Antique & Vintage Toys

antique_mickey_mouseOnce considered a toy suitable for a child to play with and abuse, antique character toys that date back many years have gained popularity antique collectors all over the world  Antique toys are one of the hottest antiques to collect and their value has increased in recent years to new heights.

Some of the most popular antique toys that have a high collectible value and demand include toys based on television, film and comics.  From lovable cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse, Popeye and Snoopy to movie cowboys like Hoss Cartwright and the Lone Ranger, antique character toys are in demand.

Take this Antique Mickey Mouse toy for instance.  Dating back to the late 1920’s, this simple toy could sell for as much as $3000 if the proper buyer was found.   No matter what you are looking for, one thing is for sure – collecting antique and vintage toys is perhaps the most fascinating of all collectibles.  For some it brings back fond memories, while for others it gives them a glimpse into the past.