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 on elf my questions.  There are lots of reproductions in the marketplace for these old cast iron toys. LOng ago, there were in fact "forgeries" or 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,