Lamps from new tin toysBy Mark Chervenka
Lamps from new tin toys
A Maryland artist made lamps from reproduction tin toys. Although perfectly legitimate as decorator's items, pieces like these almost always end up causing confusion in the collectibles market when they are resold a second and third time.
Chances of confusion are increased because the artist has distressed the surfaces of the toys to suggest age and wear. Sure, most toy specialists know that no pre-1960 lamps like these were ever made, but general buyers might easily mistake the lamps as vintage pieces. Look in most reference books on tin toys, for example, and you'll see vintage pieces very similar to the new elephant and rocket ship shown here.
Here are a couple of hints on how to separate the new from old tin toys. The great majority of collectible windup tin toys made ca. 1930 through the mid 1960s and sold in the United States were made in only three countries–Germany, America and Japan and are marked with the names of those countries. Tin toys marked China, Russia, Czechoslovakia or India, are almost sure to be reproductions. There are some exceptions. The elephant shown here, for example, is made by Tucher and Walther. Its toys may be marked "Germany" but also usually carry the JW company logo, shown above, never used before 1979 at the earliest.