New tin toys copy vintage originalsBy

New tin toys copy vintage originals

ask the right questions when buying without a firsthand examination

The American toy company, Schylling Toys, has been selling new metal toys virtually identical to well known originals made ca. 1930-1940s.

One new example, the wind-up walking crocodile with native rider, originally made by J. Chein & Co. of the United States, is being made from the original 1930s tooling. This was confirmed by a representative of a nationally circulated mail order catalog which carries the new toy. "Jack Schylling [of Schylling Toys] bought the original tooling. The new toy is essentially exactly the same as the original," the representative said.

The action of both new and old toys are the same. Once wound, the crocodile lurches ahead on waddling feet while the jaws open and close. Original crocodile toys are usually, but not always, marked "J. Chein & Co., Made in USA" or similar wording. All the new crocodile toys are plainly marked with the Schylling name and "Made in China."

But if you're viewing the toy online without a firsthand inspection, you might assume it's the vintage toy, not the reproduction. It's important to ask the seller about the marks to determine age. The new toy currently wholesales for $6 each and is being sold nationally for $15-$18 retail. Original crocodile toys sell for $125-$250 depending on condition.

Other new metal toys by Schylling are based on originals first produced by Louis Marx & Co. in the United States during the 1940s. There are four different new cars based on four different vintage originals which shared the same body style but with a variety of lithographed designs on the outside.

The four designs include an olive green "Riot Car," a yellow "City Cab" taxi, a blue and white "State Police" patrol car and a red "Chief, Fire Department" vehicle.

All the new cars are just under 7 inches long; originals are only slightly smaller at about 6¾ inches. Both old and new cars have friction motors and a siren noisemaker. Originals are almost always marked Louis Marx, United States of America (USA), although the exact format and arrangement of the wording may vary. The key element of the vintage mark is USA. New cars are marked Schylling, Made in China.

The new cars are retailing for $15-$18 each. Originals can sell for $125-$225.

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Fig. 1 New 12-inch metal wind-up crocodile with native figure being made from the original tooling. New pieces are marked Schylling, Made in China.

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Fig. 2 Original vintage metal crocodile and rider with original box. Made by J. Chein & Co of the United States in the middle of the 20th century, ca. 1930s-40s. Originals are usually but not always marked.
Photo from Collecting Toys, No 6, ©1993, Richard O'Brien. Courtesy Krause Publications.

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Fig. 3 Original lithographed metal Dick Tracy Riot Car with box by Louis Marx & Company, USA, mid-20th century, ca. 1946. Friction motor with siren. This style of car body was used on a number of Marx toys, all about 6¾ inches long (see Figs. 4-7). Original toys are almost always marked Louis Marx, USA.
Photo from Character Toys and Collectibles Second Series, David Longest, ©1987. Courtesy Collector Books.

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Fig. 4 New Dick Tracy Riot Car, metal friction toy with siren, about 7 inches, very nearly the same size as vintage originals. New cars are marked Schylling, Made in China. Includes new box.

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Fig. 5

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Fig. 6

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Fig. 7

Figs. 5-7 Other new cars based on Marx originals with the same body shape as in Fig. 4. All have friction motors with sirens. Each is about 7 inches long and comes in a new box. Fig. 5- Taxi, with "City Cab" on the side; Fig. 6- Chief, Fire Department; Fig. 7- State Police. Most new cars sell for $15-$20.