Searching for Vintage Collectibles
From the late 1940's to 1976, Marx Toys produced a series of large elaborate playsets. Each set was designed with a particular historical theme or tied into a popular movie or television series. Some typical examples are the American Civil War, Cape Canaveral, Davy Crockett, Zorro, Ben Hur, The Untouchables, and Wagon Train. Over several hundred different sets and variations were made.
A new metal bank from Germany looks very similar to an earlier version made in the 1950's. Both the original and the new piece are a type of mechanical bank operated with a built-in hand crank. As a crank is turned on the side of a birdhouse, a bird's head appears and grasps a coin in its beak. The head returns and deposits the coin inside the birdhouse.
There are some new furniture pulls that may start appearing on turn-of-the-century hunting and resort lodge furniture. The pulls are pot metal with raised heads of ducks, a mallard and wood cock. Figural shotgun shells at the bottom form the handle. Sold in gold or copper metallic finish. Size: 3 1/2 H X 2 1/4" W.
Salvage operations around the world's most famous wreck, the Titanic, are always being reported in the tabloids. This "Titanic pen knife" is a fantasy item that is on the market.
Five of the most popular Tin Toy Classics have been reproduced. These include Amos N' Andy Fresh Air Taxi, Mr. Atomic, Robby Space Patrol, The Astronaut and Hi- Way Henry. The toys are advertised as exact copies of the originals; the robots include a copy of the original box. The new toys are marked MTH in the following palces: Hi Way Henry-rear axle; AA Taxi- radiator cap; all the space toys are marked in the battery compartment.
Reproduction shaving mugs have been sold for several decades; some are American, others have been imported from Japan and England. Comparing how new and old are made, learning what marks are found on new mugs and understanding how decorations are applied should help you avoid most reproductions being made today as well as those of the last 30-40 years.
Some of the best figural shakers in the field of black memorabilia were made by Pearl China. The most expensive Pearl shakers are the range-size male chef and female cook. Because of the value of originals, this set has been a favorite target for reproductions.
Many babyboomers remember watching Mouseketeer Jimmy Dodd playing, "Who's the Leader of the Band on his Guitar", during the Mickey Mouse Club television series. Some lucky few may have even coerced their parents into buying a child-sized plastic guitar that automatically played the Clubs theme song. Walt Disney, Jimmy Dood, Mattel,
Reproductions of American carved and painted wood folk art from Indonesia continue to arrive in large quantities. While earlier Indonesian reproductions simply imitated general styles, many of the most recent objects copy very specific well known pieces.