Boats — December 1, 2012 at 12:01 am

Hail to Thee, Columbia

Hail to Thee, Columbia
Hail to Thee, Columbia
BY JACK HERBERT

ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS or so, if he’s extraordinarily lucky, the Average Antique Toy Collector will come across an item that will really make his old heart pound. He will probably also lose complete control of all his sensibilities, including prudence, feasibility, discretion, and – most assuredly – his cool.

Such a toy turned up this last summer in the wilds of New York State, at an outdoor flea market. There she is, the “Columbia,” photographed in her present drydock of my living room, all 36 inches of her still in pristine condition. She’s a Reed (U.S.A.) paper-on-wood battleship. I have never seen any Reed or Bliss naval toy in more original trim; there are no major breaks in her paper coating. She has all railings, all cannon, eight air-intakes, and four funnels, all without any tears whatever.

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