BY STEVE BUTLER
Few would argue that original boxes for toys are nice to have and that the artwork on many approaches beautiful, often superior
to the look of the contents. Some collectors will pay up to double or triple for a boxed item or set, and others don’t want boxes at all. But they will probably go for the boxed item if the added premium for the box is very low. Then there are the less frequently encountered dilemmas that an unopened box poses.
The dilemmas are twofold. First, does an unopened box merit a premium as compared to an opened box with mint condition contents? If so, then premium value should disappear if opened by the purchaser. Second, what is the condition of the unseen contents? After all, some unseen damage can be caused by heat, moisture and just plain rattling around without damage to the box.
This is a narrative about an unopened box and one course of action taken to lessen but not resolve the dilemmas. I purchased at auction a Tootsietoy number 5010—Farm Tractor Outfit in a paper-wrapped cardboard canister with “TOOTSIETOYS IN AKANA PACKAGE” printed thereon. Someone has written inside a circular yellow band on the top: “bought for Ray Halls at Xmas in 1930’s
Lost!” The cannister was unopened, and my winning bid was less than would be anticipated for mint/boxed but opened example.
The first dilemma concerning pricing was avoided. That left the second dilemma concerning the condition of the contents with which I intermittently struggled for almost nine years.
The 5010—Farm Tractor Outfit should consists of four die cast white metal toys that are depicted in the colorful farm scenes on the
paper label. The first toy would be a 3-inch tractor purportedly representing a Huber Star tractor of the 1920’s. The second piece in
this farm set is supposed to be a Model T Ford pickup truck, which is also three inches in length. Next would be a 2.7-inch farm wagon of simple design that seems considerably out of scale. It is not a common toy. The last toy in the set, and a rare toy at that, would be a scraper to be towed by the tractor. Included with the scraper should be a scraper blade and a rake, both removable and virtually always lost.