Tin Toys — August 1, 2010 at 11:04 pm

‘Antique’ Japanese Tinplate Toys


During the late 1950s and 1960s, as we all know, Japanese-made toys, produced, literally, by the millions, easily dominated the toy markets of the world. They offered colorful current automobile models, ships, planes, trains along with comic toys and robots.

Phew! The Japanese manufacturers had a total grip on all that was popular at that time—their competition simply faded away. Nobody could match their prices.

However, one of the few markets denied them was, of course, the truly antique toys just emerging at that time as genuine collectibles. So what did they do to try to correct the problem?

They produced a line of their own ‘antique’ toys, especially cars, in fairly large numbers. Problem solved, no?


Our Hobby’s reaction to this effort was cold to say the least. Those new ‘antique’ Japanese tinplate toys were too cute, too modern, and way too colorful to be able to fool anyone. But they were attractive in their way, well made, and cost only pennies, so the marketplace—if not the hobby crowd—saw quite a few of the new ‘antiques’ during the 50s-60s.

They’ve almost all disappeared by now, of course, since very few, if anyone, really seriously collected these tinplate toys. Let’s resurrect a few of them here today, as an exercise in nostalgia. Some are really fun to see again.

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