Tin Toys — June 1, 2017 at 8:05 am

Entering the World of Antique Toys

Bing 1- ga. station and Maerklin canopy, c. 1910.

By Louis Natenshon

I ADMIRE TOY COLLECTORS who focus on specific sorts of toys and refine their collections by showing the discipline to pass up what falls outside their criteria. My motivation for collecting has always been the toy’s visual appeal, so I can be tempted by a wide variety of toys. Most of the toys in my collection were made between the late 1900s and the 1930s, but some are as late as the 1970s. Many are tin toys, but others are made of wood, paper, steel or diecast.

The toys reflect in miniature my real world interests. As an architect, buildings large and small capture my interest, as do transportation toys, which make up a substantial part of the collection, which includes cars, trains, aeronautical toys, bikes, boats and horse-drawn toys. There are also dolls, figural toys, circus and carnival toys, steam toys, games and a wide variety of odds and ends. Size can vary from smaller than toy soldiers and penny toys, to garden locomotives and five-foot dollhouses. While this might seem to be a totally undisciplined collection, (and probably is), there is a unifying characteristic…. I find them all to be visually appealing and often, un-self-consciously artful.

Gunthermann lithograph tin auto, followed by hand-painted Bing roadster, c. 1905.

Maerklin carriage and Gunthermann auto in front of Gottschalk dollhouses, c. 1900-1910.

Read the complete article in the June 2017 issue of Antique Toy World Magazine. Click here to subscribe now!