Unveiling the Mysterious Wartime Flersheim Toys
By François Mesqui
Co-Authored by Cor van Schaijk
IN THE EARLY 20th century around New Year’s Day, literally thousands of street merchants sold cheap oddities including toys in temporary stands on the crowded Parisian boulevards, the Baraques du Nouvel An. A 35mm movie shot amid WW1 (Figure 1 from YouTube “Bits & pieces Nr. 199” by Eye Film Museum) stages a baraque keeper demonstrating ten automated mechanical toys. They undoubtedly came from the Georges Flersheim manufacture, formerly owned by Fernand Martin until 1912. In their 2014 book, Verdoorn & Bas claim that Georges created twenty toys from 1912 to 1919. They authenticated twelve with their labelled boxes. A thirteenth, “Le Chef d’Orchestre”, was recently auctioned with its labelled box Nr. 234, leaving seven mysterious Flersheim wartime toys.