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Blocks

Wooden blocks have been a part of childhood since the 17th century when English philosopher John Locke talked about them in a statement he gave in 1693. The statement spoke about how children would enjoy learning the alphabet more by using the alphabet nursery blocks common during the time period. In 1798, a book entitled “Practical Education” mentioned wooden blocks, calling them rational toys to educate children on spatial relationships and making different parts into a whole.

Blocks were first mass produced by S. L. Hill, of Brooklyn, New York. Hill attained a patent for ornamenting wood, which was a coloring of block surfaces prior to embossing them and adding a final coloration. Beginning in the 1850s, companies began making terracotta toy block sets that created structures as well as designs. Today, collectors seek out wooden block sets in their original wooden boxes, especially those with attached graphic labels.

Many collectors search for toy blocks from early paper-lith blocks with brilliant animals and stylized alphabets to boxed sets with stunning colors and ornate boxes. They are prominently collected by those who admire antique children’s objects. Those who collect blocks often incorporate them into country homes, children’s rooms, and Christmas holiday decor. They are also used to spell out family names as everyday decor.


Quick Facts

  • The Bliss paper-litho company produced a Victorian-era line of toys including blocks. Collectors today hunt for these blocks as their colors, decorative surfaces, and fragile condition have made them scarce over time
  • The alphabet used on blocks and written language today originated in ancient Egypt in the 27th century B.C.
  • Children’s toy production was active in 15th-century Nuremberg, Germany, a major trade route stop. Craftsmen made a variety of items including toys made out of wood, foil paper, cardboard, leather, silver, and tin plate

Recommended Items at Auction

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Legos and Bionicle's
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Legos and Bionicle's
by R & R Auction INC
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
Lego Sets With Instruction Books
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lego Sets With Instruction Books
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$101 Bid
Lego Marvel Super Heros Sets & Instructions
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lego Marvel Super Heros Sets & Instructions
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$101 Bid
Lego Creator Vehicle Sets & Instructions
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lego Creator Vehicle Sets & Instructions
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $75- $125
$101 Bid
Lego City Sets & Instructions
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lego City Sets & Instructions
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $100- $150
$101 Bid
Lego Holiday Sets & Instructions
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lego Holiday Sets & Instructions
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$101 Bid
Lego City Sets & Instructions
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lego City Sets & Instructions
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$101 Bid
Lego City Police Station Sets & Instructions
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lego City Police Station Sets & Instructions
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $75- $125
$101 Bid
Lego Creator House Set 1012
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lego Creator House Set 1012
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $75- $125
$101 Bid
Lego Ultra Agents Sets
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lego Ultra Agents Sets
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$101 Bid
Lego Chima Craggers Command Ship 70006
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lego Chima Craggers Command Ship 70006
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$101 Bid
Lego Creator House Sets & Instructions
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lego Creator House Sets & Instructions
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$101 Bid
Phoenix Toy Co. Wood Box of Liberty Stone Blocks
Apr 16, 11:00 AM EDT
Phoenix Toy Co. Wood Box of Liberty Stone Blocks
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Toy Wagon With Wood Letter Blocks
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Toy Wagon With Wood Letter Blocks
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$100 Bids
2 VINTAGE PINE MILINER'S HAT BLOCKS
Mar 06, 10:00 AM GMT
2 VINTAGE PINE MILINER'S HAT BLOCKS
by Sheppards
Est: €60- €80
€350 Bids
PALLET OF CINDER BLOCKS (MJT)
Mar 24, 7:00 PM CDT
PALLET OF CINDER BLOCKS (MJT)
by Auctions By Moldenhauer
Est: $100- $200
$50 Bids
Box of Children's Wooden Blocks
Mar 05, 9:00 AM EST
Box of Children's Wooden Blocks
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$20 Bids
Lego Garage
Mar 03, 11:00 AM CET
Lego Garage
by Auktionshaus Schwerin
Est: €0- €0
€400 Bids
Misc Lot- Kids Blocks, Cookie Jar, Artificial
Mar 05, 9:00 AM EST
Misc Lot- Kids Blocks, Cookie Jar, Artificial
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$20 Bids
KEYSTONE WOOD BLOCK VILLAGE w/ BOX
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
KEYSTONE WOOD BLOCK VILLAGE w/ BOX
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
Unknown Lego Set
Mar 02, 9:00 AM MST
Unknown Lego Set
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$100 Bids
3 Sets of Stone Building Blocks
Mar 05, 12:00 PM EST
3 Sets of Stone Building Blocks
by Old Kinderhook Auction Company
Est: $50- $100
$200 Bids
Puzzles on Blocks
Mar 05, 9:00 AM EST
Puzzles on Blocks
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$20 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Blocks


Davis Brothers Auction

Davis Brothers Auction

Wehrly's Auction Service

Wehrly's Auction Service

Auktionshaus Schwerin

Auktionshaus Schwerin

Sheppards

Sheppards