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Play Sets

Playsets were stage props that gave way to action figures, creating a storyboard for children to act out their fantasies. Children could use playsets to battle it out or play in a make believe world made of tin, plastic, and cardboard. Purchasing a playset gave children the opportunity to recreate and even comprehend space travel and Civil War battles or learn how to farm. They could also create worlds where television characters like Roy Rogers came to life.

Though many manufacturers produced playsets, Louis Marx and Company is known for manufacturing some of the finest playsets in history. Marx’s iconic sets include Fort Tomahawk, to The Untouchables, Alaska, and even comic character sets for Yogi Bear. These playsets dominated childhood toy collections.

Marx developed a new plastics mold concept in the ‘30s. The mold, along with the production of lithographed tin, made producing hundreds of pieces for a single playset simple. Building on the popularity of toy soldiers and battle-scene sets, Marx created sets where one group battled against the other, including the classic cowboys and indians.


Quick Facts

  • A rare mint in the box Marx wagon train playset sold at Philip Weiss Auctions in November 2008 for $15,255
  • Though Marx was sold to Quaker Oats in 1972, the production of play sets went on, creating playsets for “A New Hope,” the first Star Wars movie
  • Marx made many play sets, but some of the rarest are prehistoric playsets produced in 1961 that include plastic dinosaurs, cavemen, trees, and rocks

Recommended Items at Auction

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LOT OF TOY GUNS & ARCHERY SET
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THE BLACK HOLE COLORFORMS ADVENTURE SET w/ BOX
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VINTAGE ERTL JOHN DEERE SET COLLECTION PLAY SET INC. TRACTOR, WAGON AND BUCKET LOADER
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1988 Matchbox Pee-Wee's Playhouse Playset
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1924 PARKER BROS. HUMPTY DUMPTY TARGET SET w/ BOX
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1924 PARKER BROS. HUMPTY DUMPTY TARGET SET w/ BOX
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Vintage 1981 Colorforms "Chips" Television Series Play Set UNUSED
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Vintage 1981 Colorforms "Chips" Television Series Play Set UNUSED
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IDEAL MOTORIFIC WILDCAT RACE SET w/ BOX, & MORE
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IDEAL MOTORIFIC WILDCAT RACE SET w/ BOX, & MORE
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A.C. GILBERT CO. NO. 8 1/2 ERECTOR SET
Apr 21, 12:00 PM EDT
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Vintage Carry-All Action Fighting Knights Play Set
Apr 26, 8:30 AM EDT
Vintage Carry-All Action Fighting Knights Play Set
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Charles Eames House of Cards Playset 1952
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Charles Eames House of Cards Playset 1952
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1983 Schaper Playmobil Space 3559 Vehicle Unused
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1983 Schaper Playmobil Space 3559 Vehicle Unused
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2PC 1961 Marx Walt Disney Disneykin Play Sets
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2PC 1961 Marx Walt Disney Disneykin Play Sets
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BUCK ROGERS 25TH CENTURY GALACTIC PLAY SET
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
BUCK ROGERS 25TH CENTURY GALACTIC PLAY SET
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Est: $200- $300
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Sellers Who Sell Play Sets


Milestone Auctions

Milestone Auctions

Atlee Raber Auctioneer

Atlee Raber Auctioneer

Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

Burchard Galleries Inc

Burchard Galleries Inc