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Toy Boats & Ships

The history of toy boats dates back to ancient Egypt around 3,000 B.C. Through the extensive use of real boats on the Nile, Euphrates, and Tigris rivers came the early making of model toy boats. Though children are known to have played with toy boats in the rivers of Mesopotamia and Egypt, some of the earlier known models carried the spirits of pharaohs. Actual seafaring boats were discovered alongside pyramids located in Giza, but inside, the spirit boats carried the ruling elite on to the next stage of life.

In modern times, wooden sailboats or pond boats were a Victorian-era norm for young boys and girls. The size of the boat often dictated the wealth of the family. As steam-powered toy boats became the new rage, elaborate ships were hand built along the waters of many modernized and industrialized countries worldwide.

In 1891, a Frenchman invented what would become a major fad in toy boats: the pop-pop boat. These little wonders were powered using a candle or vegetable oil. Though considered a working steam engine by some, they had no moving parts. The pop-pop boat’s popularity lasted into the ‘70s and became somewhat popular once again in the ‘90s.


Quick Facts

  • A Marklin Chicago paddle wheeler boat sold at Bertoia’s Auctions in November 2012 for $264,500
  • Prisoners captured at sea often created highly detailed model ships from whale or animal bone while in confinement for long periods of time. In an April 2013 Bonham’s auction, a 50-gun POW whale-bone model ship sold for $43,890
  • Ship modeling and ship toys in the United States experienced a boom in the later part of the ‘20s when “Popular Science” magazine published a series of articles and plans to build famous ships that existed throughout history

Recommended Items at Auction

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SUTCLIFFE BLUEBIRD SPEED BOAT
Dec 18, 10:00 AM EST
SUTCLIFFE BLUEBIRD SPEED BOAT
by White's Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1304 Bids
2003 Polar Lights Batman Batboat model sealed NIB
Dec 04, 6:30 PM CST
2003 Polar Lights Batman Batboat model sealed NIB
by Auctions By Moldenhauer
Est: $250- $500
$303 Bids
21" BING 1st SERIES 2 STACK OCEAN LINER
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
21" BING 1st SERIES 2 STACK OCEAN LINER
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $4,000- $5,000
$2,0000 Bids
25" 1912 BING CLOCKWORK 4 STACK OCEAN LINER
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
25" 1912 BING CLOCKWORK 4 STACK OCEAN LINER
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $4,000- $5,000
$2,0000 Bids
HOGE TIN CLOCKWORK POPEYE ROW BOAT
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
HOGE TIN CLOCKWORK POPEYE ROW BOAT
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $6,000- $8,000
$3,0000 Bids
BING CLOCKWORK SUBMARINE
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
BING CLOCKWORK SUBMARINE
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Barco de juguete en hierro fundido con mecanismo de ruedas. Estados Unidos, 1900 - 1910
Dec 20, 6:00 PM CET
Barco de juguete en hierro fundido con mecanismo de ruedas. Estados Unidos, 1900 - 1910
by Isbilya Subastas
Est: €0- €0
€200 Bids
LINEMAR BATTERY OP POPEYE ROW BOAT
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
LINEMAR BATTERY OP POPEYE ROW BOAT
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
Painted Wood Aircraft Carrier
Dec 09, 10:00 AM EST
Painted Wood Aircraft Carrier
by Alex Cooper
Est: $150- $200
$800 Bids
Folk Art Type Carved Wood Boat Hull
Dec 09, 10:00 AM EST
Folk Art Type Carved Wood Boat Hull
by Alex Cooper
Est: $150- $200
$800 Bids
Assortment of Vintage Plastic Vehicles & Boats
Dec 09, 10:00 AM EST
Assortment of Vintage Plastic Vehicles & Boats
by Alex Cooper
Est: $100- $150
$500 Bids
Woverine Submarine Tin Toy
Dec 10, 1:00 PM EST
Woverine Submarine Tin Toy
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $80- $800
$800 Bids
Boucher Dolphin Steamboat
Dec 09, 10:00 AM EST
Boucher Dolphin Steamboat
by Alex Cooper
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
BICHI BATTERY OP BATMAN BAT BOAT w/ BOX
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
BICHI BATTERY OP BATMAN BAT BOAT w/ BOX
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $600- $800
$3000 Bids
RARE AOSHIN GIGANTOR TETSUJIN AIRCRAFT CARRIER
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
RARE AOSHIN GIGANTOR TETSUJIN AIRCRAFT CARRIER
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $3,000- $4,000
$1,5000 Bids
HESS TIN FLYWHEEL #7 RACING SPEED BOAT
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
HESS TIN FLYWHEEL #7 RACING SPEED BOAT
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
39" 1912 BING CLOCKWORK TORPEDO BOAT
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
39" 1912 BING CLOCKWORK TORPEDO BOAT
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$2,0000 Bids
BING TORPEDO BATTLESHIP & DRY DOCK
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
BING TORPEDO BATTLESHIP & DRY DOCK
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
LINEMAR BATTERY OP POPEYE AND ROW BOAT w/ BOX
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
LINEMAR BATTERY OP POPEYE AND ROW BOAT w/ BOX
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$2,0000 Bids
Live Steam 2-cylinder Marine Engine
Dec 05, 6:00 PM AEDT
Live Steam 2-cylinder Marine Engine
by Trains, Planes and Automobiles
Est: AUD1,000- AUD1,500
AUD8000 Bids
Barco de juguete en hierro fundido con mecanismo de ruedas. Estados Unidos, 1900 - 1910
Dec 20, 6:00 PM CET
Barco de juguete en hierro fundido con mecanismo de ruedas. Estados Unidos, 1900 - 1910
by Isbilya Subastas
Est: €0- €0
€400 Bids
TRU-MATIC RIDE-ON TUG BOAT
Jan 07, 10:00 AM EST
TRU-MATIC RIDE-ON TUG BOAT
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
JAPAN BATTERY OP MOTOR BOAT w/ BOX
Jan 07, 10:00 AM EST
JAPAN BATTERY OP MOTOR BOAT w/ BOX
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
JAPAN TIN FRICTION #15 RACE BOAT
Jan 07, 10:00 AM EST
JAPAN TIN FRICTION #15 RACE BOAT
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $80- $150
$400 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Toy Boats & Ships


Milestone Auctions

Milestone Auctions

Alex Cooper

Alex Cooper

Isbilya Subastas

Isbilya Subastas

White's Auctions

White's Auctions