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Toys - General

Beyond ancient times, the first evidence of mass production of toys came in 15th-century Germany. Here, craftsmen produced a wide variety of toys, but none so much as Christmas holiday toys including elaborate miniature villages, belsnickles, and most of all, Noah’s arks. Artisans of the period produced their wares out of wood, cardboard, tin plate, and a host of other period materials.

Beginning in the 17th century, trade routes became the norm, creating a way to ship goods to England and on to the colonies. Though most of the materials were books, cards, and newspapers, the shipments also included children’s puzzles, games, and miniatures. Much of the material produced at the time has a heavy undertone toward religion, often using Christianity and animals or symbols associated with religion.

After the American Revolution, artisans opened workshops throughout the United States, carving unique and desirable toys out of wood. By the 19th century, wood toys turned into machine-made metal toys, revolutionizing the entire industry. In this same period, early production of cast iron toys came about, including some of the earliest toy cap guns created just after the Civil War. This period produced some of the most desirable tinplate and early mechanical toys ever manufactured.

Later in the 19th century, the method of sand casting was perfected, making cast iron toy production easier, most notably early mechanical banks. During the turn of the 20th century, technology made it possible to produce toys in the same manner as early cars and trucks. By the middle of the 20th century, battery operated, friction, and mechanical toys took over due to their unique mesmerizing movements that entranced children of all ages.


Quick Facts

  • An exceedingly rare Althof Bergmann clockwork Santa in a sleigh pulled by two goats sold at a James D. Julia Auction in 2010 for $161,000, the highest price ever paid for an American tinplate toy at auction
  • A rare Lionel special order 400E limited passenger train set in original boxes that had not seen the light of day for 70 years sold at Stout Auction in October 2006 for $253,000
  • Some of the biggest toy inventions in the 20th century include the hula hoop, Slinky, Silly Putty, Mr. Potato Head, Legos, the yo-yo, hacky sack, skateboards, Etch-a-Sketch, and the boomerang

Recommended Items at Auction

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(50+) Puzzles, Springbok, White Mountain, Thomas
Dec 10, 10:00 AM MST
(50+) Puzzles, Springbok, White Mountain, Thomas
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$608 Bids
(3) Vintage Super Hero Lunch Boxes
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
(3) Vintage Super Hero Lunch Boxes
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$1107 Bids
Wolverine Tin Litho Merry-Go-Round
Dec 17, 9:00 AM CST
Wolverine Tin Litho Merry-Go-Round
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $30- $300
$907 Bids
Large Collection of Antique Marbles
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
Large Collection of Antique Marbles
by Caza Sikes
Est: $50- $100
$1207 Bids
Wizard Skull (American/New York, 20th c.)
Dec 08, 11:00 AM CST
Wizard Skull (American/New York, 20th c.)
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $100- $200
$3756 Bids
1967 Superman Lunch Box
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
1967 Superman Lunch Box
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$1206 Bids
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Vintage American Beauty Mah Jongg Alite Boxed Set
Dec 06, 9:00 AM EST
Vintage American Beauty Mah Jongg Alite Boxed Set
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$406 Bids
MARX BATTERY OP HOOTIN HOLLOW HAUNTED HOUSE w/BOX
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
MARX BATTERY OP HOOTIN HOLLOW HAUNTED HOUSE w/BOX
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$6755 Bids
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The Simpson Herb Powell Toy Action Figure
Dec 07, 5:30 PM CST
The Simpson Herb Powell Toy Action Figure
by Hampton's Auction, Collectibles, & Retail, LLC
Est: $10- $25
$125 Bids
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The Simpson Daredevil Bart Toy Action Figure
Dec 07, 5:30 PM CST
The Simpson Daredevil Bart Toy Action Figure
by Hampton's Auction, Collectibles, & Retail, LLC
Est: $10- $25
$125 Bids
Vintage Annie Oakley Lunch Box
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
Vintage Annie Oakley Lunch Box
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $80- $160
$655 Bids
Boxed UTE, Japan Dennis The Menace Batt-Op
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
Boxed UTE, Japan Dennis The Menace Batt-Op
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$804 Bids
SCHOENHUT'S HUMPTY DUMPTY CIRCUS w/ BOX
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
SCHOENHUT'S HUMPTY DUMPTY CIRCUS w/ BOX
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$9254 Bids
(2) Early Western Lunch Boxes
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
(2) Early Western Lunch Boxes
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $80- $160
$1104 Bids
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The Simpson Lionel Hutz Toy Action Figure
Dec 07, 5:30 PM CST
The Simpson Lionel Hutz Toy Action Figure
by Hampton's Auction, Collectibles, & Retail, LLC
Est: $10- $25
$114 Bids
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The Simpson Resort Smithers Toy Action Figure
Dec 07, 5:30 PM CST
The Simpson Resort Smithers Toy Action Figure
by Hampton's Auction, Collectibles, & Retail, LLC
Est: $10- $25
$114 Bids
(14) Clean Vintage Tin Thermoses
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
(14) Clean Vintage Tin Thermoses
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $100- $300
$1104 Bids
(3) Vintage Peanuts Lunch Boxes
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
(3) Vintage Peanuts Lunch Boxes
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $80- $160
$754 Bids
GRP inc Quantity of Playmates and Vivid
Dec 08, 10:00 AM GMT
GRP inc Quantity of Playmates and Vivid
by Vectis Auctions Ltd
Est: £60- £80
£604 Bids
Assorted Marble Collection
Dec 10, 10:00 AM MST
Assorted Marble Collection
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$354 Bids
Clean Vintage Atom Ant Vintage Lunch Box
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
Clean Vintage Atom Ant Vintage Lunch Box
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$553 Bids
SH BATTERY OP SPACE CAPSULE w/ BOX
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
SH BATTERY OP SPACE CAPSULE w/ BOX
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2003 Bids
(4) Vintage Lunch Boxes
Dec 14, 10:00 AM EST
(4) Vintage Lunch Boxes
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $80- $160
$553 Bids
QTY inc Hasbro Transformers G1 Optimus Prime
Dec 08, 10:00 AM GMT
QTY inc Hasbro Transformers G1 Optimus Prime
by Vectis Auctions Ltd
Est: £50- £70
£403 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Toys - General


Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Milestone Auctions

Milestone Auctions

Tajan

Tajan