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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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Vintage Community Play Things Wooden Cart Or Wagon – Local Pick Up Only
Jun 18, 12:00 PM EDT
Vintage Community Play Things Wooden Cart Or Wagon – Local Pick Up Only
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$32 Bids
Lot of Heavy Metal Action Figures and Playsets
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Lot of Heavy Metal Action Figures and Playsets
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Est: $50- $100
$101 Bid
Early German Painted Lead Flat Soldier Playset
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
Early German Painted Lead Flat Soldier Playset
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Est: $200- $400
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(3pc) He Man Play Set, Captain Marvel 3d Standee
Jun 15, 10:00 AM MST
(3pc) He Man Play Set, Captain Marvel 3d Standee
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
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Vintage Community Play Things Wooden Ironing Board – Local Pick Up Only
Jun 18, 12:00 PM EDT
Vintage Community Play Things Wooden Ironing Board – Local Pick Up Only
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$11 Bid
RARE 1978 Playskool Alphie Robot with box & extras
Jun 24, 9:30 AM EDT
RARE 1978 Playskool Alphie Robot with box & extras
by Figlio Designs LLC
Est: $100- $200
$220 Bids
Collection of four assorted action play sets including Zulu, The Command, Beau Geste, and John Bull.
Jun 20, 10:00 AM CDT
Collection of four assorted action play sets including Zulu, The Command, Beau Geste, and John Bull.
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $100
$250 Bids
Collection of assorted action playset soldiers, buildings, trees, and more.
Jun 20, 10:00 AM CDT
Collection of assorted action playset soldiers, buildings, trees, and more.
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $75
$250 Bids
Large collection of action playset buildings and structures including a full fort set.
Jun 20, 10:00 AM CDT
Large collection of action playset buildings and structures including a full fort set.
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $75
$250 Bids
Large collection of military playset pieces including figures, tanks, boats, trucks, and more.
Jun 20, 10:00 AM CDT
Large collection of military playset pieces including figures, tanks, boats, trucks, and more.
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $100
$250 Bids
Collection of military playset pieces including figures, trucks, boats, cannons, and more.
Jun 20, 10:00 AM CDT
Collection of military playset pieces including figures, trucks, boats, cannons, and more.
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $75
$250 Bids
Large collection of military playset figures, vehicles, tents, horses, cannons, and more.
Jun 20, 10:00 AM CDT
Large collection of military playset figures, vehicles, tents, horses, cannons, and more.
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $75
$250 Bids
Collection of playset figures, horses, and vehicles including an entire suitcase filled.
Jun 20, 10:00 AM CDT
Collection of playset figures, horses, and vehicles including an entire suitcase filled.
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $75
$250 Bids
Large collection of playset military action figures, horses, building pieces, and more.
Jun 20, 10:00 AM CDT
Large collection of playset military action figures, horses, building pieces, and more.
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $75
$250 Bids
1973 Moon Base Alpha Play Set
Jun 15, 10:00 AM MST
1973 Moon Base Alpha Play Set
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$100 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Play Sets


Link Auction Galleries

Link Auction Galleries

Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers

Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers

EJ'S Auction & Appraisal

EJ'S Auction & Appraisal

Aether Auctions

Aether Auctions