Monday, May 31, 2010

Vintage Barbie Thermos

My final garage sale find this past weekend was a great vintage Barbie thermos, labelled 1962. It features the original ponytail Barbie in various outfits. Now I just have to find the matching lunchbox...

Antique Building Blocks

Found a beautiful set of 1920s wooden building blocks at a garage sale over the weekend. They're still in their original box, and feature lovely pressed designs of bricks, stones, doors, and railings. Also included are windows with fragile cellophane panes. The whole set appears to be here, which seems amazing, although it only has half the lid...

Antique Milton Bradley Ten Pins Set

One of my greatest garage sale finds yesterday was this wooden tabletop ten pins set, made by Milton Bradley in the 1900s. The pins and balls are made of turned wood, and the pieces are in their original box. They all have a wonderfully smooth patina of age.

Dutch Village Puzzle

At a garage sale this weekend, I found this great wooden puzzle. It was made in Holland by Simplex, I'm guessing around the 1950s, and has a diameter of 7 1/2 inches. It features a charming village scene, and the great thing is, the pieces are quite thick, and when removed, can stand up to make a three-dimensional play town. Just a really great, cheery-looking toy!

Dollhouse Kitchen Set

Found these at a garage sale over the weekend, but can't readily identify them. They remind me of the very simple "educational" toy company dollhouses made for preschools, and appear to be from the 1950s or thereabouts. The baby is in a highchair on wheels: wheeee!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Garage Sale Report

Every Memorial Day weekend, a local community hosts a gigantic "Garage Sale" in its three-story civic center parking structure (or parking "garage": get it?). I braved the crowds and the heat, and found some great old toys at super-cheap prices. It's odd how it happens, but sometimes certain shows or sales end up delivering a theme; a week ago, I found all teddy bears at an outdoor antique show. At this sale, for some reason I found mostly old wooden toys, including:

--a fun wooden puzzle made in Holland, circa the 1950s. It depicts a little village, and when the pieces are removed, they can be stood up to make a three-dimensional play town.
--an antique Milton Bradley set of Ten Pins, complete with hardwood balls, circa the 1900s, in its original box.
--a set of beautiful 1920s building blocks, in their original box, too.
--an unusual set of dollhouse kitchen furniture that might be from a 1950s classroom playset. They have a chunky, "educational" look to them.
--and a 1962 Barbie thermos.

Pics to follow...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Steiff Dealer Display Piece

Found at an antique show last weekend was an amazing thing: a motorized Steiff dealer display piece from the 1980s (labelled West Germany). It features a permanently attached, gorgeous cream-colored mohair bear holding a Steiff flag (the pennant is a replacement) on a rotating stand marked "Official Steiff Dealer". The entire piece is about 18 inches tall, and originally it would have stood on top of a display case in a high-end toy shop or specialty store, slowly revolving, drawing attention to itself, urging shoppers to buy lotsa Steiff.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Teddy Bear Shoes

I got this great old bear, Nosey Parker, last week, and found a pair of antique toddler's boots at a weekend show that seem to suit him perfectly.

Here he is, showing them off:

With the addition of a dapper straw hat, Parker is ready
to hit the town:

1950s Pedigree Teddy Bear

At an antique show this past weekend, I found this rather odd teddy bear, made in Ireland by Pedigree in the 1950s. He has such a strange conformation, with those loooong legs and itty bitty stumpy arms:

And his head is even odder, described by several of my teddy bear guide books as "bulbous", with gigantic, oversized eyes and a huge schnoz made of molded felt. I've never seen a bear with features that fill so much of his face:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Country Antique Show Report

Another rainy day, another antique show...this one quite a distance from home, waaaaay out in the countryside, but well worth it.

Finds included:

     -a pair of early 1900s toddler's boots, in black and brown leather,
perfect for an antique teddy bear

     -the craziest looking bear I've ever seen: a 1950s British ted with
huge eyes, a big felt nose, and a
      smile that fills up the bottom third of his head

     -and a motorized Steiff dealer display from the 1980s, 
featuring a huge, revolving teddy bear

Pics soon!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Antique Teddy Bear Twins

The Teddy Bear Twins are a couple of (originally) matching 
16 inch British bears circa 1916-18. 
They belonged to twin brothers 
who moved to the United States in the 1920s.  
The bears were constant companions as the boys grew up.

The bear on the left has his original dark paw pads, while his
sibling on the right has felt replacements.

The bears have unusually long bodies, with very exaggerated humps, 
which can be seen in profile:

It's interesting to see how differently the matched pair of bears have evolved, due to the different use they withstood from their owners. Although both were clearly well-loved, one has definitely fared better, while his brother, in addition to losing his pads, has been squashed flat (probably from being slept on for years and years) and appears to have had a nose job.

I found these bears several years ago, and, I'm ashamed to say,
 haven't come up with names for them yet.
Suggestions welcome!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Vintage Trolls

Found these two fab 1960s trolls at an antique show last weekend. They're early DAM trolls, in the scarcer 5 1/2 inch size. Both have mohair wigs and their original clothes. The guy in yellow has glass eyes, while his blue-haired friend sports a purple "spiral" pair.

It's always a thrill to spot good quality old trolls at a show or shop. They're really not that easy to find, which seems strange, considering the vast numbers of them made in the 1960s. But they got a lot of play back in the day, and their materials (early vinyl, felt, and mohair) tended to not hold up too well. Save 'em if you see 'em!

1960s Four-Unit Vending Machine

Lugged home from an antique show last weekend was this 1960s four-unit vending machine. Made in Canada by the Beaver Machine Corporation (still in business today), it holds two 1 cent, one 5 cent, and one 10 cent vendor, and measures almost 4 feet tall. Three of the machines need restoration, but the stand itself is in pretty good shape. (It looks worse than it is in this photo, only because it's really dirty. I had to haul it out of a muddy field.)

And the best part of all: one of the globes still contained a bunch of old vending prizes, and not just any prizes, but rather valuable mechanical ones, including little skulls with pop-out eyes and tongues, and teeny apples with worms that poke out when you turn the top.

I bought these two 1 inch gumball prizes a few years ago, along with their original vending machine sign, and they actually cost almost as much as this whole machine did ($35), so it was super-exciting to find all these in one of the globes:

Woo-hoo! Lotsa skulls!

And here are the mechanical apples, also about an inch tall each:

 Kinda gross, but still really cool old gumball prizes.

Cute "Peanut the Elephant" Board Game

I found this 1940s or '50s board game at an antique show last weekend, and it has to be one of the cutest games I've ever seen.

Peanut the Elephant, who looks rather like a cuddly stuffed version and less like the real thing, moves along a jungle trail, hoping to land on a peanut that somehow allows him to coast ahead of his competitors.

The spinner is, in a somewhat macabre fashion, shaped like Peanut's head:

And the playing pieces are adorable little elephants, made out of chalkware:

I'm kind of amazed these are all still here; I would have thought some child would have pocketed them long ago...

Mr. Ree! Board Game

At an outdoor antique show this past weekend, I found a vintage board game that has long been on my wish list: Mr. Ree! The Fireside Detective Game, made by Selchow & Righter in 1957. There are earlier versions dating to the 1930s, but any edition of the game is fairly hard to find, so I was delighted with this one.

Mr. Ree is very similar to Clue, the classic, and better-known, detective game. In fact, I would be surprised if there weren't lawsuits between the two companies somewhere in its past. The game board, a diagrammed house, is virtually identical, and the contents include a cast of characters, cards, and miniature metal weapons.

The actual gameplay is strikingly different from Clue's, though, and rather complicated. I got a headache just reading the instructions. The plot, however, is wonderful, the stuff of many a 1930s high society murder mystery film, and worth quoting in full from the directions:

"The Plot Thus Far" (READ ALOUD) In a red brick dwelling lives AUNT CORA, a wealthy spinster and her orphaned NIECE RHODA who is her heir. Aunt Cora is anxious that Rhoda marry a man of means but Rhoda is madly in love with GEORGE, a struggling young artist. A house party is in progress. Contrary to Aunt Cora's warnings, George has accepted Rhoda's invitation to the house party for he returns her love.
Also visiting at the house is the handsome but unscrupulous MR. PERRIN who aspires to marry Rhoda for her money, despite the fact that he is engaged to MISS LEE. Miss Lee noting that Perrin has gained favor with Aunt Cora becomes intensely jealous of his attentions to Rhoda. 

To make matters worse, the household is attended by BUTLER HIGGINS, an ex-convict and MAID BEATRICE, a faithful servant, though slightly unbalanced.
The local police force, having received information of the Butler's past, decides to keep a watchful eye on Aunt Cora's household and has sent MR. REE, a famous detective, to patrol the property. From this point on, the plot develops,leading up to the "MURDER" which is eventually committed."

 Mr. Ree's most endearing features, making up a major part of its appeal, are its unique 3 dimensional characters. Represented in Clue by simple wooden or plastic colored pawns, Mr. Ree's participants are fully realized individuals, standing on bases that actually open to hold tiny weapons, including an itty bitty bottle of poison. The game's resolution involves Mr. Ree, the detective, discovering which characters are hiding the weapons, and whom they have killed with which implement.

1940s Mandrake the Magician Big Little Book

My sweetie is a magician, so I'm always on the lookout for old magic items while antiquing. Last week I found this great 1940s Big Little book, featuring Mandrake the Magician, the mysterious detective star of comics, radio, and serials. Only problem now is, who gets it: me, the Big Little book collector, or the magician sweetie...

1930s Buck Rogers Big Little Book

Found last week: a fantastic 1930s Big Little book, Buck Rogers on the Moons of Saturn. Like many early Big Little Books, it's in rough shape, but it's still a treasure. The cover illustration shows Buck and Dr. Huer using an anti-gravity ray, which makes everything float. That would be a nice thing to have during the morning rush hour...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

1930s Little Orphan Annie Child's Teapot

It's always exciting to find a completer item while antiquing, and at a show this past weekend, I discovered this 1930s child's Little Orphan Annie lusterware teapot, 3 inches wide. I've had a couple of plates and a cup for ages, and even though the pot is missing its lid, it was still a very satisfying find.   Arf!

Vintage Dolly Bakeware

One of my favorite things to do with old toys is to arrange little scenes. Toy cupboards are particularly suited to this, as with the old doll's kitchen cupboard, below. It's a lot of fun scouring antique shows and shops, looking for just the right accessories to bring such a scene to life.
At a show this past weekend, I found this assortment of 1940s doll-sized bakeware, including a wooden rolling pin and metal biscuit and gingerbread cutters. My 20 inch German dolly models below. For scale, the cookie cutters are 2 inches long.

Antique Doll Dishes

Spotted in a tray full of miniatures at an antique show this past weekend were all these wonderful doll dishes and baking accessories. Made of china, they date mostly to the late 1800s, with the tiniest cup and saucer just after the turn of the century. The muffin pan (?) is 3 inches wide, while the smallest cup is just under 1 inch tall.

For a sense of scale, my 14 inch china doll agreed to pose, although she doesn't look particularly pleased about it:

1920s-'30s Dollhouse Hoosier Cabinet

I love Hoosier cabinets. It's strange, really: I don't cook or bake; in fact, my own kitchen serves primarily as display space for my PEZ dispenser collection and vintage toy stoves. But for some reason, I find Hoosier cabinets fascinating.
Their nostalgic appeal is undeniable, and it's ironically amplified the smaller the cabinet gets. Currently, I have 2 "life-size" Hoosiers, a homemade child's version, a doll-sized cabinet, and now, found at a weekend antique show, an even smaller dollhouse variety.

This wooden Hoosier measures 6 1/2  inches tall, and came with the accessories and kitchen chair shown. It was made by the Wisconsin Toy Company, a short-lived firm that manufactured dollhouse furniture in the 1920s and '30s. All the cupboards, drawers, and the pull-out shelf are functional.

My 5 inch dollhouse doll gives a sense of the Hoosier's scale. Below, the cabinet is fully stocked with all sorts of goodies. (As I look at this picture, I realize my dollhouse denizens actually have better supplied cupboards than I do...)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Antique Show Report

I attended my first outdoor antique show of the season this past weekend, and it was a doozy. Thunderstorms, hailstones, sheets of freezing cold rain, and 45 m.p.h. winds that lasted for about three might think an outdoor show would be cancelled in such conditions, but no...not even when four tents blew over and one of the dealers was (reportedly) knocked unconscious by a pole.

I did wait for the worst of the wind to subside (and for all the poles to be better secured), but once I found I could walk upright in the face of the zephyr, I plodded on. One of my dealer friends greeted me with a shout (so as to be heard over the wind): "Hey Tracy! Guess we're the tough ones, huh?" Her neighboring dealer replied, "Or the stupid ones..." I suppose those of us who braved the conditions were a bit of both. I went home with windburn, shoes full of mud, and a severe chill, but I scored several treasures, and here's the great part: they were all 1/2 off, or 2 for 1, and one thing was even FREE! because all the dealers wanted to get the heck out of there.

I got a vintage 4 machine vending unit that had been priced at $100 for only $40, because the dealer was so anxious for someone to haul it out of the mud. That someone was me, and joy of joys, when I got it home and cleaned it out, I found a whole bunch of 1950s-60s gumball machine prizes in the bottom of one of the units. They were actually gumball prizes I've paid $15 apiece for before, so I think I came out pretty well on this deal, even though the machines need lots of restoration.

Other finds included:

--2 fantastic, early vintage trolls, in original outfits (yep, there's more of them coming)
--a 1930s dollhouse-sized hoosier cabinet, kitchen chair, and accessories
--an assortment of dolly-sized antique dishes, teasets, and baking ware
--2 vintage board games, including the hard-to-find Mr. Ree, with almost all its parts
--a 1930s bisque figurine Cracker Jack prize (found in a box of broken junk for only a quarter!)
--a 1930s Little Orphan Annie lusterware child's teapot, which goes with a set I already have that is, coincidentally, missing its teapot
--a 1930s Buck Rogers Big Little Book and a 1940s Mandrake the Magician one

Pictures to come soon, once I'm over my cold.

Worn Old Bear

In my antique teddy bear collection live several bears who are in minty condition, which is remarkable considering their 100+ year ages.
And while it's always a thrill to find such teddies, there's something touching about rescuing a spectacularly love-worn bear. The character present in the face of a ted who's been hugged almost to pieces, patched and re-patched, and yet carefully preserved, is really a priceless quality.

My latest such find is this 18 inch 1920s British bear who suffered from chronic Nose Kissing, which has resulted in the appearance below. He's very sensitive about it; the other bears and I try not to stare. But I feel it's given him a certain charm, and he looks like he's full of stories about the things he's seen over his long life. I call him "Nosey Parker."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Vintage Twinkie the Kid & Wonder Bread Premium Rings

These two Hostess items are late entries into the premium ring category, dating to my own childhood in the 1970s. I can remember spotting the Wonder bread rings inside the packages, and eagerly squeezing our forearms down into the bags, trying to get them out. Wonder bread squishes very easily, we found. After a few smushed loaves, the adults started putting the bread up out of our reach, and dispensed the rings themselves.

1950s Quaker Crazy Rings Premium Set

One of the greatest toy ring premiums of the 1950s was the Crazy Ring Set sponsored by the Quaker Oats Company. For only 25 cents, the lucky recipient received a total of 10 crazy rings, one for each finger, including a siren ring, pencil sharpener ring, 2 dexterity puzzle rings, squirt ring, ship in-a-bottle ring, whistle ring, hand-shaking friendship ring, jingle bell ring, and, amazingly, a meteor ring that the ad attested "contains an actual meteor piece from outer space" (mine is missing the stone, so I can't evaluate that claim).

Here's the original ad for the Crazy Ring Set:

And here are the rings:

Some closeups:

The hand shaking friendship ring, open and closed.

The jingle bell ring.

The pencil sharpener ring.

The ship-in-a-bottle ring.

The dexterity puzzle rings.

The whistle ring.

The squirt ring.

The siren ring.