Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mr. Potato Head Ride-On Toy

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year was a long-sought, hard-to-find vintage Potato Head item. From 1973, the Mr. Potato Head Ride-On toy is one of the strangest, and scarcest, items in this long running line.

Measuring 17 inches long, the mobile potato features yellow wheels, a handle, and a seat that lifts up to reveal a storage space for extra face pieces. It comes with two different sets of eyes, ears, noses and lips, along with a hat and glasses, allowing its owner to customize it before taking it for a spin.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

1908 Steiff Teddy Bear

The 1908 Steiff teddy bear is a classic of its type. By this year, Steiff had fully refined its bear design, resulting in a teddy that was cuddlier and friendlier in appearance than its predecessors. The year before, the company exported and sold nearly a million bears, and 1908 saw the teddy bear craze reach a fever pitch.

From 1908 all the way to his appearance under our Christmas tree in 2013, this 10 inch Steiff has lost none of his original appeal.

His big feet and long arms are classic features of antique Steiff bears. 

Antique toys for Christmas, 2013.

Antique Miniature Doll House

This tiny dollhouse is the smallest antique example I've ever seen.  A mere 7 inches tall by 5 inches wide, it's a challenge to find furnishings and residents small enough for the single room inside.

The house opens from the front on hinges, and the top also lifts off to give access to the interior.

The exterior design is lithographed directly onto the wood, in a style consistent with dollhouses made by the Morton Converse company of Winchendon, Massachusetts, circa 1916. 

Antique toys for Christmas, 2013.

Antique Doll Kitchen

One of this year's most extravagant Christmas gifts, this unusual antique doll kitchen came with interesting provenance.

From the collection of Evelyn Ackerman, an authority on antique dollhouses (particularly those of the German firm, Gottschalk) it is pictured in one of the books she authored, The Genius of Moritz Gottschalk. 

It's lost a few bits since that photo was taken some years ago, but still has enough items for a doll to do her holiday cooking. Measuring 10.5 inches high by 14 inches wide, the wooden kitchen features lithographed paper in patterns of brick and tile, an opening stove door, a towel rack, a tin sink, lattice work trim, and its original pot and wash boiler.

Inscribed on the bottom of the kitchen is its model number and a message: "Janie from Uncle Charlie 1917." The play wear on this kitchen shows how much Janie enjoyed it, but it's also clear she treasured it carefully for many years. Uncle Charlie, wherever you are now, thank you for the doll kitchen: it's a beautiful toy!

Antique toys for Christmas, 2013.

Santa Was Here!

Santa has been and gone, and left behind some great toys. (There they are, all wrapped up in the back of his old pedal car.)

This year's Christmas loot included one of the scarcest (and strangest) of all vintage Mr. Potato Head items, along with a tiny antique dollhouse, a rare old doll kitchen, and a 1908 Steiff bear. Pics coming soon.