Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yard Sale Find: Antique Sulphide Marble

My oldest toy find on this summer's Yard Sale Trail was this antique sulphide marble, a bit over 2 inches in diameter, made in Germany between the 1900s and 1930s. Old sulphide marbles are expensive today, typically priced in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the antique store and auction markets. This one's yard sale price? Just $15!

They're also fragile, consisting of a tiny bisque figurine enclosed in a hand-blown glass marble. The seller had this one displayed resting on the open top of a porcelain vase that was sitting on a hanging wall shelf! Gah! Fortunately I spotted and rescued it before the inevitable tragedy could unfold.

I'm not quite sure what the figure is: bear? badger? chupacabra?

The marble find marked the end of yard sale season here in the north country, where temperatures are already dropping, but I still have one outdoor antique show to report on, and the finds there were tremendous. Coming soon!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yard Sale Find: Vintage Hasbro Inchworm

My favorite yard sale find of this summer was a vintage 1970s Hasbro Inchworm ride-on toy. I had one of these as a child, and it was one of my most loved toys. As the rider propels it along, the Inchworm bounces up and down on its accordion-style body...eventually producing the sort of damage seen in this example.

(Click here to watch the original Inchworm TV commercial: it's adorable, and you'll get to see the Inchworm in action.)

Their fragility makes vintage Inchworms scarce, and they are much sought after. I've seen them reach prices of $300+ on eBay during particularly desperate bidding wars. Glad I held out: this one was just $5 at a Yard Sale Trail flea market!

 How cute is he? Super-cute.

Speaking of cute things: here's a picture of me with my brand-new Inchworm, on a Christmas morning sometime in the 1970s. (I'm also holding a just-opened Viewmaster, effectively multi-tasking as I motor around the living room.)

Coming up tomorrow: my final, and oldest, yard sale toy find of the summer... 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yard Sale Finds: Vintage Toys

This year's Yard Sale Trail, a 200+ mile route along the shoreline of eastern Michigan, turned up some nice finds (although nothing can really top last year's discovery of a vintage playground spring rider).

First find: a 1972 Come Home Snoopy! Colorforms set. I adore Colorforms, and Snoopy stuff is pretty cool too, but what really made this a great score was the fact that its original owner wrote her name and the date she received it inside the box lid. If only all old toys came with such provenance...

Janice Blackburn, I've got your Snoopy Colorforms! 
(Also, thank you for taking such good care of your toys.)

The next find was also a character toy: a 1962 Barney Rubble doll (of Flintstones fame) made by Knickerbocker. 11 1/2 inches tall, the odd doll retains its original clothes. I don't know why they made his hair green, but that is also original. A few sales down the road, I got this little 5 1/2 inch vintage plastic Fred Flintstone, and happily reunited the two best friends. 

Spotted from the road was this 22 inch vintage tin dollhouse still full of its original plastic furniture, made by Wolverine. It's the epitome of suburban living, circa the 1950s-60s.

Coming up tomorrow: a long-lost childhood toy found again on the Yard Sale Trail!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

1950s Funny Faces Puzzle

This Funny Faces puzzle from the 1950s features great characters, and is actually a lot of fun to play around with. Each character is die cut into sections that can be switched and rearranged to make "more than 1000 different faces!" I haven't actually tested that claim, as I imagine it would require more time than I can realistically spend playing with my toys.

The original four characters:

The illustrations remind me of those on Changeable Charlie, another vintage make-a-face toy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Troll House and Family

I already had a couple of these vintage 1960s troll cave houses, but when I saw this one still filled with its original owner's much-loved trolls, their extensive wardrobe, and even a pet elephant, I just had to have it. That's a lot of vintage troll awesomeness in there.

The trolls are a Dam wearing a wonderful felt dress with flower applique; a Scandia House with beautiful green eyes and a charming outfit; and a tiny gumball machine prize troll in her original wrap and hair bow.

Dam troll with baby.

Gumball prize troll. She has a cool '60s bouffant!

Scandia House troll with bright green eyes, 
wearing a lovely pink and yellow ensemble. And shoes!

The troll sisters also had a pet: a blue troll elephant 
from a Japanese knock-off line called the Lovable Uglies

Uglie, and yet so Lovable.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bandersnatch Game

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
 The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"
                                          - Lewis Carroll 

No one but Lewis Carroll himself really knows what a Bandersnatch looks like, but Mattel's toy designers gave it a go in 1969 with their game of the same name. Players chose cards and spun trying to get all the parts needed to build a 4 1/2 inch tall Bandersnatch figure. This odd game is rarely found today, rather like the Bandersnatch himself.

The game box and components are all in bright, psychedelic '60s colors, and the spinner is a tiny little Bandersnatch. 

The giggling Bandersnatch spinner.

The completed figure is like a bizarre, nightmare version of Mr. Potato Head. Beware the Bandersnatch, indeed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Funny Old Bear

This quirky antique teddy bear is 12 inches tall, made from an unusual cotton batting type fabric. His features include a very strange nose, tiny eyes, and one foot pad which appears to have been put on upside down. He's odd, but adorable.

I've never seen another like him, so I can only guess as to his age and nationality...maybe American or English circa one of the World Wars? I've seen the octagonal nose once on an old English bear, and (much smaller) upward stitches also on English teds, while the side-placed ears are found on American and English varieties. This type of fabric was typically used during wartime shortages of wool, which was being used for soldiers' uniforms and so couldn't be made into mohair for bears. If anyone has a similar ted, I'd love to see him (or her) and compare notes!

This is his original nose and mouth stitching. 
It gives him rather a distinctive look and funny expression, 
especially combined with the beady little eyes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Itty Bitty Steiff Bear

This little Steiff has lots of wear,
but it just seems to have given him even more charm.
The white ted is just 5 1/2 inches tall, circa 1920-30.

He has a totally kissable nose, yes?

He came wearing an old plaid coat that had clearly
been with him a long time, and suits him perfectly.

 Going for a walk...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Antique Teddy Bear and Photo

The value of an antique teddy bear, both financial and sentimental, increases substantially when it comes with a photo of the original owner. If the photo is of the original owner and the bear, the value is even greater.
Such duos are difficult to find, as bears and photos tend to go their separate ways over time. I was very fortunate to find a pair that remained together for almost 90 years.

The hand-colored photo of the little girl, circa the 1920s, is 15 1/2 inches tall, and still in its original frame. 


Her 13 inch teddy bear companion wears a rather serious expression. As I look at him, I wonder what experiences he shared with his owner over their long life together.

The two came to me from a dealer who got them at the original family's estate sale. Astoundingly, she didn't get the little girl's name: that would have been a wonderful thing to know, and may have enabled genealogical research. Whoever she was, I hope she would be happy to know that her treasured teddy is now safely settled into my sanctuary for orphaned bears.

Monday, August 8, 2011

1968 Pie Face Game

Presenting one of the rarest vintage games of all time: Pie Face, made by Hassenfeld Bros (Hasbro) in 1968. Pie Face came with a spinner, score sheet, cardboard target with cut-out window, and a pie launcher. Basically, you placed a whipped cream "pie" on the launcher, then took turns spinning to find out how many times to crank the launcher's handles. It was randomly set to let the pie fly into the player's face, positioned within the target. Sort of a cream pie version of Russian Roulette.

It was billed as "the most fun-filled action game you've ever played!" If, of course, your idea of fun was getting a pie slammed into your face.

The 15 1/2" tall target was made of cardboard...which helps explain why this game is so rare. I can't imagine they survived many whipped cream pie hits. The target is designed to make the player look like a clown, further adding to the humiliation.

Here's the pie launcher in readiness:

 And post-slam: 

I wonder how many players really bothered to keep score...if I'd had one as a child, I expect my friends and I would have simply used it to torture my little sister.

Click here to see the original Pie Face television commercial in all its awesomeness. The lyrics are quite catchy:

"Turn the handles, 
hear them click, 
you'll never know 
when you'll be hit!
It's Pie Face!

Ask your mom 
for some cream,
Pile it high,
It's a scream!

Now we spin, what's the score?
Never had such fun before!
It's Pie Face!"

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Latest Find!

>happy dance, happy dance<  

I just found the rarest vintage game on my wish list, something I actually thought I would never, ever own. It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm so excited, I couldn't wait to brag tell everyone about it. What is it? Only one of the strangest, most possibly dangerous, family board games ever created. Watch the original television commercial here to get a glimpse of it in action!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pink and Purple Peng Peng Bear

It's always a happy day when a new Peng Peng bear arrives. 

 Clearly, she agrees.

Peng Peng, one of my very favorite artists, makes unique and beautifully crafted small teds. Petunia, just 5 inches tall, features hand-dyed two-toned mohair, a tiny, stripey dress, and a fantastic face inspired by the classic British bear, Master Teddy.

 Pink and purple Petunia poses prettily...