Collectible Antique Toys

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Collectible Antique Toys From The Past

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Toys are the objects of a child’s imagination and desire. Toys allow child to have fantastic adventures and imaginary friends in a world that is created in the child’s mind. There is a part in all of us that still longs for this freedom of creativity and imagination that accompanies our fondest childhood memories of our toys. This longing makes the collection of vintage toys a desirable hobby to many adults.

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Antique toys don’t have to be complicated or made of expensive materials to rekindle this freedom of our childhood. However, because children are often hard on their toys and often pushed past their breaking points, the quantity of quality vintage toys can be limited making the collection of vintage toys in good condition a challenge. Those that are in good condition therefore command a premium price.

MARX TANK MILITARY TIN TOY WIND UP collectibles from the past    collectibles  antiques from the past 1930s Marx Laughing Cows Whoopee Car Tin Wind Up antique toys vintage toys toy collection

Vintage toys come in all types. Pull toys on wheels are one of the more popular types. These toys are powered by their owner. Antique wind-up toys, sometimes called “clockwork toys” are another popular type of antique toy that is collected. Another type of vintage toys are friction toys. These toys are propelled by a spring in the toy that is wound backwards when the toy is moved backwards. Some vintage toys are battery-operated and use the electrical power of household batteries to power the toy.

WYANDOTTE AMERICAN AIRLINER Super Mainliner Airplane and ORIGINAL BOX collectibles from the past    collectibles  antiques from the past 1930s Marx Laughing Cows Whoopee Car Tin Wind Up 2   antique toys vintage toys toy collection

Vintage dolls and action figures are also collected by many toy collectors. These come in many types from antique baby dolls to Star Wars action figures. Building toys such as Lincoln Logs and Erector sets are also popular with toy collectors. And both young and old love LEGOs. Legos are so used and love worldwide that they have almost transcended the category of a toy. Other vintage toys include the yo-yo, the etch-a-sketch, the hula hoop, marbles and the jack-in-the-box.

1938 Marx Hi Yo Lone Ranger collectibles from the past    collectibles  antiques from the past  antique toys vintage toys toy collection  Silver Tin Litho Toy Range Rider With Box 1

J. CHEIN 1950's TIN LITHO SHERIFF COWBOY RAYGUN RAY GUN SPACE TOY VINTAGE collectibles from the past    collectibles  antiques from the past  Marx Laughing Cows Whoopee Car   antique toys vintage toys toy collection

Marx Red pressed steel COKE COAL truck with tin litho dump bed collectibles from the past    collectibles  antiques from the past 1930s Marx Laughing Cows Whoopee Car Tin Wind Up antique toys vintage toys toy collection

More Fruit Crate Labels


Fruit Crate Labels

Below are some additional examples of the beautiful artwork found on fruit crate labels:

Collectibles from the past    Cactus Pete Fruit Crate Label     Collectibles    vintage collectibles

collectibles from the past    Bulldog Fruit Crate Label     collectible    vintage collectibles

collectibles from the past     Butterfly Fruit Crate Label     collectible    vintage collectible

collectibles from the past       Blue Lake Fruit Crate Label      collectible   vintage collectible

collectibles form the past      Banjo Fruit Crate Label    collectible   vintage collectible

collectibles from the past          Badger Fruit Crate Label           collectible   vintage collectible

collectibles from the past    Azalea Fruit Crate Label    collectible    vintage collectibles

collectibles from the past    Alligator Supreme Fruit Crate Label    collectible    vintage collectibles

collectibles from the past   Assyrian Fruit Crate Label     collectible    vintage collectibles

collectibles from the past    Cockatoo Fruit Crate Label     collectible    vintage collectibles

collectibles from the past    Chanticleer Crate Label     collectible    vintage collectibles

collectibles from the past    Cactus Fruit Crate Label    collectible    vintage collectibles

Collecting Fruit Crate Labels

Many fruit crate labels contain beautiful artwork that makes these labels highly collectible, and many people have taken up this fine hobby. When discussing fruit crate labels here we are using the term to describe any fruit or produce related label designed for use on old packing crates. See some beautiful examples of fruit crate labels below:

Collectibles from the past  Caruso's Blue Bird Fruit Crate Label    Collectibles

collectibles from the past    Catherine Dee Fruit Crate Label    collectibles   collection  collecting  artwork of fruit crate labels

Collectibles from the past  California Poppy Fruit Crate Label    collectibles collecting   collection   artwork of fruit crate labels

The History of the Fruit Crate Label

Fruit crate labels originated in the 1880s. Up until the 1950s, when produce distributors first started to use pre-printed cardboard boxes instead, wooden crates with brightly colored labels glued on the ends were the primary means of transporting fresh fruit to market. Adaption of cardboard boxes was gradually as some packing facilities could not afford the new equipment it required, and for a while some buyers still preferred wood. However by 1970’s the printed cardboard box had virtually eliminated the use of the wooden crate, and therefore the use of the fruit crate label, in the fruit industry.

The history of fruit crate labels was influenced by three major trends. The first two of these trends are largely technology-driven. Both automation and printing technologies effected the use of fruit crate labels. The third trend was the movement from local fruit markets to national markets. While these trends are of course interrelated, they still had their distinct roles and effects on the history of fruit crate labels.
Lithography was invented around 1796 in Germany by an otherwise unknown Bavarian playwright, Alois Senefelder. By the 1880s improvements in lithography printing technology made it possible to use color and to increase the size of the printing base, thus expanding the use of lithography printing to commercial advertising. Out of this expanded used, fruit crate labels were also born.

The use of these labels was an early form of what modern marketing refers to as “branding”. By simply placing colorful labels at the ends of otherwise identical wooden boxes a grower was able to distinguish his produce from that of other growers, and thus create an identity for his brand in the marketplace. As the used these labels grew the competition between growers would lead to the use of more color, more vivid images and more interesting subjects. There were a wide range of subjects used on fruit crate labels including palm trees, flowers, landscapes, seaside imagery, fruits, various animals, Indians, cowboys and children. By the 1940’s even pin-up art, featuring provocatively dressed ladies in various poses, had even become a popular subject.
In the late 1800s the fruit and produce markets in the United States were beginning an evolution from local market distribution to national market distribution, better rail systems and the affordability of color lithography supported this change. Fruit and produce from the west coast became more available to eager buyers on the east coast during the winter months. This in turn lead to the beginning of fruit exchanges which consolidate the local production and distributed product over a larger geographical area. However, at this time, most fruit and produce was still grown and packed by family farms who used their own fruit crate labels.

This continued to be the case during the first decades of the twentieth century. The fruit crate labels of the family farm would often be somewhat personalized, showing views of the grower’s own orchards, home or even images of their children and text was generally not emphasized. For most family farms the printing cost for fruit crate label was a sizeable expenditure. In order to keep the cost down, on a per label basis, fruit crate labels were usually printed in very large runs, and the same labels would be used for multiple years. If however, a change was required between years, for example a son was added as partner, the change would be overprinted on any existing labels. This resulted in some interesting variations for the fruit crate label collector.

Over time, many family farms started marketing their product through exchanges. As this trend occurred many used the exchange’s label, or had the exchange’s logo added to their label. By the 1930’s, as this trend continued there was a substantial change in label design. Many of the naturalistic and personalized images from the earlier period were replaced with images designed to appeal to the retail fruit buyer. Labels began to emphasize the health benefits of eating fruit.

During the 1930’s, farming begins to move away from a family oriented business model as farm children grow up and leave the farm for better opportunities in the city. Also automation makes it cheaper for packing houses to accumulate, grade and pack the fruit than the farmer. Packing houses spring up and more and more family farms decided to stop the ranch pack and instead take their produce to a packing house. As this trend develops, the role of branding is also moved to the packing houses, who use their own fruit crate labels. As a result, the number of family farm labels started declining during this period.

Photo-offset lithography was developed by the end of the 1930’s and became widely used after the 1940s. Before the use of photo-offset lithograph, printing companies hired artists to draw the images used on fruit crate labels; however the photo-offset process allows images to be taken directly from photographs. The wide-spread use of photo-offset lithograph after the 1940s rendered these artists unnecessary and led to changes in the look of fruit crate labels. While the number of labels printed grew, reflecting both the growing population and the lower costs of the photo-offset printing, the label design changed. In many cases, lettering became more predominate and images were either excluded or reduced. In general, the artistic quality of the fruit crate labels from this period is less than that of the pre-1940 labels. This of course makes the pre-1940 fruit crate labels generally more desirable to collectors.

During the lifespan of fruit crate label use, there were literally thousands of different fruit crate label designs and millions of fruit crate labels printed. Most of these were of course used on fruit crates and a collector can occasionally find old fruit crates in antique stores. However, a better source for quality collectible fruit crate labels are the labels that never were used. Most of these are discovered in old packing houses, in salesman samples or in the collections of family growers or fruit company workers who had decided to save them long ago. Since most of these sources have already been exploited the more common way to acquire collectible fruit crate labels is from other collectors. The popularity of these beautiful works of art has also lead to the reproduction of these vintage fruit crate labels. While this is great for the average person who just wants to enjoy their beauty, it can make the collecting of authentic, vintage fruit crate labels more difficult and complex. The fruit crate label collect needs to learn how to spot the reproductions, which are sometimes passed off as the real collectibles.

Like the collecting of most vintage collectibles, collecting fruit crate labels started out randomly by people who were attracted to the beautiful art work used these labels. As fruit crate labels ceased to be used and the collectibility of these objects grew (i.e. they became more valuable) this hobby, like the hobbies of stamp and coin collecting, has also attracted professional collectors. These are people who collect for both investment and interest.

Fruit crate label collecting in its nature is also very similar to collecting record album covers. Both hobbies involve graphic art that was originally used as a marketing tool, but which over time became recognized for its artistic quality.

collectibles from the past    Camellia Fruit Crate Label     collectible    vintage collectibles

collectibles from the past    Boy Scouts Fruit Crate Label     collectible    vintage collectibles

collectibles from the past   Belle of Silver River Fruit Crate Label     collectible    vintage collectibles

collectibles from the past    California Orange Fruit Crate Label 2     collectible    vintage collectibles

Collecting Elongated Pennies

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Collecting Elongated Pennies

Collecting elongated coins, usually pennies or quarters, has become one of the hottest hobbies today. Elongated, or “pressed”, coins are coins that have been flattened, stretched or elongated and then embossed with a design that creates a commemorative token or souvenir. These are usually created by a machine at public attractions, such as zoos and theme parks.

An early method for creating an elongated penny was to leave a penny on a railroad track and when the train rolled over the penny the force of the train was sufficient to flatten and stretch it into an oval shape. Some of the early railroad flattened pennies were also hand engraved with various information such as the date or location. Historically, the commercial production of elongated coins date back to the 1800’s. One of the first places that elongated coins were sold was at the 1892-1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, also known as The Chicago World’s Fair.

The commercial process of creating elongated coins (also called “elongateds”) involves sending a coin or token through a machine called a jeweler’s mill. Mirror image designs are engraved into one or both of the steel rollers. A roller with a design engraved into it is called a “die”. When the coin is run between the rollers under tremendous pressure, (usually about 44,000 PSI and sometimes referred to as “22 tons of pressure”), the resulting coin is oval-shaped and now contains a design corresponding to the design on the die(s) in the mill. Some of these machines are hand operated, whereas others are fully automatic.

collectibles from the past    Elongated Penny Machine     collectible    vintage collectibles      elongated penny

In the United States, pennies are most commonly used in these vending machines, as they are thin and easy to emboss. . Less common are machines that press designs into quarters, dimes, or nickels. Most machines charge 50 cents, in addition to the coin rolled. It is best to use pennies minted before 1982 because pennies minted after 1981 contain a zinc core and will produce an elongated coin with zinc streaks.

The hobby of collecting elongated coins has expanded throughout the world. This is in part due to the wide-spread occurrence of the modern coin elongating machine. These can be found today at almost any national park, museum, landmark gift shop, souvenir store, zoo, or amusement park. Private engravers also make special-issue elongated coins to commemorate historical events, personal landmarks (such as a marriage or birth of a child), or other events warranting celebration. They also design elongated coins for private clubs and organizations. This creates a great number of interesting designs for a collect to include in a collection. One of the most popular designs is The Lord’s Prayer.

Collecting elongated coins is a branch of numismatics or coin collecting. Elongated coin souvenirs are a type of exonumia (i.e. numismatic items other than coins and paper money). Exonumia also includes souvenir medallions, tokens, badges, wooden nickels, encased coins and other similar items.

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Elongated pennies can also be used in various craft projects. The video below discusses a wonderful use of elongated pennies to make custom jewelry.

Collecting Baseball Cards

Baseball card collection

Vintage Babe Ruth Baseball Card

Vintage Babe Ruth Baseball Card

Willie Mays Baseball Card 1959 TOPPS baseball card collecting

Willie Mays 1959 Topps Baseball Card

Baseball Card Collecting - Mickey Mantle  Baseball Card 1959

Mickey Mantle 1959 Topps Baseball Card

Collecting baseball cards was once a kid’s hobby that nearly every american boy, and many girls, participated in. Those kids who watched their favorite baseball hero’s were always excited to collect the related baseball cards, as it created a connection for them to their heros. Thus this desire to be connected to their baseball heros was the main driver of this hobby.

Mickey Mantle Baseball card  Topps 1958

In time, some of those kids became adults and they continued to collect baseball cards and evidentually there was enough of a market that some cards became quite valuable. When baseball cards became valuable, investors began to collect baseball cards for investmnet purposes and then it was no longer just a kid’s hobby. Collecting baseball cards has now been elavated to the same level as stamp collecting and coin collecting, although still not quite as popular as the other two hobbies.

Roger Maris Baseball Card Topps 1958

Baseball cards were first created as premiums or free promotional gifts associated with the purchase of other products, most noteably, tobacco and chewing gum. The first baseball cards date back to the late 1800’s, but the modern era of baseball cards did not begin until the end of the 1940’s when baseball cards began to be produced after world war II. Topps was the driving company behind this hobby for the next four decades.

Vintage  Baseball Card Collecting

Once baseball card collecting became an adult hobby other companies entered the market and now the hobby card market is divided up by four or five card producig companies. The baseball card collector now has more choices and sources of acquiring baseball cards then ever before. In addition to the local retail channel for buying new baseball cards, there are now both on-line and local retail collectible stores that serve baseball card collectors, much like those that serve stamp and coin collectors.

Ted Williams Baseball card 1941
Reggie Jackson Baseball Card Topps 1969

Collecting Concert Ticket Stubs

Concert Ticket stub - Beatles 1966 Concert

Ticket stub - WOODSTOCK  Concert 2 tranps

Ticket stub - Led Zeppelin Concert 2

Concert ticket stubs, like a lot of entertainment memoribillia, have recently become more collectible. The popularity of collecting concert ticket stubs has grown in the recent years. This is especially true of rock and roll concert ticket stubs from the 1960s and 1970s. Like concert posters, rock and roll concert ticket stubs provide dated memoribillia related to a specific event and a specific musicians who were at the event. However, concert ticket stubs lack the graphic art that makes collecting concert posters and album covers so popular. When collected together (both concert posters and concert ticket stubs) they can make a very nice decorative collectible for displaying on the wall of your office or home.

Rolling Stones Concert Ticket

Bob Dylan Santana Concert Ticket 1984

Collecting Concert Posters


concert poster - Woodstock 1969




One of the most interesting collectibles is the concert poster.  At any given week end there are a number of concerts going on in the world so there are many concert posters that could be collected.   Orginally the concert poster was never met to be a collectible so most are destoryed by people or weather and this makes vintage concert posters more difficult to collect.  The other interesting aspect of collecting concert posters is the beautiful graphic designs that are found on many concert posters.


Cream   -  Concert Poster  - Eric Clapton - Ginger Baker  - Jack Bruce

Cream – Concert Poster