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Tin has been a favorite metal of toy makers since at least the middle of the 19th century. It is lightweight, easy to work with, and inexpensive, but it can withstand the stress of constant play by children. These days, vintage and antique tin toys demand top dollar because of their craftsmanship and high-quality paint and details. Many times, popular vintage toys have reproductions made to honor what was once considered a great toy; however, when collecting such treasures, reproductions do not fetch the same kind of price as originals do. They merely serve as a tribute to remember what was once a great toy.

Adventures in Tin Town

There were a variety of tin toys made throughout history. Several of these toys were made as vehicles for children to play with, including streetcars, locomotives and their tracks, aircraft (including airplanes and biplanes), spaceships, and cars. Other vintage and antique tin toys were based on well-known characters throughout history or even on people that children looked up to. Some famous characters included Mickey Mouse, Santa, carnival-inspired characters, fireman and policeman, and serviceman. There was also a wide range of animals made into tin toys including ducks, elephants, horses, and dogs. Other tin toys included simple games used to entertain children, while other toys included popping guns and simple weaponry for young children to reenact the Wild West.

The Masters at Tin Cup

Marx was the largest toy manufacturer in the world, and among his most successful products were wind-up Disney characters. His Merry Makers mouse band featured a quartet of tuxedoed mice, none of which resembled Mickey. Hubley was another popular toy manufacturer that produced several tin toys for children. Other brands that manufactured tin toys included Bandai, Wyandotte, Tonka, Schylling, Mattel, Ohio Art, Disney, Buddy L, and Tootsie Toy. Brands like Schylling reproduce many of their old toys as classic toy series so that adults can relive their own childhood and pass their love of simple tin toys onto their children.

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