Tin Toys produced before World War II are some of the priciest toys out there today. This is due to the fact that pre-WWII tin toys were actually made from tin whereas the so-called 'tin' toys manufactured post-WWII were partially plastic.
The technique of chromolithography allowed these toys to be manufactured with multicolor illustrations. These illustrations were printed on flat tin plates that were then molded into toys. Circa 1920 toy production began to change allowing American toy manufacturers to produce inexpensive tin toys to compete with the more expensive European toys.
Part of this was due to the fact that the American toy manufacturers based their toys on characters and celebrities that were popular at that time. For example, Popeye, comic strip characters, Disney characters, etc. Some of the more notable manufacturers of mechanical tin were Marx, Chein, Lehman and Strauss, Courtland, Girard, Ohio Art, Schucco, Unique Art and Wolverine. It was not uncommon for these manufacturers to work together.
When shopping for tin toys it is well to remember... the better the condition, the higher the value. Finding a tin toy with its original box is the best value for your purchase. It should also be noted, that tin robots are the premium choice for collectors and are extremely hard to fin.
By David Moncrief
Looking for additional information on Tin Toys? Check out the Tin Toy Price Guides on Amazon.