Toys of Yesterday and Today


Posted 8 years, 12 months ago at 5:34 pm. 9 comments


The creation of battery-operated toys took tin toys to a new level.  As a means to create a different type of toy operation beyond the traditional ‘wind-up motor’ and ‘fly wheel’, manufacturer’s sought to create a new market.  As such the ‘battery-op’ toy was born.   As much as 95% of these toys were made in Japan during the 1940’s – 1960’s, although some were distributed by American companies.


The Japanese designers used this new technology to create toys capable of up to 8 actions at one time.  These toys were an instant success – especially in the United States – and kept Japan in the top manufacturing position for the next 30+ years.  Not only was their goal to produce mass quantities but also to maintain a high level of quality with the emphasis on details.


From the stand point of being visually entertaining, nothing can compare with the battery operated toy.  Remember, the more actions a toy performs, the more collectible.  And while rarity is important, first and always consider condition.


9 Replies

  1. I have a 1940-50s Alps battery operated train set–it is MIB with great graphics the title on the box reads “Electric Crossover Train Set” it has an engine, coal car (gasoline), & caboose I looking for year and approx value. Thanks Rick

  2. Rick,
    Could not find the exact box name, but did find a toy with the name Electro-Train Transcontinental made in the 1950’s (Mfg by M Co.), 3-pieces, 20-1/2″ long. Sorry no picture was available. The MIB price would be in the $175-190 range. Found this information in my O’Brien’s Collecting Toys 12th Ed. reference book. May be a good comparison. Thanks, David

  3. Thanks David!!

  4. i got a 1940 ford tin car that is battery op and has lights that work smokes out the radiator cap when u put oil in it and it moves forward itself. i would like to know how much it is worth.

  5. Can you send a picture of this toy to me at texascv@gmail.com. That would better help me to identify it. Thanks, David

  6. DGM,
    I have a T.N. Co Mystery Car and one of the red lights on one of the back fenders does not blink on & off anymore, do you know where I can get a replacement 3 vt. red bulb ?
    Thank you,

  7. Jerry Cooper Jun 24th 2010

    I had a Charlie Weaver Bartender and Mr. Magoo’s Car when I was a kid. Too busy to answer this, OK, but what might they go for today? I saw a Charlie the other day for $75.00.

  8. charles griffin Jul 20th 2010

    i have a toy very similar to the Batop at the beggining of your webpage. it is a bartender that was produced in Japan and wondered the value of such a toy.

  9. Book value for the bartender is $100 (MIB)

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