Toys of Yesterday and Today

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Scales: Trains to Cars

traincarscaleToys come in a variety of sizes from small, i.e.,, micro to very large, i.e., ‘model’ trains that are for the outdoors.   Therefore, when looking to buy a toy consider the age of the child you are buying for and the intended purpose.  Is the gift going to be meant as a plaything or to be set on a shelf as a collectible?

If the child is very young, look for toys that they cannot put into their mouths and does not have small parts that might be broken off.  If the child is older, some of the highly collectible items, such as Hot Wheels, NASCAR and train sets can offer both play time, collectability and come in a variety of scales.  When talking about scale, we are talking about the measure of the size of the  toy item vs. the size of the original it is based on.  You may remember from math class this can also be the ratio.


Various train sizes range from those large enough to be ridden to those that you often see set up as models. Often times, in addition to an elaborate track layout, you’ll find landscaping, cars, people and animals included.  Train scale is measured not so much by the size of the train itself (engine, cars, etc.) but rather by the size of the track or gauge.  Some of the most popular gauge or scale measurements are:  [1]


  • G – often referred to as ‘Garden Scale’ as it is large.  Scale can range from 1:22.5 to 1:29.  A typical 40′  box car would be 17.25″ L  x 4.50″ W x 6.50″ H.
  • O – most common and what we typicall think of; like Lionel.  Scale is 1:48.  A typical 40′ box car would be  10.50″ L x 2.50″ W x 3.75″ H.
  • HO  –  most popular.  Scale is 1:87.1.  A typical 40′ box car would be 5.75″ L x 1.50″ W x 2.00″ H.

Other scales used for model trains are S (1:64), TT (1:120), N (1:160), Z (1:220),  OO (1:76.2), 1 Scale (1:32), and T (1:450).[2]


To see a selection of train sets on Amazon, visit this link.

Die Cast

The size for these cars is based on the size of the actual car, truck or other vehicle.  The most popular size used by Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightening is the 1:64 scale.  A good rule-of-thumb for determining the difference in the sizes is:  [3]

  • 1:12 scale = 14″ – 16 ” in length –  Highly detailed, often featuring motorcycles.
  • 1:18 scale = 8″ – 11″ in length  –  Detailed model targeting the adult collector market.
  • 1:24 scale = 5″ – 8″ in length  –  Favored scale for model kits; also used by Franklin Mint.
  • 1:43 scale = 3″ – 5″ in length  – Most popular around the world and used by Dinky.

Other popular scale sizes are:

  • 1:32  – used by Ertl and Britians
  • 1:64 – used by Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightening.
  • 1:87 – used by Herps, popular due to their compatibility with HO trains.

To see a selection of diecast cars on Amazon, visit this link.


Slot Cars

Seemingly a cross between die-cast and trains by making use of a track are slot cars.   These scaled down cars make use of actual car bodies that have been tailored for racing.[4]  Raced on a ‘slotted track’ these cars are controlled by a hand-held controller.  Might add that new digital technology now has it where these cars can not only change lanes but share lanes.  Similar to other scales, you’ll find slot cars in the following:

  • 1: 24 – larger size so they are typically run on commercial or club tracks.
  • 1:32 – most common home ‘friendly’ size; also popular at clubs and hobby shops.
  • HO (1:87 – 1:64) – originally designed for train layouts; size may vary due to need for larger motor.

These cars have also been produced in 1:48 (1960’s)  as well as 1:43 scale (2007 – today) although it would appear there is little ‘organized’ racing.

Scale can be used to fine a toy, based on individual desire or purpose.  However, shopping for a gift  should simply  be based on the person it is intended for and if it is to be played with or collected.

To see a selection of slot cars on Amazon, visit this link.

Happy Shopping!





[1] http://www.trainsetsonly.com/page/TSO/CTGY/Scales

[2]  https://support.modeltrainstuff.com/hc/en-us/articles/202970203-What-are-the-different-Gauges-and-Scales-What-do-they-mean-

[3]  http://www.mintmodels.com/scalesize.aspx

[4]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slot_car


Posted 2 years, 2 months ago at 8:50 pm.

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11 Tips on Selling Your Collection


Our website – TexasAntiqueMall.com – gets a lot of emails from people want to sell their toys – sometimes single items, sometimes collections. Most of the time information is very limited. I’ve put together the following list to help you put information together if you are planning on trying to sell something either via email or directly to an individual. Having the answers to these questions will make the process easier for both you and the potential buyer.


  1. 1. Know name of manufacturer
  2. 2. Have information on any maker’s marks or numbers
  3. 3. Have the dimensions (width, length, depth, diameter, etc.)
  4. 4. Take some good digital picture(s), preferably not to exceed 600×450 pixels in size
  5. 5. Have a brief description including condition
  6. 6. Say if the box available? If so, what is the condition.
  7. 7. List all parts. If the item has working parts, are they working?
  8. 8. Disclose if there are any parts missing?
  9. 9. Include any other information that will help the buyer make a decision to purchase (provenance)
  10. 10. Include the price you want – don’t expect people to make offers
  11. 11. If you’re selling a collection, have a list and price in mind that you want for the whole collection

Following these ‘tips’ should make selling your collection or item much easier. 



Posted 6 years, 12 months ago at 8:08 pm.

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Barclay-Train Engine Number 335


Barclay was the largest manufacturer of lead-alloy vehicles in the 1930s and to the mid-1940s.

The Barclay name was derived from the street name “Barclay Street” which was in West Hoboken, New Jersey.

The first production of Barclay toys was thought to be in 1924, although some say 1923 is correct. The company that produced Barclay toys was founded by the partners – Leon Donze (1895-1950) and Michael Levy (1895-1964).

From it’s beginning over a short period of time, Michael Levy took control of the company and proceeded to develop it into a major toy manufacturer facility. In fact, he was so successful that at one time the company had 400 employees.

Unfortunately, during World War II they fell on tough times which resulted in their being forced to lay off the majority of their employees. They struggled to stay open by hiring sub-contractors, but they were never able to get back to the pre-war success they enjoyed and eventually closed shop in 1971 .

The Barclay Train Engine Number # 335 shown in the picture above (2 -1/2 inches) is a very good example of the type of toy’s that they produce,

Some of its features were:

  • Molded metal
  • Black plastic wheels
  • Straight axles front and rear
  • Made in USA
  • Model number embossed inside of toy
  • Hitch for additional cars to be attached
  • Painted

Barclay made many different vehicles, including many sets of trains, cars, transporters, etc. In spite of this, it is very difficult to find any of these complete sets in mint condition with the original packaging today. However, you can still find single toys that because of their size make a wonderful display in a diorama or display case.

Typically values for individual toys range from $10-50 while some of the sets can go for $100’s of dollars.  For a more values, the identification and value guide by O’Brien –  “Collecting Toy Cars & Trucks” –  is available through Amazon.com (see Amazon widget left sidebar, page 2)




Posted 7 years, 7 months ago at 8:34 pm.

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