Toys of Yesterday and Today


Posted 8 years, 12 months ago at 5:39 pm. 7 comments


Tin Toys – Tin Lithograph – were produced when flat sheets of metal were lithographed with colors such that when the parts were cut out and put together with bendable tabs – you had a toy.  Some of the earliest toys can date back as far back as the 1880’s

These toys could be cars, space guns, buildings, Halloween noise makers – just about anything could be fashioned from metal.

While Germany led the way making tin toys, after World War II Japan moved into the lead and more or less controlled the market.  (See Battery-Op Page).  The popularity of tin toys continued until the tin toy market was effected by demand and safety concerns.  Japan had drastically been cut.  Although China has taken on the production of tin toys today they do not demand the respect of the older Japanese tin lithograph toys which are far superior in quality and highly sought by toy collectors

By the 1970’s tin toy production by


7 Replies

  1. We have just lost our Mother and have found an old 40’s Tin Wind up Tank with E12 on it. It is in remarkable condition. Still works. Is it worth anything? Would appreciate some knowledge on it and a wooden train set most probably from the 40’s also. We need to know whether to store it more carefully or get rid of it! Thanks for all of your help. Mary Thomas

  2. Mary, Yes your tank is absolutely worth keeping and taking care of – I would need to see a picture of the train in order to give you an opinion about that. Send a picture if you can. Thank you, David, TTM

  3. jason mccaw Aug 31st 2012

    tonight i came accross a marx friction tin fire truck has f.d on the sides in the front and no.125 on the sides in the back just wondering if it would be worth anything

  4. Will send email – David

  5. Sounds like you made quite a find! My favorite reference book/price guide for these cars is O'Brien's Collecting Toy Cars & Trucks, Identification and Value Guide, 4th Edition

  6. I just acquired a humble no 1. battery operated oil pump rig. it is in very good condition and works great, was wondering if you would be interested in buying it. thanks, george

  7. Thanks for the offer, however, not buying any new inventory.

Leave a Reply