April 11, 2008

Not So "Grail-like" After All

Well, it doesn't seem so awesome after all......These pics, found on dinosaurcollector.com, show the contents, but I am significantly underwhelmed. Maybe our enthusiastic Ebay seller got it wrong and the rumours I heard of the amazing detail were also wrong. He might have been thinking of the Flintstones Bedrock Express as the "best" playset. I'll look into it.

The Holy Grail of Marx Playsets?

A very very enthusiastic seller on Ebay has for auction something that would get all serious Marx collectors foaming at the mouth: an unopened Flintstones Hunting Party playset. I've tried doing research on why this set is so sought-after, but all I know is that not that many were made and it is the most detailed set of anything Marx did. I'm trying to find pictures of the items themselves, but even those seem to be rare.

Here are some excerpts from
the Ebay listing. "Richard Koch, a well known collector, said that this set was a "seldom seen, large scale playset that topped the Marx list". "It came in a great litho box with artwork that makes the set extremely desirable not only for playset enthusiasts, but to Hanna-Barbera character collectors as well. The figures of Fred and Barney (the only character figures that come in the set), are grey soft plastic and stand 3"tall; the three prehistoric animals are in a matching scale and are in cream and light brown. Palm trees also came with this particular set." FROM THE COLLECTION OF A SOLDIER/PLAYSET COLLECTOR WHO PASSED AWAY!!." Guess he never got the chance to open it.

Looking forward to seeing how high it sells for......

March 25, 2008

Going, going, gone for $853

What originally sold for less than $10 when released, this Ben Hur playset was just sold on Ebay for $853. In my opinion, this is the most detailed of all the sets Marx released, showing the company at its creative peak (therefore, the high auction prices). When the playset is displayed, it is quite captivating (see pics below from playsetaddict.com- who I hope to interview one day soon)

March 24, 2008

The Flintstones Playset

Here are some great pictures of the Flintstones playset. The person selling it on Ebay really went through a lot of trouble to show the set in detail. Apparently, one of the hard-to-find pieces of this set are the green antennas that go atop the houses. I guess they were easy to lose when kids played with them. You can buy recast antennas from the same mold, and these will be in blue. Vintage ones are always green (as are the rest of the signage, stools, and cart). Fred's car broke easily, so there is a high-priced market for one of those in good condition.

March 21, 2008

The Presidents

In an "oh my God" moment I came across this old display for the Marx Presidents while perusing a great reference site for Marx Disneykins. What an amazing display! (I certainly would never have had the patience to paint those figures when I was a kid). There is an article here about how this set came to be. From the Flubber Gallery- All photographs by Abby Weissman

David Levinthal- Small Wonders

One of the haunting photographs of David Levinthal, from his collection The Wild West 1837-1889. Another book of his, entitled Small Wonder: Worlds in a Box was published by the National Museum of American Art in 1995. Here is the archived description of the original Smithsonian show. You can read how he was influenced by Marx playsets.

What This Country Needs is a Good $ensible Line of Playsets!

Doesn't the ad title just say everything? From the 70's, and found here at toyadz.com

Farm Sets

A great site to buy hard-to-find figures and accessories for playsets is toysoldierhq.com. I visit regularly and pick one or two items to add, and get sad when the thing I really want is out of stock. The site is a bit hard to navigate, but here is the link to the main Marx page of items for sale.

The following pics are from that site, but were shared by Tom Loback to show how some of the odd accessories were assembled with the barns.

March 15, 2008

More Restoration

Here is a stunning example of restoration work done to Marx trucks by Remember When Restorations. The difference in the condition between the before and after is amazing. Be sure to read the "Anatomy of a Restoration."

Box Restoration for Playsets

I thought this was very interesting: a two-person company (Anthony Restorations) that restores old toy boxes, book covers, and more. Most of the work is actually hand-painted, so these are not done with computer graphics.

Mystery Space Ship

One of my favorites to look at is the Mystery Space Ship gyroscope set. Great graphics on the box. Here's a description from a place that had it for sale:

item: Mystery Space Ship; Marx,1962.
description: One of my favorite space toys, bar none. "As seen on TV", the "Gyro-Powered" space ship is an absolute wonder and does everything that it claims to. This played with set is complete with all parts (instructions are somewhat rough) and a very displayable box. This is a must-have for any space toy collection...don't miss it!

March 13, 2008

Super Siamese from Super Circus

This beautiful photo, found on Flickr, shows the Siamese Twins, who were unfortunately relagated to the sideshow at the Marx Super Circus.

March 12, 2008

Fighting Knights

From the JC Penney catalog from 1970 (found here). Includes the Fighting Knights Carry-All.

The Old Marx Factory

From Flickr: "The only reminder that Marx Toy Plant even existed in Glen Dale, WV. There is a Museum in Moundsville dedicated to Marx. If you remember John & Jane West & Twiggy dolls, Mr. Marvel the jumping horse, little army soldiers & calvary soldiers, they were all made at this factory. Many of the Mattel toys were. "


Some of the photos used in this blog banner are from the superb Marx Flickr collection of a guy named "Marxchivist". Lots of great detail, color, and a sense of fun. This photo is of the Modern Farm Set, put out in the 195o's.

Operation Moonbase

A picture of the set from the 1962 Sears Christmas Catalog.

March 11, 2008

Miss Kitty Lost Her Head

This is strange: Miss Kitty has been decapitated but shows minimal wear?? From Ebay: YOU ARE BIDDING ON A VINTAGE MARX PLAYSET VINTAGE GUNSMOKE MISS KITTY MISSING HEAD FIGURE IN NICE CONDITION WITH MINIMAL WEAR. For $75 I'd hate to see what maximum wear looks like.

With her head - but no umbrella- she's worth $20 more.

March 9, 2008

The Rarest Playset?

I take this collectors word for it that this is the rarest tin building Marx made for a playset, and one of the rarest playsets ever: The Alaskan Trading Post. With his Buy It Now price of $699 I assume he knows what he's talking about. I only wish he had better photos to document this set that is apparently so rare.

Playset bags

These are something serious collectors search for to fully complete a set (and hence, a more valuable toy): the paper bags that accessories came in. These 1960's Western playset bags are listed on Ebay with a $19.95 Buy It Now price.

March 7, 2008

Operation Moon Base - 1962

I love the graphics of this box- especially the contents list. Beautiful. Notice on the list that it includes "exploding terrain". Very cool. There are more pics of this (sold) set at "Time Warp Toys".