Thursday, August 09, 2012

Collecting -- and collecting information 2

As I mentioned in the first post of this series, I've been volunteered by my father to give a talk about Japanese tin toy cars of the late 1950's - early 1960's for his toy car collector's club. Why? Not because I'm an expert, but primarily because we still have most of the Japanese tin toy cars he bought for me as a kid. Since he has the material to display (and has to provide a program for the meeting), he thought it only natural that I should share my knowledge about them with the group. Except that I don't really have any.

Lots of pretty pictures, but not much information. Unless
you look closely at the boxes, that is.
Well, make that didn't really have any. Since that first post I've been doing research about the topic, and have learned quite a bit.

One thing I've found out is that the Internet has its limits. I've found an site that lists Japanese toy manufacturers of the postwar era, and that's been helpful. And there are a few interview with some collectors, but that's about it. There's not a lot of posted about the subject -- most of the information I've gathered has been inferential or garnered from passing references.

For example: I purchased a book about Japanese tin toy cars that I hoped would give me a basic overview. Nope. It was a showcase of the top-of-the-line, most desirable vehicles -- none of which I have. However, all the cars were pictured with their original boxes (for Japanese toys, the box can represent over half the value of the item).

The book included a few of Bandai's "Automobiles of the World" series -- just the rarest of the over 100 models offered, of course. But by carefully examining the printed lists on the boxes, I believe that the Bandai Mercedes Benz I have was part of that series. I don't have the original box, but the car is the right size, and the same proportions as the rare color variations shown in the book.

I don't have this model, but I do own a variant of it, so
the information on the box is very helpful.
I've also been looking carefully at eBay listings. I don't really trust the posts, but I do look at the box art (when shown). Note this listing of an antique car with its box. I don't have this model, but I do have the convertible version -- same color, same styling. So even though there's no markings on my car, and the box is missing, it's obviously an "Old-Timer Car" from Shioji & Co. Ltd.

Who was Shioji, what else did they make and how long were they in business? I have no idea.

I'll keep digging, but I'm hoping this presentation doesn't include a Q&A afterwards!

Collecting -- and collecting information

No comments:

Post a Comment