Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Collecting -- and collecting information 25

Sometimes it's good to pause and take stock. When I started the "Collecting -- and collecting information" series, I knew virtually nothing about the subject of low-end Japanese tin toy cars. Yes, it's an extremely tightly-focused subject, but the subject wasn't really the point.

I wanted to see what I could discover about this under-documented aspect of postwar toy manufacturing from primary sources. Like many trips, the adventure's in the journey. I ran across the item shown above recently. I was surprised at how much I knew about it.

Original packaging is always helpful. I was familiar with the importer, Cragstan, and knew they worked with a variety of Japanese toy firms. In this case, the supplier seems to be Ichimura. I recognize those road signs.

Perhaps because I most recently wrote about the Toy Merchandising Corp. of New York, I was sensitive to proper markings for imported items. No problem -- Cragstan played by the rules. The package is clearly marked "Made in Japan."

Mystery solved. In this photo are two roadway sets made
by Ichimura, and imported by Cragstan. 
And this package also yielded some information. In collecting information 16, I was wondering if the collection of cars and signs I purchased were originally part of a set. Now that I've seen the packaging for this set, I'm pretty sure I actually have two sets. And I wouldn't be surprised to discover they were also offered by Cragstan.

One had the same assortment of signs as the Cragstan Racing Car set: Keep Right, RR Crossing, and Speed Limit 50. It had three cars, one red, one blue, and one green. The second set had the same three cars, but a slightly different sign assortment, with Stop Ahead replacing the Speed Limit 50 sign.

Why the variation? Probably just expediency. These were low-margin toys, and I'm sure the only rule for assembly was three different car colors, and three different signs per package.

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