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    Auction Finds

    Favorite childhood toys at auction

    I was listening to my local radio station recently when the female host asked listeners to call in with their favorite childhood toy. With this being the Christmas season and toys being at the core of it, she got some very excited and nostalgic replies.

    Easy Bake Oven – “You probably can’t find one now,” the host told a caller.  

    Slinky – “You remember when the coil would get tangled,” she said.

    Big Wheel. Green Machine (the host wasn’t too familiar with this one, but one caller explained that it was an upgraded Big Wheel).

    That playful interchange made me curious about how many of these items I could find at auction. It also got me to thinking about my own favorite toy. I’m of the Baby Boomer generation, and the word is that we’ve become pretty nostalgic for our childhoods, so much so that we are big on collecting those relics of our past and much more.

    toyhopscotch250

    But I couldn’t think of a single toy I loved, though, until I started talking to a friend about it. Then I remembered that my favorite pastime was not a toy but a game. I recall getting up every morning in the summer and joining my cousins in a game of hopscotch. We’d draw the board in our grandparents’ large back yard, with its old towering pecan and nut trees. These were clear summer mornings, with the air crisp and clear and a beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds.

    In Savannah, my friend drew her hopscotch squares on the sidewalk with chalk. I grew up in a rural area outside Macon, GA, so we took a stick and drew them in the dirt. Every time someone stepped on a number, it had to be re-written, but that didn’t bother us. It was the only way we knew how to play the game.  

    toygun
    I finally came up with some toys from my childhood – some I played with, others were favorites of my cousins: Hula Hoop, jacks and ball, cap gun (for the boys), doll, Crayola crayons (not necessarily a toy, but a childhood staple), rocking horse, jump rope, marbles.

    This week, I searched for these toys and others at auction and actually found a few. Pic-up Stix (my friend played with this game, but I had never heard of it). A play gun. Matchbook cars. An old rusty child’s race car. Dolls. Child’s dinnerware set. Pop gun with a cork. My auction buddy Janet didn’t fancy toys but was into Nancy Drew mysteries. Those I didn’t find.

    toyslinkyOne of the most popular toys I found was a Slinky still in its original box. Interestingly, a collection of Slinkys was auctioned off in western Pennsylvania last summer, along with the home of Betty James (scroll down on that page to see the video), whose husband invented the toy. In the 1940s, he founded the company that made Slinkys, but left it and his family in 1960. Betty James took over and ran it until it was sold in 1998.

    Although her husband invented the toy she gave it its name. She was thumbing through a dictionary in 1944 and put her finger on the word Slinky because she felt it defined the style, movement and sound of the toy. By the time she died in 2008, more than 300 million Slinkys had been sold. At the auction, various lots of the toys sold for $40 to $120.

    With all of this talk about toys, I got to wondering what were the most popular toys when I was a child in the 1950s and 1960s. Here’s what I found:

    1950s:
    Barbie
    toymatchboxPlay-Doh
    Tonka trucks
    Matchbox cars
    Hula Hoop
    Mr. Potato Head
    Slinky
    Ant Farm

    1960s:
    Easy Bake Oven
    Big Wheel
    Operation
    Etch-a-sketch
    GI Joe

    What was your favorite toy?

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    1 Comment

    1. Favorite toys Battling Tops (recently re released after i searched for years), Tipit, Sizzlers, Matchbox orange racetrack i had couple hundred feet of, etc.

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