Vintage Tin Toys

What is it about tin toys? We don’t know a single person who is not fascinated by them. To be accurate we are talking tin lithograph toys, fashioned and shaped from cut tinplate and then coloured through chromolithography. The toys are mechanical in that they usually move, through applying pressure or winding and releasing a clockwork function. In the UK vintage British, German, Japanese and American tin toys are much collected. Our own collection features frogs, motorcycles and fairground rides and we strive to bring vintage and retro tin toys of quality to Moody Mabel just for you.

Tin Toy FAQs
Tin Toy FAQs

Q: Who invented tinplate toys? 

Generally, Germany is regarded as the home of this type of toy, following the invention of sheet metal stamping machines in 1815, and later tab-folding and spring activation.

Q: Which countries are regarded as the top producers? 

Lehman’s in Germany were the historical top producers in this market, but as the popularity of the toys grew, manufacturers in France and England (Chad Valley) grew rapidly. From the 1920s onwards the Marx company in the USA produced toys of great quality and then Japan became a top producer. Tin toy production was largely halted everywhere during WW2 as factories were repurposed for munitions and scarce resources were saved for war efforts. Currently, China is the main world producer.

Q: Are retro tin toys collectable? 

As with most things, collectability is often dependent on scarcity and condition. A major bonus for collectors is if the vintage toy is in its original box. Wind-up models are particularly loved and we have found that kitchen and children’s toys are becoming increasingly popular. An iconic Robbie the Robot toy from the character in Lost in Space can sell for thousands of pounds for example.

We have some excellent condition items in our Vintage Tin Toys collection. It's part of our broader collection of retro toys and games - why not come and have a look around this section of our store?