During an appraisal event recently, I got a chance to see something very special in the vintage toy category – an old Buddy L toy Cement Mixer. It was very rusty and dirty, so it took me a few minutes to find the labels on the piece to help identify it. The lady who brought the piece in had no idea what it was and said it had been out in the yard and then moved into her garage for a number of years. Little did she know what a buried treasure she had found!
Fred A. Lundahl owned Moline Pressed Steel Co. in the early 1900’s. The company was in the automobile parts business, but started making metal toys in 1921. He made toys for his son out of scrap metal and turned that into a business. They made pull toys, small trucks and other work vehicles, and large vehicles children could ride. Buddy L was considered a pioneer in the steel toy field and held contracts with Marshall Fields and F. A. O. Schwarz. The company was sold during the depression.
Earlier toys are generally higher quality and built to last. They are very desired by collectors and can bring a high price. The toys made later are still valued and sought after. Values depend upon rarity and condition. Even though this lady’s toy was in very rusty condition, it is still collectible and very valuable. I encouraged her to clean up some of the dirt and dust, but to be very careful about any other restoration of the toy. NEVER try to repaint an old metal toy (or wooden toys). It may look prettier, but it will destroy the value. I felt quite confident her toy was made prior to the sale of the toy line, which was in the 1930’s, dating her piece to the 1920’s. I appraised the piece to be around $700. Needless, to say, I recommended she find a better place to store the toy from now on!
Any old toy, especially made prior to 1900, is collectible. Always try to keep its original condition and labeling. If there is a box, make sure to keep the box and the toy together. That will increase its value. Early cast iron banks, cap guns, horse drawn carriages, pull toys, tools, figures, trains, and animals are sought after collectibles. If you are seeking to buy these items, just be careful of reproductions. Most toys of age will have a certain patina, show signs of wear, have older construction methods, and older types of paints that cannot be used today (lead).
We happen to have a Buddy L toy truck listed for sale on https://collectiblesclearinghouse.com/collections/toys/products/1940-buddy-l-metal-toy-baggage-truck
For those interested in learning more about Buddy L toys, they have a museum. Here is the link to their website: http://www.buddylmuseum.com/
If you have collectibles you would like to consign with Seasoned Life Transitions, please contact us. There is a contact link on the blog or you can email us from our website: www.seasonedlifetransitions.com . You can call our toll free number 866-653-9669.