German Tin Toy Omnibus

An interesting and rare toy turned up in the saleroom recently. A plain old brown cardboard box that, at first glance, did not seem likely to cause any great excitement. The box was opened to reveal a tin omnibus pulled by a pair of wooden horses


An interesting and rare toy turned up in the saleroom recently. A plain old brown cardboard box that, at first glance, did not seem likely to cause any great excitement. The box was opened to reveal a tin omnibus pulled by a pair of wooden horses. Despite careful packing, the horses and figures had suffered over the years with detached and missing limbs.

Not immediately recognisable, with none of the usual maker’s marks, a label on the lid of the box provided a clue to the toy's history. It had been posted in 1901 by a French lady in Manchester to a young Miss Wright in Biggleswade. One can imagine her joy at receiving this present, perhaps for her birthday? Intriguingly the box was inscribed ‘Not to be opened’! It would have been an immaculate and brightly painted representation of a modern omnibus of the time.
The handwritten date showed that this toy was earlier than the many later lithographed toys made by the German and British companies in the early 20th century. A higher degree of craftsmanship was involved in making this, including the carving of the horses and the driver and the painting of the tin body and coach lined wheels.

Distler, Carette, Bing and Gunthermann were all German toy makers of the time and it could be attributed to any of these. These companies would have exported their wares to the UK, but they would have been an expensive luxury! The painted destinations on the sides refer to wealthy areas of London, including Chelsea and Sloane Street. This perhaps was to target residents of those areas, although the locations of the sender and recipient do not back up this theory!

It will be entered for our next Country House Sale on 27 June, with an estimate of £600-800.

 

 


 

Recent News

 

Sworders Announces Young Lives vs Cancer as its ‘Charity of the Year’

Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers is proud to announce its partnership with Young Lives vs Cancer, naming it our 'Charity of the Year' for 2024. This remarkable organisation provides vital support and resources to help children and young people (0-25), along with their families, find strength during the challenges of diagnosis and treatment.

13 June 2024

Exploring Portrait Miniatures | Art, History and Collectability

Portrait miniatures are an exquisite art form that captures the essence of individuals on a small scale. These tiny yet intricate paintings were particularly popular from the 16th to the 19th centuries, serving as personal mementos, tokens of affection, and symbols of social status. Often created using watercolours on vellum, ivory, or enamel, portrait miniatures required exceptional skill and precision from their artists.

13 June 2024

Opalescent Wonders | Exploring the Glass Creations of René Lalique

Senior Valuer & Glass Specialist, Alex Froggatt offers an insight into the life and work of renowned French jeweller, medallist, and glass designer, Rene Lalique. 

11 June 2024

 


 

Get Sworders News