1943 "Acme Super Markets" Play Store in Original Envelope


This gigantic Acme Super Market play store set was originally sold at the height of WWII when rationing and recycling were a crucial way of life. Metals were vital; so except for a metal button pin every piece was made from laminated cardboard or paper. The De Lux Game Corporation in Brooklyn, N.Y. produced it for nine different U.S. grocery chains including Acme, A&P, Grand Union, and others. It was available only from the company whose store was represented.

The building was printed with the logo from the super market where it was purchased. However in each instance the same generic illustrated paper envelope it was sold in was used. 

At a suggested retail price of 50¢ the fold out three dimensional brick store came without any accessories. Everything had to be separately ordered by mailing in labels from twelve specified products along with coupons supplied with the set. In this way every accessory you see below was obtained. The set below is complete so all twelve products were purchased and all twelve coupons were mailed. It appears that despite it's completeness it was played with very little. Over the years out of the four or five I've found it's the only complete example I've seen. 

It comes with its original store envelope and original linoleum designed flooring. Both are nothing more than paper, and although fragile, brittle and torn they're still with the set. 

The toy is an exact miniature of a typical 1940's super market chain store building. The facade has two die cut windows and doors that open and close. Interior and exterior walls were lithoed with bricks, signs, windows, products, and people. Lots of people! 

Kiddies populated their store (once they redeemed their coupons) with store signs and free standing die cut cardboard product aisle racks. These could be placed inside and on top of the building giving it a three dimensional diorama effect. This set has its original triple sided store ACME logo (which should actually be placed at the corner of the building rather than in center like I photographed it) and both horizontal "Play Store" emblems. The emblems keep the sides of the store from bending in.  

The largest interior stand-up is a 10" wide grocery check-out line. It has two lanes staffed with clerks. Customers wait while others have already paid. Some, like the lady in a green dress off to the right near the cash register look a little bit anxious. Notice that, once paid, groceries are packed into boxes not sacks. 

There are also five fold-up free standing product die-cut "aisles" with customers and products. Each is double sided and measures 4¼" x 4½". They show all sorts of stuff like Ritz Crackers, Fig Newtons, Maxwell House coffee, Bird's Eye Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice (yum!), Kraft Miracle Whip, Swift's Meats for Babies, Jello, Log Cabin syrup (when it was in little metal log cabin's), G-E Light Bulbs, and Brach's Candies. All in 1940 period packaging.

As with any play store you need play products. 62 flat, die cut cardboard products are included (again in 1940's packaging). This includes Swift's Premium Ham, braunschweiger liver sausage, Kraft French dressing, Sargeant's Skip-Flea dog soap, Nabisco Animal Crackers, Bird's-Eye Frozen Corn, and Swift's Cheese Food among other delicacies. They're all shown below.

Of course, in order to buy these products you needed money. So cut-out play bills and cardboard coins were used. Included in this set are 23 bills from 1's through 20's, and 34 coins from pennies to half dollars. To hold all this loot the original owner added two of their own 1940's cloth change purses with metal snaps. 

And lastly, and most importantly, every play store needs a play store manager. Separately obtained (like everything else) was a 1-5/8" diameter metal button pin with "Acme Store Manager" lithoed on it. It's still with the set.

Size: Unfolded 24" x 20" x 12". 

Sold: May 2006

Price Sold: $ 262


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Subject: 1943 "Acme Super Markets" Play Store in Original Envelope

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