c.1925 Marx, Red The Iceman in Original Box

c.1925 Marx, Red The Iceman in Original Box

Very little is known about Louis Marx' earliest and most difficult to find mechanical tin litho walker toy, Red The Iceman. For years it's been considered one of the rarest of all pre-Depression era toys. Maxine Pinksy's "Guide to Marx Toys, Volume I" references it only briefly as "the Iceman". The shortened name was taken from a 1984 Lloyd Ralston auction catalog. The name was "created" because no box had been found for the toy and it had no identifying text. In fact, it's also one of the very few Marx toys which does not carry a Marx logo. 

It was produced prior to the Marx' Hey, Hey, da' Chicken Snatcher which was patented in 1926. The Chicken Snatcher has the Marx logo on the shoe soles. Yet the similarity to Ferdinand Strauss' 1924 Boob McNutt and Tom Twist is unmistakable. Although all of these toys are tough to find, especially in good condition, Red The Iceman tops them all in terms of rarity. Most likely the fact that it's patent was still pending, and its nearly identical competitor design were responsible for its early demise and subsequent scarcity. It's my opinion that Marx wouldn't include their logo on toys in which they were not yet granted patent (i.e., they weren't "completely" his own). Marx' "Wonder Cyclist" and Unique Art Mfg. "Kiddie Cyclist" is another example of this assumption.  

This incredible example is in excellent+ to near mint condition and is only the third such toy I've seen in 30 years. It comes complete with its extraordinary, original box in excellent to excellent+ condition. It's the first time I've seen the box for the toy.

Red is complete with original arms, ice tongs, and wooden ice block. It uses a spring wound motor and pivots at the waist from side to side. The swaying movement coupled with its off-centered weight (from the ice block and tongs) gives it the characteristic walking appearance. This is also the reason that the figure appears to lean forward and to one side when it's not in motion. The head is separately pinned to its internal rocking mechanism, so it too moves back and forth. He's brightly colored and wears various mismatched clothing which all have some "red" component to them. He still has his original "65¢" price written in red grease pencil on the back of his vest.

The box has cartoon-like illustrations on every panel. The main panels show Red toting an ice block down the street, while in the background you can see kids pilfering some of the smaller cubes from the open truck. The narrow side panels show that the news of an open ice truck has spread. An angry Red returns to find more kids stealing some of the larger blocks. The endflaps show the final fate of the stolen cubes; ending up in the local 1¢ Ice Cold Lemonade stand. 

Size: 8½". 

Sold: Sep. 2006

Price Sold: $ 6300


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Subject: c.1925 Marx, Red The Iceman in Original Box

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