c.1949 Marx, Busy Miners in Original Box

c.1949 Marx, Busy Miners in Original Box

Superb post-war version of this very popular clockwork tin litho toy. Extensively detailed and beautifully colored lithography gives it a very realistic look. The toy is in near mint condition and is complete with its original poster-like box.

The toy works using a spring mechanism activated by a two-man coal car. Every time the car slides down the track and into the white building it strikes a metal ribbon and the mechanism is released. This propels the car up the track into the yellow building on the opposite end. The cycle repeats until the motor has wound down. It works beautifully, but to avoid scratching it I tried it just once. 

The lithography on this toy is fantastic. Each little image tells its own story. On the upper end is the yellow operations building. In one window you can see a man at the controls of a turbine engine. The rear of the building shows a gaping hole in the ground with a "Danger" sign posted nearby. An architect sitting at his drafting table can be seen through the window above. On the other end is the mine entrance building. Facing the tracks a man pears out through the window watching the miners descend. On the rear of the entrance you can see three engineers developing new plans. An office with a secretary filing papers can be seen in the window above. Even the tracks are all laid out with rails and siding. The inclined plane below the tracks (between the two buildings) is bolstered with wooden beams. Here you can see piles of dirt and workers digging, pushing and toting new beams into position. 

The small two-man mining car also has an amazing amount of detail. The sides were lithoed with wooden slats and handles in the center. The corners are reinforced with steel plating. The two miners kneel in a crouching position. This is very authentic since most coal mines were no higher than four feet tall. 

The original box has a stark, almost poster-like appearance to it. Most of the illustration is flat (i.e., no shadowing) and only primary colors were used. It shows an accurate representation of the toy on both main panels. The toy also has its original cardboard underlining in place and in mint condition. 

Production of this toy was halted in 1941 and reintroduced around 1949. This later version was produced for several years and it's this version that most collectors identify with "Busy Miners". The pre-war version had very little detail and the two end buildings are mostly brick. The track surface is blank and the miners have become silhouetted figures without any details. The box is plain text. 

Size: 16" long x 4" tall. 

Sold: Feb. 2007

Price Sold: $ 350


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