c.1955 Marx, Medieval Knights Armor Set in Original Box

c.1955 Marx, Medieval Knights Armor Set in Original Box

Magnificent 11 piece heavy gauge tin and steel litho Medieval Knights Armor set from Marx. Realistically designed and intricately detailed it includes the original "medieval" storage chest (box) plus the original braided cords which tied the sections together. A sword and scabbard from Mattel's Prince Valiant set is also included. I never seen this toy before, nor could I find any reference to it. It's somewhat similar to Marx's Ben Hur set, but that only included two shields and two swords. The Marx logo appears on every piece.

To protect the upper body half the toy comes with two identical torso plates front and back. Both are slightly curved so they realistically wrap around the body. The edges are rolled to eliminate sharpness. The edges most closest to the neck were double rolled. Embossed single piece shoulder and arm protectors attach to the upper corners of the plates. Pre-cut lengths of braided orange cord are threaded through holes punched around the edges of the pieces to make a tight fit. The inside edges of the holes are reinforced so they don't cut the cord. The reverse side of all the pieces is solid silver colored lithography.

Like the upper torso, the lower body extremities are protected with four sections. Two flat shield-like embossed plates cover the crotch and rear. These are tied to two long, curved upper thigh leg sections which lay on either side. The leg pieces also have a cone shaped piece of textured red vinyl attached to the top end. Again, the orange cords thread through the pieces and through the red vinyl which provides some joint flexibility.

Lastly, and probably the most spectacular piece of all is the heraldic shield. It's classic pear shape and the multitude of symbols make it look very realistic. It may have been designed after a popular movie hero of the time such as King Arthur or Ivanhoe. The rights to Prince Valiant were already acquired by Mattel. Although it's difficult to tell by the photo it's curved slightly. The back side has a sturdy metal handle which was riveted into place. The Marx engineers recognized that this piece would get the most use. It's heavier and thicker than the other sections and is probably steel litho, not tinplate.

The amount of time that went into creating this toy must have been monumental. The fine scrollwork and quality of its rendition haven't been seen in the toy industry for years. In addition to its aesthetic appeal much time was probably spent to assure its accuracy. Marx felt that it was very important for their toys to be historically authentic. 

The set also comes with a plastic sword and metal scabbard from Mattel's 1954 Prince Valiant set. The size is in scale with the armor pieces. It has an ornate three dimensional grip with a large faceted yellow plastic jewel on the end. It's a very nice accessory, but the quality and workmanship exhibited by the Marx armor is definitely lacking.

Finally, one of the most amazing aspects of this set is that it comes complete with its original box. It's a hinged lid type box lithographed to resemble an ancient padlocked chest. Hand riveted metal straps were lithoed along the edges and two finely detailed leather straps placed over the center. Handles were lithoed on either end. The heraldic design on the cover matches the shield. The box is complete with both inner flaps.

Size: Chest plates 16" x 14", Shoulder protectors 5¼" x 4",  Crotch shields 7½" x 6½", Thigh protectors 14" x 6", Heraldic Shield 16" x 13", Sword & Scabbard 18" x 2", Box 14" x 17" x 8". 

Sold: May 2005

Price Sold: $ 178


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Subject: c.1955 Marx, Medieval Knights Armor Set in Original Box

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