c.1925 Marx, Wonder Cyclist in Original Box

c.1925 Marx, Wonder Cyclist in Original Box

Unique Art Company' classic Kiddie Cyclist is one of the most recognized antique toys. Produced around 1938 it features an articulated young lad dressed in red overall knickers and white shirt riding a steel litho frame tricycle with lithoed, plate disk wheels. Marx produced a similar toy although it's almost always unidentified (incorrectly). Dressed in blue and riding a lithoed tricycle with striped flat spoke wheels it's one of the very few Marx toys produced without a Marx logo. Having something to do with license infringement only the box has a logo. Over the years I've seen roughly 12 examples of the Marx toy, but only two boxes. 

I recently found an earlier version of the same toy produced by Marx complete with original box. Markedly different from the later blue version it also lacks the Marx logo. I've seen this toy twice before and both times it was misidentified. This is the only box I've seen for this toy and it's the the only way to identify it as a Marx toy. Why Marx produced two versions of a toy whose patent was held by a competitor is unknown. 

The design, appearance, and construction of this first version of the' Wonder Cyclist differs significantly from the second. You can tell that it was produced earlier just from the clothing. In this case the boys wears an early 1930's one piece (woolen) body suit with high neckline. The toy itself is also much more solid, not as rickety, and definitely heavier than the later model. Details like teeth, ears, hair, and wool striations were embossed directly into the metal. This type of detail was only lithoed onto the later version. It's also more lifelike in appearance with features like rounded facial features and individually embossed fingers. The tricycle is also noticeably different. This earlier version is chrome plated with narrow wire spoke wheels. The second is color lithoed with flat spokes. 

One of the most striking differences is the way it came packed. The earlier version was sold in a box roughly half the size of that used for the second version. That's because this one requires assembly. When you first open the box the boy is not completely attached to the cycle. He flips down and over the handlebars to fit into the small box. Assembly instructions are included on the two interior endflaps. The later version comes completely assembled upright and requires a much larger space. The Unique Art toy also did not require assembly.

The box for this toy shows the red knickered lad briskly cycling down an incline. It shows the left hand raised which is not possible with the actual toy. The illustration was repeated on all four panels. It comes complete with the original insert as well. 

I could find no reference to the Marx toy in any version except as a price guide listing. 

Size: 9" tall x 8" long x 5" wide. 

Sold: Oct. 2005

Price Sold: $ 710


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