c.1920 Distler, Clockwork Messenger Boy Motorcyclist

c.1920 Distler, Clockwork Messenger Boy Motorcyclist

Early German clockwork lithographed tinplate "Messenger Boy Motorcyclist" produced by Distler. Super rare toy features highly embossed uniformed driver and motorcycle combination. Runs using an unusual motor which is external to the toy. Paint and parts are all original and without any repairs. Plus it runs great!

The toy was based on the numerous Messenger or Telegraph Boys which were highly in demand immediately after WWI. Prior to the war bicycles were used (see below. He's shown wearing the standing red uniform and matching cap with gold knee-high stockings and black boots. He holds a large basket on his rear fender. It has its original metal spoke wheels and handlebars. 

Notice the absence of "training wheels" or balance wheels. This combined with its left external motor makes it difficult to stand upright while running. (It will stand upright using the attached key as a kick-stand). There are however, three slots underneath the base (between the boys shoes) where a set of training wheels could conceivably fit. Despite the presence of slots Dieter Liehm' book German, Schönes Altes Blechspielzeug (Beautiful Old Tin Toys) From 1880 to 1970, (Published by Battenberg, 1998) verified that it correctly had no stabilizing wheels (see 1st photo). 

Curiously, Rich Bertoia, in his book Antique Motorcycle Toys includes an almost identical toy, but with training wheels. That example, however was produced by H. Fisher and Company. Regardless of all this...it's a beautiful old toy and the only one I've seen.

Size: 5-7/8". 

Sold: Nov. 2012

Price Sold: $ 1710


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Subject: c.1920 Distler, Clockwork Messenger Boy Motorcyclist

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