1924 Borgfeldt (Nifty) "Jiggs in His Jazz Car" in Original Box

1924 Borgfeldt (Nifty)

Magnificent and incredibly scarce clockwork tin litho "Jiggs in His Jazz Car" manufactured in Germany under the "Nifty" trademark and distributed in the U.S. by George Borgfeldt & Co. This example only recently surfaced from a long time antique toy collection where it resided for (at least) the past six decades. Superb high grade excellent+ to near mint condition and works flawlessly (with one wheel hub professionally repainted).

As rare as this toy is, its most important aspect is that it comes complete with it's ORIGINAL BOX! 

From my research only five examples of the toy have sold through a major auction house since 1992. All were without their original box. Three of these sales occurred within the last three years. One of them was previously sold in 1998. There is no way of knowing if any more were resold. 

I was unable to find any previous auction sales record or documented reference which included the original box. That means, I could find no record, or photograph in any of my library, or Internet references which describes the existence of this box. I'm sure that more than one box was originally produced. However the total number still in existence, although unproven, is probably close to one.

The toy is all original without any replacement parts. It's lithoed orange with red striping and red highlights. The 1924 copyright date by International Feature Service, Inc., and Great Britain Rights Reserved were lithoed on the front left fender. The Nifty trademark appears on both doors while the toy name, Jiggs in His Jazz Car, was lithoed on the rear trunk. The steering wheel and tire rims are gray. The wheel hubs are orange-red. The key is attached.

The "hat-less" Jiggs has a three dimensional head with facial features based on the actual comic strip character. The blue torso is stationary. The name "Jiggs" and his creator "George McManus" are lithoed on the back of the figure.

It travels in a circular direction with Jigg's head turning rapidly from side to side. Simultaneously the steering wheel and arms move quickly back and forth in short spurts, alternating right and left. The concept is simple; the steering wheel is fixed to a metal rod which passes through a hole in the front hood. This, in turn, connects to a support bracket underneath the car which is riveted to a cammed (i.e., crank-shaped) rear axle. A metal rod holding the head in position also connects to this same bracket. The result is that whenever the head turns, the arms will move in an identical motion. Pretty clever for 1924. The movement of the steering wheel has no effect on the position of the front axle.

Because this toy is seen so infrequently there are several important things to point out.

  • The color of the figure's arm, from the shoulder to the elbow including the torso is azure blue, while from the elbow to the hand is more of a greenish color. This was an intentional factory coloration. It's not been repainted or faded. All of the other examples I've seen have this identical coloration. 
  • The "Bringing Up Father" comic strip shows Jiggs typically wearing a banded top hat. This driver figure in this toy was however manufactured without a hat. This mimics the cover illustration. It's not missing. 
  • The entire underside of the toy, including the backside of the wheels, were lithoed jet black when it was originally produced. One exterior wheel hub has been professionally repainted. 
  • The inside surface of the four arm sections was lithoed a pink-beige color at the factory, rather than black like the underside of the toy. 

The two piece box features a terrific comic illustration of Jiggs in His Jazz Car with a facsimile signature of George McManus in the lower right corner. It's also marked "Made in Germany" in the lower left corner and "Copyright 1924", "International Feature Service, Inc.", and "Great Britain rights reserved" in the the lower right corner. The cover shows the Jazz Car backfiring to the extent that it tilts the vehicle forward on its two front wheels. A few exhaust clouds billow out from in back of the car, while Jiggs smiles and looks very happy.

You can also see that his hat has flown off in back of him, which accurately depicts the actual toy. The box was constructed using the early post-WWI type, narrow wall, pressed card stock. It has all 12 of its original 90º right angle corner staples. Only a single ¼" x 3/8" corner sliver was replaced. Except for this one tiny sliver the box is all original without any missing panels or aprons.

Size: 6½" long x 5½"tall x 3" wide.

Sold: May 2008

Price Sold: $ 5677


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Subject: 1924 Borgfeldt (Nifty) "Jiggs in His Jazz Car" in Original Box

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