c.1947 Marx, Sparkling Mountain Climber in Original Box

c.1947 Marx, Sparkling Mountain Climber in Original Box

There are several reasons which might explain the scarcity of this particular toy. Possibly the small train size, or the fact that it contained just two cars, or maybe the introduction of plastic. Whatever it was, the Marx Sparkling Mountain Climber set is one of the more difficult early post-war toys to find. This example, in incredible excellent++ to near mint condition, is the first high grade complete set with its original box that I've seen.

The toy is all tin litho. It uses a 408154 streamlined locomotive powered by a strong clockwork motor. Similar to many small German clockwork trains, a cog system on the bottom side of the loco activates the motor only when it engages raised track striations located on the two "uphill" sections. The motor automatically shuts off after the cog disengages (i.e., once it's passed over the striated track). This allows the toy to run for a much longer amount of time. I had it complete three loops with only a few windings. 

The gray and red locomotive has a start/stop lever and a sparkling mechanism located above the boiler. The wheels are pressed metal discs that have a blackened finish. The front was designed with a distinctive chrome plated metal nose with faux light. The motor is wound using a separate die cast metal Marx key which is correct for this toy.

The loco tows a single, embossed tin litho 721 Mountaineer passenger car. It's all enclosed including the underside. The wheels are identical to the locomotive except that they have a polished tin surface.

Six sections of color coded channel track creating two, up and down, "mountains" lay out to over eight feet in length. Two 5" and two 6" tunnels hold up the raised track. It's easy to set up and easy to run. The toy, including the sparkling mechanism work beautifully!

The box used to contain the set has an attached hinged cover and was printed in red, yellow and blue. The original price sticker is still on one side apron. The top shows a side view of the Climber with mountains and tunnels in the background. The box has an unusual double locking tab which fits over the front lip and into two slots cut into the front apron. The idea was probably borrowed from earlier Marx toys, however because of its size and weight the locked tabs were easily torn. This is the first box I've seen for this toy with its complete original locking tabs. It's easy to see why cellophane tape quickly replaced the tab. The side aprons include additional text and smaller illustrations. The back side was printed with a panel wide schematic plus instructions for setting it up. They're unnecessary complex and almost impossible to follow......which I just love to see in an old toy.

Size: Locomotive 4¼", Passenger Car 3¾", Box 21½" x 5¼" x 2½"

Sold: Jul. 2008

Price Sold: $ 612


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