1934 Marx, Buck Rogers 25th Century Rocket Ship in Original Box

1934 Marx, Buck Rogers 25th Century Rocket Ship in Original Box

The Buck Rogers 25th Century Rocket Ship is recognized as one of Marx's best designed and most sought after toys. Characterized by its brilliant multicolored steel lithography, streamlined torpedo shape, and fish-like appearance, it faithfully follows Dick Calkins original design of Buck's "Inter-Planetary Rocket Cruiser". This example is one of the best I've seen, grading in excellent+ to near mint condition.

However, its single-most remarkable aspect is the condition of the original box. Grading in amazing near mint condition, it's the closest example I've seen to being flawless. 

The ship was designed with a futuristic-looking elliptical body having five embossed bubble hatch covers and eight fins, or wings. The largest of these are a pair of wings on the underside of the toy which start at the center and extend backwards along the fuselage. This pair also hides the large wheels which move the toy. A third, smaller wheel centered near the rear exhaust provides stability and traction. 

In addition the ship has a single, wavy, elongated fin on the top-center fuselage, and a pair of rounded, flat, horizontal fins near the nose and exhaust port. The upright rear tailfin, with it's scalloped edging, has the most fish-like appearance. This fin is removable to access the flint holder underneath it and is frequently lost or replaced. However, this one is original and has a working, sparkling flint. To "colorize" the emitted sparks, the exhaust port was designed with three die cut ovals lined with transparent green celluloid (also original). It has a strong clockwork motor with stop/star lever which makes a loud "boing-boing" sound as it moves. The key is attached.

It's interesting to note that Marx unknowingly showed Buck and Wilma in the front right observation window wearing headgear produced by a competitor, The Daisy Manufacturing Company. John Dille, the publisher of the Buck Rogers comic strip strategized that this was a way of providing free advertising for other products. Images of Dr. Huer and Buck Rogers are lithoed in the observation window on the left side of the ship. The ship's belly was lithoed with the Buck Rogers oval logo, plus the Marx name and trademark. The patent grant date of March 15, 1927 refers to the generic clockwork gearing and sparking mechanism. It's not a manufacturing date.

Dick Calkins also illustrated the box for this toy. Two panels show Buck and Wilma waving to the ship's crew as it blasts into the starry blue space. The only text on these panels is the toy name. The two yellow panels show a sequence of drawings of the rocket leaving the Earth with it getting larger as it enters space. The toy name was repeated along with advertising text, plus the manufacturer name and address. Like many early Louis Marx boxes, the endflaps were of two different designs. One with all text uses a "permanently" locked tab with the instructions to "open other end". Frequently the tab, endflap, or the entire set of flaps on this end are torn away. The opposite end has a hinged endflap to easily open and close. It includes another illustration of the rocket shown above an exhaust shaped smoke-ring. The actual name of the rocket, "Inter-Planetary Rocket Cruiser", was printed on this flap. The inner flaps on this end were not left blank. The upper half was printed with a schematic of the ship's operation and flint replacement. The lower half includes text information describing the schematic. 

The last time I found a high grade example of this toy with its original box was nearly three years ago. 

Size: 12". 

Sold: Sep. 2008

Price Sold: $ 3282


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Subject: 1934 Marx, Buck Rogers 25th Century Rocket Ship in Original Box

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