c.1940 Marx, Ballet Dancer in Original Box

c.1940 Marx, Ballet Dancer in Original Box

This toy is a bit of an enigma. Even with all the books I own on Marx toys, including every Sears Roebuck catalog from 1920 through 1970, I could find nothing about it. Sure, you've probably seen it before, but not often. And an Olive Oyl version was produced in the 50's. But from a reference guide perspective that's all I know about it. The logo style is post-1939. The hair style looks pre-war. I believe that there are at least three litho variations besides Olive.

It's also the first example of the Ballet Dancer that I've owned. That's not because it's difficult to find, but because 99% of the time they've been thoroughly and extensively well used. Essentially it works like a gyroscope, and like a gyroscope it'll eventually fall over as it winds down. Inevitably, the face and skirt lose most of their litho and acquire a slew of scratches and scrapes. But that's not so with this example. Almost in pristine near mint condition, it's by far the highest grade example I've seen. It has its original balance spring looped around the lower foot, plus its original spinning rod. It also includes its not too frequently seen original box which is usually destroyed due to the pointed shape of the toy. 

Like a gyroscope or top, the toy is made to spin rapidly by inserting the saw-tooth rod through the base of the dancer's skirt. It fits only in one direction. Once inserted, it's rapidly pulled out and set upright onto a hard surface. The balance spring at the base adjusts the balance. It'll spin for a longer amount of time when the spring just barely touches the table top surface. Problem is that no matter how you work it, it'll eventually acquire the nicks and scratches that are so commonly seen with this toy.

Of course it's all embossed tin litho housing a complex internal clockwork gear mechanism, BUT most important of all .....when it's in fabulous condition like this one is, it's a terrific looking toy!

The box is all text on every panel. The toy name "Ballet Dancer" was printed on every panel except on the instruction list panel. It's important to read the instructions if you want it to work properly. 

Size: 5¾" tall. 

Sold: Nov. 2008

Price Sold: $ 228


Send Comments

Email Address:
Confirm Email Address:
Subject: c.1940 Marx, Ballet Dancer in Original Box

security code