1934 Marx Buck Rogers 25th Century Rocket in Original Box

1934 Marx Buck Rogers 25th Century Rocket in Original Box

Nearly 3 years ago I found one of the best examples of one of the most sought after 20th century toy collector boxes; the Marx Buck Rogers 25th Century Rocket Ship. As nice as it was it was only the box. I needed an example of the toy that complimented the same amazing condition as the box. Well, it's taken me almost 3 years, but I finally found one and here it is.

This is the Marx Buck Rogers 25th Century Rocket Ship in original box; both toy and box grade in amazing near mint- condition (that is, better than excellent+, but not strictly near mint). Best of all it works beautifully including both sparking and sound.

This extraordinary Marx toy is recognized as one of the pinnacles of American toy collecting. 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". 

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 art deco style pair of wings on the underside of the toy which begin 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 two pairs of rounded, flat, horizontal fins near the nose and exhaust ports. The upright rear blue 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 that produces exhaust sparks.

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.

In terms of the lithography 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 rocket drawings leaving the Earth getting larger as it enters space. The panel contains the toy name which was repeated along with advertising text, and manufacturer name and address. Like many early Louis Marx boxes, the endflaps were of two different designs. One with all text uses a "permanent" 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. This set of flaps still has its original $1.00 price sticker.

The opposite endflaps are hinged and designed to open and close easily. This flap includes another illustration of the rocket 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. One includes a schematic of the ship's operation and flint replacement. The other half includes text information describing the schematic. Both are shown below.

Size: 12". 

Sold: Jul. 2011

Price Sold: $ 2577


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

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