1932 Chein, "Popeye Heavy Hitter" in Original Box

1932 Chein,

Extraordinary example of Chein's beautiful and incredibly rare "Popeye Heavy Hitter" in spectacular near mint condition. Works perfectly! Includes its complete original box in excellent condition. 

Toy is all lithographed tinplate with clockwork spring wound motor, attached key, and start/stop lever. Once wound and activated Popeye raises the mallet, releases it striking the counter-balance, which in turn forces a brass weight to the top of a brass rod which strikes the bell. Cycle repeats several times. I tested it and it easily rings the bell, but to avoid scratches I placed fabric strips over the metal contact points. 

The base was lithographed to resemble a wooden platform with the front and rear bottom panels showing comic strip illustrations drawn by E.C. Segar (creator of Thimble Theater and Popeye). Mr. Segar frequently signed his name along side a small cigar which is present on both the toy and box. The name of the licensing company, King Features Syndicate, Inc. was included on the base and Popeye's right ankle. And of course it also includes a very early Chein logo on Popeye's left ankle and the right edge of one of the comic base panels (in front of the Limburger cheese truck). 

Mr. Segar also drew the box illustrations. The boxing scene is unusual because it has absolutely no text. It depicts a ring-side boxing match in action right at the point where Popeye lands a strong right upper-cut to the jaw of Johnny Brawn. Elegant line drawings of laughing spectators surrounding the ring are awesome. The narrow box panels include Popeye's trademarked illustrated name signed by Mr. Segar. J. Chein & Co. and Harrison, NJ were printed in the lower corners. The endflaps include a small drawing of the actual toy along with the toy name, catalog number, etc,. One endflap still has its original red factory stamp indicating "1/12 DOZ". All eight original endflaps are present.

This toy was found along with several other early Chein and Marx toys packed in a cardboard box that hadn't been opened in many years. It was discovered during the clean-up after the devastating tornadoes which hit Joplin, MO. The closed box was just about to be thrown into a dumpster when, at the last minute, someone decided to open it up. I purchased it from the "finder". 

Initially I noticed that one of the gears was slightly off kilter which prevented it from working. Apparently this explained the infrequent use of the toy and its outstanding condition. The gear needed a simple realignment and now it works great! 

I searched the Internet and many auction catalogs for previous sales records of the Heavy Hitter. I found several which included only the toy in various grades. However, I could find only two records which included the original box. One of these was a partial box. It was missing all the flaps and some of the main panels from one end. The second box, although in fantastic condition, had a laser copied end flap replacement. It was sold by Morphy's Auctions, October, 2009 and was owned by Carl Lobel. This example is presumably the same toy shown in Alan Jaffe's Chein Collector's Guide book. 

Size: 12" tall x 6½" x 3½" wide.

Sold: Feb. 2012

Price Sold: $ 6605


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Subject: 1932 Chein, "Popeye Heavy Hitter" in Original Box

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