1951 Marx Sparkling Rocket Fighter Ship in Original Box

1951 Marx Sparkling Rocket Fighter Ship in Original Box

Magnificent near mint example of one of the most popular toys of the 20th Century. This is a Marx tin litho, clockwork "Sparkling Rocket Fighter Ship" in beautifully working condition complete with its scarce original box. 

Awesome lithographed tinplate toy was first produced in 1939 as the Flash Gordon Rocket Fighter. The lithography differs in that this model doesn't have the Flash Gordon name associated with it. A number "5" also appeared on both wings of the original toy. 

The toy made again in 1951, but without the Flash Gordon name one it. However it retained the number "5" on the wings. The box also retained the number 5 on the wing. The same year a third version was produced which had both the Flash Gordon name and number removed from the toy. This example is that 3rd version. It's interesting to point out that the 1951 box with the number "5" on the wing was used continuously for either version. This is which it's printed on the box, but not on the toy. 

The other main difference between the 1939 and 1951 models; the 1939 version was steel litho. The 1951 versions are tin litho. All three have an aluminum cowl around the cockpit. 

Regardless of the version it's a fantastic toy. Wind 'er up and it moves forward with sparks flying out the exhaust. As it moves along a loud boing-boing sound is produced. And best of all ....everything works including the sparks.

One other point to mention has to do with the rear upright stabilizing wing. They were designed to be easily removed to replace the flint. Over the years many went missing. Today it seems that more examples of this toy have reproduced tail fins rather than original. Yellow, black, and plain steel are commonly seen. However, I've had never seen a white tail fin, either as an original or a reproduction. Close-up I recognized it as an original, but one characteristic "nailed it". It was produced from recycled material because the inside surface has lithography from another toy. This was a common Marx practice which you wouldn't see today. I bought the toy at a Noel Barrett auction. Noel reconfirmed that although white, it's the original tail fin and not a reproduction. It also has its original green sheet of celluloid covering the interior exhaust ports.

The original box is one of Marx's all time greats! The same 1939 illustration, minus the Flash Gordon name was used again in 1951. The solid red and black colors printed on a white back ground are a great contrast combination. Although I didn't include a photo it does have its original interior flaps that were printed with assembly and spark replacement schematics.

It's also neat to consider that only several years ago the basic toy model and box were again reproduced by Schylling. Of course the Marx name was eliminated from this version.

Size: 12¼" long. 

Sold: Jan. 2012

Price Sold: $ 845


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