1903 Harris, Abraham & Strauss City Delivery Wagon

1903 Harris, Abraham & Strauss City Delivery Wagon

Magnificent "Abraham and Strauss City Two-Horse City Delivery Wagon" manufactured by the Harris Toy Company, Toledo, OH. This is a rare promotional version produced exclusively for the Abraham and Strauss department store in New York City. It's all cast iron with hand painted details

The Harris Toy Company produced beautiful cast iron and steel toys including trains, wagons, and pull toys from 1887 until 1913. The company was smaller than their competitors like Hubley and Ives. This in combination with their pre-WWI demise has made their toys incredibly difficult to find; especially in any grade above "rusted". The Hegarty Sale (Sotheby's, 2001) had only five examples (3 were trains). The Griffith Sale (Sotheby's, 2000) had two and the immense 7000+ Kaufman Sale (Bertoia 2008-2011) had only two. None of these were promotional toys. 

Harris's "generic" City Delivery Wagon, shown below in their original catalog reprinted in 1968, was probably produced for a short amount of time. I could find no other references. An unknown limited number of these were painted with promotional department store logos. Unlike later transportation promotional vehicles which were primarily manufactured as advertisements or World's Fair souvenirs, these early department store promotional toys were typically given away to employees for special occasions. Very few survive. This is the first promo horse drawn example I've seen of any toy from any manufacturer which was not lithographed tinplate.

Despite its "shallow" signs of age it's absolutely gorgeous. The wagon has a black roof with sub-divided side panels in yellow, green, and red. The smaller red stake panels are outlined in gold. The undercarriage is solid yellow except for the wheel rims which were fancifully painted with dark circular trim. The harnesses are yellow with white wire rods. The horses are white (some of which has yellowed slightly), with red collars and mouths, and outlined with black harnessing. Each has a reticulating wheel for realistic up and down movement. The driver wears a blue uniform and cap with white face. The interior of the wagon is red. 

And of course there's the delicate c.1890's Abraham and Strauss logos on both side panels. These were hand painted. As you can see in the original catalog image below the A&S panels  for the City Delivery Wagon were typically left blank. It's also interesting to point out that this toy was produced during the lifetime of Mr Strauss. It was only a few years later that he and his wife would perish on-board the Titanic. 

The toy is complete with both original horses, harnesses, original driver, the complete undercarriage including the four wheels and harnessing, and original drop down tail gate. Nothing has been repainted, touched up, or repaired. Only the rope reins and steel tail gate chains have been replaced. The materials used for the chains are at least 50 years old. 

Size: 14½". 

Price Sold: $ 2550


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