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  • 27 Jun 2011
    The following article appeared in the Kenton Times on Tuesday June 21,2011. Article was written by Ty Thaxton:   Author John Olshefski visited the Sullivan-Johnson Museum in Kenton as part of a promotion for his new book "Cast IronToys- Fire and Police Wagons". The museum features toys from the former Kenton Harware Company, some of which are included in Olshefski's book.   A California native, Olshefski knew some of the local collectors and was invited to visit the museum to see their collection.   "I love the museum, it's a fabulous building and collection and I hope it's here for everyone to see for many years to come," he said. Olshefski's book also focuses on other manufacturers as well. " My book covers all the original producers of cast iron horse drawn toys, including Kenton." Some other producers mentioned in Olshefski's book include Carpenter, Dent, Harris , Hubley, Ideal. Ives, Jones and Bixler, Pratt and Letchworth, Shimer, Wilkins, and Welker and Crosby. He is currently working on a second book which will still be about cast iron horse drawn toys, but focus on commercial and circus wagons.   Olshefski has been collecting toys in earnest since 1998. But his collecting days didn't begin with cast iron horse drawn toys. In fact, they weren't toys at all. "I started collecting mechanical banks, originally," he said. " A friend of mine collected mechanical banks and horse drawn toys as well, and whenever I would go to his house, I'd see his collection of those toys. That really built my interest (in cast iron horse drawn toys)."   Olshefski began his work on his book after gathering information over the years and with some encouragement from others to put that information into book form." There was no reference book on the subject of cast iron horse drawn toys that I could find since collecting them." he said.
    1373 Posted by Acorn Hill Antiques
  • 23 May 2011
     Horse drawn toys are from a bygone era.  This was an era before and during the dawn of automobiles and airplanes, an era when life moved at a slower pace; this was an era when the world moved by horse.  The toys that were manufactured during this time reflect the sights and sounds of that world.   Children love toys, and the children of the late 1800’s were really no different than the children of today.  However, instead of seeing a motorized fire truck rushing to the scene of a fire, children of the late 1800’s would have seen a horse drawn fire wagon galloping to the fire.  Children want to play and imagine that they are the fireman or policeman rushing to a fire or helping someone in need.  Toys play an important role in fulfilling imagination.  Because of this, toy manufacturers strived to make their toys realistic as economically possible……..   This is a brief  excerpt from the book Cast Iron Horse Drawn Toys- Fire and Police Wagons written by John J. Olshefski
    1072 Posted by Acorn Hill Antiques
  • 04 Sep 2011
    Shipping Advice 101: Okay- so you have been eagerly awaiting that special item that you won or ordered on-line. This is the one piece that you have been dyeing to add to your collection. The mail truck drives up to your door… you greet the mail person and tell her how much you have waited for this package to arrive. As you are holding this coveted package in your hands, you get a sinking feeling from the heft of the package lobbing to one side of the box. It could be the same sinking feeling if you hear rattling pieces. Opening up the package, you find that a precious antique that has survived a century or more has now been destroyed because of careless packaging. You are devastated……. I am writing this entry as I know many of us have experienced this loss. I have seen antiques crammed into tiny corn dog boxes with parts of a cast iron bank poking out of the sides . I have seen beautiful horse drawn fire wagons that have survived 100 years lay in shambles in dilapidated boxes without bubble wrap or packing peanuts.   This all could have been avoided if the proper techniques were used for shipping:   Box must be bigger than the item and packing material. Nothing worse than seeing part of your newly purchased antique poking out of the side of the box. Or the item imploded upon the pressure of being crammed into too small of a space.   Use bubble wrap that has not been over used. Sheets of Bubble wrap have seen plenty of mileage by being used over and over again. If majority of bubbles have been popped, then don’t use. The same goes for cardboard boxes. Pull them out of circulation if they are torn, bent, crushed etc….   If the item consists of several pieces- wrap each piece individually- not all together. Use packing peanuts all around wrapped items.    Double-box heavy items. Heavy items tend to shift through packing peanuts because of their weight.  Pack the heavy item as in steps listed above and then place that box inside a larger box. After placing in a larger box surround interior box with more packing peanuts.   Sellers-By following these techniques, many an antique can be saved. By taking the time package carefully, buyers will be pleased and willing to purchase from you again. Buyers- if you know your item is a heavy item, request the item to be double boxed.   Thanks for taking the time to read my Shipping advice.
    979 Posted by Acorn Hill Antiques
  • 15 Apr 2011
        Have you ever had a lucky find? That’s what happened to my husband and me at a monthly swap meet. We were fairly novice at the time in our collecting skills. Before that lucky day, my husband had purchased a mechanical bank book. He read it for hours, studying, getting know the banks. As we were strolling along the aisles, he spotted a cast iron bear. He thought to himself,” Could that be a mechanical bank? - Not sure if there is a bear bank or not. Wish I had my book…?” We began to converse with the vendor. This scruffy character of a man, shivering from the early morning chill and smoking what must have been his second pack of the day, responded to our interest in the bear. He took the cigarette out of his mouth and stuck into the bear’s mouth confidently saying, “Great cigarette holder for only $35!” It looked pretty whimsical and feasible at the same time- a bear smoking a cigarette. The vendor happily accepted his money, and we took our little cast iron bear home. Turns out it was a mechanical bank currently valued around $800. Thank goodness for books to provide knowledge for this lucky find! What’s your lucky find story?
    782 Posted by Acorn Hill Antiques
Antiques - Collectibles 3,847 views Jul 01, 2011
Original vs. Reproduction

Original vs. Reproduction

 

So you found an old toy; but is it real or is it fake?Here are a few tips of the trade to help you decide if your new found treasure is the real deal.Castings in reproductions are rougher in texture because a course-grade sand is used in the molding process.The paint quality on reproduction toys show none of the aging process that adds patina and crazing of the paint.Another tip is to look at the seams where the parts of the toy piece together.The seams on original toys fit closer together as opposed to a reproduction which will have significant gaps.Also, since cast iron shrinks during manufacturing, reproductions are smaller in size than the original. See a photo of an original Uncle Sam Bank and a reproduction bank under Acorn Hill Antiques. It is amzing to see the difference.



Comments

1 comment
  • Bob Black
    Bob Black Great info! I knew about the aging and the gaps. Screws or bolts can be a hint. I didn't know about the shrinking and your photo tells a big difference to the eye! Thanks for sharing!
    July 1, 2011