& Collectibles

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Robot and Space Toy Books

Vintage Toys: Robots and Space Toys by Bunte, Hallman and Mueller. Antique Trader Books.

This is a lavish, densely-photographed 180 page paperback, sampling space-themed toys over the last millenium, mostly from the '40s through the '70s. All the pictures are color, toys are often shown with their original boxes, and most get a half-page write-up. Because it's from Krause Books, each toy includes a price/value range for collectors. For the first edition, this means the 1999-2000 year values. This book wins for a combination of great photography and lively text in an inexpensive paperback.

  Blast Off! Rockets, Robots, Ray Guns, and Rarities from the Golden Age of Space Toys by Young, Duin and Richardson.

If there were no pictures in this book, it would still be the best-written, most interesting, gripping account of the space age I have ever read. If it were just a book of photographs, it would be the most beautiful book of space toy photos I have ever seen. If this book only included the sidebars, it would still be the most informative and enlightening guide to space toys I've ever encountered. But it's all three. Don't miss the hours of great reading and dazzling photography in this unique volume. It's also available in a rare boxed-set with a repro retro space toy exclusively from Things From Another World ( See my longer review of this book in the Books/ Amazon Reviews section.

Space Toys of the 60's by James H. Gillam.

This 160 page all-color. oversized paperback only covers three space toy lines, but what great toys they are: Major Matt Mason, Zeroids, and Colorforms Outer Space Men. And what a great job James does. As a confirmed Zeroid lover, I find myself reading this book over and over, not only to look at the great pictures of Ideal's Mighty Zeroid Robots, but also to learn about the many variations and fascinating history of Ideal's robots from an enthusastic and knowledgeable guide. Most of the book is devoted to the much larger line of Mattel's Man in Space, with about twenty pages for the Colorforms Space Men.

Toys of the Sixties: A Pictorial Guide by Bill Bruegman.

If Bill Bruegman sounds familiar, it's because he puts out all those great Toy Scout catalogs from his home turf of Akron, Ohio. This is an absolutely great book, but for some reason it's hard to find in stores. The fourth edition is about 220 pages, filled with black and white pictues and discussions of each toy. The color cover shows some great toys: Big Loo by Marx, the Remco Lost in Space B-9 robot box, Steve Zodiac's Fireball XL5 space ship from the Gerry Anderson "supermarionation" TV series, and the box for the Seaview sub kit from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. The best parts of the book, however, are the glimpses of Mattel, Ideal and other toy companies. A classic.


Baby Boomer Toys and Collectibles by Carol Turpen.

This 190 page, color, oversized paperback used to be a staple of toy shows, but now it's getting harder to find. The first two sections are on robots and space toys, but the other topics are equally intriguing, especially the parts on monsters, futuristic cars, and plastic toys. A bit farther afield, she includes bits on the Beatles, Hanna-Barbera, and Nutty Mads. Great Color photography and brief commentary for each item, along with chapter introductions. Since this is a Schiffer Book, she includes a price guide, but since it's just a page in the back (allowing for easy updates in newer editions), the rest of my 1993 edition is still enjoyable to read. Carol Turpen has done a great job with this book.

Boys' Toys of the Fifties & Sixties edited by Thomas Holland.

The reason Thomas Holland is the editor and not the author is that this book consists entirely of pages from the 1950-1959 Sears Christmas Wishbooks. Only a few pages are included from each year, but Holland has found the good ones. See the Marx Cape Canaveral set in the 1958 part; Astro Base in 1960; Robot Commando in 1962; the Lost in Space robot in 1966; Major Matt Mason and Mighty Zeroids in 1969. We all wish we had those old Sears catalogs. Now, thanks to Thomas Holland and Sears, we can.

More Boys' Toys of the Fifties and Sixties.

The other great catalog, Montgomery Ward 1950-1969. Long out of print and hard to find, now available for a limited time. To order or for more information, click on the picture.

More books edited by Thomas Holland

Boys' Toys of the Seventies and Eighties.

From the last two decades of the late, great Sears catalog.

More Boys' Toys of the Seventies and Eighties.

The last days of the Montgomery Ward toy book.

Girls' Toys of the Fifties and Sixties.

More stuff from Sears.

Girls' Toys  of the Seventies and Eighties.

Sears' last two decades.

The Big Toy Box at Sears.

More catalog toy pages from 1951-1969.
Printed like the original wishbooks, this book is an invaluable guide for toy collectors or anyone fascinated by toys of the '50s and '60s.

Marx Toys: Robots, Space, Comic, Disney & TV Characters by Maxine A. Pinsky.

This big, beautiful 170 page color hardback not only features seldom-seen and little-covered Marx toys, but also includes a fascinating history of the company. The thirty-five pages devoted to space toys are lavishly-illustrated and informatively-written, but the rest of the book is also fascinating reading. She includes the best picture of Marx's mystery space ship I've seen, plus ads for Big Loo, an in-depth discussion of the Smoking Spaceman robot, and an explanation of Marx's Linemar subsidiary. This is a Schiffer Collector Book, and includes values in the text. Since I have a 1996 edition, the prices are out of date (I wish you could get these robots now for those prices!) but the book is not. Hard to find but well worth the search.

Yesterday's Toys: 734 Tin and Celluloid Amusements from Days Gone By by Teruhisa Kitahara.

Kitahara's extensive collection of antique toys has been featured in any number of books, which go in and out of print on a regular basis. This volume is a large, lavish coffee-table hardback drenched in color photos with very little comment, drawn from three books previously published separately. Only the third section, "Robots, Spaceships, and Monsters," will likely be of interest to space toy enthusiasts, but the bargain price on this book makes it a better deal than tracking down the original books. That's about 100 pages from the future toys section of Kitahara's amazing collection. See my longer review of this book in the Books/Amazon Reviews section.

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