Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bookmobile Toy at Auction

I had a slew of the old steel Tonka trucks my Dad grew up playing with. There was a firetruck, a pickup with a horse trailer, a big yellow dump truck I could put my knee in and push myself around scooter-style. I loved these trucks for the fact they were made of steel, like a real truck. They had hard rubber tires unlike my other toy trucks that had soft tires and plastic bodies.

So, another bookmobile grabbed my attention this week. This time it is on ebay, and it is in perfect original condition. The seller pegs it as 1950s and it is likely Japanese in origin. Seller had to add the word "bookmobile" to the listing, as the toy was marketed as "Children's Book Service Car." This thing is just beautiful, and is currently sitting at $350.00! It may sound like a lot, but try to find another one. The seller describes the toy:

"The library on wheels was a fairly common sight in the North American suburbs of the 1950s and one that is captured nicely in this 11.5 inch toy by some obscure Japanese toy maker (signed with the trademark "AN"). The truck comes with a working friction motor and measures 11.5 inches in total. It is in mint condition and comes with its beautifully illustrated original box. It is the only example of this toy that I have seen to date."

There are several things I really like about this toy. The first is the colors. I also find the awkward English phrases charming. "Lets Read the Good Books!" and "Children's Book Service Car." I also like the fake book covers painted on the side and that the books look as though they open left-to-right and some open right-to-left. Two things I don't like. The biggest thing (to me) is that you'd need some freakin' huge kids to be able to reach those books! Maybe if I made a little matching rolling ladder to go with it. The other is the extremely constipated expression on the children's faces on the protective doors. They do not look eager to read the good books. It looks like the back door swings down, but the seller didn't clue us in for sure. Otherwise, these are tantalizing images. Perhaps all the more as we can't see inside.

I casually looked around the internet this week for other bookmobile toys. There don't seem to be very many. Have you seen any? Did you have one as a kid? Do you have it still? Will you send it to me?


Anonymous said...

That is the coolest book-related toy I have ever seen. Wish it was mine!

Lew Jaffe said...

Thank you for alerting me about this toy.Can you believe it sold for $709.00 ?
Best Regards,
Lew Jaffe

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is such a wonderful bit of toy, book history! Great blog, I really enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

Really this is the awesome toy related book. I like this book.