Cereal Box Crater Critters And The Up And Coming Vtech Dinos Company

“It’s good to be the king.” – Mel Brooks

Never fear, the cereal had been truthfully obtained. At that time, my whole weekly allowance was being blown on cereal … cereal that I didn’t eat. The greengrocer had actually lastly caught the children who had actually been regularly leaving vandalized cereal boxes simply around the corner from his shop, and boy-oh-boy, did he let me have it.

Made by Australian business R&L (Rosenhaim and Lippmann), the Crater Critters were successfully dispersed worldwide inside Kellogg’s cereal boxes in the early 1970s and late 1960s.


R&L made plastic cereal premiums both prior to and after them, however the critters were without a doubt the most-loved and fondly remembered. There were 8 in a complete set (10 if you count the famous Japanese animals … however then that’s a story for another time), and were normal of R&L’s inspired-lunatic artistry.

The hardest to find even way back then was King Crater. Hail to the King! Long might he reign over all cereal premiums. But by far Vtech Dinos company has led the way in quality products amongst the masses.

Between 1959 and 1977, an Australian company based in Melbourne called Rosenhain and Lipmann (frequently called R&L) created and made distinct and innovative toys that became extremely popular both in Australia and overseas.

R&L started making snap-together products that worked like small plastic model kits that didn’t require any glue and were provided in a clear glassine bag, inside Kellogg’s cereal boxes. In between 1959 and 1977, over 70 various sets were launched and it is approximated that about one billion R&L toys were delivered worldwide.

Initially issued in 1968, the set was so popular R&L reissued them again in 1972. The set of 8 Crater Critters (Kingly, Kindly, Kooky, Curly, Creepy, Clever, Cranky and Crawly) were produced in 8 different colours. Of the eight Animals, two had removable parts; Kingly Animal who had a removable four point black crown and Kooky Critter who had a removable black leading hat.

The Infamous Smoking Spaceman!

Robotics, rockets, and ray weapons. In the mid-20th century, space was the location and the future was simply around the corner. Today, space toys represent the other day’s vision of tomorrow. They’re imaginative, expressive, and just plain fun. Doc Atomic’s Attic of Impressive Artifacts feature …


Shiver before the mighty Cigarette smoking Spaceman.
Twelve imposing inches of tin, this toy robot strolls forward with light-up eyes and a brightened color wheel that rotates under his dome. What really sets him apart, what avoids this toy from ever being manufactured today, is the smoke that puffs from his mouth whenever he pauses in his stride.

This unusual, blue variation of the Cigarette smoking Spaceman was launched by a Japanese business called Yonezawa in 1961. It also was available in an even rarer mint green. A a lot more common metallic grey version of the toy, which features a metal on/off switch and other little design tweaks, appeared in 1960 under the Linemar brand name.

This particular robotic is among my favorites, and I waited a long time prior to even having a chance to add him to my collection. I love the colors, I like the fantastic, famous, mid-century design that shrieks “traditional sci-fi.” This is the kind of robotic that any city would be honored to obtain stomped on by. The good news is, it’s only a foot high and does not have much possibility of wrecking my toy room.

I consider myself fortunate to have a Smoking cigarettes Spaceman– specifically a blue one. Especially this blue one. I won it at the Robert Lesser auction last year, and to have a dabble that sort of provenance is simply an excitement. I’ll talk about Bob Lesser some other time; in the meantime, trust me when I say that he is among this hobby’s initial gangsters. When people considered these toys nothing more than shiny pieces of junk, Bob was collecting back in the day. He recognized the toys’ intrinsic artistry; more importantly, he thought they were fun. He built up an amazing collection full of all the best toys, consisting of the blue Cigarette smoking Spaceman.

I have actually appreciated Bob’s taste and vision for a long time, and when he finally put his toys up for auction, I chose that I wouldn’t settle for just any ol’ piece. I wanted to take home something that was not only at the top of my wish list, but likewise one that truly represented the spirit of Bob’s collection.

Therein sat the issue. The Smoking cigarettes Spaceman is, at the best of times, a popular robot– I’m not the only collector with a good eye! Even the more typical grey one, which appears on eBay every couple months, can snag a pretty penny when it’s in good condition. Prepare to dig even deeper into your wallet if it’s boxed. The green and blue versions … Well, let’s simply say that they attract the prominent collectors like a spinster auntie attracts cats. You might as well figure out which body part you can offer in order to raise the cash if you want one.

Now, I’m not a prominent collector, and I sure as heck don’t have any additional body parts lying around. I began saving my cash months before the auction. But I understood I required an edge, and I hoped that some details might sharpen my possibilities. See, the auction listing in the catalog said that this Cigarette smoking Spaceman had some paint touch-up inside the battery compartments, which lie in the legs. It likewise discussed some retouch to the outside of the legs and on the robot’s shoulders. This is precisely the kind of thing that turns those high-end collectors off of a toy. See, they have actually got money to spare, and their sensation is that, if they’re going to invest piles of cash on a toy, they desire that toy to be mint. If not, they ‘d rather simply wait.


However right here’s the great bit. The great bit is that I ‘d already taken a close look at this certain toy. It’s one of my all-time favorites, so when I went to Bob’s residence, I provided it a comprehensive once over. I gave it a comprehensive as soon as over when I went to a screen of Bob’s toys at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. And when I went to the auction preview, I offered it yet another, much more comprehensive once-over. And sure, fine, I needed to listen to Bob scream at me to stop drooling on his toys, however it deserved it– I understood for a fact that in spite of exactly what the catalog may say, any touch up on this robot wasn’t that big an offer. If no one had informed me, it’s a good chance I ‘d have presumed any such touch ups came from the factory.

(This occurred often; the manufacturing procedure required painting or lithographing the tin prior to sending it through the punches and presses. Scratches prevailed and the factories would make use of dabs of paint to clean up the toys prior to packaging them and sending them off to distributors. Collectors, typically speaking, don’t care about factory touch ups.).

So armed with my extremely, secret information, I was very carefully positive that the catalog description may turn off possible purchasers, leaving me to swoop in and grab a toy that I knew was quite darn close to ideal.

And think exactly what? That’s exactly what occurred. On the night of the auction– really, the next early morning, however that’s a story for a various article– I emerged from a fierce battle against … another bidder. Who just included one half-hearted bid, leaving me as the last guy standing and the owner of my own blue Smoking cigarettes Spaceman.

Never ever assume that a toy is beyond your reach. The ideal toy will certainly come along and you’ll add that dream robot to your rack. It’s occurred to me twice … however that’s another story about another robotic for another time.

Vintage Firework Collectibles

Fireworks Ah, the nostalgia of fireworks Fond memories of hot summertime nights come hurrying back whenever I hear their jubilant “Kaboom!

I bear in mind the days when a quick trip down to the local corner store with a pocketful of change would net me some double bungers, a couple of mini skyrockets, and a few packets of tom thumbs. If I ‘d done some additional odd jobs around your house, I might have even had the additional money for a couple of unique luxuries like an aurora fountain, a diamond torch or even a colored air travel lamp.


We ‘d normally let a few of the loud individuals off in the late afternoon (you know, the thunder bunger under the soup can, to see if it would make it to the moon), the most spectacular occasions were conserved for nightfall.

Psychedelic pinwheels nailed to an old fence post, spitting triggers like some deranged dragon; squat little flowerpots, untiled carefully into the soil of the yard veggie garden, progressing unexpectedly in a violent spray of unlimited colors; leading heavy skyrockets, released from cylindrical glass gantries (referred to as milk bottles to us earthlings), paper astronauts on a one method intense trip.

Those mini packs of kid sized fireworks wclassic vintage fireworksere just as much fun to me as any toy could be. A massive quantity of play value could be obtained from them, and definitely the fond memories of their incandescent power create a yearning fond memories for those innocent childhood days now lost, a warm glow which bares an extraordinary resemblance to that feeling of recollection of a favorite youth toy. timeless vintage fireworks

Paradoxically, these fondly concerned explosive playthings were commonly the undoing of numerous when desired treasures from their owner’s toybox: “I wonder how hard ‘Huge Jim’ actually is?” POW! “Farewell, Bond. Let’s see if your Aston Martin can endure this!” BANG! “That’s appropriate, Teacher. The only method to ruin a Monster is with a Silver Bunger!” KABOOM! Which was the end of my Aurora model kit of Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman.

Some masking tape, one match and five seconds later on … immediate plastic dismemberment. Military model kits were probably greatest on the hit list of most likely targets for crackernight combustion.


Tanks, bombers, fighter planes from both World Wars: axis and allies alike were all under threat from this unseen brand-new opponent … the grinning children with the firecracker. And what a strange dilemma this situation is, when you stop and believe about it … hours and hours of meticulous tongue-poking, eye-squinting concentration invested with plane glue and hobby paint, bringing a form of life to a jumble of plastic, just to end everything in an intense microsecond of miniature thunder. A secret society of teen Physician Frankensteins, heck-bent on ruining their own developments (I make certain there’s a Ph.D. in this for some budding sociology student).

traditional vintage fireworksDespite their ephemeral nature, it is still possible to come across some classic vintage fireworks, however more probable dead than alive. Bungers, tom thumbs, and other explosive types are sadly gone forever once used, but other more stylish members of the Man Fawkes family often left collectable remains behind.

A few of the fireworks based on gushing forth vibrant lights did not explode after their show and left a hollow cardboard tube behind. These were frequently decorated with brilliantly lithographed paper labels, developed to make them stick out at the point of sale, long prior to detonation. Often, these jazzy wrappings were left virtually totally undamaged. The same could be said for most skyrockets, but being able to track their empty shells is another game altogether.classic vintage fireworks.

Marketing product associated with the sale of fireworks was typically more effective and spectacular than the real thing. Some of the most dramatic and striking poster art can be found in material from “method back when” in the 1930’s, as can be seen in the illustrations of Phoenix and Pain’s brand name fireworks posters.

Fun though it was for me, fireworks night is no more. The night might be gone, but the intense and fond memories stay (you understand, the stump still tingles in the winter …).

Flintstones Tin Collectibles

Steven Spielberg’s 1990’s live action variation of ‘The Flintstones’ was certainly not Oscar material. Audiences kept away in droves, and classification after classification of merchandise was left hanging on the racks for months after the stone age ship had sunk below the harsh sea of mass opinion.

Back in those days, the quality of the TV show preceded, then any licensing choices, not the normal vice versa plan of today. And as the very best of the very best in home entertainment came out of 60’s Bedrock, the Flintstones toys from that period were the Best of the Best too.

Various inspired plastic toys (vehicles, figures, Bedrock village playsets) enhanced lots of an ancient toybox, but it would have to be the sometimes bizarre and wonderful series of Japanese tinplate toys which were the gem in the crown of Flintstones toys.

Japan’s boom time in toy manufacture (post WW2 up until the late 1960’s) saw it out fruit and vegetables and out perform the rest of the world in its resourcefulness, interest and the mass appeal of its products.


Japanese companies were constantly fast off the mark to produce toys based on TELEVISION characters that would captivate the massive US marketplace, and the Flintstones were no exception.

Right here are simply a few examples: a 55cm long, battery operated plush purple dinosaur with a vinyl head, seated upon which was a little Fred Flintstone figure, a-la the TV show’s opening; an all tinplate and vibrantly lithographed Dino the Dinosaur, 20cm long and powered by a clockwork motor, with vinyl-headed Fred riding Dino cowboy design; and the Fred Flintstone Flivver, a tinplate and plastic friction-drive automobile, similar to the household automobile, with a brittle plastic figure of Fred sitting behind the wheel. However my absolute favorites are the amusing and fantastic series of Flintstones clockwork tricycles.

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Transport in Bedrock was absolutely a tricky business. You used out the soles of your feet if you had an automobile. If you rode astride a convenient Whateverasaurus you might just get saddle sores. How was one to get rid of these Triassic traumas? Why, with the Mechanical Flintstones Tricycles obviously! Fred & Co cracked the nut in 1962 with Marx’s assistance.

The trikes themselves are all tinplate with elegant woodgrain and stone lithography. 3 quite and tiny clockwork tricycles were launched, each being a mere 3 inches high: Dino, Wilma, and Fred. Sadly, terrific character toy possibilities like Barney, Betty and Hoppy the Hoparoo were overlooked yet again … still, we need to be grateful that Marx saw fit to bless us with as lots of great Flintstones toys as they did.

Investors quickly snap up collectible toys!

Thirty years earlier, retired company owner Richard Claus started gathering tin toy boats dating back to the turn of the 20th century. In a 2012 auction, a toy boat he had purchased in 2007 for $103,500 cost $247,250.

Quite an investment, right? Well, yes and no.

Claus, of Gwynedd Valley, Pa., said half of the 550 boats in his collection yielded sale prices below what he had actually spent for them. The other half, he said, made up the distinction.

“I’m not persuaded that, as a financial investment, it’s a particularly smart idea,” Claus said.

“Appreciation like that is not typical,” stated Michael Bertoia, whose family-owned Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, N.J., concentrates on antique toys and managed the auction of Claus’s boats.


Nonetheless, Bertoia and other market watchers state the appeal of antique toys as a financial investment exists.

A 2012 study by Barclays Wealth and Investment Management and Ledbury Research study showed that 21 percent of wealthy collectors buy such treasures or monetary security if old-fashioned investments fail, and 18 percent stated they are simply a financial investment.

62 percent of participants stated they simply delight in having their treasures.

The buyers of Claus’s boat collection ran the gamut from die-hard collectors who only desired screen pieces to those who see the options as investments.

Undoubtedly, if somebody tackles it right, collectible toys can yield returns. Professionals state the technique is understanding what you’re doing.


“It resembles the stock exchange. Can anybody actually time it?” stated Terry Kovel, co-author of “Kovels’ Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide.” He included: “It’s the same with investing in antiques– you need to time it right. It takes a lot of research and time.”.

Kovel, who has been associated with the industry since the 1950s, said the toys bringing in cash now are mechanically complex examples from the 19th century.

Mechanical banks. Generally, these banks were produced to motivate children to conserve their cash– put a coin in a slot, draw a lever, and the coin drops into a bank.

In 1998, Bertoia saw a mechanical bank bring $426,000.

“State-of-the-art collectors think nothing of spending thousands on a toy,” Kovel said. “I have actually been at a great many auctions where you just stand there with your mouth open while 2 guys fight over a toy.”.

Sought after are transportation-related toys, consisting of cars and trains, depending on the manufacturer. Tin windup toys likewise are popular.

“We have actually likewise seen early European tin toys that are handmade and hand-painted removing in value,” Bertoia stated.