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Toy Elephant Rings Bell, Big Money

September 29, 2013
By Terry and Kim Kovel , The Post-Journal

Old toys are very different from those made today. Toymakers of long ago did not try to encourage creativity. A toy was made to resemble a known part of life - a house, car or pet - or perhaps a fantasy - a rocketship or robot. Or they were puzzles meant to teach the alphabet or arithmetic, or character dolls from stories that told of good behavior or gave lessons from the Bible. In the late-19th century, a group of cast-iron bell-ringer toys became popular. These were pull toys with a platform and four wheels. The figures on the platform moved when the toy's wheels turned. The "Trick Elephant Bell Ringer," with its name in raised letters on the side, was made by the Gong Bell Manufacturing Co. of East Hampton, Conn. When the toy was pulled, the wheels moved and the elephant turned and hit the bell. The elephant stands on a pierced and painted platform, suggesting that he is a circus performer. The painted iron toy, about 5 inches high and 8 inches long, sold for $1,230 at a Skinner auction in Boston.

 
 
 

 

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