New tin toys with old Lehmann markBy Mark Chervenka
New tin toys with old Lehmann mark
Marks of genuine factories and companies have appeared on reproductions of china, pottery and glass for many years. You can also find the mark of one of the most famous makers of tin toys, Lehmann, on reproductions and knockoffs. The new toys on which the marks appear are also copied from specific Lehmann originals.
The Lehmann toy business was started by Ernst Paul Lehmann in 1881 in Brandenburg, Prussia. The mark consists of an old style press with the initials EPL formed into a monogram within the press (Fig. 2).
There are many variations of the basic press and monogram mark which commonly have trademark or patent information of the various foreign countries to which the toys were exported. The number 1881 also appears in a number of marks. But keep in mind that 1881 represents the year the company was founded, not the year a particular toy was made.
Lehmann made many different types of toys but was perhaps best known for its painted clockwork toys and lithographed tin windups. Production ended in the mid-1920s. Originally selling for pennies, Lehmann items are among the most highly sought after antique toys with small 4″-6″ tin windups averaging $300- $1200.
The new toys with old appearing Lehmann marks were made in China. The Zikra cart shown here cost $35 new. It is unknown how many different new toys are marked Lehmann. Lehmann lookalikes were also made in Russia, but so far those pieces are not marked Lehmann like the Chinese toys.
When evaluating metal windups, carefully inspect the mechanism. Mechanisms of toys made 75-100 years ago, even toys with otherwise mint paint, almost always show at least traces of rust on the unpainted steel parts.