1957? Japanese red tin toy steam locomotive with friction motor, marked "Aesop" at the front both left and right. 9" long and 3.5" high. Marked "EO" and "Made in Japan." $6 from Matt McKeeby, Schenectady, NY, through Ebay, Feb., '00. Click on the image to see the engine larger.

Now this takes a prize! An Aesop locomotive! I gather that this toy comes from the era during which the Japanese were prone to put any symbol on any object and (re)produce it. "D-57" appears beneath the engineer's windows and on the boiler-cover at the front. There a bunny holds flags, perhaps for the tortoise and hare whose heads are pictured above the name "Aesop" on the flag panels on either side of the boiler-cover. Further back on the left side a crow in a cap holds a mouse either by a string or by its tail. On the opposite side a zebra and bear face each other. The engineer is a stork, who has a wing resting leisurely outside the windows on both sides! On the roof above him is a flying bird. In my years of collecting I never dreamed that such a thing existed.

locomotive5amini.jpg (17142 bytes)

1985 Russian carved FS toy, with push button. $10 at Victor Kamkin, NY, April, '98.

Push the button and the fox backs up while the stork raises his head; then the fox offers the stork food in a very shallow dish. Well executed. I saw this in the Kamkin window and asked for it. I was told that they could not get at their display window, but they would let me know the next time they changed their display. On a chance, I called a year later and they had laid it aside for me. Through Roseann Fitzgerald and a friend, I got it--and played with it so much that Tom Greener had to repair it for me when I broke its string.


1989 Children's toy "color TV," with strip-cartoon of TH. Made in Hong Kong. $.99 at Nobbies, Omaha, Dec., '89.

1990 Russian carved FG toy, with handle and ball-and-string. Gift of Mary Pat Ryan, Christmas, '90.

Get the ball going in a circular movement, and the fox will wag his tail. The "grape" may actually be an apple or a cherry! Ingenious and well executed.


1991 Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. Children's toy from an unknown maker, sold at a Los Angeles flea market. Gift of Margaret Carlson Lytton, Nov., '91.

Movable head and legs. This curious creation may resemble a dog as much as a wolf. Whichever he/she is, the creature did its costume very well!

wolfshp4.jpg (5444 bytes) 1992 Russian carved FC toy, with handle and ball-and-string. Gift of Margaret Carlson Lytton from the Rose Bowl Swap Meet, Christmas, '92. Extra exemplar, labelled, signed, and tagged as a "Rezcik Collectible" from Heritage International, Ltd., as a gift from Donna Eddy, June, '99. Another exemplar a gift from Simon Mogilevsky, July, '99.

Get the ball going in a circular movement, and the fox will wag his tail and the crow will bob with the cheese in his mouth! Another ingenious and well executed gift from Meg! And now we see that the Russians are becoming more self-conscious about marketing their excellent toys! The other exemplars have the same great action as the original!