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Debbie Porter


 A toy is an item that is used in play. Playing with toys can be an enjoyable means of training young children for life in society. Different materials like wood, clay, paper, and plastic are used to make toys. Many items are designed to serve as toys, but goods produced for other purposes can also be used. For instance, a small child may fold an ordinary piece of paper into an airplane shape and “fly it”. Newer forms of toys include interactive digital entertainment. Some toys are produced primarily as collectors’ items and are intended for display only.

The origin of toys is prehistoric, dolls representing infants, animals, and soldiers, as well as representations of tools used by adults are readily found at archaeological sites. The origin of the word “toy” is unknown, but it is believed that it was first used in the 14th century. Toys are mainly made for children. The oldest known doll toy is thought to be 4,000 years old.

Playing with toys is considered to be important when it comes to growing up and learning about the world around us. Younger children use toys to discover their identity, help their bodies grow strong, learn cause and effect, explore relationships, and practice skills they will need as adults. Adults on occasion use toys to form and strengthen social bonds, teach, help in therapy, and to remember and reinforce lessons from their youth.

Most children have been said to play with whatever they can find, such as sticks and rocks. Toys and games have been unearthed from the sites of ancient civilizations. They have been written about in some of the oldest literature. Toys excavated from the Indus valley civilisation (3010–1500 BCE) include small carts, whistles shaped like birds, and toy monkeys which could slide down a string.

The earliest toys are made from materials found in nature, such as rocks, sticks, and clay. Thousands of years ago, Egyptian children played with dolls that had wigs and movable limbs which were made from stone, pottery, and wood. In Ancient Greece and Rome children played with dolls made of wax or terracotta, sticks, bows and arrows and yo-yos.  When Greek children, especially girls, came of age it was customary for them to sacrifice the toys of their childhood to the gods. On the eve of their wedding, young girls around fourteen would offer their dolls in a temple as a rite of passage into adulthood.

The oldest known mechanical puzzle also comes from Greece and appeared in the 3rd century BC. The game consisted of a square divided into 14 parts, and the aim was to create different shapes from these pieces. In Iran “puzzle-locks” were made as early as the 17th century (AD).

Toys, like play itself, serve multiple purposes in both humans and animals. They provide entertainment while fulfilling an educational role. Toys enhance cognitive behaviour and stimulate creativity. They aid in the development of physical and mental skills which are necessary in later life.

One of the simplest toys, a set of simple wooden blocks is also one of the best toys for developing minds. Andrew Witkin, director of marketing for Mega Brands said that, “They help develop hand-eye coordination, math and science skills and also let kids be creative.”

Other toys like marbles, jackstones and balls serve similar functions in child development, allowing children to use their minds and bodies to learn about spatial relationships, cause and effect, and a wide range of other skills as well as those mentioned by Mr. Witkin.

Children have played with miniature versions of vehicles since ancient times, with toy two-wheeled carts being depicted on ancient Greek vases.  Wind-up toys have also played a part in the advancement of toy vehicles. Modern equivalents include toy cars such as those produced by Corgi, Matchbox or Hot Wheels, miniature aircraft, toy boats, military vehicles and trains.  Examples of the latter range from wooden sets for younger children such as BRIO to more complicated realistic train models like those produced by Hornby.  Larger die-cast vehicles, 1:18 scale, have become popular toys; these vehicles are produced with a great attention to detail.

A puzzle is a problem that challenges ingenuity. Solutions to puzzles may require recognizing patterns and creating a particular order. People with a high inductive reasoning aptitude may be better at solving these puzzles than others. Puzzles based on the process of inquiry and discovery to complete may be solved faster by those with good deduction skills. A popular puzzle toy is the Rubik’s Cube, invented by Hungarian Erno Rubik in 1974. Popularized in the 1980s, solving the cube requires planning and problem-solving skills and involves algorithms.

There are many different types of puzzles, for example a maze is a type of tour puzzle.  Other categories include; construction, stick, transport, sliding, logic, picture and mechanical puzzles.

We have an amazing selection of toys in this weekend’s Antiques, Rare Pottery & Fine Art Auction.  Sunday 12th November will see some of the following items up for sale.

Lot 1040 – YOSHIYA circa 1960’s Tinplate Planet Robot (in need of attention) Sale Price £50.00.

Lot 1041 – Alps Television Spaceman tinplate robot circa 1960’s.  Sale Price £170.00.

Lot 1055 – Group of 3 boxed Dinky Supertoys – 667 Missile Servicing Platform (E) with broken stabilizer, but present – box (G), 698 Gift set Tank Transporter with Tank (F-G) box (F) 964 Elevator Loader (G) missing back board to loading hopper – box (F).  Sale Price £80.00.

Lot 1067 – Armand Marseille porcelain headed doll with the head incised AM Germany 351/3 1/2K and similar doll marked 1894 AM 2/0 DEP Made in Germany (head detached) (2) Sale Price £20.00.

Lot 1068 – 1930’s Bowman boxed steam boat swallow.  Sale Price £130.00.

We are currently taking entries for our next Antiques & Fine Art Auction to be held on 10th March 2018.  Please call us if you have any items you would like to add to our next sale.