AS Christmas approaches, it’s a good time to look at the wonderful world of vintage toys and in the world of specialist auctions it is often the mechanical toys that hold the biggest fascination.
My favourite ‘Toy Story’ starts with the German toy manufacturing industry which was based in Nuremberg. Toy tinplate companies such as Bing, Lehmann and Märklin began production there in the 1860s. One of the most intriguing of these was Tipp & Co, established in 1912 and producing toys through the dramatic happenings in this remarkable period in history until 1971. It was founded by Miss Tipp and Mr Carstens, but was in the ownership of the Jewish Ullmann family. In 1933, amid increasing Nazi persecution and restrictions, Philip Ullmann fled to England. At this time he must have thought that he had lost everything, but it was not so; together with a colleague, Arthur Katz, they were offered workshop space by Bassett-Lowke in Northampton and they began manufacturing toys to raise funds for other Jewish refugees. They called the company Mettoy – the firm that later became better known as Corgi…Read More