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Unearthing an Early Tinplate Toy Discovery

In with a recent purchase of motley old toys was a very old tin plate car, or rather some of a very old tin plate car!

The fragile flat pack mystery had no roof or axles or motor and what was left didn’t look too good covered in thick black paint with plenty of corrosion and missing tabs so putting it back together might be wishful thinking, but it was by far the most interesting thing in the box.

After I had loosely put it back together, I could see it had some unusual features such as the plain front grill with a semi-circular shaped top and also the stamped detail around the windows which you rarely see on such a small model.

Now for the detective bit, I consulted all of my tin plate car books and found nothing like it so I took to the internet to search images of every variation ‘tin plate car’ and then by searching for images of every individual maker I could think of which wasted some more hours but it came to nothing. There are models by Bing and Bub that have similar shaped grills, but they have much more detail and tend to be on a bigger scale.

Some days later I was having a tidy up of books and came across the lovely Judith Miller looking at me from the cover of a 2003 collectibles price guide and a quick flick to the toys section provided the break I had been waiting for, a tiny picture of a fire truck with a very similar front grill and wheels which was captioned ‘An MMN Fire Truck’, unfortunately that was all it said but at least I now had a name to work with. Thank you Judith.

Armed with this I took to the net again expecting to find chapter and verse on MMN but I was rather underwhelmed with the amount of info available, all there is tells us that Max Moschkowitz was a toy maker in Nuremberg from 1919 through to the early 30s. It would seem that very few of his toys have survived at all, the only one I can find images of are an airship, that fire truck, a racing car and a steam loco and also a cropped photo of a similar but not identical saloon car to the one I have.

So, if you find an old tin toy with the initials MMN stacked on top of each other then you now know a tiny bit about it and if you do find one then buy it because the one thing, we know for sure is that they are rare.

I wonder if someone will actually want to restore what’s left of mine? We’ll have to wait and see.

If you know more about this manufacturer, or if you’ve got some MMN in your collection, let us know – we’d love to hear from you.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. David Benedict

    Max Moschkowitz – note the spelling – was my grandfather. He escaped Nuremberg and came to London in August 1939 and set up business again there. You’re right: very few of his toys survive.

    1. Si Kelly

      Hi David – Many thanks for replying and apologies for the spelling error!

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