Founded in the 1920s this company capitalized on designs from various German firms such as Lehmann and Straus. The art of tin lithography had reached its peak and the colours in these toys remain spectacular even today.
Most toys from that era were art imitating life in miniature which gave their young owners a chance to be in charge and in control. Thank goodness for playtime! I fell in love with Unique Art very early on in my toy collecting life and have had many in my collection over the years.
Pictured here is a L’il Abner Band produced in 1946. It features Daisy Mae on the piano, Pappy on the drums, Granny conducting the orchestra and L’il Abner doing a jig on the side. All movements are accomplished with a wind-up motor and various clockwork internal mechanisms.
Of course, the thrill is always in the chase or the hunt. I discovered this toy in a house on Church Street. It was very early in my real estate career and I was out on one of our Monday morning outings viewing new listings. While inspecting the home, I noticed a Unique Art Toybox inside an opened roll-top desk. The owner of the home, a senior gentleman was present and I asked him if this was a toy from his childhood.
Interestingly, he said that the box was not the proper one for the toy which was actually the Band. He explained that he had just returned home from the second world war, was in a store, saw this toy and just had to have it! He had always loved the characters of Al Capp from the funny papers. I asked if he would consider parting with it and he said smiling, only if it was going to a good home and a good home it has had ever since!
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