The German toy manufacturer, Schuco, actually began life as Schreyer & Co. when formed in 1912 by Heinrich Müller and Heinrich Schreyer in Nuremberg, the name changed in 1921 when Schuco was officially registered as their trademark.
Schuco is well known for their beautifully made and mechanically clever tinplate toys. They managed to succeed in making mass produced toys that retained their quality of finish. They made cars, boats, animals, cowboys, clowns even Disney characters and a
Charlie Chaplin who walked along twisting his cane.
One of the popular ranges with collectors is their miniatures. First produced in 1924, these were tiny figures measuring from 2 to 4½ inches with metal-frame bodies covered in mohair completed with a tinplate face mask. Originally produced purely as a publicity
item they were soon being manufactured for many different uses. Some were made to contain lipsticks, manicure sets or perfume bottles, while others were marketed as mascots for bicycle bars or as lapel badges or simply as novelties in their own right with the acrobatic and tumbling bears particularly popular.
The most popular miniatures tend to be the bears and monkeys with the brightest colours being most desirable. Miniatures were commonly made in green, lavender, red, blue and pink, with rarer colours like purple and orange realising higher prices. Cartoon characters like Felix the Cat, were made as well as many animals from elephants to ladybirds and a particularly collectible ‘Noah’s Ark’.
Despite their tiny size, Schuco remained true to form and all their miniatures were incredibly well-made. Although not all are marked they can easily be recognized by the skill in production and the classic tinplate face over a mohair-covered jointed body.
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
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