Friday, March 7, 2014

Retro 1950s and 1960s

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Many young people today are discovering the world of Retro. This term means different things and different times to each individual depending mostly on your age. There is a huge market being tapped by the Chinese to make items of these periods complete with simulated rust and dents. These can be seen at local flea markets and all over eBay. But I digress....

Retro categories can consume clothes, kitchenware, toys and much more. We are going to talk about items that we know and love.

Retro Toys - toys from the 50s/60s came into a wonderful era. Tin windup toys of the 30s/40s were replaced with battery operated that not only could move but light up and make realistic sounds. Mattel created Barbie, Matchbox and Hot Wheels diecasts moved Dinky, Hubley, and others like Midgetoy to the lower shelves of the five and dime.
Vintage Matchbox No. 13

Vintage Redline Hot Wheels
Japan came on the scene in the 1950s, some of these space themed robots and rocket ships can go for 5 figures at auction. These toys such a Diamond Plant Robot from Yonezawa can be valued at $50,000 in mint condition. Robots and spacecraft were in vogue during this period as the space race was heating up between the United States and Russia.

Tin Litho Skyexpress
Diamond Planet Robot




















Even kid's lunch boxes had rocket ships and military weapons. 

Mercury Spacecraft Lunchbox











4 Branches of GI Joe


And then along came Hasbro who created GI Joe action figure in 1964 to offer the boys who didn't want to play with Ken dolls. GI Joe is still being made today. For collectors, the original Joes were 12" tall, not 11.75" as they are today and they didn't have all these muscles that the new Joe does. Every GI is not built like Arnold  Schwarzenegger.






Retro Kitchenware - the kitchenware of the 50/60s became ultra modern. Many of the advances developed in the space programs found there way into mom's kitchen. Dishwashers, elaborate stoves and microwave ovens. Even the colors, gone were the pink and light blue kitchens of the 30/40s and now was harvest gold, avocado green, burnt orange and more wild colors for mom' decor and appliances. We had a bright blue stove in our kitchen in 1968. Items of that period are not only collectable, but functional. The devices were made better than the stuff you get at Walmart.

Retro Radios - the 1950/60s was the era of the transistor. Radios went from big bulky tube types that were not at all portable to small devices run by 9v batteries and could fit in you pocket. In the 1960s, the World Series games were played during the day. Schools in my part of the country and certain teachers would allow us to bring our pocket transistors armed with single ear plug and listen to the game during class time. As long as we didn't yell out when someone scored.

Retro items are fun to collect and not just for us Baby Boomers.


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