1936 Wolverine, No.29 "the Mystery Car" In Orig. Box
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1936 Wolverine, No.29 "the Mystery Car" In Orig. Box:
Toy Name: Wolverine, No.29 "The Mystery Car" in Original Box
Spectacular streamlined art deco auto in virtually unplayed near mint+ condition.
Year: 1936 Description: "The Mystery Car" manufactured by Wolverine has to be one of the most beautiful streamlined art deco toy automobiles ever designed. Featuring a sleek long front hood, oblique slanting grill, sweeping crescent shaped front bumper, rear luggage rack, and embossed spare tire; it's really a beautiful looking car. And it's steel, not tin!It winds up using Wolverine's patented press-down self winding clockwork motor. Pushing down on the rear trunk winds it up, while releasing it allows it to move forward. It's a great idea, but was confusing. Pushing down on the trunk frequently dented the car, cracked the wooden wheels, and could dislodge the motor.This is why finding a near mint example is so difficult.It's the first example of this car that I've seen with a red body.The head lights, radiator and grille were accented with silver, while theunderside was completely brass finished.The tires are solid wood painted silver.The few examples I've seen had a metallic green body (see photo below). I used a black light to verify that the paint and parts are all original. It appears to have never been used.
This car in any condition is tough to find. It's winding mechanism is complex and was probably difficult to produce. At the height of the Depression it retailed for $1 making it out of reach for most customers. Combine that with its confusing press-down motor and you can see why this is only the 2nd high grade example I've found in the past 7 years.But most important of all…...it works beautifully!
It also comes with its original box. The box had nearly completely disintegrated. Fortunately it was brought back from the dead. Although it's in poor to fair condition at least it exists.
The box features an awesome illustration of the Mystery Car speeding through a large question mark. The toy name was printed in jagged type. The advantages of "no battery, no winding, etc.," are prominently featured. Direction were printed on the bottom.
Size: 13½". Condition: The car is simply fantastic. Near mint+ and most likely never played with. The brilliant red body just glows, with a soft aged patina acquired over the past 70+ years. It doesn't have a single ding, dent, scratch or scuff. This is no paint wear and that includes the tire rims. Even the brass finished underside is nearly perfect without any rust or marks. Just a faint, tiny spot or two; very minor. The motor and motor supports are spotless. Condition points include two tiny nicks on the right and left fenders, two additional pinpoint nicks on the right upright windshield frame, a faint rub about 1-2mm that can be seen only when the surface is tilted. Paint is all original without any touch-up or restoration.
The box has undergone extensive "rescuing". Every panel was cracked, chipped, and taped. The paper was/is extremely brittle. Several pieces were missing and tape had been applied inside and out. Fortunately some of the tape was removable, but some also had to be left in place. One set of endflaps was nearly complete, while the other was missing nearly 3 of the 4 flaps and was extensively taped. Replacement sections were made, but they're fairly obvious. Two other panels were missing a couple of large sections. One of these was replaced…. but it's far from perfect (see last box photo). In addition to the corner and edge wear approximately 50% of the interior was relined. Apparently this prevented it from completely falling apart. And lastly a slight miscalculation was made when the endflaps were replaced making it appear sort of cock-eyed with one corner slightly lower than the rest. Fortunately it can be correctly restored if you choose (I can recommend a professional restoration persons).
My Item No. 13-0018
American Toys; Quality 19th and 20th Century Antique Toys
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