CANVASES, CARATS AND CURIOSITIES

Over the Top: Intriguing Antique Toys and Games

While kids today may want the newest technological gadgets like an iPhone or Xbox for the holidays, the toys and games of yesteryear are equally complex and even more fun! Please join us as we take a look at some of M.S. Rau’s most unique and imaginative antique toys and games for the young and young at heart.
 

Antique Kiddie Rides

Bally Motorcycle Kiddie Ride

Bally Motorcycle Kiddie Ride

 
Kiddie rides were designed to appeal to a child’s imagination and were extremely popular in the 1950s and ’60s. They got their start in 1931 when Missouri inventor James Otto Hahs built a mechanical horse as a Christmas present for his children. He went on to create a commercial coin-operated version cast in aluminum called the Hahs Gaited Mechanical Horse, and he teamed up with Exhibit Supply Company to distribute it across America. By 1953, kiddie rides were described as America’s fastest-growing business by Billboard magazine. Popular in amusement parks, arcades, malls, hotel game rooms, and outside supermarkets, rides like these came in a wide variety of styles including rocket ships, race cars, horses, dinosaurs and police bikes, and they allowed children to pretend they were experiencing grown-up adventures. While kiddie rides in public places had to be shared with other kids, M.S. Rau’s kiddie rides enable kids of all ages to have a ride of their very own!
 

Antique Golfing Games

Trophy Golf Floor Gaming Machine

Trophy Golf Floor Gaming Machine

 
The quintessential American pastime for generations, the game of golf is widely popular year-round. When it’s too cold or rainy to play on the course, a golf machine is a fun substitute for a hole in one on the green. The trophy golf floor gaming machine shown above is from the 1930s and is known as a “manikin” model, meaning the player controls the miniature golfer held inside. Simply insert a penny into the machine and turn the knobs to manipulate the golfer’s aim. Play three holes per game, and receive a professional golf ball as a prize if you sink all three. A wonderful game of skill and strategy, this machine is a beautiful gift for golfers young and old. In 1941, many golf gaming machines, including this rare Golfa Rola Golf Ball Vendor Slot Machine by Jennings, were classified as gambling devices. Sadly, production ceased, and most were destroyed. Finding machines that are not only intact but in excellent working condition is incredibly rare, and this machine is one of only two in known existence. M.S. Rau is proud to offer a fine selection of rare and unique antique gaming machines.
  

Antique Gaming Tables

Specimen Games Table Attributed to Gillows

Specimen Games Table Attributed to Gillows

 
Classic games like checkers and chess are beloved by young and old alike and never go out of style. What better way to create cherished memories than by playing a classic game on an antique game table? One of our favorites is the beautiful Specimen Games Table Attributed to Gillows, pictured above. Crafted from some of the rarest English marbles, hardstones and fossil specimens, including Derbyshire Blue John, and resting atop a carved rosewood crown designed to display the full beauty of the stones, this magnificent Regency table is the perfect antique chess (or checkers) table. If card games are more your style, this fantastic Louis XVI-style antique game table turns 90 degrees and opens over the frieze to reveal a leather playing surface perfect for an assortment of games. The frieze itself serves as a spacious storage compartment to hold playing cards and game pieces. M.S. Rau has a beautiful selection of antique game tables to satisfy a variety of tastes and interests.
 

Antique Chess Sets

Battle of Issus Chess Set

Battle of Issus Chess Set

 
Of course, a beautiful game table is only enhanced by a beautiful chess set, and M.S. Rau has quite possibly the most exquisite chess set in known existence. The Battle of Issus Chess Set pictured above was crafted by a master jeweler, and the superb quality of its manufacture is showcased in each and every detail. The ancient Battle of Issus is the subject of the set and an apt reference to the military-like strategy of the game. Each 14k gold game piece is different, encrusted with semiprecious stones and brightly hued enamel, and each is endowed with mechanical movement. This ancient game of war truly comes to life on the breathtaking board, which is as remarkable as the chess pieces. The squares are crafted of pink rhodonite and green malachite to match the bases of each piece and can be removed for storage when not in use. The sides of the board are formed from pure silver, sculpted in high relief to depict battle scenes that mimic the motifs in the game pieces. Archers, horsemen, chariots and elephants all engage in endless combat that enhances the drama of the game.
 
We hope that you’ve enjoyed exploring our exciting world of rare and collectible antique toys and games. For more fun and unique gift ideas, we invite you to explore Giving Traditions, our holiday gift guide. Happy holidays from M.S. Rau!

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