Dent Hardware Toy Battleship, ca. 1920

Value (2009) | $4,000 Retail$5,000 Retail

This boat has been in our family for quite a few years. My great-grandfather worked for Dent Hardware in Allentown, Pennsylvania. And he, I've been told, made this boat and several other toys while working at Dent Hardware and he gave this to my grandfather.

Well, Dent Hardware actually started in 1894. They were a foundry and started in Newark, New Jersey, but shortly after that moved to Fullerton, Pennsylvania, which is right near Allentown. So the factory was actually in Fullerton. What time period would he have brought this home?

My mother recalls it coming into her home when she was a little girl in the '30s.

It's the Battleship New York. It reflected a real battleship from that time. It's made of cast iron. Not to be a toy for the water, it's actually a floor toy, like a pull toy. And you can see that by its sheer size, it's a large piece of cast iron. I mean, this is a heavy boat. If a child got creative and thought, "Well, let's put it in the water and see what happens," it's going to sink right to the bottom. So this is a great large, oversized toy for a cast iron manufacturer. Now, the typical New York battleship is painted. And this toy obviously is not painted, it's plated. We call this "copper flash." Now, this is something that they did a lot on some of the other toys they made, but you don't see it very often on the battleship. So, I think it's interesting that instead of bringing home a painted one, he brought home a special one. There's so many pieces to it. These masts remove. All these guns, which, by the way, are nickel-plated cast iron, they remove. And also we have the anchors up there, there's two of them. And we're showing one that has a little damage. The other thing about this toy is that to show action, it had a off-center front wheel. It doesn't work very well because it hasn't been cooperating with us, but I want to push it and show you. You'll watch the front end drop down and it simulates water. My opinion is a retail price would be in the area of $4,000 to $5,000.



Oh, that's exciting.

Now, some of these boats have sold for more, painted. There's a possibility that if the right collectors really felt that this was superior in rarity and finish, it might bring more. But it's hard to say because I've never really seen a copper flash version sell to the market. So I think it's a good, conservative estimate.

I'm just thrilled.

Appraisal Details

Village Doll Shop
Adamstown, PA
Morphy Auctions
Appraised value (2009)
$4,000 Retail$5,000 Retail
Phoenix, AZ (August 01, 2009)

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