Marx Car & Battery Powered Dump Truck, ca. 1938

Value (2011) | $3,400 Auction$4,600 Auction

I received these as Christmas or birthday presents when I was a kid back in Minnesota. This was in the late '30s or early '40s.

Well, of course, 1941 we go to war, they stop making tin toys.

Yeah, that's right.

And so these date definitely pre-war. And it looks like you took very good care of your toys.

Well, we had to. My folks were not wealthy, and if we didn't take care of our things, there were no replacements.

Well, what you’ve brought here is a wonderful Marx roadster is a travel trailer. I love it with the caravan trailer decal on it. The condition is amazing. I don't think I've ever seen one with that decal still on there.

Is that right?

And it's a wind-up, which was the classic toy of the 1930s. You wound it up, and you let it go. Marx was probably one of the great American tin toy makers of the '20s and '30s. This is a terrific truck and of course, as you know, if you watch the Roadshow, we love to see original boxes. It's a coal truck, and usually when you see this truck, it's a wind-up just like that sedan.


But this is a little different. Instead of a wind-up motor, it has this compartment with four batteries. And when we turn this, there the lights go, and the motor, there we go.

Yeah, it putts along.

It putts along, so it's battery-operated and with electric lights. Now, what's really amazing about this is, everybody thinks battery-operated toys didn't really come in till the '60s, when they started making the toys in Japan. This was like a pioneer battery toy. I think a conservative auction price for the roadster with this trailer, travel trailer, could be about $400 to $600.


Conservatively. I think, in this condition, which is extraordinary condition, with the original box, a conservative auction price would be $3,000 to $4,000.

Man... alive. Man alive! Wunderbar!

I thought you'd be happy with that.

I'm very happy with that. Thank you very much.

Appraisal Details

Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, PA
Appraised value (2011)
$3,400 Auction$4,600 Auction
Eugene, OR (June 04, 2011)
20th Century
Metal, Tin

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.