A.C. Gilbert Erector Set, ca. 1950

Value (2013) | $2,000 Auction

I had a little Western Auto store for about 42 years, and each year, we would buy toys during Christmas, and when we didn't sell them all, we would go store them up in the attic at the store, and I sold my store just about eight years ago and I was moving things around, I look and I found this underneath things. It had been there for years. I just pulled it out and put it in my storeroom and kept it in the box until this came up and I said, "I'm going to bring that."

Well, you made a good choice because this is a great toy. As a matter of fact, this is one of the great American toys and one of the great success stories. They even advertise it as "The World's Greatest Toy."

I never had one when I was little, but it looks like it'd be a lot of fun.

Well, it was a lot of work to work on this thing, and this was made by the A.C. Gilbert Company. Mr. Gilbert was on a train riding to New York City and he saw the girders that they used to support the electric wires over the train, and that inspired him. And what's great about this is it is absolutely virtually unplayed with. It blew me away when I saw this. This set, the 10 1/2 set, came out in about 1951. Well, you see a few erector sets, as a matter of fact you see a lot of them, because it was a very popular toy. Usually they're incomplete, they're rusty and there are various parts missing, but you've never seen one like this. This was a very elaborate toy. It was called the Amusement Park Set, and it created a carousel, the famous parachute jump from Coney Island, and to have all these pieces in the box including something so fragile as this cardboard parachutist with this silk parachute is just unheard of. Now, an average example of this set, which you see quite a few over the years, could sell for anywhere from $85 to $100, $125.

All right, I didn't know.

This one is the best I've ever seen. I saw one once sell for about $1,100.


And it was in what we call a condition eight. This is a condition ten.


I think at auction, it would bring right up there around $2,000.

Well, my wife will be happy.

Well, I'm so glad you brought it in, and I know it wasn't easy because this weighs about 30 pounds.

It's heavy, yeah. Well, that's amazing. I figured $100, maybe $50, I wasn't sure. But it was just amazing to see all that.

This is the best-known example, has to be.

Appraisal Details

Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, PA
Appraised value (2013)
$2,000 Auction
Baton Rouge, LA (July 27, 2013)

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