Published: April 12, 2022
WILLOUGHBY, OHIO — That swaggering, wisecracking cartoon sailor Popeye has been depicted on countless toys and memorabilia since first appearing in the Thimble Theatre comic strip in 1929. And ever since that debut, Popeye — with his girlfriend Olive Oyl and their motley crew of sidekicks in tow — has been an entertaining figure in the public’s consciousness, and vintage toys designed with Popeye’s image have only continued to rise in popularity and price.
On April 9, Milestone Auctions offered a selection of Popeye toys, led by the greatest rarity of them all: a Popeye and Olive Oyl Tank with its original pictorial box. “Every major collector of Popeye toys — and just about every collector of comic character toys, in general — wants that tank,” said Milestone Auctions co-owner Miles King prior to sale. “The minute word got out about it, the phones started ringing and collectors started searching for it in the online catalog.” Sure enough, fan collectors pounced on the opportunity, pushing the lot to $105,000, including premium, against its $30/40,000 estimate. Made by Linemar (Japanese post-World War II subsidiary of Louis Marx & Co), the 11-inch-long, battery-operated Popeye and Olive Oyl Tank was all original and complete, even retaining Popeye’s pipe and the red plastic caps that hold his legs to the tank. When activated, Olive Oyl’s head emerges from the cupola with a surprised expression on her face, as Popeye flips the tank over. The piece de resistance, however, was the crisp, profusely illustrated original box that accompanied the toy.
There were many more Popeye-themed top lots in this sale and a further review will follow.
September 28, 2022
September 28, 2022
September 27, 2022
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