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Tinplate Motorcycle Toys

Tinplate Motorcycle Toy

Motorcycles have captured and held our attention since childhood. As kids, toy vehicles were a means to tide us over till we’d someday own the real thing. Now, as grown-ups, we’d love to have a collection of tin toy motorcycles like these cool, vintage examples!

As alternative to wood and cast-iron, tin toys were lightweight and cheap to make. Coating metal with tin would prevent rust and manufacturers could efficiently lithograph colorful designs on the surface. By the 1920s, American companies dominated tinplate toy-making until the need for raw materials during World War II put a halt to production.

Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
“Sportsman” Motorcyclist with clockwork mechanism by Mettoy (UK), circa 1950s.

After the war, Japan became the powerhouse in tin toy manufacturing, but today, China leads the way. With plastics being cheaper and safety regulations getting tighter, tinplate production ain’t what it used to be. You can find cheap imitations in stores today that look great, but we wanted to share these authentic examples found on the British website, Vectis Auctions.

Tinplate Motorcycle Toy

Above: This Japanese Masudaya “Atom” motorcycle has a battery-operated headlight and is an example of a larger tin toy at nearly 12-inches long (circa 1958).

Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
A clockwork Indian sidecar motorcycle made by Marx Toys dating back to the 1920s.
Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
“Clown on a Motorcycle” clockwork tinplate toy, circa 1951 by Mettoy.

Tinplate Motorcycle Toy

A popular theme was police and firemen, like the above 1962 tin toy made by Modern Toys of Japan; check out the battery-operated siren. The gun-wielding cop below was made by another Japanese manufacturer in the 60s, Nomura. Not sure how, but it is made to supposedly fire its pistol and has a retractable antenna.

Tinplate Motorcycle Toy

Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
Huki touring motorcycle made in Germany, 1955, with friction drive (7-inches long).

Tinplate Motorcycle Toy

In the late-40s to mid-50s, the German manufacturer, Arnold, made these “MAC” tinplate clockwork motorcycles that had removable riders (bike length, 8 inches).

Tinplate Motorcycle Toy

Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
Arnold also made this 1950s A643 model with a sparking headlight.
Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
Tipp & Co, another German manufacturer, made this clockwork motorcycle in 1948.
Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
Tipp & Co (Germany) friction-drive touring motorcycle, circa 1959. Almost 12-inches long.
Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
An Indian-made OMI “Winner” tinplate friction-drive motorcycle with articulated rider.
Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
Nomura (Japan) battery-operated Police Patrol trike with retractable antenna.
Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
IY Toys (Japan) “Condor” motorcycle, circa 1955. 12-inches long.
Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
Argentinian company, Matarazzo, made this tinplate motorcycle in the 1930s.
Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
Technofix (Germany) tinplate friction drive motorcycle. 7.5 inches long.
Tinplate Motorcycle Toy
A 1949 Mettoy (UK) tinplate clockwork “Police Patrol” motorcycle, measuring 8-inches long.

Tinplate Motorcycle Toy

This Philip Neidemeir (Germany) tinplate clockwork motorcycle set was made to lean in so the bikes would ride around in circles.

All photos and toy descriptions in this post come from the Vectis Auction website. For more info on their tinplate motorcycles, click here.

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