It can be challenging to distinguish Tootsietoys, a collection of metal die-cast automobiles, trucks, and other playthings that dates back to the early 1900s, because many of them lack a trademark insignia or an original labelled box. Collectors can, however, look up Tootsietoy listings on eBay, speak with vintage toy dealers, or get a copy of David E. Richter’s “Collector’s Guide to Tootsietoys, Identification & Values, Third Edition,” which is offered on Amazon.
According to toy historian Clint Seeley, Tootsietoys, founded in Chicago, Illinois, started off in the late 1800s as a metal die-cast company before beginning to produce a series of well-liked toy cars in the early 1900s.
According to Robert Newson, the company formally copyrighted the term Tootsietoy in 1924 based on a pet nickname of the daughter of one of the company owners. In addition, according to Newson, although the company started using the term Tootsietoy on toy boxes and catalogues before 1925, the name didn’t start showing up there for another year or two, and several toys made after 1930 still lacked any kind of distinctive company symbol.
Richter’s book, which has 850 pages of colour images of the vintage toys and their original boxes, is a good resource for collectors who are serious about recognising authentic Tootsietoys. Finding competent antique toy merchants who are acquainted with Tootsietoy production methods over the years is another smart move.
J. Lloyd International, Inc., which continues to produce toy automobiles in Chicago, Illinois, now owns Tootsietoy.