Cash in the attic

Each year in England, it always astounds me that my Mum has kept so many of our childhood things – and is now happily selling them on eBay.

Our 100-year-old antique rocking horse has been sold, but to my delight, she still has my china tea set, wooden recorder and dolls’ house with electric lights (used, in more recent times, as parking space for the vintage, lead-paint matchbox cars).

I’ve posted before about rediscovering my collection of scented rubbers. (No sniggering over there in the US! The British word for eraser is rubber). Goodness knows what chemicals they were made with – probably something quite addictive to a 9-year-old girl.

But it was this year that it was really brought home to me just how much time has passed since my brother and I were small – and that the toys we used to play with might actually be worth something.

Here’s what’s on the floor in a spare room upstairs:

For baby-boomers, the name Fisher-Price is synonymous with childhood (remember the airport set? Complete with a  turning luggage carousel and suitcases)
For baby-boomers, the name Fisher-Price is synonymous with childhood (remember the airport set? Complete with a turning luggage carousel and suitcases)

And, below, is a photo I took in the US – at a toy museum:

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We have the pull-along dog somewhere, too, in the attic

While it was the children who wanted to visit the toy museum, it was me who found myself lingering in the aisles, loving the trip down vintage toy lane:

1952: Mr Potato Head, the first toy ever advertised on television, was released

1956: Ant Farms were developed

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Over the years, he’s been joined by Mrs Potato Head and supplemented with accessories such as a car and a boat trailer

1957: Frisbees were invented

1958: The Hula Hoop arrived

1959: The first Barbie Dolls were released

1960: Etch-A-Sketch, Chatty Cathy and Fisher-Price’s Rock-a-Stack were popular toys

1962: Fisher-Price’s Chatter Telephone was introduced

1963: The Easy Bake Oven was released, and Matchbox offered toy cars with doors that opened

1964: GI Joe was released during the Cold War

1971: Mastermind, the code-breaking board game with pegs, became the most successful new game of the 1970s

1983: In the run-up to Christmas, parents frantically searched everywhere for the coveted Cabbage Patch Kids dolls

It’s all a far cry from the hi-tech gadgets that will leave even the most savvy parents scratching their head and reaching for the instructions this year – if Hamley’s annual predicted Christmas best sellers list is anything to go by. Among the top 10 toys are:

– A WiFi-connected doll that does homework

– Xeno, an interactive monster with pullout snot, farting capability and 40 different expressions

– Barbie’s Colour Change handbag – hold it against any item of clothing and press a button to match more than 100 different shades

– Kiddizoom Smart Watch – as well as showing the time, it can also take and edit photos, record videos and play three built-in games

– Teksta T-Rex, a robotic dinosaur that walks, moves its head, sniffs and chews on its favourite bone, then spits it out with a giant burp

– Doh Vinci 3D Deluxe Styler

– Ice Skating Anna and Elsa dolls from the Disney movie Frozen

Hope you enjoyed the memories – and the modern-day equivalents! 

One thought on “Cash in the attic

  1. Oh happy memories! I remember Mr Potato Head when you had to use a real potato (Gasp!) to stick the parts into. Etch a Sketch is still in my mother’s loft, I think, and my original Mastermind is still going strong!

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