Is it all there?
After you've been collecting for a while, you tend to build up knowledge, which enables you to look at items in a more critical way. You can often spot that things are missing or components are no consistent with the manufacturer.
I recently purchased a pop pop boat at a toy fair, which I knew to be incomplete, but was still worth the asking price, in view of its rarity and also it had the original box.
The reason I knew it was incomplete was that I already had an excellent example in my collection:
My new purchase was missing the rudder. Although not all pop pop boats have rudders, those that do often lose them and evidence of where they were attached is often visible, i.e. slots at stern or metal remnants.
Another thing that is frequently missing from these boats is the burner tray. These come in all shapes, sizes and designs and are fashioned to contain the fuel. This particular boat has the most amazing burner tray:
In my toy fair find, only the lower section containing the candle was present. The original burner arrangement, which is very fragile consisted of the burner tray, which was attached to the underside of a section on deck (which neatly fitted into a hole in the aft deck) and was topped by a flag pole and flag. No wonder so few of these survive!
It is great to get original boxes, not only do they increase the value, but often contain valuable information. Sometimes however the pictures on them are a bit fanciful, bearing only a slight resemblance to the item inside. The box with this boat does show the flag pole clearly mounted on the aft deck:
The fascinating little boat is approx 5" (13cm) long and dates from the second half of the 1940's, as can be verified by the information on the fore deck, "Made in the US Zone Germany".
To put that in historical context. After World War 2, Germany was divided into four zones. The area in question was occupied by the United States. During this immediate post war period, Germany and Japan were banned from exporting goods. The American authorities controlling the occupied territories, did however allow the sale of toys with the markings "Made in US Zone-Germany" or "Made in Occupied Japan".
I understand that there are collectors who specialise in collecting toys made in these occupied areas, and that the "Occupied Japan" items are highly sought after. Which reminds me I have got one of those in my collection too!
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