Why people collect things!

Cragstan Toys

Milenio Stadium - Cragstan toy collection
Creditos: Armando Terra

This week’s article will attempt to illustrate why people collect things. There are many different areas of interest in collecting. I have personally met fellow collectors, whose collections are so fascinating and amazing, however, the most intriguing for me is always the story behind the item. Most of my fellow collectors, admit that the most rewarding experience is the thrill of the hunt. Eventually finding that ever so elusive example, that has been reserved a space in the collection until now! 

In my opinion, being a bona fide true collector requires an emotional connection to the item being collected. Non collecting type personalities will often refer to collectors as hoarders, junk people or simply obsessed. True collectors experience sheer delight with the objects they own, and money and time seem inconsequential in comparison. As we have discussed previously, my collection is widespread, advertising, automotive, vintage toys, porcelain signage and many other areas. Many items in the collection have provenance, either through original sales receipts, penned paperwork by previous owner(s) or original period correct advertisements. 

I first started collection many years ago and some information was scares or even non existent and researching an item or topic was very laborious. Today, with the internet and reality shows like “American Pickers”, all of a sudden everyone is an instant expert. Online sales sources like eBay, Etsy or Facebook Marketplace allow collectors to grow their respective collections. 

Personally, curating the collection brings me more joy than the thrill of the hunt. Placing a newly acquired example in the collection is very satisfying to me. Also, the physical layout and placement of pieces within the viewing area, is extremely important. Some refer to the practice as “clutter”, and I don’t agree! Placement and display are probably the most important part of highlighting any particular collection. Happy collecting. 

The second part of this week’s article will briefly introduce the reader to the Cragstan toy company. The company was based in New York City and all of its toys were produced by existing toy companies of the era and packaged in Cragstan packaging. Cragstan Toys were produced by Daya, Horikawa, Masudaya, Nomura, Yonezawa and Yoshiya. Cragstan’s main toys were multiple action types, many of them very desireable and complex robots. Their main focus included ensuring that their company name and logo appeared on each and every toy that was produced for them. Cragstan Toys and boxes were often very colourful and extremely decorated with explicit graphics and font. Origin of the Cragstan name is not readily known, albeit there have been a few assumptions. Toys once made for Cragstan and very desirable by collectors today. They were often made with superior materials, lithography that was second to none and multi actions unsurpassed. 

All of the above perched Cragstan above all other toy companies of the era, even though it directly completed with the biggest Japanese toy makers of the era, the very ones that manufactured for them directly

The following four part of the collection (pictured left to right):

  • 1950’s – Cragstan U-Turn Action United Airlines Jeep, 8” length with original box. Friction powered with bright litho, crisp graphics. Box C-6, Jeep C-9. 
  • 1950’s – Cragstan 14” Mercedes Benz 2205 with automatic jack. Pristine example with original box, original working friction drive, wrench and spare tire. Crisp box C-7 and Mercedes car C-10.
  • 1950’s – Cragstan, 8”, Friction Fire Chief Car. Made by Modern Toy for Cragstan. Original box C-8 and car C-10. 
  • 1950’s – Cragstan, 12”, Friction Heavy Duty Van Truck, Fast Freight Continental Express. Box C-4 and truck C-10. Bright shiny litho. 

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