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The Curious Case of the Toy Ballet Dancer

Even if you’re not a toy collector, I’ll almost guarantee you’ve seen a Marx toy at some point in your life.  Marx was one of the most successful American toy makers of all time. Spanning across most of the 20th century, his company produced scores of toys in almost all categories. 

This particular toy, the Ballet Dancer, is quite unusual however. The piece is a bit of mystery, but seems to have a consensus of 1939/1940 being the date of introduction. It functions as a dolled up spinning top, or gyro toy.  You use the rip cord to engage the internal weight and off she goes spinning on her “tip toes.”
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The man Abraham Lincoln called “Crazy”

So here we have a very interesting Original Cabinet Card Photograph, c. 1870s – 1880s.


The story behind this photograph and my research of it is pretty amusing.  Upon discovering this photograph, I was immediately taken by the subject; his pose and attire suggested to me that he could have been someone of importance and that it was worth further research.

But then I see the strange scribblings on the bottom of the card, and when I flip it over to see if the back has any more information my mind was literally blown.

Keep on reading!