Marx Lane
An Inventory of Marx Playset Figures and Accessories
Manufactured from 1951 to 1979

 
Appendix N - Animals
Contents of this web site may not be reproduced or duplicated for use on the Internet or for commercial purposes without permission by Eric Johns.

This web site was created in late 2007, providing information about Marx wild west playset figures on a single web page.  It now consists of about 30 web pages, with information on figures, structures, terrain pieces, and small accessories from playsets in many different themes.  It also has indexes for Playset Magazine and the former PFPC magazine.  
I will continue to update these pages as I obtain more information and photos.  If you have anything to add to these pages or suggestions to make them better, please e-mail me at ericjohns4444@gmail.com.  I will be glad to attribute contributions to you.  And if you have questions or comments, I am always glad to hear from you!  I am not always prompt in replying to e-mails, but if you keep kicking me, I will respond.


Table of Contents
(click on name to move to section)
Dogs
Wild Animals
Jungle Animals
Woodland Animals
American Birds
Game Fish
Large Scale Animal Group
Wild Animal/Animal Kingdom Group      
Back to Main Table of Contents
 
Figures on this page are shown in approximately proper proportion when compared to other figures on this page. 

With some exceptions noted below, animals shown on this page are among the Marx playset-like figures that were never included in a playset.  However, they were manufactured in the same manner that playset figures were made, and many could easily be used with playsets of similar scales.   The fish and birds might be a stretch, but others would fit nicely with some playsets.  At the same time, scale was obviously not a concern in creating these figures, as scale clearly varies, even within some of the animal groups.

Of course, Marx produced numerous animals that are not shown on this page.  These are the animals that most often came in playsets, and they are shown on the pages related to those playsets.  These include, for example, horses and cattle in Wild West sets, farm animals in Farm sets, dinosaurs in Pre-Historic sets, and various animals in Circus sets.


Dogs

Beyond the dogs that came in the Pet Shop Playset -- as well as Rin Tin Tin and Bullet in Wild West playsets -- Marx made two groups of dogs that were never found in playsets.

     Champion Dogs  (PL-593)

This group of 10 dogs came onto the market in the mid-1950s, and according to veteran seller Kent Sprecher was sold as a complete set on blister cards.  The dogs may have been sold in other packaging or individually also.  Kent notes the dogs came in white, gray, tan, and brown (and surely cream).  They are classified as 54mm scale by today's collectors, slightly smaller than the Pet Shop dogs, which are shown on the Pet Shop Page of this web site.
 Except for the size, several of the Champion Dog figures are almost identical to those in the Pet Shop group. 

I have seen different names for the breeds listed with the photos below, but those shown are the names on the Marx store display shown below, which are the same poses painted for the Blue Ribbon Dog group.
Photo not available at this time. Photo not available at this time.
1.  French Poodle 2.  Gordon Setter 3.  English Bulldog
Photo not available at this time.
4.  Doberman Pinscher 5.  Pointer 6.  Basset Hound
7.  German Shepherd 8.  Boxer 9.  Cocker Spaniel
10.  Irish Terrier

     Blue Ribbon Dogs  (PL-593 and PL-1396)

According to Kent Sprecher's web site, about 1967, Marx created a new mold of 14 dogs (PL-1396) that are similar to the Champion Dog group above.  This mold and the Champion Dog mold (10 additional poses) were sent to the company's Hong Kong operations, where the 24 figures were produced in a 
factory-painted hard plastic.  Sold individually or in complete sets, they were given a glossy finish and described in advertising as "ceramic like".  I think they are among the company's most attractive figures...but I might be a little biased, because I'm definitely a dog lover.
Blue Ribbon Dog Store Display
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman

I presently only two of these dogs as shown below, but the full group can be seen on Kent Sprecher's web site.  If you like dogs, they can make up a nice little collection.
Pointer figure and box
Basset hound







As of February 2017, I have completely re-written the previous sections on 60mm Wild Animals and 54mm Jungle Animals, based on more recent information.  My original information was from PFPC Issue 34, which was issued about 20 years ago.  As you probably know, much has been learned about Marx and its manufacturing since that time.  From veteran seller/collector Kent Sprecher, I have received updated information that he has compiled after "many conversations with Rick Koch, Glenn Ridenour, and Jim McGough," all veterans in the field of Marx playsets.

On this page now is the 60mm Wild Animal group, which was never included in a playset.  I have moved to corrected 54mm Jungle Animal group to the Jungle page, where it properly belongs.  In PFPC 34, Rick Koch states that while these groups are generally referred to as 60mm and 54mm scale, they are really about the same size.  The Jungle Animal group is related to the 54mm Circus animals shown on the Circus page, not to the 60mm group here.

60mm Wild Animals

Marx created this group of wild, mostly jungle, animals very early in the 1950s; they never appeared in a playset.  Of the 15 figures in the group, nine are of "larger" aniamls and six are of "smaller" animals.  Collectors today refer to this group as the 60mm wild animal group, though in PFPC Issue 34, Rick Koch points out that their size is similar to the 54mm animals that Marx used in its circus and jungle playsets.

This group -- or these groups, if you consider that they were made in four molds -- has to be my favorite group(s) of Marx animals.  Poses include wonderful versions of a hippopatamus and gorilla. 
However, overall, they are certainly not the best sculpted animals that Marx made.  They are among the most difficult Marx animals to find today, they are also the most expensive.   

The gorilla below is in excellent condition and an impressive 2-3/4 inches long in his walking position.  I'll admit that I paid about $60 for him, but this is a case of buy him when you see him or you'll never get him.  The camel, on the other hand, is rather a disappointment when compared to much more realistic camels in the company's circus and Captain Gallant playsets.   

     Larger Animals (PL-166, -167, and -168)

1.  Camel 2.  Hippopatamus
Photo not available at this time. Photo not available at this time.
3.  Elephant 4.  Small elephant
Photo not available at this time. Photo not available at this time.
5.  Lion 6.  Lioness
Photo not available at this time.
7.  Gorilla 8.  Seal
Photo is not available at this time.
9.  Bear

     Smaller Animals (PL-169)

1.  Ostrich
Photo courtesy of Rick Koch, Ebay ID toy-hood
2.   Kangaroo
3.  Baby lion, licking paw            4.  Bear cub
5.  Monkey, sitting with hand out 6.  Monkey, walking




     Large North American Animals  (PL-770)
1.  Deer 2.   Bear
3.  Fox 4.  Wolf

5.  Beaver

     Small North American Animals
1.  Bobcat 2.  Racoon
3.  Fawn 4.  Bear cub
5.  Weasel 6.  Skunk
7.  Muskrat 8.  Weasel
9.  Woodchuck
10.  Rabbit 11.  Squirrel




American Birds


According to Playset Magazine Issue 9, this group of birds was in produced throughout the 1950s and 1960s.  The article states that Marx used the birds during slow periods to keep their scultors (the Ferriot Brothers) from working with other toy companies.  It includes a photo of a large blister card which held all eight birds, but they were also sold in the company's red polka dot boxes, small header cards, and perhaps individually.

Geppert's Guide notes that they were made in both hard and soft plastic and came in blue, red, cream, and tan colors.  I am unable to understand why the group includes neither a robin nor a blue jay.

1.  Cardinal 2.  Scarlet Tanager
3.  Parakeet 4.  Baltimore Oriole
5.  Goldfinch 6. Tufted Titmouse
7.  Wren 8.  Sparrow
 



Game Fish


Though I have found no printed information on the company's fish group, I imagine that it was used by Marx to keep its sculptor contractors busy, as noted above in the section on bird figures.  Both Gepper's Guide and Kent Sprecher's web site note that they were made in silver, gray, cream, and metallic blue.  As shown below, eight fish were sold on a blister card that also included a diver with separate scuba gear.

I am uncertain how the ninth fish -- the trout -- was sold, but I am told that it is the hardest to find and costs more than the others.  I'm not a fisherman myself, but I believe it is the only fresh water fish in the group.

I'm not sure how popular these figures were with kids during the playset era, but I am sure they are more popular than the bird group among collectors today.  After all, would you think us collectors (i.e., us old guys) would be more interested in fishing or bird watching?

1.  Rainbow Trout 2.  Seahorse 3.  Porpoise
4.  Sword Fish
Tip of sword is broken off.
5.  Sail Fish
6.  Marlin 7.  Barracuda
8.  Tuna 9.  Shark

Blister card with fish and scuba diver
Photo courtesy of collector Tim Young



Large Scale Animal Group

Though not technically a playset item, Marx produced a group of large scale animals in the 1960s that were sold individually and also as part of a target shooting game.  Those from the shooting game probably have not fared well, but a good number of these animals can still be found and bought relatively inexpensively.  Due to the size of the aniamls -- from 4 to 8 inches tall -- they are not solid plastic, but rather are hollow.  They are very well detailed, but not all of them are in scale with others in the group.

I had thought there were 10 animals in this group, but I recently purchased from veteran seller Rich Delbert (Ebay ID 44starstuff) what appears to be an 11th, the hippopatamus shown below.  It sure looks like it belongs with the group, so I'd say there are at least 11 animals in the group.
Bear Tiger

Rhinoceros Kangaroo

Gorilla
about 4-1/8 inches tall
Photo courtesy of Rich Delbert, Ebay 44starstuff
Lion
about 5-3/4 inches long

Gazelle/antelope/deer??? Giraffe
7-1/8 inches tall

Hippopatamus

Elephant Baby elephant



Final Animal Groups

Marx made two final groups of animal figures at their Hong Kong and Taiwan facilities in the 1960s.  These were small painted figures that came individually in boxes with drawings of the animals on the front of the boxes and brief information about them on the reverse.  
The figures are similar to the Blue Ribbon Dogs described above, but the painting is not "ceramic like."  With two exceptions, each group includes the same animals, and it is difficult to determine which animal is from which group if you have nothing but the animal and its box.
Animal Kingdome Store Display
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Writing in the upper right hand corner reads "49 cents for display".  Certainly not the current price!

Fortunately, after speaking with noted toy animal collector James Hayes, veteran toy soldier collector/seller Kent Sprecher recently has determined which animals are in which of the two groups, and his web site shows the two groups in photos he received from Hayes.  Their work has allowed me to properly organize the animals into the two groups, as shown below.


As mentioned, 22 of the 24 figures in each group are the same animal, though almost all were re-sculpted -- and better sculpted -- for the second group.  The two exceptions are
  1. although Marx has an Eland in both groups, the "Eland" in the first group actually depicts a wild goat and
  2. the 24th "figure" in the first group in an animal cage, which was changed to a hippopotamus in the second group.  
The figures vary in size, but the second group squirrel below (Pose 18) is about an inch tall and the second group bear (Pose 8) is about two inches.  The figures are shown in approximately proper proportion to one another and are clearly not made in any specific scale.  Boxes also vary in size.  

Kent states that the initial group was made in the company's Hong Kong operations in 1962-63, and the second in Hong Kong and Taiwan in 1967-69.  He notes that some were included in Marx' Daktari jungle playset.  Some boxes are labeled Animal Kingdom (almost all that I have seen), while other are marked Wild Animals.  It would be logical if one of these was the first group and the other the second group, but that is not the case.  The boxes vary in other aspects also.
Probably because they are not a big target of collectors, they are not too hard to find and are not too expensive.  Though they are not actually play set figures, they are a fun group to collect.  Kent warns that crude copies exist.  As I say, they are not expensive, so I hope to own two full sets eventually!

     First Group - early 1960s
 
Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours!
1.  Ape 2.  Gorilla 3.  Camel

Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours!
4.  Eland 5.  Ibex 6.  Red fox

Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours!
7.  Wolf 8.  Grizzly bear 9.  Elephant

Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours!
10.  Female kangaroo 11.  Male kangaroo 12.  Lion

Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours!
13.  Moose 14.  Mule deer 15.  Panther

Photo not available, we could use yours!
16.  Leopard
Photo courtesy of collector William Holton
17.  Rhinoceros 18.  Skunk

Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours!
19.  Gray squirrel 20.  Jaguar 21.  Tiger

Photo not available, we could use yours!
22.  Giraffe 23. Zebra

As noted already, the 24th figure in the first version was an animal cage.  The cage comes in hard plastic silver and is about 3-1/2 inches wide, 2-1/2 inches high, and a little more than 1-1/2 inches deep.   Like the figures, it came in a small box.  I recently purchased a cage on Ebay.  Because the cage comes in pieces rather than already assembled, Marx sealed the pieces in a clear plastic bag, which was then inserted into the box.  And upon opening my box, I found that the cage remained unassembled, still in the unopened bag from 1968!

Now this might not seem too big a deal for some of you guys who hunt down unopened Marx play sets all the time, but for us small-time collectors, owning any item that remains sealed by Marx many years ago has to be a big deal.  And for me, it was a first.  And, by the way, I too have received items from Ebay sellers who have somehow re-sealed items in new clear plastic packages...but it definitely was not the case here.
 
After thinking things over for a few minutes, I decided "What the heck!" and scissored off one end of the plastic packaging.  After all, I had to take photos for the web page, and where else was I going to find a Marx animal cage?  I doubt the cage is worth a whole lot, but I'm sure I immediately slashed its value by about half.  

After taking the photos below, however, I decided to not assemble it.  The small plastic tabs on the sides appear fragile, and I am sure that I would break or at least damage some of them if I pushed them into the small holes in the base of the cage.  So, I placed them back in the bag, returned them to the box, and set them aside.  Maybe one day in the future when I am feeling calm and at peace with the world, I will take the pieces back out, glory in their pristine mintness for a few moments, and then carefully -- very carefully -- assemble them.  Or maybe not....

Photos below are not in scale with other photos on this page.  The boxes below are 2-1/4 inches by 3-3/4 inches.
24a.  Animal cage pieces
(24th "figure" in 1968)
Cage in original package inside box
Front of cage box Back of cage box
 
     Second Group - late 1960s

Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours!
1.  Ape 2.  Gorilla 3.  Camel

4.  Eland 5.  Ibex 6.  Red fox

Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours!
7.  Wolf 8.  Grizzly bear 9.  Elephant

10.  Female kangaroo 11.  Male kangaroo 12.  Lion

Photo not available, we could use yours!
13.  Moose 14.  Mule deer 15.  Panther

Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours!
16.  Leopard 17.  Rhinoceros 18.  Skunk

Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours!
19.  Gray squirrel 20.  Jaguar 21.  Tiger

Photo not available, we could use yours! Photo not available, we could use yours!
22.  Giraffe
Photo courtesy of collector William Holton
23. Zebra 24.  Hippopotamus


                           


Contents of this web site may not be reproduced or duplicated for use on the Internet or for commercial purposes without permission by Eric Johns.