Marx Lane

Marx Playset Figures, Structures, and Accessories
of the American Wild West
Manufactured from 1951 to 1980

(now with added pages for other playset themes)
Wild West Introduction and Table of Contents
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.

Table of Contents
(click on category to move to page)
Introduction (below)
Page 1 - 45mm Figures
Page 2 - 60mm Figures
Page 3 - 54mm Figures
Page 3A - The Alaska Frontier
Page 4 - Large Scale Figures
Page 5 - Figures Manufactured Outside the U.S.
Page 6 - Miniature Playsets
Page 7 - Uncommon and Other Miscellaneous Figures
Page 8 - Horses, Cattle, and Other Animals
Page 9- Forts, Structures, and Terrain Pieces
Page 10 - Accessories
Page 11 - A Virtual Wonderland of Marx Wild West Playsets
Page 12 - List of Wild West Playsets
Back to the Web Site Table of Contents

Most recent significant updates to this web page:
4-10-10     This page added to the web site.

Led by the long-running series of Fort Apache playsets, the American Wild West was the most successful theme of Marx playsets.  The company produced at least 134 wild west playsets and more than 400 wild west playset figures, as well as about about 100 animals.  Accessories included 6 different stockades and 17 colorful tin litho buildings, 35 terrain items (trees, fence, gold mine, etc.), and 9 wagons and stagecoaches.  No other playset theme came close to these numbers.

While these items were created and for the most part sold as parts of playsets, many of the playset figures and accessories were also sold outside the sets.  Kids without enough money to buy an entire playset could purchase them individually or in small groups.  Those kids with plenty of money (not me!) could buy them to beef up their playsets.  These separate items came packaged in boxes or bags, sealed onto blister cards, or simply loose as what collectors call "bin toys."  These bin toys were sold from dime store bins filled with unpackaged figures for 10 or 15 cents apiece.

Wild West playsets debuted in 1951 with mediocre sales of Fort Dearborn and Western Ranch sets.  Sales took off a year later when Marx added the Roy Rogers name to the Western Ranch sets, and they continued to rise as the company dropped Fort Dearborn in favor of Fort Apache.  Over the next 20 years, Marx sold dozens of varieties of wild west sets through major retail companies such as Sears and Montgomery Ward, as well as small town dimestores:  Gunsmoke, the Lone Ranger, Johnny Ringo, Wagon Train, The Rifleman, The Alamo, Wyatt Earp, Zorro, Western Towns, Comanche Pass, and even Alaska.

In 2009, a Playset Magazine poll named Fort Apache, along with the Battle of the Blue and Gray, as Marx' "greatest" playset.  Today Wild West sets are extremely popular among collectors, and several wild west playset items are very expensive.  In good condition, a standing Lone Ranger can go for $75, a General Custer figure can sell for $300, a Marshall Dillon for $500, and a Ringo for $1,000.  A tiny plastic roll of barbed wire can bring $50, a 2-story tin litho town front $200, and a hard plastic brown teepee with top intact is virtually impossible to find and could sell for a even more.  A few playsets, if relatively complete and in good condition, will sell for several thousand dollars.

On the other hand, average collectors like you and me can purchase numerous, more common figures and accessories in reasonable shape for much less.  The attractive 7th Cavalry foot soldiers -- the last and perhaps best wild west figures created by Marx -- will set you back only a dollar or so each, 54mm cowboys and frontiermen $2 or $3, and beautiful 60mm Indians and pioneers $4 to $6.  Many inexpensive re-issue items are also available.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of collecting wild west playset items is the great variety of figures and accessories, much more so than anyother playset theme.  In fact, if Marx did not make a playset in your favorite wild west theme, there are certainly sufficient items to obtain and make your own Hopalong Cassidy or Have Gun Will Travel or Cisco Kid playset.

Because Marx made so many wild west playset items -- and because it is the primary focus of my own collecting -- the wild west section is by far the largest section on this web site.  Have fun looking, and if you have not yet started, learn what's available out there and start a nice little collection of your own!

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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.