Wartime Collectables Military Antiques

Andrew H. & Gale V. Lipps
P.O. Box 165
Camden, SC 29021-0165

Email wartime@wartimecollectables.com
ph. 803-463-6935
(It is much easier to reach us via email!)

I have collected the composition and tinplate toys by Elastolin, Hausser, Lineol, and others for many years.  My introduction to these was when a man brought a cookie tin into my shop that he'd found in his Grandmothers attic.  It had remained undisturbed since 1946 when she brought it to the US as an immigrant from Holland after the war.  We carefully opened it and found within a DJ armband, a youth copy of Mein Kampf, and an assortment of toy soldiers.  Quite the time capsule!
Highly detailed composition soldiers in various scales but most are in the 7.5cm size were accompanied by intricately made tinplate vehicles and composition trenchworks.  The pieces made during the IIIrd Reich reflected the politics of the era and SS, SA, Hitler Youth and political leaders can be found as well as wehrmacht soldiers.

Company histories will be added to this page as time permits

Hausser Elastolin


  Bing Germany produced tin toys beginning in 1880 when brothers Adolf & Ignaz Bing set up shop for toys (kitchen wear prior to that) in Nuremberg.   By 1900, Bing was the largest of the German toy companies.   The "Nuremberg Style" of manufacturing toys on stamped out steel sheets with lithographed designs that were then formed and assembled using tabs & slots, was perfected by Bing and was widely used by other makers.  World War I forced Bing out of the export market and in 1916 Ives and A. C. Gilbert Company formed the Toy Manufacturers Association and lobbied to protect the U.S. toy manufacturing industry.   The post-WWI market was not good to the German toy makers.  By the late 1920’s, Bing was in serious financial trouble and with the rise of Adolf Hitler the Jewish Bing family fled to England.  In  1933 Bing closed it’s doors with much of its material acquired by Karl Bub.
Bing items can be identified and dated by its trademark.  Items bearing the letters "GBN" for "Gebrüder Bing Nürnberg"        (Brothers Bing Nuremberg) in a diamond date before 1923, while items bearing a sideways "B" next to a "W" (for "Bing Works") date from 1924 to 1932.


     In 1859 Theodor Friedrich Wilhelm Märklin (1817-1866), a master tinsmith, started producing accessories made of tinplate for dolls' houses in the town of Göppingen in the South German state, "Kingdom of Württemberg".  After his death his sons Eugen and Karl carried on the tradition with another partner, Emil Friz.  The name became "Gebr. Märklin & Co.".  Their toys became more and more technically advanced and success came in 1891 with a railway-system with clockwork locomotives. In 1907 with a new partner the company renamed itself as "Gebr.Märklin & Cie".
     In 1912 Märklin was the distributor for Meccano on the European continent.  Between 1911-1913 Märklin made motors for Meccano and Hornby.  During the World War Märklin only sold stock parts, because they produced war material in Göppingen.
      From 1919, Märklin produced metal construction sets and these became as much a trademark items as their trains.

Karl Arnold GmbH & Co KG, Nuremberg, Germany, began business in 1906 and was the developer of the ‘cradle- flint’ which sprays sparks when the flint and wheel engage.  He produced lithographed ships, tanks, motorcycles and more.  In 1935 Arnold's son Max Ernst joined in the management and the company continued to flourish.  The three Nuremberg Arnold factories were destroyed in World War II , only the operation in Mühlhausen remained intact and from there production began again in November 1945.  The  Arnold Jeep and the Mac Motorcycles met with great success and the company flourished.  In 1960 they began producing N-gauge railroads.  The company has since changed hands.


     Gescha Toys Germany was established in 1923 and toys marked 'Gescha' date from the 1930s.  (It is worth noting that German tin toys and other products in the pre to post WWI era were often marked Ges. Gesch. (gesetzlich geschützt) which meant "trademark registered" in German.  Confusion sometimes arises between the two markings.)  Gescha’s early products were tin wind-up toys that were creative and moved in a variety of ways.
     As with most German industries, World War II seriously disrupted or halted business.  Gescha resumed production of tin toys in the post war late 1940s with a variety of tin and stamped toys, but by the 50’s had begun to focus on vehicles.
     Among these were a tractor and trailer, colorful 4" buses, airplanes, tanks and cars.  Their Porsche sports car is much like its Shuco counterpart.
      In the 1960s, Gescha entered the diecast realm and started a few offshoot brands such as Conrad Models and Strenco.  The company specialty was cast metal heavy equipment vehicles; road graders, front loaders, bulldozers, etc.  During the 1970s the name Conrad was used more and Gescha less. By 1980, the Gescha name was pretty much extinct.

Tipp & Co. / Tippco
Founded in 1912 and named after an early director/employee named Miss Tipp.  Tippco’s owner, Phillip Ullman was of Jewish descent and was forced to flee Germany in 1933. He went to England, where he founded Mettoy.  He eventually returned to Germany to recover his company after the war. Tipp’s military vehicles are among the best of the clockwork tin toys produced in the pre-War / Wartime era and competed with the toys of Lineol and Elastolin.  Some of Tippco’s better known pieces are it’s tanks and Hitler’s Mercedes the Fuhrerwagen.