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Tonka Toys! – Part 1

When I was a kid many (many) years ago I had a collection of Tonka toys. Over this past week, I went to Chicago to visit my son. While I was there, I learned that my ex-wife had all of my old Tonka toys stored in the attic! This was a big surprise to me as I had thought that they were all lost over the years.

Back home in Baltimore I did a little research online to find out exactly what I had. Here’s what I’ve determined thanks in large part to www.NeatOldToys.com.

Tonka Mighty Dump #2900

 click to enlargeclick to enlargeclick to enlarge

I have determined that this toy (above, click to enlarge) is the iconic #2900 Tonka Mighty Dump. Because it has a “reversed” logo on the front and rubber, not injection molded, tires it is an early 1965 model. Note that the 14 hole rubber tires were the same as the 1964 model and were only used in the first 3 months of the 1965 model.

I remember as a child that I would never play with my Tonka toys outside in the sandbox. Instead, I would play with them indoors and use my smaller wooden Lincoln Logs to simulate earth moving. It has some scratches (most notably on the front sticker), but after I cleaned off the years of “attic goo” it appears to be in VG or C8 condition.

click to enlarge image

Above, left is page from the 1965 Montgomery Wards catalog showing both the Mighty Dump and the Mighty Crane (see mine below). The Mighty Dump retailed for $5.79 and the Mighty Crane for $8.49. Above, right are photos and line drawings of the 1965 Mighty Dump and the Mighty Crane taken from the Tonka “Look Book”.

Tonka Mighty Mobile Crane #2940

click to enlarge click to enlarge click to enlarge

My Mighty Crane (above) is either a late 1965 or 1966 model as it has injection molded tires. It is also in VG or C8 condition. The black nylon cord that operates the crane lift and angle are still intact and appear to have very little wear.

Does anyone know if the Mighty Crane came with rubber tires? If so, this could narrow my date a bit.

Tonka Road Grader #510

 image image image

The only toy that I still have the original box is my Tonka Road Grader. Unlike they were with the Mighty Tonka series, NeatOldToys was not as helpful with the identification of this toy, so I had to do some “sleuthing” of my own.

The box says that it is a Road Grader #510. I am fairly certain that I have either a late 1965 or 1966 model as it has a black rear bumper logo with metal wheels and hard rubber tires. Here is how I came to this conclusion.

In the 1964 Look Book (below), the Grader was listed as #512 and it does not have a black plastic rear grill.

1964 Look Book

In the early 1965 Look Book (below) and in all years that follow, the Grader was listed as #510. However, the picture shows an obvious yellow patch on the back bumper. From my photos, you can see that my back bumper is completely black with a black raised plastic “Tonka” logo.

early 1965 Look Book

In the late 1965 and 1966 Look Book (below) the back bumper is not visible as it was photographed from the front.

late 1965-1966 Look Book

In the 1967 Look Book (below) the wheels are yellow plastic with larger injection molded tires. Oddly enough, it also lists the grader as 17 1/2 inches long where as earlier books list it as 17 1/8 inches long. This is probably due to the larger tires.

1967 Look Book

My late 1965-1966 #510 Road Grader’s condition is EX or C9 but is missing a red plastic reflector (easily replaced) and a sticker on the “driver’s” side (not so much). On the box is written the original price of $3.49, but was marked down to $2.33.

Next Time…

In my next post, Part 2, I’ll show off my Tonka Trencher and Shovel. In part 3 I’ll show you my non-Tonka's: the Texaco Fire Chief (manufactured by Buddy L.) and Ertl’s International Tractor with Trailer.


Doug said on August 2, 2008 at 10:42 PM ...

I wouldn't quite say you're full of it but dang those trucks cleaned up great.
Make sure you let the future little one get some time on em...


Unknown said on September 22, 2008 at 9:49 PM ...

My older brother got the crane for Christmas in 1965. I was only 7 months old at the time, but I remember it well. With my wobbly legs I did a sudden sit down on the scoop, and had to get 8 stitches in my butt. What a wonderful first Christmas that was! As I recall, the crane had plastic tires, but I can't be 100% sure of this.

Thanks for a wonderful stroll down memory lane. :)

Jumpa said on August 18, 2010 at 8:00 PM ...

Hello Ladies and Gents
perhapPcan someone help me ? I need some stickers for my Tonka Crane I just overhauled it. We took it all apart sanded then painted it, and put it back together. It looks half way decent to say the least. All we need now is some stickers then it will be a complete #3926 Mighty Crane. Rob you gotta love our nice and dangerous toys we had as kids our parents had some faith in us huh Nice sharp edges on out Tonkas . Not like kids today. Whats a bicycle helmet? Can you imagine wearing a helmet in 1970?

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Gary said on December 21, 2010 at 10:20 AM ...

It pains me to say that I played with my Tonka toys outdoors and absolutely ruined them as a child. What an absolute shame soundandvision

life is very nice said on September 16, 2011 at 1:33 AM ...

Thank you for hosting such a creative weblog. Your website happens to be not only informative but also very inventive too.We carry a great selection of children's toys,

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like the holiday-favorite Elf-on-the-Shelf, to Webkinz of all shapes and sizes

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