J. Chein & Co. toys

Chein toys, NY City and Harrison, New Jersey, founded by one-armed, one-time Vaudeville performer Julius Chein began with a metal-stamping operation in a loft in New York City in 1903. The company produced small tin prizes for the Cracker Jack boxes and other small toys for five and dime stores. Although the Chein Company made the advertising tins that we collect in its later years, its reputation is built on the nostalgic tin toys and tin banks that are so collectible.

Chein Roller coaster toys

chein rollercoasterRobert Beckleman, the last president of Chein Industries Inc., says that Julius Chein had a friend with the American Can Company who convinced the toy maker to lithograph designs on metal instead of painting them. American Can did the litho work for them until 1907, when Chein opened a plant in Harrison, New Jersey. They manufactured lithographed noisemakers, horse-drawn carts and coin banks which were sold mainly through the Woolworth chain stores.

Julius Chein was killed in a riding accident in 1926. He fell or was knocked from his horse, in Central Park, although there are variations on the story of his death.

He was known for his violent temper, and was known to fly into a rage over something that went wrong at the plant.

Stories tell that he had even been known to take off his watch, throw it on the floor, and jump on it when he was angry.

Merry Go Round

chein ferris wheel toyIt is rumored that he died of an apoplectic fit when his horse refused to jump. All that is documented, of course, is that he was riding his horse when he was killed. Chein had a disability that may have attributed to his bad temperament. He lost one of his arms as a child in a fireworks explosion. He had been fooling around with fireworks, which went off and blew off his arm (or part of it).

Some of the most collectible Chein toys are: The Ferris wheel, which Chein produced since the 1930s, Roller Coasters (since 1949), the Playland Merry-Go-Round (1950). The Space Ride and the larger Rocket Ride came along in the early 1950s.

The company was sold to Atlantic Products in 1987, at which time the name was changed to Atlantic Cheinco. In 1992, the company filed for bankruptcy.

Questions, comments, or sweet memories?
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John - October 29, 2013

Hi, Did Chein make a Bunny pulling a Rabbit Roost Cart that had four holes in the cart to hold the sheet metal together instead of four stamped fasteners?
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Unfortunately I am not a Chein expert, but maybe you can try and locate this book on Chein toys: J. Chein & Co.: A Collector's Guide to an American Toymaker.

Bev Clark - July 2, 2013

I am interested in the Chein bonzo on scooter toy, or even just the Bonzo figure. Do you have one?
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No, I don't have one Bev, sorry! Search frequently on this website and maybe someday one will popup.

Dora Koch - June 3, 2013

I have still in the box a Tiny train Top No 206 very good shape could u send me info on this
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I also cannot find any info. What you can do is try to locate a similar train with help from Google images. Search with for example (click): chein train.

Phyllis - October 7, 2012

I have wind up rocket ride, J chein stamp on it. I have seen similar ones, but none that have the wind up key like on them. They have a lever that pulls over to wind it. 4 rockets, plastic props that are mostly torn up. but in fair condition. still works info on it please.

Scott Dobyanski - April 19, 2012

I recently bought a windup 'handstand clown.' The key turns but the toy does not function as made. I have seen some with orange hands but this one has yellow hands. The graphics are still good better than the ones listed on this site. Could you provide me with a value? I paid $25 for it.
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Here is a list of completed auctions of Chein Clowns

Jeff Jackson - August 8, 2011

I have a Busy Mike sand monkey toy I was wanting information on. What year it was made and what it might be worth. THANK YOU

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Chein mechanical merry go round
chein mechanical merry go31 bid(s)ends in 12h$153.05
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vintage tin metal wind up helicopter toy town
vintage tin metal wind up$26.99
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Vintage 1950s J Chein Wind Up Tin Toy Walking
vintage 1950s j chein wind upends in 12h$34.95
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CHEIN TIN LITHO WINDUP WADDLING DUCK STILL
chein tin litho windup1 bid(s)ends in 15h$15.00
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Antique J Chein Tin Wind Up Clown That Walks
antique j chein tin wind up9 bid(s)$26.00
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Vintage J Chein Co Metal Circus Clown
vintage j chein co metal$20.00
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Antique 1920 s 7 Sedan Yel w Gr Red Trim
antique 1920 s 7 sedan yel w$425.00
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J Chein Tin Wind Up Ferris Wheel With
j chein tin wind up ferris$375.00
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Vintage Tin Easter Bunny Pulling Cart J
vintage tin easter bunny1 bid(s)$45.00
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Vintage 1950 s J Chein Company Wind Up Tin
vintage 1950 s j chein company$39.99
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VINTAGE J CHEIN USA HAND STANDING CLOWN
vintage j chein usa hand2 bid(s)$16.50
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Antique J Chein Co Tin Toy Monkey Bank
antique j chein co tin toy$20.00
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Vintage J Chein Tin Sand Pail Amusement
vintage j chein tin sand pail$9.99
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Working Felix Krazy Kat Chein wind up toy
working felix krazy kat chein$250.00
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VINTAGE WIND UP J CHEIN CO CHRIS CRAFT BOAT
vintage wind up j chein co1 bid(s)$10.00
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Vintage 1940 s 1950 s J Chein Tin Litho Wind
vintage 1940 s 1950 s j chein2 bid(s)$9.99
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VINTAGE J CHEIN TIN WIND UP HERCULES FERRIS
vintage j chein tin wind up$335.00
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VINTAGE J CHEIN PLAYLAND MERRY GO ROUND TIN
vintage j chein playland merry$189.95
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VINTAGE J CHEIN TIN LITHO EASTER BUNNY FARM
vintage j chein tin litho$34.49
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J CHEIN ROLLER COASTER AND CAR
j chein roller coaster and car1 bid(s)$49.99
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very clean J CHEIN red white blue tin drum
very clean j chein red white$33.33
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1950S J CHEIN PLAYLAND WHIP 340 TIN LITHO
1950s j chein playland whip$1,395.00
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Vtg J Chein Tin Beach Sand Shovel Mermaid
vtg j chein tin beach sand8 bid(s)$12.55
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ORIGINAL 1950 s vintage J Chein TIN LITHO
original 1950 s vintage j3 bid(s)$12.51
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ROLLER COASTER TOY VINTAGE TIN WIND UP J
roller coaster toy vintage tin2 bid(s)$33.00
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Vintage Chein Tin Litho Sand Bucket w Shovel
vintage chein tin litho sand$29.99
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Vintage Tin Wind Up Chein Disney Ferris Wheel
vintage tin wind up chein$34.95
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Vintage J Chein Tin Litho Chicken Bird
vintage j chein tin litho$2.99
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Tin J Chein wind up clown
tin j chein wind up clown$12.00
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Vintage 1950s J CHEIN Japanese Tin Litho
vintage 1950s j chein japanese14 bid(s)$52.00
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VINTAGE 1930 S J CHEIN TIN LITHO BUSY MIKE
vintage 1930 s j chein tin1 bid(s)$9.99
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Vintage 1920s Chein Doughboy Tin Wind Up
vintage 1920s chein doughboy$125.00
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