Lehmann tin toys & history
Ernest Lehmann Co., Brandenberg, Germany, 1881 (Re-established in 1951 in Nuremberg and still producing (wind-up) toys). Ernst Paul Lehmann (E.P. Lehmann) exported large quantities of toys to the USA from 1895 to 1929. Specialized in mechanical transportation and lithographed tinplate. Some of the most famous Lehmann's include: Autobus, Dancing Sailor and Icarus.
The company distinguished itself in the early part of the 20th-century by producing small, lightweight tin toys that were more affordable than those the competition produced. In the early 1900s, many competitors were making far heavier iron toys. By the 1920s Ernest Lehmann Co. had a staff over 800 people and made 80+ different toy designs.
Identifying Lehmann toys
One of the interesting things about Lehmann toys is that collectors don't have to worry about fakes, a feature that separates them from most other collectibles. All genuine Lehmann toys have the Lehmann logo: an "e" surrounded by a bell or the name itself embossed on it.
The Lehmann toys that are most attractive to collectors today were made from the early 1900s through about 1950, a period when thousands of Lehmann toys were distributed the world over by a company that employed 800 people at its peak. In 1948, the company was confiscated by Russian occupiers, and the toys made after that date don't have the same cache as earlier ones, even though a cousin to the founder restarted the family business in 1951 in what had become West Germany.
Interesting Lehmann toy links
- Nuremberg Toy Museum has the world's most comprehensive Lehmann collection
- Archive and display of Lehmann toys from a private collection
Michael Bendeaux - March 20, 2014
Hi, I have what I believe to be a Lehmann circus clown and decorated horse but I cannot see a makers mark anywhere and I cannot see it listed in your website. Am I the possessor of a fake?Many thanks
Christine - August 10, 2013
i have a balky mule-comical clown wind up tin toy made by lehmann toys,germany ,just wondering what the price range of worth is .its completely intact and works and is in very good condition
►reply: Beware of remakes, originals can fetch a few hundred dollars.
Debbie - September 12, 2011
Hi - I just purchased a "Lehmann Nu-Nu" and would like some information from an expert like yourself. I have been told that it has "Retractable wheels/motor" - what does that mean? When I wind the wheels go back up in the cart. Are there any special instructions to this toy that I should know about? I would appreciate any info that you can give to me. Thank you so much for anything that you can tell me.
Thomas - March 23, 2011
How much should I pay aprox. for a non boxed good condition Lehmann Galop race car #1 and a Autobus 590?
Dee - November 2, 2010
HI I HAVE A GERMAN PUPPET NAME OF HIS HAT IS LEHMANN GASTAV HIS HANDS AND LEGS MOVE HE HAS A LONG STRING ATTACT TO HIS HAT. I WANT TO SELL THIS PUPPET BUT DONT KNOW WHAT SITE I CAN PUT IT ON CAN YOU HELP?
►reply: Maybe eBay or ask here: www.artofthetintoy.com
Nadine - September 20, 2010
My husband has recently purchased a Lehmann toy of an ostrich pulling a cart. He can fix anything and we are wondering where to find info on how to make this cart work again. thanks so much! we love our toy.