A Brief History of Lehmann: Ingenious German Antique Toys

By Admin

Our spring sweepstakes prize inspired us to look back at the wonderful tin toys produced by the Lehmann Company from the 1880s to 1950s.
A monkey climbing a pole. A toy car with a horn that blows. These are just some of the fun and brightly-colored mechanical tin toys produced by the Lehmann Company, founded in 1881 in Brandenburg, Germany by Ernst Paul Lehmann.

Vintage Lehmann Toy Wind-up Tin Birds, 1970s
Vintage Lehmann Toy Wind-up Tin Birds, 1970s

Lehmann had great success in the early 20th century when its entertaining, lightweight tin toys had advantages over the heavy iron toys of other makers – the tin toys were lighter and easier to handle, had bright lithographing, and were less expensive.

Lehmann made many toys with fun human or animal figures, such as zebras, birds, and donkeys, and they were given wonderful names. Unlike most toys at the time, they appealed to girls as well as boys. (One in particular, “PAAK-PAK,” a duck pulling a bucket of water with her three ducklings, was very popular with girls.)

A great advantage to collecting Lehmann toys is that they are easy to identify and fakes are rare, since all the toys have both the toy name embossed on it as well as Lehmann’s logo (an “e” surrounded by a bell) or the name itself (EPL).

Since most Lehmann toys that were made before 1900 are hard to find in working condition (children loved to over-wind!), the toys that are most attractive today were made from about 1900-1948, when Lehmann toys were distributed around the world with German-English instructions by a business that employed more than 800 people.

The more affordable models, such as the “PAAK-PAK” ducks, can sell from about $100 in fair condition to as much as $700 in mint. And as with so many collectible toys, an original box in good condition adds significantly to value.

Enter for your chance to win a vintage Lehmann Wind-up Tin Bird!


Vintage Lehmann Wind-up Tin Toy
Vintage lehmann toy marketplace 326930
Gray color, New Old Stock – Her name is Luli
$26.99 USD – Buy Now
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