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Non exhaustive inventory for China tin toys collectors
Non-commercial site. No sales, only information

Toys designed in China since 1958  
Friction MF - Spring MS - Battery ME

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More than 1000 China tin toys created in the 60s, 70s, 80s
indexed by mode of operation, number, category, estimated price and rarity.

Focus on ME 701- Crawler-tractor ”The East is red”

Toy inspired by the tractor Dongfanghong Type 54, China’s very first self-made tractor debuted in 1958. The Type 54 was made by the ‘First Tractor Factory’ in the great city of Luoyang in Henan Province

For more information about  Dongfanghong Type 54 :


Alpha-numeric code : MF, MS, ME and a number (from 1 to 999)

Some codes are not identified, they are replaced by a UN code (unknown) and a number

Category : toys are classified by groupe in 19 categories

Type : it specifies the kind, especially in Animal

Name : name indicated on the box

Rarity and Price : estimated price range based on online sales,auction sites and personal blogs in many countries over the last 10 years.

bus mf 130 china

A little history

In China

1920's to 1950's : In Shanghai, Kang Yuan Toy Factory, China Can Toy Factory...

1949 : People's Republic of China

Since 1958 : tin toys have been produced whith no brand, and no reference to dates or locations.

Only a code, 2 letters 3 numbers assigned without any specific rule.

In 1962, the largest factory of tin toys in Shanghai produced 3.5 million toys mainly for export.

For 25 years, Mr. Marvin Chan (Chen Guotai) has been the main collector

and historian of Chinese toys.

He has  published 4 reference books and created the Saint John brand.

Elsewhere in the world

1860's : First tin toy factory in Germany : Bing, Marklin, Ester Lehmann

1889 : In France Charles Rossignol invents the stapling system of the tinplate

which replaces tin welding.

1890's : Development of lithographic printing of tinplates, before stamping,

less costly than painting.

Invention of the electric battery in the USA.


From 1905, the tin toy industry develops all over the world, especially in :

Germany : Schuco, Marklin, Blomer & Schuller, Kohler, Ester Lehmann, Arnold...

Japan : Ichiko, T.Nomura, Bandaî, Yonezawa, Yoshiya...

U.S.A. : Lineman Toy, Louis Marx & Co...

France : Joustra, Rossignol...

Spain : Rico, Paya...

Czech Republic : Kovap...


From the 1980s, plastic has replaced metal, and tin toys have become collector's items.

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