Background and Description
Louis Marx and Company was an American toy manufacturer in business from 1919 to 1978.
The Marx-a-Copter of 1961 was marketed as ‘a real flying toy! You are the pilot. Fly it fast, fly it slow. Hover, land and take off’. It was called the model S-55 ‘Workhorse Sikorsky’, designed after the famous Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw helicopter. It was battery powered and remote controlled, and flew around tethered to a central base.
Included was a record of helicopter sound effects, to play as you flew your helicopter. Marx provided sound effect records with many of their toys to enhance the experience of playing with them. The helicopter goes forward, reverse, hovers, has variable speeds, blows up a submarine, and makes rescues and pickups.
The Marx-a-Copter came with parts that must be fitted together to form the base that the helicopter flies around, along with several additional accessory items including a submarine, landing field, administration building, hospital, crew members, bombs, wounded man, mail pouch, nose cone with parachute, emergency supply pack and sound effects.
Collecting Marx-a-Copter toys
The Marx brand is now largely forgotten except amongst toy collectors, amongst whom original Marx toys are highly desirable. The older the toy, and the better the quality, the more valuable it becomes. Louis Marx & Company toy conventions are held annually, and there are museums dedicated to preserving their toys. These may be valuable sources of information when it comes to collecting Marx toys. There are also reference books published with price guides to Marx toys.
Marx-a-Copters are extremely rare. They are not very often seen at auction, and if they are, they often no longer work. Due to the volume of accessories that came with the Marx-a-Copter, it is unusual to see one in possession of all its original parts. Lucky toy collectors may come across Marx-a-Copters in house clearances, at antiques fairs, flea markets, car boot sales and the like. Otherwise, it may be a long wait watching eBay before satisfaction.
Marx-a-Copter toys are worth much more when they retain their original packaging, instructions, and all necessary accoutrements, e.g. the landing pad, submarine, buildings, bombs etc.
The value of Marx-a-Copters changes depending on whether they contain all of their original accoutrements and are still in possession of their packaging. Examples have sold for $60 at small local auctions, and for $100 on eBay.
There is not much data to work from concerning value, as these items are so rare. Other rare Marx toys have sold for a few hundred to a few thousand at auction.
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