Tuco Picture Puzzles
Tuco Picture Puzzles are jigsaws made by the American company Tuco.
History & Description
Tuco was an American manufacturer based in Lockport, New York, that produced picture (jigsaw) puzzles from late 1932 through to the early-1980s.
Tuco was a subsidiary of The Upson Company which originally produced 3/16” wallboard for home construction. During the Depression when the home construction industry plummeted, The Upson Co. came up with the idea of producing cheap picture puzzles using the unused pieces of wallboard.
The newly formed Tuco brand sold its puzzles for 69 cents at a time when its competitors were selling their products for over $3. Tuco’s extra thick picture puzzles proved extremely popular and by 1933 the company was shipping over 50,000 puzzles every day. It is said that the company survived the Depression period by cutting and marketing picture puzzles.
Tuco produced their first picture puzzle in 1932 but, according the Anne D. Williams, author of Jigsaw Puzzles: An Illustrated History & Price Guide, the brand disappeared in 1983.
Guide for collectors
Tuco picture puzzles that are sold in their original box and have retained all of their pieces are the most valuable. In addition, pre-1960 Tuco picture puzzles are the most desired by collectors.
Tuco picture puzzles rarely appear at either national or international auction houses but are occasionally sold on eBay.
There are a number of websites that are a good source of information for vintage picture puzzle collectors. A few good examples include; Tuco Puzzle Site, Puzzle History, Perfect Picture Puzzle, Antique Jigsaw Puzzles and Jardin Puzzles.
Notable auction sales
On November 11th 2006 at Bonhams in Los Angeles, California, a group of three vintage picture puzzles, including a Tuco Deluxe Picture Puzzle, realised a price of $150.
On April 7th 2012, a group of four Tuco picture puzzles, circa 1936, was sold on eBay for $136.50.
On April 11th 2012, a Tuco Plasticville Picture Puzzle, circa late-1950s or early-1960s, was sold on eBay for $77.
On March 9th 2012, a Tuco Deluxe Rip Van Winkle’s House Picture Puzzle, circa 1950s, was sold on eBay for $45.
On April 25th 2012, a group of seven Tuco picture puzzles was sold on eBay for $41.
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