Jumbo the Elephant Toys Lived Long After the Great Pachyderm Passed On
The Jumbo pull toy is approximately 4-inches high. Estimated value is $30 to $40, but some have sold on Internet auctions for as much as $100.
Jumbo the Elephant arrived in 1882 from England to appear as a feature attraction in The Greatest Show On Earth. But, P.T. Barnum wasn’t the only businessman to benefit financially from the huge elephant. For decades, entrepreneurs capitalized on Jumbo’s likeness and name.
Barnum’s Jumbo was the subject of many advertising trade cards. Kazine Laundry Soap, Bell Soap, Willimantic Thread, Clark’s Cotton Thread, Castoria Laxative and Hartford Sewing Machine Co. were just some of the businesses who used Jumbo’s image on their advertising cards. Jigsaw puzzles, books, paper weights, peanut butter jars, children’s plates, buckets, toys and banks were also sold to capitalize on the Jumbo craze. And that brings me to the subject of this article.
The Hubley Manufacturing Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania developed a new, wood composite material in the 1940s they named Huboid. One of the many toys they created out of Huboid was a Jumbo the Elephant pull toy, and this was more than 50 years after Jumbo’s death.
An original box for the Hubley toy sells for $15 to $20, if you can find one. Toy Tent sells reproduction boxes for $49.
This colorful graphic appears on the side of the Hubley Jumbo box.
The same design used for the composite pull-toy was also seen in a cast iron bank. Some claim the bank was also made by Hubley. I assume this is correct, but so far, I have not been able to confirm it.
This Jumbo cast iron bank sold on eBay in March of 2011 for $79.99.
A cast iron bank that appears to be newer has been turning up on eBay and other Internet auction sites recently and usually brings $15 to $20.
The manufacturers of these Jumbo toys didn’t worry about authenticity or accuracy. Their elephants were Asian, while Barnum’s Jumbo was an African elephant.
To read more about Jumbo collectibles see my two previous articles, Elephants—the Wonder of the Circus—Make for Specialized Collectible Category and There Was Only One P.T. Barnum.
Larry Kellogg is a Worthologist specializing in circus memorabilia.
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