All savvy collectors know that if you have a toy, a doll, or a product with any value as an antique, it’s always worth more if it's with its original box. It was always the cardboard box that was first to get ripped open when a child received a gift. For most toys, the box was considered to be little more than trash, and almost always thrown away. That’s why any toy whose original owner kept the object in the original box had foresight, for it was the box that was able to tell with graphic and illustrated splendor more about the toy inside. It was the all-important box that sold the product on the store shelves.
When I saw that Morphy Auctions had just sold over a hundred wind-up or battery powered robots from the 1950s and '60s, I was intrigued. As a way of paying homage to those obsessive-compulsive box savers, I selected for your viewing only those robots that still have the original box. All of the robots but one was manufactured in Japan, a culture known for its love of robots. I encourage you to go to the Morphy Auction site, and compare the prices of robots with (and without) the box. It’s eye opening.
As for the history of robots, the word was first spoken on American soil in 1922, in Karel Čapek's play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots). As for more modern times, I am not 100 percent sure when I saw my first robot. It might have been Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet in 1956—or any number of robots in comic books in the 1960s. Most were clumsy looking box-like creatures hell bent on the destruction of earth, but the most famous robot of that period was Gort, the sleek streamlined robot sent to earth to save mankind from itself in the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Enjoy this selection of mid-century tin-lithographed robots, and their boxes!