Dimetrodon (Sell Rite Gifts)

4.5 (6 votes)

For antique dinosaur collectors it doesn’t get much more vintage than Sell Rite Gifts (SRG) and their metal prehistoric animals. Produced in 1947 and into the 1950’s these are certainly among the very first mass produced dinosaur collectibles. Other classic companies were around during this time as well, like Starlux and Marx, but they wouldn’t be producing prehistoric animals until the 50’s and 60’s.

The SRG dinosaurs aren’t toys by any means but for a time they were perhaps the only prehistoric collectables you could obtain. Cast in metal they were heavy and easily broken. I’m no metal expert but eBay listings usually advertise these as being bronze. In The Dinosaur Scrapbook by Donald Glut he claims these are brass, and one web site claims they’re lead with a coated patina. Sell Rite Gifts produced these prehistoric animals in both small and large sizes and they were sold in various gift shops including at the American Museum of Natural History.  

Although I’ve long been aware of the SRG dinosaurs they were never really on my collector radar, in part because of the material they’re made of but also because they typically command very high prices. But one of my pastimes is also antiquing, and I always keep an eye out for dinosaurs. Usually I don’t find anything dinosaur related but on my most recent outing there was an assortment of SRG dinosaurs that immediately caught my eye; a goofy three-fingered Tyrannosaurus, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, and two Dimetrodon. It was a difficult decision but I passed on them, they cost more than I wanted to pay, and I headed off to another antique shop. It was there that low and behold I found the SRG Dimetrodon, but this time with a $10 price tag. I couldn’t say no and naturally I’m now finding myself compelled to seek out the rest, maybe even going back to acquire those I originally passed on.

My particular Dimetrodon measures 6” in length but the tip of the tail appears to have been broken off, either way this is the “large” size Dimetrodon, the smaller variant measures 3-4” long. It’s also marked “SRGC 47” on the bottom, for both the company and year of production.

Despite its age this Dimetrodon has a somewhat modern, mammalian appearance. Its head is held high and alert, mouth closed with only a couple teeth on the end of the snout visible. Fine details are minimal but the Dimetrodon is certainly one of the most detailed of the SRG collectibles. The spines along the sail are present, some grooves run along the tail, and a few raised bumps adorn the animal’s flanks. The skull is deep and sloping, with eyes set in deep sockets and there are skin folds at the base of the neck. There are four digits on each forelimb and three on each hind limb.

This Dimetrodon is apparently the first SRG figurine reviewed for the blog. I’m not surprised, the prices they often go for and that they’re metal instead of plastic or resin put them a little outside of our demographic. I think they’re probably more appealing to people that collect SRG specifically, or those that collect metal figurines or antiques more so than toy dinosaurs. But these collectibles shouldn’t go unnoticed. They have a certain, simple charm to them, and they’re historically significant to our hobby as well. I can’t say that I would recommend them at the prices they command online but they’re certainly worth keeping an eye out for in yard sales or antique shops. I know I’ll be on the look out for them from here on out!

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Comments 7

  • A simple question. Do all SRG figurines have the SRG logo on the bottom of them? I see many advertised as SRG but do not have the logo. Can someone advise on this for authentication purposes?

    • Mine has it but I don’t know if they all do. That’s a question that might be better asked over on the Dinosaur Toy Forum.

      Your first name and last initial is the same as mine, that threw me off a bit. lol

  • Wonderful review! SRG are awesome figures that deserves more attention.
    I have a few of them, now that you started and brought attention to them, maybe one day I can add to the list.

  • I have repaired a few of the smaller series in my collection. They are made with lead and painted in what the company called Royal Bronze, just paint with simulated patina. From what I know the larger versions are made in the same fashion. I paint my repairs with Sheffield Bronze paint and oil colours to simulate the patina.

  • What a gem, thanks for introducing.
    From the look on the photos I’d say, the figure seems to be hollow and cast from a tin alloy. The patina makes it look like a tin copper alloy (bronze), however, the scraps and broken off tail look silver colored, so the whole figure may just be galvanized in a more precious alloy than the main castng material is.

  • Good review. I’d be curious to see more of these products.

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