It’s no secret, finding subjects to review for the DTB has become somewhat of a challenge over the last several years. Nearly every figure by all the major players has been reviewed or has a review in the works; Safari Ltd., Carnegie, Papo, CollectA, PNSO, Battat, Invicta, Tyco, and the list goes on. But dinosaur toys and collectables have been around for a long time and there really is no shortage of figures that still need reviews, especially vintage figures. As such, the Marx range of toys is criminally underrepresented on the DTB with only 3 toys having been reviewed, all within the same review, and just over a year ago. But Marx is a significant company and highly collectible too. Marx was the first company to ever produce dinosaur toys at a large scale, starting in 1955 and lasting until 1961 they produced 23 genera of prehistoric animals, some of which remain poorly represented to this day.
I’ve long contemplated taking up the task of reviewing these historically significant pieces but until recently I didn’t have any to review. The history of Marx, their mold, size, and color variations, and their unofficial reproductions has long daunted me, to the point that I’m hesitant to write about it now. Marx collectors with much more extensive knowledge than me are out there, and an entire book have been written on the subject, I’m but a novice in the Marx collecting department. But I’m not new to Marx, I grew up playing with them, and my daughter has some of the knockoff molds that she plays with which are still sold in stores to this day. Authentic Marx toys can be difficult to find of course, and I refuse to review one of their unofficial brethren. But I’ve gone on long enough; it’s time to continue forth with the first in my series of four Marx reviews, with hopefully more to come in the future.
Today we’re looking at the Marx Styracosaurus. This figure was part of Marx’s last run of toys produced in 1961 and is part of the Second Series Mold Group, PL-1083. Toys in this group appear to be among the most affordable, probably due to their relatively “recent” production, and are also among the most detailed of Marx toys. The dinosaur’s name is printed on the tail along with its length of 15’ (the real dinosaur, not the toy).
Part of what makes Marx so collectable, at least for me, is that they’re heavily inspired by the paleoart of their time, taking influence from the likes of Zdenek Burian, Rudolph Zallinger, and Charles R. Knight. This Styracosaurus is a close match to Burian’s 1941 painting of the animal. This was the popular look for Styracosaurus for a long time and Darren Naish has an entire Tetzoo article about Burian’s Styracosaurus. It goes without saying that Marx dinosaurs suffer from a slew of inaccuracies, but we’re not going to discuss them here. These toys are collected for their historical significance and the nostalgia they generate.
The Marx Styracosaurus is one of two ceratopsians produced by Marx, the other of course being Triceratops. Although the toy only measures 3.5” in length, and is 59 years old, it is actually quite a detailed little toy. Wrinkles are sculpted around the face and limbs, giving the toy an appropriately aged appearance. Additional small bumps adorn the frill with its 6 distinctive horns, and toenails are present on the limbs. Overall the toy looks very much like a rhinoceros with some extra horns. It’s a somewhat sad, dopey looking fellow, but such was the depiction of these animals at the time.
As Marx toys go the Styracosaurus is honestly not one of the best, although I appreciate the toy for what it is and the work that inspired it. Needless to say, it’s certainly a must have for Marx collectors, and is the oldest toy representation of a Styracosaurus. The Marx Styracosaurus is common on eBay and sells for about $10-20 depending on the color variation, of which there are many. Also keep an eye out for Marx toys in eBay lots, at yard sales and second hand-shops, and even antique stores.