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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Hong Kong's Spinning Tops Gumball Machine Plastics Fantastic Era of Love

Hong Kong Spinning Tops
Rare color variants in spinning tops toys from Hong Kong find them at RetroChalet

I think my favorite vintage plastics are the tiny toy sized miniature creations that stemmed out of Hong Kong.  Most of these novelty gifts were just being phased out when I was growing up in the 70's. Hong Kong was big into making toys for the USA in the 60s and 70s, but by the 80's production shifted to China and seemingly, never turned back.  According to this article by Alisa Chau, she claims that Hong Kong was the largest toy exporter of the 70's. That must be true, because I remember seeing so many of these type toys growing up. 

Much like you see some of the manual gumball machines today, these things were everywhere. My parents could not go into a store, restaurant or mall without me seeing the brightly colored vintage gumball machines.  There were usually rows of them, the higher priced (25 cents) in the back and the cheapie ones in the front for only 5 cents or 10 cents.  The ones in the back usually had those plastic football helmets with peelable stickers on them.  For being a quarter, they were very detailed, stickers well-made and fun for you to put together. 

vintage spinning tops retrochalet

The toys were colorful and the size of acorns. I thought they were molded well. RetroChalet

I however, liked to spend my money wisely, and I could obtain five 5 cents gumball machine toys for the price of that one helmet.  So, I had a bunch of little novelty items come out.  Sometimes it was a pencil eraser, a mini plastic car, or a small replica of King Kong, (or sometimes I just wanted the Spree candies) however once in awhile I got lucky with a great quality molded plastic toy much like these, a plastic spinning top. 

hong kong plastic toys

I thought I did quite well for a quarter back in the day... Find them at RetroChalet on sale now.

Most , if you looked closely enough, had the tiny words "HONG KONG" printed on them.   For the rest of you who were not even a thought when I was growing up, I hope you can see the cuteness that I see in these toys.  They were molded quite well for "el cheapo" toys and some have even lasted all this time. 

I would imagine some will still be floating around much after the kids of my era are long gone. Plastic is fantastic, and less and less of it will be in existence one day.  It's nice to think of the story of the item rather than just collecting it.  What are your favorite toy memories? 

This post sponsored by Vikings in Maine, and Living a Vintage Life Podcast. 

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