Growing up -- Mention sand pails and I remember summer days at Coney Island and Far Rockaway Beach. Memories come flooding back of Nathan's hotdogs, crowded beaches, Good Humor Ice Cream (usually melting) and trying to build sand castles before the waves knocked them down. Perhaps this is why this book was so fascinating to me -- a good, sturdy sand pail was needed for the castle and they were usually colorful, fun designs.
Today's baby boomers were lucky to have grown up towards the end of the heydey (1930 - 1960) of the tin sand pail and are one reason why these pails are very popular and sought after. One of the reasons people like to collect "stuff" is because of memories. We try to find things that were loved during childhood. Unfortunately, because of the way the sand pail was made, and used, the search for our childhood sand pail in mint condition could take a while. Most likely, you will have to settle for a pail that is not perfect. But according to the authors, "Condition is important, but not as much as with most antiques and collectibles".
According to authors Horman and Minick, large numbers were produced during this time with Ohio Art, J. Chein and T. Cohn being the most prolific.
The Sand Pail Encyclopedia, A Complete Value Guide for Tin-Litho Sand Toys is an excellent addition to your library of resource books. The book is chock full of excellent photographs and graphics.
The book covers the history of sand pails with explanations on why the pail was so popular, the different materials used throughout the years, and the popular themes. The history of pail manufacturers (also good reference material for other tin toys) is discussed, along with notes on the specialities of the different companies. The last chapter of the book includes other sand-themed toys bringing back more long-forgotten memories.
At first glance the values shown in the book seemed on the high side, but after visiting a few antique shows, I found out they were right on target.
Getting interested in sand pails? As a start, consider looking for pails that would go with other collections, e.g. Disneyana or advertising. Holiday collectors can also find tin pails that were used as Easter baskets and included candy. Golliwogs, Raggedy Ann, cartoon characters and patriotic themes were all used on sand pails and will fit into many different collections.
Although I don't collect tin toys, they have always fascinated me. And after looking at this book, you can bet that I will be taking a much closer look at sand pails with the hope of adding a few to my varied collections.