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Community Member
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎06-10-2011

1940s HARLEY DAVIDSON tin toy

Hi All - I recently came across a rare motorcycle tin toy. It is made in Japan, friction drive, and it is huge, it measures over 15" long. In original box which is excellent condition. Toy looks unplayed with, no play wear, a couple little rubs on the rider's knuckle which is probably from the box. No rust, no dents, no wear to the rubber tires. I'm guessing it is late 1940s. Unsure of what model Harley it is, some military issue. Fully authorised by Harley with logo on box and bike. I can't find anyone who knows of this toy, or it's relative value. I recall another dealer many years ago mentioning a rare large Harley tin toy and throwing out some crazy prices for it, but I am not sure this is the item. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.

Community Member
Posts: 214
Registered: ‎12-01-2005

1940s HARLEY DAVIDSON tin toy

in reply to atomic-candy
Hi atomic-candy,
If the item you have is genuine, you have a treasure indeed! I am looking at a copy of the 1995 'Antique and Contemporary Motorcycle Toys, Identification & Values' book, by Sally Gibson-Downs and Christine Gentry. On page 87-88, the following entry is found:

"Touring Rider ('Harley-Davidson' Tank, Crash Bars, Rubber Tires/Stabs (means stabilizer wheels), Telescopic Forks).
I.Y.Metal Toys. Japan. 1950's. Friction. Largest tin-plate cycle made, like I.Y.'s Condor above, long wheel base. All sea-foam green, white tank, broad red trim. Black broken-circle logo, pink pinstriping. 'Harley-Davidson' tank. Large black stabs/rubber wheels (gray rims, cut-out criss-cross spokes). Black pillion. Engine gray/white/black, good details. Large rider has pale face/red mouth/pointed nose, tan jacket/boots/helmet, black neck guard, black belt, green pants, gogs up. Tan 2-strap boots. Very large 15" long."

Are you ready for the kicker? Estimated price is $3,000-$6,000!

Now for the caveats: Book price is not usually real price. Be VERY careful that it is not a reproduction!!!! Needless to say, with prices like that, there are repros about. There is not a pic in the book, unfortunately. There IS a pic of the Condor mentioned in the description, and it loks like your toy, except for the colors. The description I quoted matches your toy very closely, the 'white tank' part being about the only thing that caught my attention. This book HAS been known to be off on small details. If I were you, I'd attempt to have the toy authenticated by an expert. It looks pretty promising, but I'm NOT that expert! Good luck with it!

Community Member
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎06-10-2011

1940s HARLEY DAVIDSON tin toy

in reply to atomic-candy
Actually, I got this right out of an attic. I also handle vintage toys regularly. So, no chance of it being a repop. There were tons of other early 1950s toys in the attic. This was the only toy I didn't know about. I knew it was good, I just didn't know how good it was. Thank you very much for your info!