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Italian Washing Powder Co-Ma Premium Spacemen

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ervino

Yup! I intended clones as in "not produced by CoMa"...

E

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ejpetrie

Serious Bob's estimation of the release date for these figures is nearly dead-on.  I have a header bag that I picked up years ago that contained quite a few of these little SP Seleniti figures.  The header card on the bag indicates that they were released here under the Toy Shop brand of the Toy Merchandising Corp. that was then located at 34-10 58th St. Woodside 77, NY.  The postal routing code in the firm's address tells you that the header was used prior to the introduction of the modern Zip Code in 1963, but the back of the card carries even more specific dating information about the product.  It seems that these headers could be redeemed through the company's "Save-A-Label"  program that awarded either a basketball, skates, football, nurse set, baseball glove or doll for the submission of ONLY 100 such labels.  (We can only guess what level of quality these prizes much have demonstrated, if they existed at all.  It's a pretty sure bet that with a 100-coupon requirement that  none were ever claimed, but the label also reveals a far more likely scenario--that the redemption of only 10 labels got you a Surprise Gift!  The mind simply boggles at the potential for greatness of such a gift.)  This questionable offer carries an expiration date of Dec. 31, 1961, giving us a more firm dating for the probable final release date of the toys.

 

I don't believe that the soft plastic versions were made by Co-Ma.  However, it's unlikely that they were actually made by the Toy Merchandising Corp. either.  This outfit, also listed as W.S.N.Y. on some other known examples of their header card packaging, was not a manufacturer.  They were a toy jobber, a firm that would take existing product overruns and repackage them for sale to mom and pop stores of the day, and to cheaper five-and-dime venues.  You wouldn't find their product spinner displays in a higher-end toy shop, and I'm actually a little surprised that Serious Bob found them where he did.  I would have figured Woolworth's to be a bit too high-profile a client for such a low-end firm, but I do believe Serious Bob's memory is ringing true.

 

These SP figures are not copies of the Co-Ma Seleniti, but they are clearly made sometime later from Co-Ma's original mold.  Their detailing is identical and without any notable amount of loss, with more pronounced flashing in the same spots that the hard plastic Co-Ma originals were starting to demonstrate toward the end of their runs.  Also, the figures' heights are dead-on to their earlier HP counterparts.  None of that would happen with a copy, and the greater amount of flashing in similar areas indicates that the mold was breaking down further and that the SP examples were run after the originals.  It seems clear that the Co-Ma mold made it into some toy maker's hands at some point and that that unknown injection firm ran these off to offer to the various toy re-packagers of the day.  It is probable that Toy Merchandising Corp. bought up all they had.  It is equally probable that the mold was never used again but was smelted down for the reclamation value of its bronze, or beryllium, or whatever.  I should add that the absence of a country of origin for the toys on the header label would seem to indicate that they were produced domestically, but then you can't always trust a toy jobber to have ever been fully revealing in that regard.

 

If memory serves, the bag came with about 26 of these little guys.  I have since sold off some duplicates and acquired others in my attempt to get sets of all six figures in each of the five different colors that were used to make them.  At the time of the taking of my photo I was missing only one in red and one in yellow.  I have recently acquired the missing yellow rifleman, and I now only need the missing figure in red.  (I still have extras if anyone has that last one I'm missing, and I love to trade!)  You'll also see the facing of the header card pictured next to my little collection in my attached picture. 

SP Seleniti.jpg

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ervino

@ejpetrie

Your posts are always wonderfully documented and rich of info, many thanks!

:hail:

:thumbs:

:biggrin:

 

I have no ideas about the exact timing and of the manufacturer of the SP 1" Seleniti, but the timing you give IMO is in total accordance with the known original Italian HP "editions" of the CoMa space figures, i.e. from early to middle '50 for the 3" Marziani & Seleniti, and until a little after middle '50 for 1" Pattuglia Marziana (the bright colored figures included as deep sea divers in the 20K LUTS game from EG). That no late brightly colored HP version of the CoMa Seleniti is known (at least to me, OC...) could be indicative of the dismission of the original moulds by CoMa to some third part manufacturer. FWIK, copies of the others early CoMa non-space-themed HP toy soldiers (Romans, etc.) are rumored to have been produced in South America in the '60, and in SA were produced as well the '60 "copies" of the Alpia "space monsters" (http://www.danefield.com/data/displayimage-24-4504.html#top_display_media )

 

In any case, searching for clues to rediscover the roots and the production history of this stuff is almost as funny as adding some of them to one collection!!! 

:diggin:

 

:biggrin:

 

 

   

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Brian..

Josh, that's excellent. Most appreciated!

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ejpetrie

Thanks for the kind comments, guys!  I appreciate it, and I also appreciate Ervino's production info about Co-Ma.  So little is known over here about that fascinating firm's beautiful productions.  All info about them is fascinating to learn.  And Good Lord, those South American Alpia robot monsters are hideous!!!  I lucked into a nice full set of all four Alpia originals some years back and I am thrilled to have them.  I'll pass on their copies if I ever do bump into them, but I do marvel at how they made them in such a unique, multi-pieced fashion.  Interesting indeed.  This hobby never gets boring!

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SERIOUSBOB

Thanks for the replies. It's nice to know my memory holds up roughly 60 years or so!!! Obviously certain toys made a mark on my memory more than others. I had a small hard shell case my parents gave me to store my space toys, which is partly how I remember when & where I had certain figures. 

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SERIOUSBOB

BTW--Ervino...I was one of those luck people to get one of the Alpia South American robot copies, it was about 8 or 9 years ago. I had them all bookmarked to bid on @ different times. It turns out I was out @ a business meeting & completely forgot about them. But before I went out I placed minimum bids on them & they were all ending about 5-10 minutes apart from each other. I got the blue one w/ the red eye. After the auction I tried contacting the people who sold them but they never replied & left e-bay. I have since tried finding them w/ other South American collectors but no one seems to know what they are.

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ervino

Hi all!

I must correct myself: AAMOF, there were some (I presume from the '50) original CoMa-produced non-metallic-hued HP 1" Seleniti. I forgot that I got a couple of them with this CoMa "vehicle"... :scratchhead:   :biggrin:

 

 

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