Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Collecting Vintage Coloring Books

Collectible 1940s -1950s Coloring Books 

I adore Vintage coloring books. There is something about spotting coloring books with  primary colors of the1940s and 1950s that gives me a areal good feeling. Perhaps it is because I spent many hours stretched  out on the living room floor with my box of Crayola crayons and my latest coloring book.

McLoughlin Brothers  Produced First Coloring Book

Coloring books date back to the 1880s and were first produced by the McLoughlin Brothers. Their first coloring book was designed in association with Kate Greenaway, an English children's book illustrator. The earliest color book McLoughlin produced was the "Little Folks" series.  In the 1920s, McLoughlin Brothers became part of Milton Bradley Company.

Crayola Launched 64 Box Crayons In 1958

Coloring really became a favorite activity when Crayola launched their famous 64 box with a built in sharpener in 1958. Baby boomers remember being taught to "color in the lines" as educators pushed strict rules about how to  color the right way. Outlines of common objects and familiar scenes dominated coloring book themes.

The Mystery Anti-Coloring Book
Coloring Outside The Lines

Later generations encouraged children to express themselves with less boundaries and rules and  the open ended "coloring book" became popular. In this version of coloring, the child was encouraged to make up their own picture with suggested story ideas.Susan Striker created a series of Anti-Coloring books in the 1970s.

Common Vintage Coloring Book Themes 

Most of the coloring books that you will find in Antique stores or markets are from the 1940s, 1950s and beyond. While you might find earlier coloring books at antique paper shows,  I 'm happy to find more common  Post war coloring books with charming images of children, farm animals, circus themes,  alphabets, nursery rhymes etc. As a child however,  I do however remember being very interested in coloring books about Christmas, brides and fairy princesses.

T.V. Show Coloring Books

Coloring books covered both recreational and educational topics. As television shows dominated American homes in the 1950s, many coloring books were produced in conjunction with popular characters, movies, T.V. shows   such as Disney, Roy Rogers, Captain Kangaroo, Casper and later The Brady Bunch etc. Historical and political topics are also subjects of coloring books.

How Much Do Old Coloring Books Sell For ? 

Coloring books that have not been colored in are of course hard to find and when you do find them they are valued higher than ones with filled in pages. Be sure to evaluate the book for missing pages, tears, and soiling.

While some coloring books fetch bigger prices because of special themes, personalities, world events or illustrators, common playtime coloring books (1940s-1950s) in very good condition generally sell for $12.00-28.00.

Many collectors also will buy books that have colored in pages if the covers are special and in good condition. These coloring books are usually priced a little bit lower than the unused ones.

Read More:

Collectible Coloring Books

Images courtesy of:
Antiques On The Farmington, Collinsville CT


C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of I Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro café. To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at dianne@cdiannezweig.com Visit my website, CDianneZweig.com Dianne is a member of: The American Society of Journalists and Authors The Society of Professional Journalists

1 comment:

  1. This really tugs at my heartstrings! I loved coloring books as a child, and my son followed suit. He, also, would lie on the living room floor in his pajamas and color for hours. What a tender blast from the past. Keep blogging because you are constantly educating us.