1955 saw the introduction of the Marx Stegosaurus and the dawn of the Dinosaur toys. This very interesting take on the unique looking Stegosaurus brings us a triangular headed fellow who weighs just under one ounce (.75 oz, 21 grams) and is 4.5 inches long (11.4 cm). Given the Jurassic Dinosaur Stegosaurus at thirty feet (30') this would make this Dinosaur toys Marx Stegosaurus 1/80 in scale.
Then, in 1959, Marx came out with a second Stegosaurus as part of the Revised Mold Group. The revision(s) are, at best, effectively indistinguishable from the original. Neither improvement nor deterioration.
As you can see in the photo to the right the primary difference between the 1955 version and the 1959 are seen in the bottoms of the feet. The mold circles on the revised are all smaller and centered in the feet. Some revised's have no circles at all. On the original the most obvious is the large mold circle on the right forefoot. The other three mold circles are smaller (but still slightly larger than on the revised), and all are off center. You can see on the left that there is no visible difference between the original on the left and the revised model on the right. In both cases they have their name imprinted on the left side of the tail, and their length imprinted on the right. If anything the imprinting on the original may be a tad crisper.
(Small herd of Marx Stegosaurs being stalked by a pack of Marx Allosaurus)
The Marx Stegosaurus is one of the first of the true Dinosaur toys. A realistic figure that can be played with without being quickly broken. From the 1947 SRG Stegosaurus through the (larger and more realistic) 1975 Invicta Stegosaurus we can readily see the early evolution of the Stegosaurus Dinosaur toys. In all cases these early efforts show the Stegosaur as pretty much of a dull tail-dragger, and all three are effectively in the same pose.
In any case the Marx Stegosaurus set the standard and numerous other companies swiftly copied the Marx Stegosaurus. The brown is from MPC and is slightly smaller than the Marx. The red is a "knock-off" and just one of many. The knock-offs came in all sizes but all sport the stylistic flat triangle head and are paeans to Marx's predominance in the market.
Here we see the Marx Stegosaurus in profile. Right above. Left below.
One odd thing that I have found is that some of the Heritage green Marx Stegosaurus have a casting flaw (lower, below) on the right forefoot, giving it an enlarged inner claw, like a Diplodocus or Apatosaurus. It appears that this indicates damage to the mold as later Superior Stegosaurs have the same flaw. Not all later Medium Mold Stegosaurs show this.
the Marx Stegosaurus soldiers on. Today the Stegosaurus Dinosaur toys are far more realistic (see the Safari model in the rear, below). They come in much more active poses and depict an active creature, portrayed in vibrant colors. You've come a long way Steggy!
The Marx Stegosaurus, whether from the original 1955 Medium Mold Group or the 1959 Revised Mold Group, has become a true collectible. They have not been manufactured by Marx Toys Inc. which went out of business ~1980. Other companies have taken up (some of) the Marx molds and currently these are being produced by "Marx of Mexico." Of these later manufacturers some are collectibles while others are not. Among the "for sure" are from Superior, who made a slightly harder plastic "swirled" product (green seen here) in bright pastel greens, grays and browns.
Each of these Superior figures is utterly unique. They are also in short supply as Superior was in (this ) business for only two years. The MARX Stegosaurus can be found online on eBay and similar venues and will generally set you back around $5.00, plus shipping. You may also find them at garage or estate sales and in flea markets. The early, flat plastic, figures are more valuable and rarer than the later "Heritage" waxy-plastic figures. They were in production for the first eight years. The Heritage plastic was in production from 1963 to 1979, sixteen. A health warning is that the early, slightly more desirable flat plastic figures may have a lead-pigment and not be suitable for snacking. Although you can't always tell by the tails.
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