I get excited about international versions of our favorite American toys. First of all, they are hard to come by. Second of all, they are sometimes difficult to get here to America. Third of all, they are almost always WEIRD!
Case in point:
I came across Greek Charmkins the other day and boy are they strange.
Why are they transparent? Why are they simply painted? Here's my guess:
1 - They are either knockoffs made after the machinery molds were sold off by Hasbro. This has happened a lot in the vintage toy industry. Companies cancel production on certain lines and so they unload machinery off their books by selling them to a lesser company.
2 - El Greco (an Italian/Spanish/Greek toy manufacturer) purchased the rights to sell these in those aforenamed countries but decided to do it on the cheap, eliminating the paint process. Remember, Italy especially has extremely strict import/export laws. Most toys have to be manufactured in Italy to be sold in Italy. I am not sure if this is the same with Greece and Spain but it makes sense that toys that got manufactured in Italy would be exported to these neighboring countries.
We won't know until someone finds one MIP, my guess is that #1 is true. I believe this because often when molds are re-sold a contingency is they have to remove identifying brand characteristics (example: the hearts on Care Bears bums had to be removed when the molds were sold for Angelorso bears).
I actually bought several Greek Charmkins and when I get them I will let you know what I find out!
Incidentally, I spent a month in Italy last summer and looked HARD for 80's toys. But not hard enough! I didn't find anything. Well, in Florence I found this crazy junk shop and located some Oodles, but didn't buy them. I couldn't speak Italian so it was hard to ask the lady who owned it if she had any 80's toys. But I did visit a lot of regular toy stores!
|In front of a Toy Store in Sirimione, Italy. It had been raining hard all day!|
I went around and tried to find more Greek Charmkin pics on the web and ended up finding a few. I started a pinterest board for them. It's going to be fun to collect variations of Charmkins over time.
PS - It's fun to be back to blogging!