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Yo-Yos (Pre-1970)

Looking for Collectible Yo-Yos

Learning how to play and execute tricks with a yo-yo is perhaps one of the most memorable skills learned in childhood. Even though you may not realize at the time you are not just playing or learning tricks; you are also on the way to learning the basic laws of physics. They have even gone into outer space to see how they function there.

What Materials and Shapes Were Available Pre-1970?

With antique, retro, or vintage yo-yos, youll find various materials and shapes have been used over the years. 

  • Materials: Early toys from before 1970 are mostly wooden, with plastic manufacturing beginning in the 1950s. You will also find vintage toys using tin, metals, ceramic, even models that glow. 
  • Shapes: The classic shape of vintage yo-yos is the "imperial" design. This is two circular halves joined together with a gap for the string in the middle. The other shape popular from this period is the butterfly. Butterfly designs have a wider edge of each half at the outside, narrowing to the string around the middle axle.
  • Construction: In a basic design, the yo-yo string ties with a knot to the central axle. With looped models, a longer string loops around the axle. Designs with ball-bearing axles first appeared in the late 1950s.
  • Packaging: Having the original box may or may not add to the value of vintage yo-yo. However, particular with rare models, boxes with more information on the brand and the item can add to the appeal and its long-term care. 

Which Brands Were Manufacturing Yo-Yos Before 1970?

There were a number of brands manufacturing these toys before 1970 around the world. Collectors seek vintage yo-yos from the USA, Britain, Japan, and more. Three well-known brands from this vintage period include: 

  • Duncan: Duncan yo-yos began in the USA 1929. Initially called Flores, the brand brought the mass marketing of wooden yo-yos to the American public and remains one of the major manufacturers today. Vintage Duncans tend to appear in many collections.
  • Russell: These toys were made from the 1940s onwards, and usually have the wording "Genuine Russell" in their branding. The brand is famous for their marketing partnership with Coca Cola. Versions of their Coca Cola Yo-Yo have been popular with kids and collectors alike since the 1960s.
  • Lumar: Lumar is a brand that began in Britain in the 1930s, and were later also manufactured in the USA. Their original models are made from tin and later models from plastic.

Other brands include Fli-Back, Hi-Ker, YoYoSam, Playmaxx, and more

How Long Have Yo-Yos Been Made For?

True vintage items, yo-yos are a universal toy, enjoyed by various cultures and peoples worldwide. Depictions of people playing with yo-yos date back thousands of years. Yo-yos go through surges of popularity every few decades, with the early 2000s, 1960s, and 1920s being particularly popular yo-yo times and their editions remaining collectible pieces.