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A slightly odd category of toy and model (when it comes to collecting) is the "reissue". A "reissue" is the toymaking equivalent of a publisher's "reprinting" of a long out-of-date book.

Märklin 1999 "reissues" catalogue text:

The good old days. The good new days.

How good the good old days really were often depends less on the historical truth than on personal memories – for example, on the ownership at that time of an original Märklin model. In this sense we have given new life to the good old days and have reissued some of the most beautiful models from Märklin's 140 year old history as reproductions. Examples of this are the Ju 52, cook stove and doll carriages, car and truck models from the construction set series, or the Märklin carriage that we have been able to produce in cooperation with Heidi Ott (for the dolls) and Hutschrenreuther (for the porcelain horses).

Producing challenging technical toys from sheet metal is an art. It requires experience with the handling of the material, a multitude of refining, forming, embossing, and stamping processes as well as a great deal of talented manual labour for lacquering, painting and assembly. In order to exclude the possibility of mistaking them for historic, original models, our reproductions have on purpose detail changes.

These reproductions are authentic and are finished with the same care and love. This requires much extensive manual labour that is naturally more valuable today than in the past. For this reason there are always limits placed on the production capacity.

Märklin reproductions have the same high quality as their historic prototypes and are highly valued by collectors. Of course, they are quite suitable for what they were originally intended: to play with.

— , Märklin, , Catalogue E, , 1999

Reissues, replicas and copies

Although strict definitions are difficult, the museum's approach is to consider that:

  • A copy results from one manufacturer "cloning" another manufacturer's product, occasionally by taking mouldings, and then passing off the result as their own, perhaps with minor changes.
  • A replica results from a manufacturer creating an explicit copy as close to a discontinued original as possible, for the benefit of people who would like to to own an original, but can't because of second-hand scarcity and/or price. Replicas usually try to recreate the look and feel of a toy that has been out of production for many years, after the original manufacturing company has disappeared. Replicas can be considered as "tribute" products, and vary in authenticity, from painstakingly exact recreations to rougher approximations made with updated materials.
  • A reissue usually arises when a company decides to create a "fresh batch" of a piece that might have been discontinued many decades previously, perhaps as an anniversary special collectors' limited-edition reissue, using exactly the same tooling and processes that produced the originals.

Reissues depend on the original tools (dies, stamps, jigs, perhaps print screens) having survived, along with the knowledge of how to use them (larger manufacturers often produced specification sheets for every different catalogue item).


A company known for creating historical reissues is Märklin, who have the distinction of being one of the very few current toymaking companies with a back-catalogue of metal toy designs that reaches back to the Nineteenth Century, and is still making metal toys today.

Another company that sometimes produces historical limited-run reissues is Steiff, although it's sometimes difficult for the reissue of a handmade soft toy to exactly recapture the feel and character of a vintage original – when working with stretched fur fabrics, some of the character of the resulting bears necessarily results from "a certain something" in the technique and style of the makers, in addition to the sets of fabric templates.

"Unauthorised" reissues

If a company goes bust, their machine tooling may be acquired by another company or a group of enthusiasts who may then decide to use to to make limited-edition runs of an old toy. These tend to be referred to as replicas rather than reissues, because the company never actually issued the original themselves. Physically, though, they can be equivalent to reissues.

Some other complicated situations

  • When Tri-ang bought out the failing Meccano Ltd. in the 1960s, and shut down production of the diecast Hornby Dublo range, the machine tooling went to G&R Wrenn, who then used it to continue production of what were effectively "Dublo" products under the Wrenn name.
  • After Georges Carette's German company was shut down during World War One (due to Carette being a French national), Bassett-Lowke Ltd. bought the tooling that had been used by Carette to produce wagons for B-L as a subcontractor, and restarted production themselves, in the UK. This produced a slightly odd situation where, while the original Carette production for B-L had been arguably pretending to be made by B-L, the third-party reissues really were made by B-L (!)
  • Another category might be referred to as replacements. ACE Trains build 1930's-style gauge 0 model railway locomotives, using period-authentic tooling, processes and design philosophy, to produce models that look like and are every bit as good as some of the classic period collectors pieces. The owner of an original 1930s Bassett-Lowke Coronation-Class streamlined model loco might buy an ACE model as well, so as to have somethign that they can run without feeling guilty about wearing out an original 1930s electric motor. While it's probably not coincidental that the ACE version of the loco is visually indistinguishable from the B-L version when both are on the track, ACE also make a range of other period-style models of period locos which don;t necessarily have such literal predecessors.

Media in category ‘Reissues’

This category contains only the following file.