ToyRing Database

ToyRing Database

Brief Ring History

This will be a very brief historical review in that it has been done before and done well by Overstreet in his price guides. I suggest you look at them if more information is required. If flicker ring information is desired it can be found on a website There is also a ring history which is very thorough.

Rings have always held a place in history as an item of significance. They have been used to denote royalty, status, historic events and as having mystical healing powers. They have also been prized as sports memorabilia and for product promotion. Given the rings ability to generate interest, it became an easy magnet to target children’s imagination in product promotion. The plan was simple and effective. Capture the child’s attention with a ring touted to be associated with a popular character or having powers which could be theirs, if they purchased the product and sent in money, box tops or coupons. Industry realized this may be a lost leader but accepted the loss of income in order to make enhanced profits. This was true of radio shows like Radio Orphan Annie, Lone Ranger, Frank Buck, Gene Autry et al. Pulp magazines and comic books would use this as well as a children’s favorite, Cracker Jacks. Needless to say, with the advent of television a new impetus for premiums arose. Initially these were metal for the most part. As we enter the 1960’s plastic becomes the primary source for rings. Flicker rings by Vari Vue create a considerable market. Moving forward it became obvious that children enticed by these baubles would become older but still attracted to these items. Novelty companies would generate these rings with success. In the 1970’s the Star Trek, Star Wars, Alien themes sparked more interest. This now targeted the earlier baby boomers. This is still ongoing but not necessarily with only children as the point of interest. It is an international market.

Beyond Definitions: Navigating the World of Toy and Novelty Rings

 I would like to diverge into an area that previously received minimal attention. In the antecedent guides the mission was to identify known rings with a clear pedigree. At times acknowledgement of fantasy rings in guides was noted but by and large they were viewed as fakes and the tendency was to avoid them. When it became obvious that money could be made with the promotion of rings it eventually followed that money could be made by copying them. This is referring to reproductions (repros) of existing rings. The majority of this grouping is unlicensed. In fact, there are legitimate reproductions, but this is the minority. An example is the Spider pulp character ring issued in the 1930’s by Argosy publication. It was then reproduced without authorization in the 1990’s (which was legally halted) and later produced with authorization. The images will demonstrate this specific ring.

The purpose of this website is to provide information on all the categories of rings. This will include the reproductions (copy of an existing ring) as well as fantasy and novelty rings which are produced de novo without licensing. These rings may be appealing but if collecting them is a consideration to be aware they may not be legitimately created. A character related image may be unauthorized and may be a copyright infringement issue. If purchased this is strictly “buyer beware”.