Relive your childhood with these rare vintage toys
Bras Basah Bugis
A five-storey space wholly devoted to childhood memorabilia, it’s astonishing to find out that the thousands of vintage toys housed in the MINT (Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys) Museum of Toys belong to a single person. Even more amazing, what’s on display makes up only a small part of Mr. Chang Yang Fa ’s 50,000-piece private collection.
An engineer by profession who has been doing some serious toy-collecting for over three decades, Chang founded the private museum in 2007. Purpose-built along Seah Street to contain these collectibles, the MINT Museum’s most valuable item is said to be a 1930s Mickey Mouse Hurdy Gurdy, estimated to be worth US$35,000.
With a world-class collection of rare and unique toys carefully curated to fill both permanent and temporary themed displays, the Museum hosts public guided tours on Wednesday afternoons and private ones upon request.
Featuring dolls and collectibles inspired by classic children stories from the 19th and 20th century, its latest temporary exhibit C hildhood Favourites invites visitors to rediscover popular characters from timeless tales.
Taking a tour of the exhibit, we took a peek at some of the most sought-after vintage collectibles adapted from storybook classics and found ourselves enlightened by the tidbits that the MINT Museum had to share. Here’s a glimpse of some familiar faces you might recognise and some things about them you probably never knew.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865
A one-of-its-kind Farnell Alpha doll once owned by the very young girl who inspired Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll) to write the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Alice Doll that sits in this glass shelving was acquired by the MINT Museum in 2012 from Alice Liddell and her family.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by The Brothers Grimm, 1812.
Can you name all of Snow White’s seven dwarfs?
Popularised by Walt Disney, most of us grew up seeing the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White to be a songbird with dark locks. The Japanese, however, who had not seen the 1937 film at that point in time, interpreted her to be blonde in the 1930s.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, 1936
Created by American author Munro Leaf, Ferdinand was a gentle Spanish bull who liked flowers more than he did bullfighting. It’s no surprise then, that Ferdinand was often seen as a symbol of pacifism and nonviolence. At the MINT Museum, memorabilia of the classic character from the 1930s include wind-up toys and figurines still stored in their original packaging.
Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, 1926
We all know the pudgy yellow bear who always has his paw in a honey pot. At the MINT Museum, Pooh bear and his buddies from the Hundred Acre Wood get a shelf to themselves.
A rare complete set of cloth and felt soft toys handcrafted by Agnes Brush which once made an appearance in a 1956 Life Magazine article, the excellent quality of these nine friends of Christopher Robin can be seen from its mint condition.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, 1902
More delicate and well-made dolls which have stood the test of time, the Museum carries on display a limited edition Peter Rabbit doll made from mohair, felt and leather by John Wright. Biscuit tins, playing cards and a 1990 cotton soft toy feature among the collection of this adorable bunny and his woodland friends.
A spellbinding exhibit that’s bound to jolt some childhood memories, stepping into the MINT Museum invariably makes one feel like a kid in a candy store. There’s even an activity corner for kids to read these classics and pen their imaginations, so Childhood Favourites makes for a fascinating and meaningful experience for both adults and young ones alike.
We say it’s time to pay your childhood friends a visit.
Childhood Favourites runs through to 31 March 2017 and admission is complimentary with regular museum entry. The MINT Museum of Toys is located at 26 Seah Street, Singapore 188382.
Author: Bras Basah Bugis
17 May 2017