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I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

ZZ - ZZ Riesen - ZZ Riesen Farm - ZZ Riesen Zoo

Schnelsen, Hamburg, DE 22457, West Germany - via Hong Kong

Flourished 1973-1990's

See also:
R. Dakin & Company (San Francisco, California, USA)
Skyline Inc. (P.O. Box 61, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)

Herr Ingo Roggatz set up as an importer (US - 'jobber') and/or registered the ZZ logo of two superimposed Z's in the - then - West Germany on the 19th of May, 1973, the trademark was awarded on the 4th March 1975. The company may be extant, but the registration of the trademark has lapsed or been surrendered - "Registration Cancelled"?

Mr Roggatz (or his successor) now seems to be trading as Nordblume GmbH a floristry and giftware wholesaler. He originally imported toys, gifts and general home-ware, a good deal of which came from the - then - British Crown Colony of Hong Kong, latterly just 'China'. Generics were overprinted or ink-stamped with the ZZ logo, and two lines carried the Riesen prefix; Riesen Farm and Riesen Zoo, as a range. The 60mm Wild West were mould-marked ZZ in raised letters, as was some of the Riesen animal range.

A debate about the graphics of the header-cards on these bags is ongoing; there were three styles (two farm - numbered and unnumbered; and one zoo), they all bearing a more than passing resemblance to the earlier packaging of Storck Riesen Schocolade, small chocolate-covered toffees.

The similarities between:

·         Names (Riesen)
·         Graphics (outlined balloon-font and squashed balloon-font lettering)
·         Target market (children and/or their  pocket money)
·         Time (1970's) and . . .
·         Market locations (Germany and the USA - also fans of the edible Riesens!)

is beyond coincidence, the only question is whether there was a link between ZZ and Storck or just some clever scamming by ZZ.

Increasingly it looks as if ZZ were deliberately trying to link their product to the chocolate candies, although a publicity or 'premium' link can't yet be ruled-out, particularly when you consider that Storck were also shipping their toffees to Hong Kong, where the toy products were coming from.

The US issues were handled by R. Dakin (who claimed to have "Exclusive distribution in USA…") and Skyline Inc. They both also claimed the products were made (and 'Hand Painted') in West Germany, when they were in fact HK knock-offs. Dakin may only have handled the Farm, but Skyline handled both.

The fact that one claimed exclusive rights is probably explained by the way territories were divided-up in the US market, one taking the West Coast salesmen (Dakin), the other the East Coast (Skyline), it's easy to see how Dakin - to impress customers - would make a claim they knew to be incorrect, as they also knew their bags would never been seen next to Skylines'. It should be noted that the stickers on both sets of imports clearly came from the same (German or HK?) source.

Skyline were a jobber in similar vein to ZZ, importing/carrying inflatable beach/play furniture, Halloween trick-or-treat bags, Japanese-made train sets, 'Shrinky-Dinks' and such-like.

Dakin were probably similar at the time, also sourcing stuffed toys and teddy bears, however they went on to make a fortune off the back of Garfield the cartoon cat merchandise licenses and became a major manufacturer of soft toys, famously commissioning the Dakin Building, on the San Francisco Bay in Brisbane, California…well, it's 'famously' if you're also a student of architecture or Star Wars!

Among ZZ's other toys were tin-plate Christmas tree decorations, some ex-Giant product (Wild West) and copies of British and European 'Cowboys & Indians' (Native Americans) in both 54 and 60mm, these were above the usual HK quality - as were the Riesen range - but if ZZ were dealing with pan-national jobbers like Dakin, Skyline and the Rosenberg's Giant, that's not so surprising.

Product Listing
Plastic Figures
Generic Packaging (over stamped/printed with ZZ logotype)
25mm
- [Carded foot (6) and mounted (6) Indians and 2 wagons] (all mounted on ex-Giant 'Smoothie', with 'Mexican Small' draft horses)

54mm
Nr.2715 (?) - Westernfiguren (Timpo Mexican copies, likely to be vinyl/polyethylene mix of parts)

70mm
- Cowboys, Foot (various)
- Cowboys, Mounted (various)
- Indians, Foot (various)
- Indians, Mounted (various)
900 - Horse

Reisen Branded Animal Ranges
Reisen Farm (Hausser Elastolin 1:25th scale copies, graphics seem to deliberately mimic Riesen Schocolade graphics, two sets of header cards, one set numbered sequentially 36##, the others unnumbered)
Art.No.3602 - Pferd Fressend (horse grazing, Hausser Elastolin - Nr. 3812)
Art.No.3606 -
Art.No.3609 -
Art.No.3610 -
Art.No.3611 - Schäferhund (sheepdog - Alsatian, x2)
Art.No.3613 -
Art.No.3616 -
Art.No.3617 -
Art.No.3618 -
- Duck (mallard, same moulding as goose - may go together in one pack)
- Goose (same moulding as duck - may go together in one pack)
- Horse Prancing
- Horse Standing (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Heavy Horse
- Foal Gambolling (Elastolin copy?)
- Two Horses
- Goat (Elastolin copy?)
- Bull (Aberdeen Angus?)
- Donkey/Ass (x2?)
- Der Hahn (The Hens - x6)
- Cockerels (x6, Elastolin copies?)
- Doves (seem to be 20 in 2 poses, Elastolin or Preiser copies?)

Riesen Zoo (nominally 1:25th scale (Elastolin copies) but some up-scaled Britains copies, graphics seem to deliberately mimic Riesen Schocolade graphics)
Art.No.2672 - Das Känguruh (The Kangeroo, Elastolin copy?)
Art.No.2673 -
Art.No.2674 -
Art.No.2675 - Das Renteir (The Reindeer, design?)
Art.No.2676 -
Art.No.2677 -
Art.No.2678 - Der Warter (The Keepers, x2, Britains copies, enlarged, 1 with meat on pole, 1 with bass-broom)
Art.No.2679 -
Art.No.2680 -
Art.No.2681 -
Art No.2682 -
Art.No. 2683 - Panther (unique design?)
- Pelican (x2 ex-Britains mouth open, wings closed pose)
- Sea Lion (Britains copies)
- Giraffe (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Hippopotamus  (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Elephant  (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Antelope (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Penguins (1 each - x3 poses, Britains copies)
- Zebra (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Tiger (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Moose (unique design?)
- Rhinoceros (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Black/Brown Bear (same moulding as Polar Bear, unique design?)
- Polar Bear (same moulding as Black/Brown Bear, unique design?)
- Lion and Lioness (hard hollow styrene polymer? Hausser Elastolin copy)
- American Buffalo/Bison  (Britains copies)
- Flamingos (x2, Britains copies)                       

Tin-Plate Christmas Tree Hangers
'Series 1' (probably numbered 1-10 on boxes)
Smaller Toys (Chinese (?) re-issues of old Japanese (?) or German penny-toy designs)
10 - Graf Zeppelin
? - Bi-plane (with German WWI balkankreutzen)
? - Monoplane
? - Flying Boat / Sea-plane 'DO 18'
Larger Toys (same note applies)
? - Horse-Tram / Railcar 'Pferde Bahn15 Altona St Paula' (no horses)
? - 19thC Steam Locomotive 'Nurnburg-Furth'
? - 20thC Steam Locomotive 'DB 1571 Express'
? - Motorcycle and Sidecar 'Sport'
? - Omnibus '103 Nivia-Puder'
? - Fire Engine Ladder Truck 'Falke 13'

Links
ZZ on Home Blog

What This Entry Needs
Better understanding of Riesen link/relationship
Fuller product listing
Animals linked with correct bag numbers and German language titles

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