Japanese red tin toy steam locomotive
Japanese red tin toy steam locomotive with friction motor, marked "Aesop" at the front both left and right. 9" long and 3.5" high. Marked "EO" and "Made in Japan." $6 from Matt McKeeby, Schenectady, NY, through Ebay, Feb., '00.
Now this takes a prize! An Aesop locomotive! I gather that this toy comes from the era during which the Japanese were prone to put any symbol on any object and (re)produce it. "D-57" appears beneath the engineer's windows and on the boiler-cover at the front. There a bunny holds flags, perhaps for the tortoise and hare whose heads are pictured above the name "Aesop" on the flag panels on either side of the boiler-cover. Further back on the left side a crow in a cap holds a mouse either by a string or by its tail. On the opposite side a zebra and bear face each other. The engineer is a stork, who has a wing resting leisurely outside the windows on both sides! On the roof above him is a flying bird. In my years of collecting I never dreamed that such a thing existed.