Is This Garage Find a Sky King Tricycle?

Q: Hello, I am inquiring about this garage find. It appears to be a sky king road hog from the 1930’s. It is all metal (heavy) and missing the headlight, right indicator light and the steering grips. it does have rust along the top of steering bars and along wheel rims but it rolls and is very cool. the leather seat is intact except for small tear at the rear tool bag. What do you value this trike at?

A: Not 1930’s, not a Sky King…it’s aRoad Hog Tricycle circa 2010 (give or take, they’ve been making them for awhile now). You can see in that link that they are selling new for a little over $300 and also what it would have looked like before it was left outside.There was never a Road Hog Sky King. The Sky King was the top-of-the-line model of the Sky Line of tricycles from Junior Toy Company. We only give values out to customers who purchase our online price guide and appraisal service, but the new price can give you a pretty good indicator of what your might be worth.

Reader Has Questions About Horse Tricycle

Q: I am attaching a photo or two of an antique horse tricycle I fell in love with and purchased around 1994. It is charming in so many ways, but I am also wondering about the following: * There was a sloppy attempt at decoupage on the seat. How seriously does that devalue it? * There is a crack running from the right eye down to the jaw. Does that devalue it? Can you provide any details about its approximate age and of its value in todays market?

A: Unfortunately your tricycle is not an antique. It is a modern reproduction and possibly a made-up fantasy type piece meant to look old, but with no real historical basis for the design.  We don’t really try to hard to know when these fakes were made, but it is likely to have been pretty new when you purchased it.  As far as the value goes, the painted seat does nothing to hurt the value and probably serves to increase its value and desirability as a decorative item. We don’t give dollar value appraisals on these fake horse tricycles, because no collector is ever going to purchase one. The only buyers for these types of tricycles are people who like the way they look and want to use them for decoration…..or someone who thought it was antique and a good deal – either way they are bought for decorative purposes. Serious toy collectors know what to look for and avoid buying these.

If you are reading this assessment and still feel that your tricycle is antique, you need to check out the differences between genuine antique horses and fake / reproduction horse tricycles. On that page you’ll find a genuine antique that is somewhat like your reproduction. Below is a picture of that tricycle compared with the one you own.

Here are a few things that should be obvious clues that the one on the left is a reproduction, which hopefully with the links provided above will keep any reader from paying top dollar for a fake in the future.

1. Fake has wooden rims – antique has steel rims: The instances where wood rims were used is so small that there’s almost no chance that you have an original antique horse tricycle with wood rims. Sort of like the chance of finding a real Picasso painting versus finding a print or poster.

2. Fake has manufactured and even wear: The “wear” to the finish of the fake is pretty much uniform over the entire piece and was painted on. Notice the antique has had all the paint worn away where the child’s legs would have rubbed from repeated use.

3. Pedals & fork: The fake has flat steel for the pedals and forks, which was not used in the old tricycles and velocipedes. Notice the antique has more detailed and intricate pedals, cranks and forks.  If you check out the pedals and forks on the reproductions on our page devoted to antique tricycle fakes in general, you’ll notice that they resemble the ones of the tricycle on the left.

4. Other: There are a lot of other parts (most of them in fact) that let us know that the tricycle on the left is not antique, but they are not quite as easy to recognize as those listed above. Some of these include handlebars, grips, stem, general frame construction, hubs, tires, shape/design of horse head, etc.

Do It Yourself Restoration of Old Irish Mail Car Toy

I purchased the Irish Mail Car in Stanley NC at a used furniture shop for $60.00. Had no idea what it was, but thought it would be fun to restore for my 2 year old grandson. Knew it was probably from the 20’s or 30’s because of wooden seat and cast iron gears. Brought it home and started taking it apart to see if I could find any markings to help identify it. Only marking found were on the drive gear, JR – 2 and the drive hub on the right rear wheel, IM 23J, which I figured were part numbers. The Mail Car was in operable condition with a slight bend in the frame near the drive gear which had misaligned the gears. All parts seemed to be original. Paint on the rims of all wheels under the tires was the same and matched the paint under the seat. Paint also original on the frame under the seat. Did color match to find paint available to restore to original. Biggest problem was the tires. All were dry rotten and falling off the rims. Did Internet search for solid rubber tires. Found that had tires for Peddle cars. Wheels were different sizes front and rear. Rear tires from Speedwaymotors fit perfect on spoke rims. The solid wheel on the front was smaller so I had to cut and splice the tire from Speedwaymotors to fit. Used Zap-A Gap adhesive to glue the new tire together. Sets in 15 seconds worked great. Cleaned, degreased all metal parts and primed with Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer. Straightened slight bend in frame to align the gears. Cleaned and primed all wooden parts then painted with original color spray paint from local hobby store. Reassembled the Mail Car and it runs like a champ. Now I just have to teach a 2 year old how to use the push/pull handle bar.

Original Purchase   $60.00
Paint                       10.00
Tires                        32.95
Misc Hardware           2.00
Total                     $105.00
Seeing my grandson ride it   Priceless!!
This restoration project was done by visitor, David Ballard. Below are some additional pictures that he took during the restoration process.

Take Your Dog on a Tricycle Ride – No Basket Required

We get a lot of emails from companies promoting their products, most of them are only vaguely related to tricycles, but recently we got one with a brand new type of tricycle. The Dog Powered Trike is an adult tricycle that you can strap your dogs into and go for a ride. If you get tired of pedaling, you can just let your dogs pull you home. The company also has a line of three wheeled recumbent tricycles…that attach to your dogs, and a line of scooters.

Where Can I Get a New Decal / Headbadge for My Vintage Tricycle

One of the most common type of questions that we get here at is concerning headbadge, decals and company stickers. When restoring an old tricycle, you might be able to get it to look like new with out too much trouble, but there’s always the issue of original decals and artwork. There is no simple solution to finding original headbadges and decals. They are brand specific and vary greatly between brands, and most companies changed their own designs several (or dozens) of times over the course of their existence.

Headbadges were made of tin, brass, transfer decals, stickers and paint. The easiest of these to find are the metal ones, as there is a collecting field for old bicycle headbadges and collectors and dealers of these sometimes have tricycle badges as well. Sometimes these can be found in online auctions, stores and classified ads, but they are still rare and finding them is difficult; finding the correct headbadge can be impossible. Another place to find headbadges is at bicycle swap meets.

If the tricycle that you’re restoring has a decal or sticker type headbadge, chances are that you’ll never find an old stock replacement. Over the past 10 years, I can count on one hand the times that I’ve seen headbadge stickers and all but one have been from newer tricycles. That isn’t to say they aren’t out there. There may be collectors who have some, but they are just not something that you can find, no matter how hard you look.

So what’s the solution? You have basically three options. First, you can just restore the tricycle and leave the headbadge with no decal or badge at all. Second, if your tricycle still has some of the headbadge decal, you can restore “around” it and leave the area around the headbadge on the steerer tube with the original paint. This option can turn out sort of funny looking depending on the type of decal and its condition. The final option is what we suggest to most visitors who pose this question….make your own decal.

If any of your decal remains, try to get a quality digital image of it. Import that into Photoshop or similar photo editing program, blow it up really big and do your best photo editing to make it look consistent and original. You can also try to find similar tricycle headbadge photos on our site or online and manipulate those photos. Once you are satisfied with your finished image, you can find a sticker company online (they’re everywhere and not difficult to find) and have a new sticker made for your tricycle. You can probably find someone online who can do the image restoration for a price if you think that it’s beyond your ability.

The easiest option is probably the one that requires making a new decal on your own. Though it requires some skills with photoshop and some time, it will be far easier than trying to find something that probably doesn’t exist.

The related question that always seems to be asked is how any of these options with affect the value. Ideally a tricycle would be in mint condition in the first place with the original head decal intact, but they rarely are. None of the options should hurt or help the value (nor really, the final look) of your tricycle more or less than any other option…as long as whatever you choose to do is done well. Antique tricycles that are missing their metal headbadges though, are obviously not quite as desirable as those with their original badges. Tricycles are not like classics cars, finding old stock original parts is very difficult, and there aren’t many options to newly made replacement parts, especially ones that are reproductions of the original parts.

1930’s Era Tricycle Velomobile

A visitor sent us this photo, asking for info. The visitor though it would date to about 1935. It would seem that that age is within reason. The velomobile type pedal vehicle has a horn, drum brakes, brake light, headlights. Velomobiles or Velo-cars came into use around the 1930’s and were popular during World War II when gasoline was hard to find, and afford. The model and brand of this unit are unknown. Many had bodies and fenders and some even had roofs.

1930’s Garton Tot Tricycle With Replaced Fork/Wheel

A visitor recently sent us this photo wondering what she had and if it was worth anything. The tricycle is a late 1930’s Garton tot tricycle with a tractor type seat. The front wheel assembly is obviously not original and has been added at some point.  It’s pretty hard to tell the condition otherwise from the photo, but these are collectible. Not having a complete tricycle, not having original paint and having some visible wear and repairs will really hurt the value though.

Looking for Info on Junkyard Tricycle Find

Q: got this old tricycle at a junk yard in va looking for car parts , haven’t been able to find out who made it , never seen one with the c shaped backbone like this . sure could use a little help thanks

A: You’ve found a vintage Murray Thunder Rod tricycle from the 1960’s. It’s pretty scarce. If you were thinking about fixing it up, you’ll probably wish you would have left it in the junkyard when you start pricing parts (there was an old stock unused motor in original box on eBay for $245). Below is photo of what your Thunder-Rod is supposed to look like.