Identifying Tootsietoys, a line of metal die-cast cars, trucks and assorted play toys dating back to the early 1900s, is difficult because many don't have a trademark emblem, or they are missing an original labeled box. However, collectors can research Tootsietoy listings on eBay, consult with antique toy dealers or obtain a "Collector's Guide to Tootsietoys, Identification & Values, Third Edition," by David E. Richter, available on Amazon.
Tootsietoys, based in Chicago, Illinois, began as a metal die-cast business in the late 1800s, but by the early 20th century, it had started producing a line of popular toy vehicles, according to toy historian Clint Seeley.
The company officially trademarked the name Tootsietoy in 1924, based on a pet nickname of the daughter of one of the company owners, according to Robert Newson. Newson also notes that while the company began using the Tootsietoy name on catalogs and toy boxes sometime before 1925, the name didn't appear on the undersides of the toys until a year or two later, while some toys produced after 1930 were still missing any identifying company mark.
Collectors keen on identifying original Tootsietoys can refer to Richter's guide, which includes 850 pages of color photos showing the older toys and their original boxes. It is also a good idea to seek out knowledgeable antique toy dealers who are familiar with Tootsietoy production styles over the years.
Tootsietoy is now owned by J. Lloyd International, Inc., which still manufactures toy cars in Chicago, Illinois.