The Chrysler Building, an iconic Art Deco skyscraper in New York City, is renowned and recognized for its terraced crown. At 1,046 feet (319 m), the structure was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. There were at least 4 different, cast metal, miniature souvenir Chrysler Buildings produced in the 1930's - a paperweight, a pencil sharpener, a lighter, and a pencil weight. At least 3 of these were cast in a variety of finishes. All are scarce. One of the best are those produced in the 1930's by New York City based Kronheimer and Oldenbusch. These were made in 4 finishes - silver, copper, brass, and gold. The 4 sides of the base read - "Chrysler Building; 77 stories; New York; Height 1,046 feet". Monumental Miniatures #113. The silver souvenirs may be the earliest of the group, perhaps made to coincide with the building's opening in 1930 (K&O produced a silver-plated replica of the Empire State Building for that tower's opening in 1931). An especially scarce (and mysterious) variant of the K&O Chrysler was cast in 1948, after K&O had gone out of business. This brass finished replica, apparently cast from the K&O mold, reads around its base "Calvert's Destiny; First in America; Asbury Park '48; Empire Division." Calvert's Distilleries occupied an office in the Chrysler Building during this period, perhaps this miniature commemorates a New Jersey meeting in the late 1940's. Scarcer than the K&O Chryslers, though marginally less satisfying, are the silver-plated, Japanese-made lighters and German-made, silver and gold painted pencil sharpeners. Especially intact K&O replicas retain their original felt bases and K&O logo trademark sticker. Scarcest and smallest of all is the Japanese produced pencil weight. In the 1990’s a company called Cornell Creations reproduced the Chrysler Building in metal with at least three different finishes – silver, copper and gold. Identifying the 1930’s replica from the 1990’s replica is easy, but only if you have both to compare. They are both the same size, but the antique version has crisp details, while the newer has blurry edges as if the finish is soft and melted. Check out side-by-side photos below and see for yourself.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
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