A: J. Chein & Co. was founded as a metal-stamping company in New York City in 1903. Julius Chein was 20 when he emigrated from Russia in 1893. He obtained several patents for toys, the first in 1903 for a roller-coaster toy. In 1907 the company opened a plant in Harrison, N.J. Chein made small toys that were sold at Woolworth’s and other dime stores, as well as small toy prizes for Cracker Jack boxes. Designs were painted on the toys until 1907, when the company started using color lithography. Chein made lithographed tin sand pails from the 1920s until the 1970s, even after other manufacturers were making plastic pails. Yours date from the 1950s. Metal sand pails sold for less than 50 cents in the ’50s, and some sold for as little as 15 cents. Metal pails bring higher prices than plastic pails today because the decorations are more appealing and fewer survived in good condition. Your sand pails are worth between $100 and $200 each.Julius Chein, who lost an arm in a fireworks accident when he was a boy, was killed in 1926 when he fell off his horse while riding in Central Park. The company stopped making toys during World War II, when it manufactured parts for bombs. It moved to Burlington, N.J., in 1949. Toy production ended in the late 1970s, when the company switched to manufacturing housewares. Chein was sold to Atlantic Products in 1987 and became Atlantic Cheinco. It filed for bankruptcy in 1992.

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