In 1892, the five Ringling Brothers formed a song and dance troupe that performed skits and juggling routines in town halls around Wisconsin. They began adding circus acts and gave their first one-ring circus show performance on May 19, 1884, in their hometown of Baraboo. It was popular, and by 1890, they had two elephants and traveled throughout the Midwest in their own railroad cars. They merged with the P.T. Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1919 to form the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, the “Greatest Show on Earth.”
Collectors look for posters, programs, popcorn bags, paper fans, toys, food tickets and pennants, the older or more unusual the better. This circus toy is a tin wind-up truck made by Strauss Toys of Germany. It’s 9 inches long and sold for $360 at a Morphy auction in Pennsylvania.