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Mike's Vendor

Mike's Vendors, Toledo, OH, c. 1930's, 10". I know almost nothing about this machine beyond what I can see and what's in Silent Salesmen Too, and there ain't much in Silent Salesmen Too. This model is not Officially Rare, but it's quite uncommon.

The body and lid are made of cast aluminum. The lid is embossed "MIKE'S VENDORS, TOLEDO, O.", and I think it's cool that the "S" at the end of "VENDORS" is backwards. Perhaps the company owner brought his 5-year old to work one day and let the kid put the finishing touch on the design of their newest model. The aluminum is thick, and the machine weighs more than it looks like it should. It's got great heft, which adds to any machine. Who wants a machine the density of styrofoam?

This example is 100% original except for the hold-down rods. It has a wood insert in the product puller-outer with a round hole in it that's just right for a gumball and too small for much else. I've seen a similar effect created in the Adams-Fairfax or Abbey Cash Tray with factory-made variations of the standard-sized puller-outer, but I can't remember ever seeing a separate wood piece do the same thing. The wood insert may have been crafted by a vendor, and it's very well made if it was.

By the way, "puller-outer" is a technical term used among collectors In The Know; don't abuse it with friends who aren't part of that select group. You'll confuse them.

This model is a prime example of why you should not consider price guides to be gospel. I bought this as part of a private transaction in 1997. As I update this page in December 2015 I've owned it for more than 18 years, and have seen very few others in that time. If one of these found its way to a dealer's table at a Chicagoland show and was priced double its book value, I don't think it'd last more than 10 minutes before being bought. For the rest of the day collectors would talk about the guy who got the bargain on the Mike's Vendor that morning. This isn't to put down the price guide, which gets it right most of the time, but it is meant to point out that it's not infallible, and therefore you can't live or die by the numbers in it.

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