Maker unknown, made in Sweden, c. 1920's or 30's (estimated), 17 3/4". Nobody ever knows what to call this model. They'll say, "It's a match vendor...you know. It's metal, and Swedish, and...blue, and...come on, you know!" Just like that, a clear, concise, unambiguous description. Mystery machines of all types have an identity problem, but none more than this one. Let's just call this the Swedish Mystery Machine from now on, okay?
It's a nice model. Nothing quirky or unusual---except that it's made in Sweden, did I mention that?---but just a nice solid design. How do we know that it was made in Sweden? 'Cause it says so on the coin insert. The machine is all metal, except for the baseplate which is wood, so I guess there is something a bit unusual. As far as I can tell, the wood baseplate is original, not some later repair, and I think it adds a nice touch. Leave it to the Swedes to soften the metal look with a fine wood accent, even one that's almost completely hidden during use. Silent Salesmen Too says that the front is made of cast iron while the rest is made of sheet metal, but it's hard for me to tell whether the front is cast iron or thick sheet metal.
This is purportedly a tough model to find. I've seen a few but not many, and I've never really tracked sightings of this model on ebay and during trips to auctions and Chicagoland shows. If I had to estimate retrospectively, I'd guess that I've seen 5 or 6 including this one. That's a pretty low number, but since I wasn't tracking them I might have overlooked a few. A friend whose opinion I trust considers this model to be rare, and while I'm not quite ready to buy into that lofty status, it might be close to rare, or he might be right and it might actually be rare.
The example above is 100% original and is in excellent condition. Despite its foreign origin, it takes an American penny. I suspect that all of them do, but I'm not sure.
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