In 1953, shortly after Dwight Eisenhower was elected the 34th president of the United States, Marx toy company released a series of precision molded presidential figures in miniature.
The Marx presidents stood about 2¾-inches tall and were manufactured from unpainted white resin. Each was mounted on a base with the president’s name on the front and his number and term in office on the back. Despite their small size, the figures were highly detailed, making them seem more like miniature statues than toys for play.
Marx released a complete set of 35 figures (33 presidents, plus extras of President Eisenhower and First Lady Mamie Eisenhower) as well as five chronological 7-figure subsets. An American Presidents in Miniature guide was included with each set, featuring the official photo of each president, his political affiliation, a short bio, and a famous quote attributed to him.
The company sold the sets through various channels, including toy stores, service stations, supermarkets, and via mail order through magazine advertising. As sales increased, Marx released a set of even smaller (1½-inch tall) figures, complete with models of The White House or the U.S. Capital building. Alternate series of paintable and painted sets of figures were also released.
Once the Eisenhower era ended, Marx continued to produce and release presidential figures for Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson. The line ended with Nixon in 1972 when Marx was sold to Quaker Oats.
Since then, an enterprising collector, Patric Verrone, has continued producing Marx-style figures to fill the void from Gerald Ford to Joe Biden, allowing collectors to complete their sets through his Etsy or eBay stores.
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