My Weekly Score: Gilbert Erector Set

This was a fabulous little find that we came across recently. It’s a vintage A.C. Gilbert erector set from the 1940s. This is the 8 ½ model to build an all electric Ferris wheel. How cool is that!?

It boasted the slogan, “The World’s Greatest Toy!” and I’m sure a lot of boys would have agreed. This is a future engineer’s dream and I’m sure it was on everybody’s Christmas list back when these were super popular.

Our erector set was a little worn. The metal case had some scratches, but not anything too deep or damaging. I’m sure some parts were missing too, but we had over 200 pieces here and a lot of them were still in great shape. There was a little bit of rusting as well, but considering this is 70+ years old…that’s to be expected!

We pitched this as a collector’s item, though we were explicit to note the damage and the fact that it probably wasn’t complete. I also mentioned that it would be good if you already had a set that wasn’t complete, and used this to round out those parts that you were missing.

We bought this set for $30.80 at our local auction house and ended up selling it for $84.99. Some sets, depending on what model it is, sell for $200+. But we were really happy with what this went for and the fact that it got a new home! That’s win-win in my eyes. 🙂

Have you ever come across one of these before? Have you played with one?


6 thoughts on “My Weekly Score: Gilbert Erector Set

  1. Dad says:

    Had one when I was young.

  2. Linens2Lace says:

    My husband saw this and went off on a trip down memory lane. I’ll let him write the rest of this. “My first major toy in the 50’s was a Gilbert Erector Set. I remember being 5 and opening the brand new Gilbert set on Christmas morning. I was so excited I couldn’t wait to put it together. So was my Dad. He built a ferris wheel, a car, another ferris wheel he thought looked better then the one in the book, a crane, and a host of other gizmos and movable gizzmos that weren’t in any book I ever saw. We had metal parts all over the place. He had a ball. I got to watch and look at the book – so I would understand what he was doing. So much fun. Nine years later. my father died. He was 39 and I was 14. The erector set had long since lost its parts but that Christmas day turned out to be the moment of my life with him that I remember the most. Your pictures brought back the memory. Thank you.”

    • Wow, I’m not really even sure what to say to that! Thank you for sharing the memory – it’s a beautiful one. And I’m so glad that my article was able to bring it back for you. Isn’t it funny how something that seems so commonplace and trivial at the time can become such a huge event in your life? Thanks again for sharing!

      • Edward Gelia says:

        I just want to say that I happened to come across a No.9 1/2 all electric AUTOMOTIVE SET ERECTOR and almost all of the pieces are in brand new shape never have been used. I would like to sell it but don’t know what I should ask for it. Any ideas?

        • Chris says:

          Hello, Have you sold this set yet. If not I would be interested-I just got an 8 1/2 set an an estate auction yesterday though it is missing a lot of oarts, is rusty and the metal has seen much better days. Please contact me if you still have it, and if not what kind sale price you were able to realize. Thanks

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