Chicago Antiques Guide

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Gilbert Erector Set No 8 1/2

Posted Friday, June 09 by Brian

Hi Brian, here's what I can tell you. Red metal box and inside has picture of ferris wheel No. 8 1/2 Electric Erector.This set has motor, gear box, gears and wheels. Also,has screws/nuts and silver cylinder w/red cone top,all other metal building pcs. Building book not in the best of shape but does show which set will build the picture. The cover is missing and many of the pages are torn. My dad said it was his but really not sure how old it is. My dad is 78 yrs old, born in 1928. Perhaps you can help me with this item, Thanks, Tim
Erector Ferris Wheel.jpg
I should start by saying that the photo is not of your father's set but one from the Leslie Hindman auction of John Drury's collection of Erector sets. I also don't know for sure that this is the exact set you have. A. C. Gilbert made many changes to their sets over the years. In fact, one earlier set from the 1930's pictured and included
the parts to build a car, and another pictured and included parts for a Hudson steam locomotive. The earliest No. 8 1/2 set that I found that builds the Ferris Wheel is from 1936.

It is always more difficult, and time consuming (if not impossible), to do an evaluation without photos. It took 3 rounds of questions and answers, as I did the research, to gather the information that I combined into your question above.

The set pictured above was decribed in the auction as being from "1939, set number 8 1/2, parts appear unused, large bottom insert is reproduction, t-clips appear to be reproduction." It sold for $180. Sets that are in average "as found" condition on Ebay tend to sell in the $50 range. Erector sets when found are usually missing some parts and exhibit a wide range of condition issues.

Sets which show extensive wear, rust or are missing key parts bring much less money than sets that are in excellent condition, and virtually complete with all original parts. Without photos and a complete inventory of parts it really isn't possible to put a price on your set.

If you wanted to replace the book with one in excellent condition, they are available for $30 from Bill Bean on his Erector Set site. has replacement parts, as well as a very handy chart
showing the make up of 1950's vintage Erector Sets. I don't know how close the 1954 No. 8 1/2 set is to the 1939, but it looks pretty similar.

If you didn't already click on Leslie Hindman's link above, check out tomorrow's auction of Property Belonging to radio personality Erich "Mancow" Muller.

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