Contractors Save Rare 1930s Mickey Mouse Toy From Landfill

Mickey Mouse

While many Disney fans would surely have a hard time parting ways with collectible Mickey Mouse merchandise, not everyone feels the same way. And in the case of a recent garbage pickup by contractors in Monmouthshire county in Wales, one person’s trash will indeed become a treasure for others when a rare Mickey Mouse toy is cleaned up and displayed at a local museum.

Mickey Mouse toy

Credit: Monmouthshire Council

BBC News reports that contractors found the toy at a landfill after a morning trash pickup where it would have gone on to have been destroyed. In true Toy Story 3 (2010) fashion, the toy was saved from ultimate demise and will now be put on display for people from all over the world to enjoy.

Earlier this month, contractors saved the Mickey toy from their recycling and waste site and had historians from the Abergavenny Museum weigh in on the relevance of the item. The expert conclusion was that the Mickey Mouse doll was an authentic Disney souvenir from the 1930s and that it was actually made very close to where it was thrown out at the old Dean’s Toy Factory just a county or two away in Torfaen.

Mickey Mouse toy

Credit: Monmouthshire Council

The Mickey Mouse toy has since been donated to the Pontypool Museum where conservators will soon have the items cleaned up, restored, and ready for display. As for the toy‘s manufacturing site, Dean’s Toy Factory was the first manufacturing company in the UK to create licensed Disney items in the 1930s. While Wales’ toy manufacturing dates back to the 18th century, toy manufacturing in general in Wales has declined in recent years. Still, the locality of this rare find makes for a truly unique and interesting Welsh story for visitors when the plush toy eventually goes on display in the museum.

Steamboat WIllie

Credit: Disney

While researching the history of this early Mickey Mouse toy, experts discovered that the doll is very similar to the ones that debuted shortly after the release of Walt Disney‘s Steamboat Willie (1928), placing the doll‘s manufacturing date to this time period. A confirmed Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse plush is part of the collections of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, too. Auctions appear to indicate that similar plush toys have sold for about £300 (approximately $406) but we cannot be sure of the authenticity of other dolls or of how many from this time period still exist today.

Pontypool Museum Curator Caitlin Gingell told BBC , “Dean’s toy factory, where Mickey was made, has been an important strand of Pontypool’s history and it is lovely to be bringing him back to his hometown.” Though not in excellent condition, at least when it was found, the Mickey Mouse doll is sure to excite kids and families visiting the museum when it is placed on display later this year.

The vintage Mickey Mouse toy was certainly a fun find for contractors and the local communities who will soon see Mickey Mouse on display close by to a piece of Wales’ toy manufacturing history.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."

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