Lehmann “New Century Cycle” Rarest Version w/Iron Cross

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This wind-up toy was designed by Lehmann as EPL 345 and shows a gentleman in period attire with “mutton chops” guiding the tiller on a three wheeler as he raises and lowers his hat.  Behind him is a black boy that spins the umbrella as the vehicle moves along.  The front wheel is adjustable for left, straight or right path of travel.  There are several versions of this toy made between 1896 and 1938 differentiated by the color scheme and umbrella design.  This is the ultra-scarce earliest version, believed to have been made in 1896.

This one is clearly the rarest of all the varieties, with only a handful known to exist. The car, driver and passenger are identical to the early “birds and flowers” version of the New Century Cycle.  Presumably, this one was also made around the same time. The company  logo prominent on this toy dates back to 1896. The umbrella is quite distinctive and has an orange German Iron Cross pattern.