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'American Pickers': Frank Loses Money On A Vintage Mechanical Smoking Toy (VIDEO)


First Posted: 03/ 6/2012 7:25 am Updated: 03/ 6/2012 10:55 am

Cigarette smoking has been frowned upon for so long that many people probably forget that it used to be so commonly accepted and advertised on television and seen in virtually every aspect of life. On "American Pickers" (Mon., 9 p.m. EST on History), Frank uncovered a truly unique item in a mechanical toy from the '50s. The McGregor doll he found still had its original box, but more significantly, it was an automaton that actually smoked a cigarette as its gimmick.

Frank knew he had something special, so he made an offer right away to the owner. He also knew that most battery-operated toys from that era no longer work because, as he explained it, "The motors inside, they freeze up."

But the owner knew an opportunity as well, and so he offered Frank a wager of sorts. "I'll sell you that for $25 if it doesn't work," he said. "If it works, we put batteries in it, you give me $50."

So they scrounged up some batteries, loaded old McGregor up and set him loose. And impressively, he stood up and puffed on that cigarette like the day he came home from the store. Everyone was a little surprised to see that the toy was still operational, but just as it boosted the sale for the customer, it also boosted the overall value of the piece.

"That's worth the extra $25," Frank said, still confident he'd made a great deal on the purchase.

Find out what they uncover next on "American Pickers," Mondays at 9 p.m. EST on History.

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Filed by Jason Hughes  |  Report Corrections