“Bruce Hastie” – 1930s Marklin Importer

Although Richard Marklin Toys was considered to be the largest USA importer of Marklin during the 1930s, other hobby shops sold Marklin toys and trains during the 1930s, especially in and around the New York area.  One such dealer was “Bruce Hastie” as the dealer stamp on a price-list states.  Located in New York in Long Island City at the Woodside Section, Bruce Hastie sold what seems to be a full range of O and I gauge Marklin trains.  In my collection I have had for many years a price-list that has allowed for much insight to be gained from the early 1930s interaction between US Marklin importers and the Marklin factory in Germany. (price-list below)

1934pricelistDE (2)

1934 (D 11) Price-list (German) for USA Dealers

From this price-list we can see that it was most likely a store copy from the following observations:

  1. A translation “seite = page” is written on the top for employees to know German-English translation.
  2. A “15% Discount” is detailed as Freight on Board
  3. The owner has written “Prices in US Dollars” when they are actually in RM  – (1934: 1 USD = RM 2.54)
  4. At the end of the price-list, a note is written from the Marklin factory explaining the conversion rates.  It seems this price-list is a makeshift version; part German and part American export. (note pictured below)
1934 Message to USA Dealers (D11 Pricelist)

1934 Message to USA Dealers (D11 Pricelist)

From the base price (we will use the CCS 66 12921 as an example) of 260 RM which we can convert to $156 USD (40% deduction as noted by Marklin) which includes F.O.B., duty, etc.  The question thus arises, does the note by the dealer on this price-list deduct another 15% or is it a 15% deduction from the original RM prices?  Using the historical RM/USD rate, the 260 RM CCS 66 12921 would have cost around $102 USD.  Either way, if we include another15% deduction or not, the CCS 66 12921 was comparatively much more expensive in the USA than it was to purchase it in Europe, especially Germany.

CCS 66 12921 Listing in D11 Price-list

CCS 66 12921 Listing in D11 Price-list

CCS 66 12921 in D11 (1934) Catalog

CCS 66 12921 in D11 (1934) Catalog

Bruce Hastie Dealer Stamp (color/saturation altered)

Bruce Hastie Dealer Stamp (color/saturation altered)


  • excellent article…it is very interesting to see the usa import/export especially with that priceliste. the gauge 1 krok is interesting as well.

    regards jeff

  • Speaking historically, whether Maerklin trains or other German toys, the retail price in US Dollars was usually the same or very close, as the price in Reichmarks or later Deutschmarks of the item in Germany, i.e. DM 39,99 in Germany and USD 39.99 in the U.S., due to the fairly constant exchange rate of about 4 Reichsmark to one USD in 1933 and about 2.5 Reichsmark to one USD up until 1943 (from 1945 to the currency reform of 1948 Maerklin was only sold against hard currency such as USD or British Pounds or bartered for production material exchange) and the exchange rate of 4 to 4.20 Deutschmark to one USD from 1948 to about 1970.
    The seeming desparity between prices in the US and Germany, it was always much cheaper to buy your Maerklin in Germany if you were there, was caused by the addition of freight and customs duty on the importation of the German toy items into the U.S. Here German Reichsmark and Deutschmark exchange rates from pre WWI to 2001, and Euro exchange rates to 2007.

  • In 1956 or ’57, my father who was serving in Germany in the US Army took me into Frankfurt to view a Marklin display. The display took the entire length of a railway car. What I remember about it is that it was built as a mountain setting with tunnels, bridges, and under and over passes. I believe that the rail car in which the display had been constructed traveled throughtout Germany. I wonder if any pictures exist of this display or if it appears in any Marklin literature or history from the period.

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