American Dimestore Basics, Manoil Hollow-Base Figures

No other American Dimestore figures have raised as much speculation over their evolution as a small group of early production Manoils known to collectors as “Hollow-Base.”

Figure in the center of my photo is a regular two hole base Manoil. It’s flanked by two hollow-base figures.

I theorize that since hollow-base castings were, and still are,
extensively used in the manufacture of hand-cast lamp parts, it was only natural for Manoil’s management, who at the time were in the lamp manufacturing business, to adopt this similiar hollow-base design in the manufacture of their earliest toy soldier. Unfortunately, no written records have surfaced as why the hollow-base design was dropped in favor of the “two gate,” or two hole base.

Since Manoil’s hollow-base figures do have a thicker slightly chunkier base, which may have required more metal, perhaps, to Manoil’s management, their hollow-base figures didn’t look as well as their competitors thinner base (two hole base) figures.

Here’s another theory: Looking closely at the bottoms of hollow-base figures in my collection, I can easily see distinct irregular file marks on the circular area of each base. Employees must have had to remove the excess “flash” by hand filing each base, thereby adding an extra time consuming production step to an already labor intensive manufacturing process.

While not scarce or difficult to find, because of their uniqueness, all Manoil hollow-base figures are quite desirable and, of course, more costly than their two hole base brothers.

To many, however, they are often overlooked and sold as regular Manoils. So make it a point to check the bases of Manoils when buying at show, since duplicates make excellent trading material.

A total of 11 different types of Manoil hollow-base figures are known to exist, and are listed here according to Manoil’s own numbering system.

#7 Flag Bearer; #8 Parade; #9 Officer; #10 Bugler; #11 Drummer; #13 Cadet; #14 Sailor; #15 Marine; #16 Ensign; #17 Sailor Signal Man; #18 Cowboy with Pistol.

Collecting all 11 Manoil hollow-base variations is within the reach of most collectors. Grouped together, they they make a nice cameo collection within your American Dimestore collection.

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