Time to help solve a mystery! This Peanuts Toy Piano by Straco needs your help to find out more information on its history. The only reason I had seen this piano before picking it up was from the mystery section of Freddi Margolin’s book, “Peanuts: Home Collection”. Luckily, the manufacturer has been found: Straco. If anyone has more information concerning this piece or has one in their collection, drop me an email at [email protected].
Straco is part of F. J. Strauss Co., Inc. and appears to have started in 1952. The company made a variety of toys including sewing machines, tops, cars, tea sets and pianos. Beyond that, there isn’t much to find online. There’s a few catalogs out there from the 1980’s, but beyond that, there’s not much for history or a guide to collecting Straco toys.
From what I’ve been able to research, the Peanuts toy piano is a “rebadged” version of this Straco baby grand sweet tunes. The two types of pianos look identical other than the sticker and it leaves me with no doubt that it’s the same piano. The legs of the piano seem to have come in multiple styles, such as red or white.
The Mystery of the Peanuts Toy Piano
Whether the Straco company licensed Peanuts for this piano is yet to be determined. A Straco toy dealer catalog or consumer catalog would be helpful to help determine if this was definitely a widely available item. Freddi Margolin’s book had a suggestion that this may have been a
Coca-cola premium. If this is true, I would love to see evidence supporting that like an advertisement or flyer. Since the characters on this piece are definitely not drawn by Schulz, it is hard to determine the exact age of this piece. Having the aforementioned ephemera pieces would help give a proper time frame to this piece.
Based on the Coca-cola suggestion and the non-Schulz drawing, I would theorize this is from around the release of “The Charlie Brown Christmas.” Why? First, Coca-cola was a sponsor. Second, it was a mad dash to get “A Charlie Brown Christmas” completed. There’s no time for thinking about merchandising during a busy time. Perhaps this slipped through the cracks with bad artwork? Maybe this lead to Schulz taking a firmer hand of merchandising going forward to meet his standards? Merely a theory, but you can help me prove it, or debunk it. I’d take debunking any day to have the truth behind this mystery Peanuts toy piano!
Update to the Coca-Cola Theory
I’ve received word from the original source for Freddi’s book theory on the Coca-cola connection. It’s based on the colors of the piece, rather than any solid evidence. Keep an eye on those vintage toy catalogs to see if you can help enlighten the Peanuts collectors of the true origins of this piece!
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