IVES Set Boxes    (Circa 1901-1932)

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Circa 1901-1903 - The earliest label for an IVES set box was this porch scene with mom, 4 kids and a No. 24 train set. Note from the picture below there were at least two different sizes and some with red cardboard and some with plain cardboard. 

Circa 1901 - Box for an early hand painted Set No. 12

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Circa 1904-1906 - We believe this was new in 1904, at least that was the first year you could buy the 1 gauge set pictured on the box. Look closely at the sides, this box label has a blue border, much like the earlier box and there is no lettering on the lower right side.

Circa 1901-1906 - The label pictured above was found on the inside top of set boxes sold prior to 1906. It contained basic instructions and contents of set box. 

Circa 1901 -1905 - The above 3 boxes show the earliest set side labels. Very early labels just have 'I" instead of spelled out Ives. On the very earliest the label was on the borttom of the box (top).

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Circa 1907 - 1909 - The main graphic is the same but this somewhat later box can be identified by it's red border and the IVES lettering in the lower right hand corner.

Circa 1907-1912 - Label used on the side of early boxes showing set numbers. The example below is from a No. 11 set Circa 1909.


Circa 1910-1912 - Again the main graphic hasn't changed and the patriotic logo on the left side was something used on the larger boxes and NOT specific to this time period, but note the third line on the top now reads "ELECTRIC AND MECHANICAL, also the lettering in the lower right hand corner has changed to red in color.

Above and below is a box that appears to be out of sequence as it was found with an early 1910 set in it. The words ELECTRIC and MECHANICAL are missing from the 3rd row at top. The lettering in the lower right is black and the side label (below) has lettering MECHANICAL inserted.

Set box for a No. 14 (Harvard / Yale set) from 1910-11

The box above was used from 1913 to 1919, the example above was from a mechanical set circa 1916 and has the word 'MECHANICAL' stamped under the word IVES. Obviously if the set was electric that would be stamped instead.

Circa 1913 - 1923 - Set boxes during this period had no top label, just a label similar to several pictured here on the side of the box. We think the one pictured above is the earliest, the one directly below is probably from the 1919-1922 period and we believe the 2nd one below is from the 1922 to 1924 period. Note that the two below are charcoal with white specks while the one above is plain cardboard. We're also not sure what's going on with the box pictured below with the number 800 on it. IVES never cataloged a set under that number. The setbox directly below has the "American Toys" logo on it something that both IVES and Lionel did around 1919 to promote American toys over German.


Circa 1919 - The above label was found on the inside of some boxes during this period, we know the one above was from a 1919-1920 set. Besides for the operating instructions, what is interesting on this label is the RETURN instructions. How to package the set and where to send it if there were any problems.

The box above would appear to date to date to the early 1920s. The smaller 0 gauge boxes have not been found with the black/white Cloud paper (see below).

Circa 1921-22 - early set box for set No. 703 (3242 with passenger cars).

Circa 1922 - Set box No. 713 (large freight set with 3242 loco)

Circa 1922 - Just a little more perspective - we call this box the 'Cloud Box' it's  standard gauge from 1922. 

Circa 1924 - 1927 - No longer using labels, the above picture of a boy playing with his 3243 set was printed on the top of the box. The similarities between this picture and the one Lionel was using during this same period are striking. Directly below is a picture of the side of this box, below that is the side of a box from 1928, note the name change that occured in 1928 to THE IVES CORP. It is possible to find 1928 boxes that are stamped with the old name "THE IVES MFG. CORP".

Circa 1928 - Note the lighter color of the box and the different company name.

Pictured above are two 1928 boxes, the one on the bottom is early 1928 as it's still marked "The Ives Mfg. Corp". The one on the top is late 1928 as it is marked with the new corporate name - most 1928 boxes are like the one on the top. Note that the lower one also has a 2nd number (7886) Stamped on it, we believe it's someones catalog number, just not sure whose.

This is a 1926 box and it's different in that the 3243 set is colored orange, we don't know if this is unusual but all the other boxes from this period we have access to are only black and white.

In 1924 IVES not only painted the trains a special color for Wanamakers, they also made special boxes.

Circa 1928 - Here is a rarely seen 1928 Wide Gauge box. Note that the internal dividers for the cars and locomotive are just strips of cardboard, that can easily be removed. This feature is seen only in late 1927 and early 1928. 99% of the time these cardboard strips are long gone.

Circa 1929 - A wide gauge box used for a 1929 only set - Note the locomotive box which came with a 3236 Blue locomotive is actually stamped 3242.

Circa 1929-1930 - Box design changed under American Flyer / Lionel management. Note the Special designation on the box below, very similar to what Lionel did during this period

Another 1930 box this is from the colorful Seneca Set. The box below is from a 1931 clockwork set - look familiar?

Nothing special just the set box for a 1930 Olympian Set.

Inside Out Box - The box itself is a 1928 box with all the printing on the inside, these were used for Special or Promotional sets Circa 1929-193? The example below is unique in that both the bottom and top of box are 1928 Corporation boxes turned inside out.

The side of the 'Inside-Out' box above had this label. Unfortunately most of it is missing, but what we can determine is that that it wasn't cataloged and was most likely a Promotional (Special) set put together somewhere in the transition period (1928-30).

Circa 1927 box, but freight set inside was made after 1928 - Note the 'Special' number stamped to the right.

Circa 1929-1930 - We're not sure where to put this one. This was a box that Ives used to ship three freight cars that were purchased separately not in a set. The cars that came with this box were 1929 American Flyer bodied freight cars, the box is obviously a Lionel Set box that has the name taped over. 

This box from 1930 - 1932 doubled as a set box and an accessory. The tunnel box is hard to find without it's ends punched out. 

Circa 1931-1932 - 0 Gauge set box, below is "THE YANKEE" set from 1931. 


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