For so many years, a Vintage VW toy representing a multi-colored tin plate lithographed Split Window Volkswagen has been a mystery among the Vintage VW model and toy collectors. Besides it looking like a German HUKI (HUbert KIenberger) Split VW of the 1940-50s era, the AA124 license plate has always been a question as how does this fit in with the German HUKI? The AA124 VW has always been considered some kind of a HUKI prototype as it appears to be a somewhat crude copy of the detailed HUKI VW, but with some strange colors, of the same time period as well.

The AA124 had a tin plate chassis with bumpers, steel wheels and no motor. But how about that out of place crude stamping lithographed orange tin body with a green roof section and brown trim?

In 2014, is was discovered that this AA124 tin lithographed Split Window VW was actually produced in Greece by the toy manufacturer of ANANIAS ANANIADES (AA). Many thanks to collector friend Andy Finch from Greece!

AA was a major Greek toy manufacturer during the post WWII era and was successful until the early 1980's. They were based in Nikaia, Piraeus, the industrialized suburb of Athens. Like most local toy manufacturers, AA began producing toys from tinplate salvaged from old used tin cans, during the late 1940-50s era. AA was the first to apply more sophisticated lithograph artwork on their toys and founded a state-of-the-art toy factory in the mid-1950s.

Like several of the other Greek toy manufacturers during that 1950s era, AA copied popular foreign toys, such as the German toys produced by GÜNTHERMANN, HUKI, TIPPCO and ARNOLD. AA later switched to making similar Japanese battery operated toys copying TOY NOMURA and MASUDAYA, as an example, in the mid 1960's era.

Some of these toys produced by AA were derived from exactly the same tooling used by their original manufacturers. Once those manufacturers ended production of a particular toy, as an example, perhaps HUKI sold their original tooling to AA in the 1950s.

From the late1960's, AA saw that the production of tinplate toys had its boom, was gradually declining and giving way to the plastic toys generation, especially with the battery operated toys with motors.

AA was active making toys until the early 1980's and then ceased to produce toys in general. They were able to continue business and started to import toys from China and Taiwan instead. The AA business plan was to distribute and resale the toys which was a profitable venture at the time.

The major differences between the original German HUKI Split VW and the Greek AA Split VW copy of course, is the AA124 license plate versus a HUKI “HK” license plate. The AA124 chassis is slightly different with larger holes for the larger tin button wheels and there is no stamping for the bumper guards. Furthermore, the AA124 lithograph design is crude and the registration is way off. The AA124 was never produced with a key wound clockwerk motor and is only free wheeling.

Also worth mentioning was that the tin lithographed AA124 body stamping showed metal stress and fatigue (wrinkles). Perhaps a sign of the acquired worn out HUKI production dies? Maybe a different sheet metal thickness used or whatever? Who knows for sure? The HUKI tinplate Split Window VW was of German quality of the time and the AA124 could never compete against the HUKI quality all though they were both penny toys of the same era!

The AA124 was produced with four different color themes.

Orange tin lithographed body with a green roof section and brown trim.

Blue (dark or light) tin lithographed body with a red roof section and brown trim.

Yellow tin lithographed body with a red roof section and red trim.

Green tin lithographed body with a red roof section and brown trim.

Since the AA124 Split Window Volkswagen was only produced in limited quantities in Greece, sold only in local bazaars or flea markets as penny toys, they have become very scarce, seldom found over the years and very sought after amongst Vintage VW toy collectors.

  • Manufacturer: ANANIAS ANANIADES
  • Scale: 1/50
  • Length: 80mm
  • Production Era: Mid to late-1950’s
  • Country: Greece
  • Materials: Tinplate
  • Color: Orange/Green, Dark Blue/Red, Light Blue/Red, Yellow/Red, Green/Red
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