Proudly displayed on the first floor of the Cultural Centre “Ca'n Planes”, they are the efforts of a man whose “crazy” hobby now constitutes the most diverse toy collection in Europe. An artist and sculptor, it was during his time spent studying fine arts in Barcelona that Antoni Roig Clar first became interested in antique toys. “I knew a lady who had a toy shop in Barcelona and bought a rather large collection of toys from her. Their shapes and materials were beautiful to me”, he says. He soon became so well known in Mallorca for his passion and obsession for toys that his nickname became “Ton
Boig Clar”, which, in Mallorcan means “Tony crazy of course”, a name he now uses to sign his works of art, including this collection which he considers part of his portfolio.
Over the years, Toni’s collection has grown to a vast five thousand pieces and the Toy Museum have been exhibiting around seven hundred of these at a time, often organising themed exhibitions, since its opening in 1998. These collectibles which are dated mostly between 1880 and 1950 are from all over Europe, particularly Mallorca
Viewing the variety of toys from different eras, it becomes apparent that they are a reflection of the values of society at the time. A Mallorcan family would have aspired that one of its sons became a priest; hence, toy chapels were very popular. Children probably “baptised” their cat or teddy bear using the miniature and highly detailed altars, complete with tiny candlesticks. Popular toys for girls
were fully functional mini ovens and kitchens. Some, powered by either firewood or electricity, were later removed from the market for obvious reasons, but were clearly created by a society that wanted to teach their daughters what their role in life would probably be!
The toys of our ancestors required much more imagination from a child than most modern day toys do and they were also far more expensive, meaning only a handful of children in a village would have them, usually a single item such the detailed dolls house on display, an exact replica of a house on the island at the time, or one of the typically Mallorcan play sets of a farmer and his sheep.
Ton Boig’s collection continues to grow and many of the toys he acquires are in need of repair. “There is usually an eye or an ear missing!” he says. So from trains to dolls, and bulls to rocking donkeys, this interesting collection of handmade and industrial toys will enrapture both the young and the old.
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