Marx PL Books

Johnny West PL Books

What are PL Books? Marx collectors have heard of these mystical 'Holy Grail' type of records for generations. A PL Book is simply a written / typed record of what constitues a certain plastics mold. It lists a vast array of information including costs, dates, contents , Marx stock numbers, etc. of the item. Each page of the book, I'll call them PL Pages, contain information on one mold set.

It is unknown (at least by me) what the 'PL' stands for. It may mean Parts List or Plastics List or something entirely different. But it is clear that these records were very valuable to the factory and a great insight into the inner workings of Marx.

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Francis and Jason Turner of the Official Marx Toy Museum were kind enough to let me study these books and I spent many an hour sitting in the museum surrounded by the toys of Marx's golden era transcribing these pages into this database. The only pages I tried to represent are from the Johnny West series of toys. There are literally thousands of pages detailing most of the toys produced at the Glendale, WV plant.

Francis Turner, the curator of the museum and all around nice guy, deserves a special note here. Without his willingness to share the history of Marx and his true love of the toys this information would not be available. Too often, people with knowledge tend to hoard that information as if it had some intrinsic value all its own. The truth is, information is only valuable if shared. The actual PL Books do have monetary value - they are very limited, in some cases 'One of a Kind'. Every factory had its own version but each factory only maintained one or two set of books. Therefore the books are priceless to collectors, but the information contained in the books... well, it's analogous to the US Declaration of Independence - The actual historical document is beyond worth, the information and ideas expressed in it are for everyone!

Thanks Francis for letting us have a 'peek' inside!