Mel Birnkrant's Cartoon Toy Collection

One of the world's greatest toy collections is now viewable as a free downloadable ebook as well as a rich and deep website that will pull you in for hours.

Mel Birnkrant has spent a lifetime collecting cartoon character toys, starting with a Mickey Mouse that he discovered in a Paris flea market.

Mel Birnkrant's Betty Boops
Before there was eBay, he was hounding flea markets and antique auctions, gathering prime examples of Betty Boop, Yellow Kid, Mutt and Jeff, Gasoline Alley, Foxy Grandpa, Krazy Kat, Andy Gump, and other character collectibles.

His collection also includes Victorian paper theaters, marionettes, and vintage board games.

Mel Birnkrant's geometric celluloid toys
Each of the pages is curated by Mel himself. Drawing on his knowledge and experience as an inventor, artist, and collector, he tells the backstory of many of the toys.

What makes the website really compelling is that he brings an artist's eye to the presentation. He assembles the figures into groupings, beautifully lit and photographed, as if they're gathered to look out from their world into ours. Some of the toys with action elements are presented on the website with slide-show animations.

Mel Birnkrant's Little Nemo toys
Most of the groupings are based on newspaper comics or early film animation from the golden age of cartoons, about 1900-1940.

Mel Birnkrant's Bonzo
If you are a character designer, animator, art toy maker, or comic artist, you owe it to yourself to check out the website or download the "Mouse Heaven" eBook. The eBook was a collaboration between Mel and Massive Fantastic author Eric Millen. Thanks to both of them for sharing this amazing virtual art museum with the world.
Mouse Heaven The Mel Birnkrant collection website free downloadable book of the collection (in 4 volumes): Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3, and Volume 4
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