I collect a lot of things. On most days, I find something new that peaks my interest, and pretty soon I’m digging through boxes at flea markets and combing eBay to find it. As the space in my apartment fills up, some collections end up being sold or passed along to make room. There are, however, certain collections that stay put.
A lot of companies have made plastic spacemen. Marx, Lido, Ajax, Premier, Tim-Mee, MPC, and others made colorful space explorers for grocery and dime-store shelves. In the 1950s, a company known as Archer made a series of distinctive plastic spacemen. These were done in varied colors, many with a metallic finish created by adding aluminum powder to the molds, and stood about 4″ tall. Archer made space men, space women, robots, and even space children. I’ve also seen some plastic space vehicles, which I would consider one of the holy grails of Archer space collecting. Another would be a sealed set of the “Space People.” The sets below are from a recent auction at Hake’s.
A number of Archer spacemen were later reissued by Glencoe using the original molds. Here is a great thread for identifying Archer vs. Glencoe spacemen. While I prefer the original Archers, I have yet to leave a Glencoe spaceman behind. To me, the varied colors and subtle design differences make for a more interesting army of space explorers. Here is a shot of my Archer collection. I’ve managed to pick up a few space women, space children, and one of the harder-to-find Archer “Mars Men,” but the robot figure has as of yet eluded me. I am happy, however, to have found four spacemen complete with their original clear plastic helmets.