Marx Giant Blue and Gray Battle Set, estimate $1500-2500 at SJ Auctioneers.

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With 136 figures and a total of 330 pieces, a lucky youngster could recreate a Gettysburg on the carpet.

According to, this “spectacular playset was produced after Louis Marx specifically requested his staff in 1960 to create a ‘super set’ to be advertised on television. This was undoubtedly a shock to all involved, because Louis Marx had never before advertised his toys on television.”

This set introduced several new pieces to existing ‘Blue and Gray’ playsets such as the Centennial figures (Confederates only), a Jefferson Davis character figure, a redoubt, destroyed mansion, firing mortar, exploding bunker, four-horse cassion and cannon, and medical wagon (which was not included in any other playset).

Sold exclusively by Montgomery Ward for only one year (a mail order firm), this is now one of the most collectable Marx playsets, as reflected in the $1500-2500 estimate for a set in the original box with paperwork - and even a 33 1/3 rpm record for Recorded Battleground Sounds - on offer at Brooklyn saleroom SJ Auctioneers on December 15.

Into battles

The Marx civil war playsets were released in various guises and sizes until 1976 it seems. A Battle of the Blue and Gray set No 4762 from 1960 sold for $1000 at Pennsylvania auction house Morphys in August 2022 and in the same sale a No 4744 of 1963 (the numbering can be confusing) took $600.

At Hake’s in February 2021 a Centennial Set of 1962 made a premium-inclusive $5451.60 but this was a very special Marx archive version described as ‘Marx Warehouse File Copy from the famous Scala/Bowers Acquisition and subsequent auction’.