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Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow The dating of antiques and collectibles can be a very tricky business.
One guideline to help you guess age can be the country of origin. Before 1890, items imported into the United States were not required to contain a mark showing the country of origin.
If you see a mark that simply says a country name it was made after 1890 for export to the United States.
Border changes and politics continued to offer clues to dating, however. It was feasible to produce and import such items because of very low production costs - in materials, equipment, shipping, and quality control, as well as labor.By the 1970s, most of the novelty gee-gaws were being produced in Taiwan or Korea.But increasing prosperity in both those countries also moved them into higher level production so by the late 1970s, the major source for such items moved to Hong Kong.But as the Japanese economy developed and grew more robust, their production focus changed from friction motor lady bug toys to the automotive and electronics industries.That opened opportunities for other countries which had previously had virtually no trade relations with the United States.