One of the many (tin) toy companies from Japan whose products have endured over time is Marusan Co. Ltd. We know them by the mark of SAN in a circle.

The Japanese word “Maru” means 'circle', thus the mark of SAN in a circle. But the word “San” also means three, which refers to the 3 founders of this company in 1947. Circles along with diamonds were popular logo marks for Japanese companies at that time as evidenced by the many marks we see within a circle or diamond.

Marusan carInitially, their business was a wholesale sales business, but they eventually began to design and market their own toys. Some of the items on the 1951 sales list for Marusan included the following:
Friction - Small Mercury car
Windups- Tricycle with celluloid doll, rabbit, motorcycle, penguin, helicopter, tank, windmill, fire engine, drum boy, jet airplane, bird clock and an elephant with monkey and umbrella. A very popular toy was the windup Lucky sewing machine with a celluloid girl behind the machine.

Marusan Smoking Bear

Websites

Marusan value

What's it worth? Take a look at this Marusan price guide: sold listings for a value indication.

Marusan forum (1 comment)

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Jim - August 17, 2010

I have one of these Smoking Papa Bear and was wondering if it was worth anything?