Besides the violinist and the drunkard, the le Petit Livreur is one of the most produced and well-known Martin toy.
Of all the different “models” mentioned here, there are many different color versions.
Fernand Martin made the first model with the spoke wheels and a head with “look a like” real hair in 1911
The second known model is from George Flersheim and features the Flersheim key, another label, painted hair and the closed wheels.
This model was made from 1912
The third model was made by Victor Bonnet, this model was similar to the Flersheim model but has a different “Bonnet” key.
What was also changed was the operation of the small “steering wheel” under the cart.
With the Martin and the Flersheim the handle is on the left or right side and with the Bonnet usually on the front but there are still some Le Petit Livreurs with a Bonnet key and the handle also on the side.
The Bonnet version also has a brass nameplate on the cart
This model was produced by Bonnet from 1919
After the relocation of the factory in 1933, the brass nameplate and the paper on the case disappeared, replacing it with the new VEBE logo on the case
The fourth and rarest model.
In 1911/12 a separate “MARTIN” model appeared on the market, this model had a higher suitcase/trunk with advertising on it instead of the low suitcase.
This case was also lithographed and could be opened
Whether the labels on the suitcase can be recognized as the round logo of the “Grand Hotel” in Paris.
The boy of this Petit Livreur also got a bunch of hair and a flat cap.
It was suspected that this Petit Livreur was made on special order for the Gand Hotel and was sold as a tourist item to guests / visitors to the hotel.
There would have been sweets in the suitcase, so it was a kind of candy container.
There is still another Martin toy with such a trunk, it is the L’autopatte from 1910.
These two toys are also depicted in the book: Fernand Martin Toymaker in Paris 1878-1912 from Arthur Verdoorn and Lourens Bas. on p. 223.
A collector of hotel logo’s from Portugal, told me that this “Grand Hotel Paris” logo was used at that time in 2 versions, a round and a right-angled one, by the Grand Hotel.
It was used as a seal on letters and was also stuck on tourist gift items in the “Grand Hotel” gift shop.
These logos waren used from the end of 1800 to the beginning of the 1st World War (WW1) in 1914.
With its 700+ rooms, the hotel was the largest in Paris and was used as a military hospital in the 1st World War
This hotel still exists today.
It is not exactly clear whether Fernand Martin or George Flersheim put it on the market, but I suspect Martin because it still has a typical “Martin” key, but that actually means little because Flersheim has also released toys with a Martin key, presumably using up old supplies.
All in all an exceptional piece and very sought after because it is not sold in large numbers.
There is a known photo of the stall with the “normal” and the “special” Le Petit Livreur, this photo was once sold on Ebay.
A question for those who have this photo: send me an image then I can add it to this article.