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Duncan Yo-Yo Return Top
Exhibit #3030
TypeProduction
ShapeStandard (-)
AxleFixed
PackagingNone
ResponseNone
Diameter54 mm
Width24 mm
GapFixed
Weight37 gm
Condition9
Date1958
To1962
OwnerRick Brough
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An unusual red wooden Duncan with "Duncan Yo-Yo Return Top" in gold stamp; "Duncan" in angled, stylized text.

This model is probably from around 1958-1962. The color is identical to the mini Genuine Duncan Yo-Yo from approximately the same time period. The profile and overall shape of this model is quite unusual for a Duncan and, again, is quite similar to the mini Genuine Duncan Yo-Yo.

There is a dramatic (and unconfirmed) story told that Donald Duncan had this particular model of yo-yo made and released around the same time that he filed his yo-yo trademark lawsuit (accessed November 8, 2018) against Joe Radovan of Royal Tops Manufacturing in 1965. Duncan was attempting to prove that "yo-yo" was part of the product's name and "return top" was used to describe the toy itself. While the latter portion of this story is true, the former part--releasing this particular model of yo-yo to prove his case--is likely fiction. This model of yo-yo was not the first to use "yo-yo" and "return top" on the same yo-yo face. There were other models that came before it (see the Duncan models Rainbow, Litening, Super Tournament, and Chief, for example). And, about the same time period as the model in this exhibit, Duncan attempted to push consistency by ensuring that nearly all of their models incorporated "yo-yo" and "return top" in the product's name (see the Duncan models Mickey Mouse Club, and Imperial Junior)--all about the same time period. Assuming the model in this exhibit was released about 1955 or 1956, that would still put it quite a few years before Duncan filed their initial trademark lawsuit and about 5 years before they began talking about use of the words in their newsletters starting around 1961. In the end, this Duncan is just an unusual wooden model both in its imprint design and profile. Its size, design, and color suggests that perhaps it was also part of a gift pack of some sort like the mini. But, more likely it was sold on its own.
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