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Duncan Seattlite - Space Needle
Exhibit #4279
TypeSpecial Release
ConstructionThree piece wood
OwnerRick Brough

The three-piece, maple wooden Duncan Seattlite Space Needle Yo-Yo Return Top. This model came in solid colors of red or blue (other solid colors may exist), and in two-tone colors such as red and white (seen in this exhibit), blue and white, purple and white, and green and white. The paint was infused with small flecks of silver glitter to add to the overall effect of the yo-yo's unique shape.

The model was made by Duncan to commemorate both the Century 21 Exposition (also known as the Seattle World's Fair) and the futuristic Space Needle observation tower. The fair occurred April 21, 1962 through October 21, 1962 just north of downtown Seattle. The Seattlite was sold inside the Space Needle gift shop located at the base of the tower during and after the fair from 1962 to approximately 1964. At the time, my family lived in Olympia, Washington when we visited the fair in 1962. My father bought a blue and white Seattlite for my older brother. He hung onto the yo-yo, even when we moved from Olympia to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1964. At some point in time, the yo-yo was either thrown away or lost. It was likely the former, given that us kids were growing up and our taste in toys evolved as we got older. The sight of this unique yo-yo brings back happy memories of my late brother playing with it in our shared bedroom.

Today, this yo-yo is challenging to find, given its short life in the early 1960s. When found, the yo-yo is almost always never sealed inside its original polybag with the colorful Duncan-branded Seattlite card. And, the yo-yo often exhibits dents and paint chipping. Sometimes, if you mention "Seattlite" to someone, they either hear you saying, "Satellite", or they think you are referring to the Duncan Satellite. Most have never heard of the obscure Seattlite model.

The yo-yo in this exhibit has a unique, special history associated with it, as shared by one of the curators at the National Yo-Yo Museum in Chico, California: "Over the course of time, we were lucky enough to have the collection of Donald Duncan, Junior here in Chico to display in our museum more than once. He had a little yo-yo in his collection that had a picture of a sad dog on it that said, "NO-MO YO-YO" and there was a sad story written about it in The One and Only Yo-Yo Book. The book was basically about the history of the Duncan yo-yo company. I thought this yo-yo was important enough to display in the museum so I made a display for it explaining the significance of it. When it came time for Don to take his collection back home, he wanted to take the display I made, with him. So, he wanted to trade me the display for a couple of yo-yos. He had a box of loose Duncan Seattlites so I took two: one for me, and one for the museum. I am now sending my Seattlite to my friend and collector Rick Brough for him to share and enjoy."

"And now you know... the rest of the story."

Diameter: 56mm
Width: 46mm
Weight: 52.10gm
Axle: Wood
Material: Kiln dried, hard rock maple wood from the region of Luck, Polk County, Wisconsin
Response: None

Original retail price: $1 US.
Other Views
Side A, angled, large
Side B, angled, large
Side A, alternate angles

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Content by David W. Hall & Rick Brough