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Toyo Trading Co. (1964 until 2014)

The Toyo Trading Company (Toyo for short) was established in 1964 as importer and wholesales distributor. Located at 500 Green Acre Drive, Fullerton, CA 92835, it was still lead by its founder, president and CEO Randy Nakayama around 2007. Its main divisions were Toyo Trading, later Toyo Design and finally Toyo NExT, which was targeted towards younger consumers. The whole business expired June 20, 2014.

All common items imported and distributed by Toyo were produced in China, Japan and Macao. At first the company imported the typical spread of goods required to match various home decor trends. These were marked with similar base marks for each line or series. As always, items recreated with a certain style in mind are eventually misrepresented by uneducated resellers; even worse are the unscrupulous ones which actually know what they have in hands and rely heavily on the idea that most marks are not always known to, or recognized by, a wider audience. This is made easy by the fact that only some of the Heirloom series items bear the underglaze warning "Not For Food Use. Article May Poison Food. For Decorative Purpose Only." while all other items distributed by Toyo merely caried a warning sticker, which was often removed by unscrupulous resellers, endangering customers.

So we are looking at two main ranges of markings: those used on common products and those found on the designer-related series. Examples from the first range have of course been known to be so-called "repro junk" for quite a while now. I had assigned specific "mark family" codes before this page was actually created, these were used as reference handle for each group; on this page each mark example is now shown with its standard unique image reference code as well as the corresponding mark family code.

The common product line was one pillar of their business model, designer goods another. Over time the wholesales and retail stores for regular goods started to create additional marketing leverage by including designer names in their marketing strategies, a claimed win-win situation as it also increased the exposure for the designers. Toyo trading Co. therefore shifted emphasis by increasing presence of their Toyo Design and later Toyo NExT brands, at the same time teaming up with selected designers, including Lillian August, Jill Rosenwald, Shari White and (from 2005 onward) the former French Country Living founder Bringier McConnell.

One of the better known designers who supplied Toyo Trading was Raymond Waites, a personality of his own. He around 2013 renamed himself to Artemis after having sold his business (including name rights), only to later become Raymond Waites once more; he died at the age of 83 on November 7th 2023.


Marks used by Toyo Trading were not truly production-related but more based on series. As these were also offered via various sales channels, multiple dating ranges for one and the same item or series apply, precisely dating a mark is therefore out of the question. The first range of marks would normally have been used until the 1990s with the designer-based markings succeeding them.



Image 020818-01-01

No dates known. Crossed swords. Mark family #0709-05.


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No dates known. Crowned crossed swords. Mark family #1411-01.


Image 020818-01-03

No dates known. Crowned crossed swords plus "A T B". Mark family #1607-18.


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No dates known. Crowned crossed swords plus "P R" and "Paris Royal". Mark family #1207-28.


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No dates known. Here with "P R" and "Paris Royal" plus "Paint à la main." addition. Mark family #1207-28.


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No dates known. Crowned crossed swords plus "Limoges".Mark family #2109-30.


Image 020818-01-07

No dates known. "Heirloom by Toyo" plus "Made in China". With a clear poison warning. Mark family #2109-31.


Image 020818-01-08

No dates known, early designer series marking. Oval "Toyo" mark and "Made in Macau".


Image 020818-01-09

No dates known, early designer series marking. Oval "Toyo" mark including "Japan".


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No dates known, early designer series marking. Round "Toyo" mark including "Made in China".


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No dates known. Designer Raymond Waites. Sticker and impressed poison warning.


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No dates known. Designer Lillian August. Sticker and impressed poison warning.


Image 020818-01-13

No dates known. Designer Raymond Waites. Sticker, no warning.


Image 020818-01-14

No dates known. Designer Jill Rosenwald. Sticker, no warning.


Image 020818-01-15

No dates known. Designer Bringier McConnell. Sticker, no warning.

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