And it all Sinks In: Memories of a Giant - Ray Rohr

Written by Ed on Saturday, January 28, 2012.

Robot Toy Collector

-And so it all sinks in.  Yesterday listings on our favorite auction site rang out "from the Estate of Ray Rohr."  It woke me up to the fact that one of the grandest "Fathers" or our toy collecting genre passed away and more of his estate items will be let go too.

Osaka Tin_Age_Robby_met_grey Ray-Rohr-catalog

For those of you that do not know, Ray Rohr extensively traveled in Japan and imported many of that country's toy treasures in the 1980's (if not earlier).  Then in the 90's many of the Japanese toys flowed back home via Ray.  

Additionally,  as a toy dealer, he created some of the strongest U.S. to Japan connections to toy robot makers, nearly extinct factories, retired craftsmen, designers, and importers.  He was responsible much of the OTTI, or Osaka Tin Toy Institute tins and toys that made it state side.  At times he had exclusive OTTI export rights.  He was a legendary figure in the world of Japanese toys for his kindness, knowledge, and inventory.

Ray quietly and privately passed away about three years ago.  According to his family "His daughter, sister and ex wife Barbara did a small sevice which followed his love for the mountains we used to climb and ski in and [the service] had the tradition of the anthopolgy he loved with verses from Chief Dan George whom he met thru ex wife. His spirit is now residing on a mountain cliff side he skied and climbed on."

On a personal note, I had the opportunity to speak with him on occasion, and behind the quiet demeanor was a lion of knowledge.  His Osaka Tin Toy Institute Tetsujin toys were inspirational, and his bond with Kitahara helped tin collectors around the world share Japanese toy culture.  Ray was insturmental in supplying Jim Chapin's toy business in Florida.  Jim was a close friend who helped me buy, sell, and trade Japanese toys.  I considerd Jim and Ray to be brothers on a certian level, and I felt a kinship by default.  Ray's catalogs and imports were legendary, and I wish we had more time to visit.  

It is sad to now see Ray Rohr's  warehouse of items being sold, but such is life.  I will treasure the fruits of his efforts, the friends and collectors he helped cultivate, and the joy he brought to this long-time collector.

I, we, will miss you.

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Ed a.k.a. Admin is the once lost & traveling soul that is now found. Robot-Japan is his love child born of constant travel and consulting. Now that a few children have anchored his life, this site to literally come into focus. This robot consultant will gladly help with valuations and relish the fresh zinc fumes.