Donald Duck has been a popular character since he first appeared in Mickey Mouse cartoons in the early 1930s. Children and adults seem to love the quick-tempered fellow who nearly always wears a sailor suit.
Donald toys appeared soon after the little Pekin duck shot to fame. Some from the 1930's can fetch as much as $1,500 at auction today. The first Donald Duck gumball machine appeared in the 1950's, but before that Mickey, Donald and many other Disney characters were filling the insides of the little vending machines as charms and rings. Donald Duck gumball machine prizes date as far back as the 1930s.
In the 1950s a Donald Duck gumball machine appeared in store entryways for the first time. The machine has a standard shape with a glass globe, metal base and chrome twist handle. Donald Duck appears on several decals around the machine, smiling from a Coca Cola cap. Since decals were made for several famous cartoon characters to endorse cola drinks, these gumball machines are now referred to as Cola gumball machines.
A very interesting Donald Duck gumball machine was produced in the 1980s. It is a smaller, plastic model of the classic gumball machine, but this one includes a statue of Mr. Duck standing beside the globe. It was never meant to greet children in the entryway to grocery stores; instead, it is a toy bank. Because of its lightweight plastic design, not many are still in mint condition. These collectibles were mass-produced and are still relatively cheap.
Since the 1980s, Donald has returned to his origins. He no longer has his own Donald Duck gumball machine, but he can, once again, be found inside of them. Disney characters are still popular with children and they flock to the vending machines that offer 21st Century toys like Donald Duck gumball machine super balls.