POCKET DRAGONS – ENJOY THE FLIGHT!

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They are
popping up everywhere – Saturday morning cartoons, children’s books, commercials,
jewellery shops, collectibles stores, the Internet, auction sites. They
are the second biggest thing – next to lint – to ever be associated with
pockets! After a long flight, Pocket Dragons have finally arrived.

Pre-Flight

          Of course,
at one time, Dragons were the stuff of nightmares. The gigantic, winged,
fire-breathing monsters seemd a very real threat to the people of the Dark
Ages, and appeared in folklore from England to China. The end of the Dragon
mythos marked the start of the rise of Science. It’s interesting to note
the rising popularity of Pocket Dragons as we witness the current disenchantment
with Science. With an angel or an alien potentially behind any tree, why
not a Pocket Dragon?

          Enter
Real Musgrave, from Texas. Since childhood, Real has been fascinated with
dragons. He began drawing them when he was five years old. When he opened
a gallery in 1974 to sell and display his fantasy artwork, he began to
fully develop his most successful creation. He did that with the help of
his partner and wife, Muff, and an unlikely source of inspiration – their
dog, Flower.

          Real’s conceit
is that dragons survived the Dark Ages, mainly by hiding in the pockets
 of old English tweed jackets!

          He understood
that his little dragons were cute, but needed personality to survive. In
one of those amazing intuitive leaps that mark the creative process, it
dawned on him that Flower was the perfect role model.

          She
was loving, mischievous, good-natured, and always willing to help – badly.
Her face was remarkably expressive, with huge brown eyes that revealed
every thought and emotion. And, most importantly, she LOVED cookies! Even
though Flower passed away in 1984, Real says that a little piece of her
lives on in every Pocket Dragon he creates. In fact, the "flower"
on the Pocket Dragon logo honours her memory and inspiration

Take-Off

          In the late
80’s, Lilliput Lane was looking to expand its line of miniature
sculptures. Under the "Lilliput Lane Land of Legend Limited"
(5L) banner, the company was already producing several fantasy lines, including
"Dream Dragons", which were sculpted by Tom Raine.

          In 1987,
company chairman Bill Dodd received a letter from an American fantasy sculptor
named Hap Henriksen expressing his potential interest in working for Lilliput
Lane. He also mentioned his friend, Real Musgrave, was also interested.
Dodd followed up on the letter, and he met both men in Dallas, Texas. Dodd
was impressed, and in 1988, Real began producing his Pocket Dragons for
Lilliput.





          The initial
release in June 1989 included 27 Pocket Dragons. These were produced at
Lilliput’s secondary facility in Stoke-on-Trent, in England.

   &nbs p;       In
1990, under the aegis of Bill Dodd, "Land of Legend" separated
from Lilliput Lane to become an extant company. It carried on for several
years under that name, and, as late as September 1992, was still releasing
some pieces in boxes marked "Lilliput Lane Land of Legend". Dodd
eventually changed the company name to Collectible World Studios

Turbulence

          Although
the Pocket Dragon Collectors Club continues to grow by leaps and bounds,
there is some controversy regarding pieces that are made in China, as opposed
to the U.K. There are two reasons for this:

          Many collectors
feel that the sculptures made in China are inferior in quality to those
produced in Stoke-on-Trent. The painting is considered more slipshod, and
some claim the sculptures are actually different. In actual fact, the moulds
and masters all originate in England, so it is impossible for the sculptures
to vary.

          Secondly,
"conscientious" collectors object to production in China because
of that country’s well-documented human rights violations. China is notorious
for its "sweat-shops", and the possibility of virtual slave-labour
producing Pocket Dragons disturbs some collectors. (It should be noted
that many companies, including Ty, Inc., produce their products in China.)

          Bill Dodd
addressed this issue in an email on November 22, 1998. He said:

"The factories that we use have been carefully selected and they
are in the Chinese Development Zone where the best working conditions are.
Three members of our Board of Directors visit the factories 3 to 4 times
a year each as do other managers and staff from the Company and we take
every precaution we can. At the end of the day, the isolation of China
will not overcome the problems and this is the stance being taken by the
major Western governments."

          All Pocket
Dragons are now labelled "Worldwide Pocket Dragons are manufactured
in more than one country", and those sold in the US have an additional
label, as required by law, indicating manufacture in China.

"From our standpoint, we constantly revisit the issues and we would
strongly contest any assertion that we are not acting honestly. We have
gone out of our way to be both open and well within the confines of the
relevant international laws and standards."

          Presently,
Pocket Dragons for the European market are manufactured in Stoke-on-Trent,
and those for North America are made in China.

Friendly Skies

          Over the
last 10 years, Real Musgrave has been very busy. Operating from his "castle"
in Texas, he has produced 169 Pocket Dragons, plus two that were never
released – "Pocket Dragon with Penny" and "Pocket Dragon
with Key". Real has no assistant sculptor – since the beginning, he
has done all of the sculpting himself.

          In
addition to the actual pieces, the Pocket Dragon line was expanded to include
many ancillary items, including limited edition posters, pins, mugs, and
trinket boxes.

          In the meantime,
at CWS headquarters in England, a Collectors’ Centre has been created just
outside of Penrith. Known as Wetheriggs, it offers a museum of all the
Pocket Dragon pieces, a gift shop, birds-of-prey demonstrations, and a
wonderful "Paint Your Own" studio for aspiring Dragon-painters.
The British Collectors’ Club is triple the size of its US counterpart,
and a little over 50% of all Pocket Dragons are sold in England.

          Judging
by the large attendance at a recent Pocket Dragon Chat Room held on the
World Collectors Net, there is every reason to b elieve that Pocket Dragons
will continue to soar in popularity.

The Original 27

Here they are, with their original suggested retail prices in USD, and
current Secondary Market Values*:

A Good Egg

$36.50

$ 200 – 225

Attack

$45.00

$ 150 – 175

Baby Brother

$19.50

$ 85 – 150

Do I Have To?

$52.50

$ 45 – 70

Drowsy Dragon

$35.00

$ 30 – 60

Flowers for You

$42.50

$ 100 – 145

Gallant Defender

$36.50

$ 150 – 175

Gargoyle Hoping for Raspberry Teacakes

$139.50

$1800 – 2200

Look at Me

$42.50

$ 250 – 500

New Bunny Shoes

$28.50

$ 90 – 150

No Ugly Monsters Allowed

$47.50

$ 85 – 125

Opera Gargoyle

$85.00

$ 300 – 450

Pink’n’Pretty

$23.90

$ 75 – 80

Countersign

$50.00

$ 300 – 450

Pocket Minstrel

$36.50

$ 175 – 200

Putting Me on the Tree

$52.50

$ 125 – 160

Scribbles

$37.50

$ 50 – 75

Sea Dragon

$45.00

$ 250 – 375

Sir Nigel Smythebe-Smoke

$147.50

$ 260 – 300

Stalking the Cookie Jar

$31.00

$ 25 – 35

Storytime at the Wizard’s House (LE 3000)

$375.00

$ 550 – 750

Teddy Magic

$85.00

$ 150 – 180

Toady Goldtraylor

$52.50

$ 130 – 150

Walkies

$65.00

$ 120 – 250

What Cookie?

$42.50

$ 40 – 60

Wizardry for Fun and Profit (LE 3000)

$375.00

$ 575 – 700

Your Paint is Stirred

$42.50

$ 125 – 200

Up & Comers

Bath Time

$90.00

$11 0 – 150

Blue Ribbon Dragon

CC Gift

$ 60 – 80

Chasing Snowflakes

$35.00

$ 80 – 100

Different Drummer

$32.50

$ 60 – 85

Friends

$55.00

$ 80 – 125

I Ate the Whole Thing

$32.50

$ 40 – 65

Let’s Make Cookies!

$90.00

$100 – 150

Looking for the Right Words

$80.00

$ 90 – 125

Making Time for You

CC Gift

$ 45 – 60

One Size Fits All

$16.50

$ 55 – 75

Scales of Injustice

$45.00

$ 50 – 85

Tag-a-long

$15.00

$ 45 – 60

Thimble Foot

$38.50

$ 80 – 110

* Secondary Market Prices compiled from eBay auctions in Fall ’98, World
Collectors Net Pocket Dragon Message Board, OHI Exchange, and Geocities
secondary market site.

Research sources: Lilliput Lane, Collectible World Studios, "Gulliver’s
World", "Pocket Dragon Gazette"

Many thanks to Bill Dodd for his input and his patience.

Copyright Randy Gulliver 1998