There seems to be a little confusion as to the origin of enamelled coins, and the subsequent artists who created and designed them. The craft sprang from the Victorian love of unusual jewellery. Enamel buttons were popular, and the skills of enamelling could be transferred to coins. Being decorative and not functional, these could feature elaborate designs. The main year of production was 1887, Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee “The magic year of enamelling”. The year saw a huge growth in the demand and production for Royal memorabilia. The majority of enamelled coins are based on the existing design of the original coin. The first task in the production process was to take out all the background of the coin, leaving the letters and pattern in. In some cases the letters and design were even removed. The enamel was then applied in layers, fired and then ground down to enable the colours to come through in varying shades. This process was often done in more than one stage to enable the intricate colours and painted effect to be perfected. It was most usual to enamel on just one side of the coin, but some coins are enamelled on both sides. These are considerably rarer, and leaves the question: How did they get the enamel to flow on the second side without the first side dropping of? As it was assumed that all enamel would fuse at about the same temperature. The art has now disappeared, so we cannot answer this question. Popular designs included leaves and flower, coats of arms, Britannia and of course Queen Victoria. In some the bust of the monarch are completely removed and replaced in enamels. The coin pictured top right by an unknown designer features many of the popular designs in one coin. The rarest enamel coins are those of gold. Few examples can be seen today, and those that do exist are mainly are made from dated sovereigns. Pictured: An enamelled coin featuring Queen Victoria by Edwin Steel. Two of the finest coin enamellers were William Henry Probert and the Steel family. The earliest enamelled coins were thought to have been produced by William Henry Probert in his Birmingham workshop. His initial designs were very plain with no more than three colours used. However, the coins were expertly engraved. As the coins became more popular his designs became more colourful an elaborate. Pictured above left is an early coin by William Henry Probert. Edward Steele, was a well known engraver and enameller, who started a venture in his own name designing enamelled coins. His son Edwin and later Edwin’s son Henry carried on the business of manufacturing coin jewellery. Edwin’s enamel coins are thought to be the finest, with engraving under the enamel to enable light to filter through the enamel. This created superb variations to the reflections.
For collectors of Royal Doulton, Leslie Harradine is a well known name having designed some of the most famous and iconic Doulton figures including the Balloon Seller, Scotties, Sunshine Girl and the popular Dickens Series. He was prolific and modelled figures for Doulton from the late 1920s to the 1950s, as well as initially designing vases for the Lambeth Art Studios. His first figure for Doulton was Contentment with model number HN389. In 1929 he created another model Contentment featuring a Mother and Child sleeping (model HN1323). Although known as Leslie Harradine he was born Arthur Leslie Harradine in Lambeth to parents Charles Percy and Jessie Harradine (nee Tealby) in 1887. He first joined the Doulton Lambeth studio as an apprentice in 1902 working under George Tinworth, whilst at the same time studying at the Camberwell School of Arts. He initially worked in the studios on vases and Toby jugs, but his main interest was in clay sculpture and the design of free standing figures. His designs came to the attention of Charles Noke who was Art Director at the time but as he was not able to model figures as much as he wanted or to start his own factory he actually left Doulton in 1912 to start a farm with his brother Percy in Canada. Farming proved difficult, but when possible Leslie continued to create and paint models from clay. In 1916 Leslie and his brother Percy left Canada for the Great War. He was injured and whilst in hospital he met his future wife Edith Denton whom he married in 1917, and the following year became a father to his first child Jessie. Leslie and his family moved back to England in 1918 with the intention of opening a studio in London. Shortly after his return Charles Noke offered Leslie a job as a figure designer at the Burslem. However, the position was refused but eventually he agreed to work on a freelance basis and in 1920 his Royal Doulton figure entitled Contentment was released. Harradine modelled and created figures for Royal Doulton on a freelance basis for over forty years. He had a way of working peculiar to him and probably only allowed because of his undeniable talent and genius – he would decide what to model and when to send those models in to the factory at Burslem, sometimes up to three at a time, on a monthly basis. It is said that the other designers and painters would all gather round eagerly when his monthly shipment was unpacked to see what he had “come up with this time”. Many iconic and popular models were created, as well as series of models including those already mentioned earlier in the feature the Balloon Seller, Scotties, Sunshine Girl and the popular Dickens Series but also figures from his rendition of The Beggars Opera, and the famous and slightly risque models of The Bather. Many of Harradine’s models stayed in production for many years but some only for a year or two. These models are often the rarest and sometimes the most valuable. Harradine’s last model for Doulton was The Beggar with a model number HN2175 and was released in 1956 and was produced until 1962. Arthur ‘Leslie’ Harradine died on 6 December 1965, in Gibraltar at age 78, leaving an amazing legacy of models and designs that makes him one of the world’s finest modellers. Related George Tinworth – The Greatest Doulton Lambeth Designer
Maria Longworth Nichols Storer founded Rookwood Pottery in 1880 as a way to market her hobby – the painting of blank tableware.
Measham Ware pottery and especially teapots were popular in the mid 19th century to the early 20th century, and is often referred to as bargeware. It was popular with people who worked and lived on the canals and inland waterways of the UK, and became synonymous with the barge people and hence the name bargeware. Measham ware pottery is earthenware with a treacly-brown glaze. The items were decorated with applied clay that has been moulded into flowers and birds, and sometimes fruit and animals. The Measham ware teapots are typically pear shaped and the larger versions can have smaller teapots built into their lids. They had applied features in white clay, coloured dark pink, green and blue. Some pieces have applied panels featuring mottos, names and sometimes dates. Phrases on pieces include A Present from a Friend, A Present From and Love at Home. Giant teapots can also be found which were created for displays in teashops. They were most popular in the late 19th century, with their popularity gradually declining within the general public in the 20th century, the last pieces being made in the 1930s, but really most production ceased about 1910. Some pieces have been found with dates from the 1930s. They remained of interest to barge and canal workers and residents for much longer and for a while were very collectable. Prices have declined in recent years and examples can be now be found for just £20 to £30 / $25 to $40. Rare Measham Ware Teapots There are still some rarer pieces appearing at auction and recording excellent prices. An example featuring a cricket motif achieved a price of £2,400 at Tennants Auctioneers, September 2019; and a rare double spouted impressed British Temperance Tearooms 1889 sold for £600 at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood, January 2020. Why Measham Ware? Many of the pieces were made at the potteries in Derbyshire, around the village of Church Gresley including W. Mason & Co. The village of Measham was located a few miles from Church Gresley and the Ashby Canal passed through. It is believed the name Measham became associated with pottery due to a shop on Measham High Street ran by Mrs Anne Bonas and the large volume of wares that were sold. As well as teapots, Measham Ware also included jugs, tobacco jars, jugs, kettles and chamber pots. There is also a type of painted bargeware which feature brightly coloured functional items and we will feature these in a future article. Related Victoriana Boat Antiques: Measham Pottery
Why have collectors suddenly gone overboard for an out-of-proportion teen with scary eyes? And what can you do if you can`t afford the £500 or so needed to buy one? Blythe was a novelty doll produced by Kenner in 1972, and distributed in Britain by Palitoy. She was just under twelve inches tall, with a slender teen body and an overlarge head. Her most amazing accomplishment was that she could change the position and colour of her eyes. In fact, this wasn’t an innovative development – Pedigree had done much the same thing when they manufactured Pretty Peepers in the late 1950s, though this was a much larger doll standing 22 inches high, and her head was normal size. Presumably, Blythe needed the large head to incorporate the eye-change mechanism, which was operated by a pull cord running from the back of the head. Blythe’s eyes were large and round, and they changed from green to pink to amber to blue each time the string was pulled, momentarily closing between each pull. The blue and green eyes were side-glance, amber and pink looked straight ahead. Her appearance was revolutionary for the time – in fact, she scared children which may well be why she was soon discontinued, though another reason could be that a child’s frenzied pulling of the cord could cause it to break or the mechanism to jam. Twelve outfits were available for the doll, and she was obtainable with four hair colours – blonde, brunette, dark brown and auburn, some with fringes, some with a centre parting. She wasn’t a great success, and probably would have been ignored by doll collectors, until something happened which gave her a new lease of life and, indirectly, spawned a complete turnaround in the doll world culminating in a line of dolls which today outstrip sales of everything else. A few years ago, a lady called Gina Goran wanted to try out a camera, and grabbed the first doll she could find to test out the lens. It so happened that this lady had accumulated a collection of Blythe dolls. When she saw how great Blythe was as a model, she decided to dress the doll in unusual outfits and to photograph her in various place-settings. The resulting photos were gathered into a small book – and the result is history. Within a few months, prices for Blythe dolls had escalated, and a doll you could once find for a couple of pounds at a boot sale was now like gold dust. Blythe originally came wearing a long maxi-dress. The light brunette wore ‘Golden Goddess’ (yellow, trimmed with braid), the dark brunette, ‘Medieval Mood’ (brown with a Celtic pattern), auburn, ‘Love ‘n’ Lace’ (green scattered with flowers) and the blonde ‘Pretty Paisley’ (blue paisley print). Her range of outfits were sold carded with helpful photos on the reverse showing other items in the range, and included ‘Lounging Lovely’, ‘Roaring Red’, ‘Kozy Kape’, ‘Aztec Arrival’, ‘Pleasant Peasant’ and ‘Pow-Wow Poncho’. ‘Priceless Parfait’ consisted of a boldly-patterned yellow, blue and pink skirt, pink top with matching bag, fringed scarf and scarlet boots, while ‘Pinafore Purple’ was a purple all-in-one with flared sleeves and a medallion-patterned skirt worn over the top. All the garments had a typical ethnic-type Seventies look with pl enty of braid and fringing. Usually a label was attached inside with Blythe’s name on, which makes identification easy today, though in any case the clothes are very distinctive. An attractive ‘Blythe’s Fashion Wardrobe Case’ bearing a picture of Blythe, was available to store one doll and her outfits. Additionally, it was possible to buy a set of zany wigs to fit Blythe. These delightfully frothy affairs came in ‘Strawberry’ (pink), ‘Lime’ (green), ‘Blueberry’ (blue) and ‘Lemon’ (yellow), complete with a pair of trendy sunglasses. Each wig had its own polystyrene wig-stand, and a special combined brush and comb. Once Blythe was flaunting this movie-star get-up her appearance was amazingly altered. When Blythe made her come-back, fans clamoured for her. Takara, a Hasbro-owned Japanese company brought out their own range of Blythe dolls around four years ago, which proved immensely popular, and these have evolved to the extent that the plastic and colouring is almost identical to the original Kenner/Palitoy 1970s dolls. They feature the four colour eye-change mechanism worked by a pull string. The Japanese people have taken this new Blythe to their hearts, dressing her in street-wise, kookie fashions. Unfortunately, she is quite difficult to obtain in Britain, and it is normally necessary to use the internet or mail order to obtain her. These Blythes are not cheap, costing around £65 – though a range of four-inch high mini Blythes are much more affordable. Takara Blythes are sold in brightly coloured boxes with retro graphics reminiscent of the seventies. Their dolls have names such as Modrian, Dotty Dot, Hollywood, Disco Boogie, and Lounging Lovely, and their clothes are chic and pretty, some being replicas of the original Blythe outfits, and others very ‘girlie’, with pastel pink and blue jackets and floaty dresses. Another company producing a similar doll is Pullip, again Japanese based, owned by Jun Planning. Pullip dolls are a slightly more ‘grown-up’ version of Blythe, with a shaped body. The limbs are fully articulated, even the wrists and ankles. Their outfits are wacky, colourful and cool, and they are proving very popular, though it seems that stockists are only allowed a few of each new version, and you often have to order in advance. Pullips cost around £60, and the mini-Pullips are under £10. However, the eye action on a Pullip is not a colour-change, it is a side-glance and winking movement, controlled by levers at the back of the doll`s head. Pullip dolls have names such as Arietta, Bouquet, Noir, Withered, Chicca, Principessa, Squall and Venus. Additionally, there are storybook versions – Alice In Wonderland, Ann of Green Gables and Red Riding Hood. There is also a boy, who is known as Namu, and he stands taller than Pullip, about fourteen inches high. Namu comes in various versions including Trunk, Wolf and Vispo. The costumes and accessories […]
Have you considered complementing your doll collection with picture postcards? There are thousands of designs available, and as they take up so little room, you won’t get guilt feelings each time you buy another. Picture postcards became popular in the 1890s, reaching their peak in the early 1900s, up to the end of the first world war, but even today, millions of cards are sent each year. In the days before telephones were commonplace, a postcard was the ideal medium for sending a quick message, and in Britain it was possible to post a card in the morning inviting a friend to tea the same day, and they would receive the message in plenty of time. Today, of course, it can take several days for a card to reach its destination, and so the cakes would turn stale and the tea grow cold and stewed before the invitation reached your friend. Cards served the same purpose for which we now use the phone, text message or email; they enabled people to keep in touch by brief communications. Nowadays we mainly tend to send picture postcards when we are on holiday, but at one time they were used for many different purposes including birthday, Easter and Christmas greetings – it wasn’t until the late 1940s that the folded greetings card became the norm. As you form your collection, you will no doubt discover that the majority of dolly cards you accumulate are of the greetings type. Dolls made an excellent prop for a child to hold, or even as a decoration to enhance a vase of flowers, and they featured quite extensively. They were used to increase the appeal of images of puppies, kittens, babies and beautiful young women, and also appeared in drawings and cartoons. A doll was a perfect subject for a child’s birthday card, and, in an era which was unashamed of showing sentimental feelings, dolls appeared alongside poems and ballads which are usually too sugary for today’s sophisticated tastes. All these, of course, are gems for today’s collector of doll-related postcards. One particularly popular theme is a praying child, kneeling at the side of the bed, with her (or sometimes his) dolls arranged neatly alongside, all ‘praying’ too. This image occasionally appears with a verse: Please God do make my dollies good They’ve been so naughty all today. I think I heard you say you could If I would teach them how to pray. I make them kneel with hands right up And say their prayers after me But Susan prays best on her head She breaks if Mother bends her knee. Many of the cards are photographs, usually sepia in tone, and, as well as being attractive, are particularly important to doll collectors because they make it possible to identify the doll depicted; something which can’t generally be done with any degree of certainty in a drawing. Extra interest can be added to a display when a doll is seated next to a postcard depicting the same kind of doll, especially if you dress your example in similar style to the doll shown on the card. Postcards can serve a practical purpose too. They are a visual guide to the types of dolls and the clothes they wore, as well as a guide to the fashions in children’s wear. Many of the boys depicted on the cards appear far older than their years due to their style of dress – thick formal jackets, long trousers, waistcoats and high collars. Some of the dresses worn by the little girls are delightful, with plenty of frothy lace and frills. No doubt today’s modern tot would turn her nose up in disdain if she was made to wear such a garment, which is why it’s fun to find modern examples showing 2000’s children with their dolls to add to your collection. It isn’t easy, though! However, a good start is to look through modern holiday postcards in the hope that a child and her doll was playing on the beach or walking along the prom when the photo was taken. Postcards can also be used as provenance – if the cards are dated, postmarked or stamped, it means that the doll shown on the front can be authenticated – it could be earlier than the date on the card, but will never be later. For example, if you had been told that a certain type of doll was not issued until 1927, but you come across a postcard featuring that doll and bearing a stamp franked with a postmark of two years before, you can be certain that the doll must have been made in 1925 at the latest – and maybe before. Cards add to our knowledge as well as providing a slice of social history; when telephones became more popular during the 1930s and 40s, they featured alongside dolls, as did motorcars, radios and televisions. A slightly different, but important, genre, are those postcards sold at doll museums and exhibitions which are basically straight depictions of dolls without flowery trimmings, pretty children, kittens or roses. These are useful as identification aids. Frequently, messages on the backs of the cards make interesting reading, even though you do get a feeling of eavesdropping. Early holiday cards often say that the sender is ‘having a grand time’; but later, ‘grand’ is substituted by the more modern term ‘lovely’. Some people didn’t like the thought of the postman reading their private mail, so they wrote the messages upside-down. Others alternated the lines of writing, wrote crossways or even used a code. At first, postcards cost a halfpenny (in old money) to send inland, which rose in 1918 to a penny. In 1940 it was doubled. Now of course, it costs 23p to send a postcard (2nd class delivery). It is amusing to see the oh-so-casual way which children treat their dolls on the cards, especially when you realise that the doll depicted is now classed as a collector’s item, not […]
English 19th century political stoneware flasks are among some of the most interesting and collectible of all English ceramics. Many flasks were made to commemorate specific events or to support particular politicians, and as a result, they provide a fascinating glimpse into the political culture of the period. They were a decorative functional item being used to store spirits, most notably gin, which had a resurgence of consumption during the Victorian era, with numerous “Gin Palaces” appearing. The most collectible flasks are those that were made for the 1832 Reform Bill, which ushered in a new era of democratic politics. Other popular flasks include those made for the Coronation of Queen Victoria and the opening of Parliament, and many politicians including Lord Grey, Lord Melbourne, Lord Brougham and Lord John Russell. Political Stoneware Flasks were made in quite large quantities by a number of potteries including Doulton Lambeth, Bourne Potteries, T Oldfield & Co, Oldfield & Co Makers, and Doulton & Watts, to name a few. Political stoneware flasks are highly sought after by collectors, and they can fetch high prices at auction. However, they are also relatively rare, so it may take some time to track down the perfect flask for your collection. In September 2021 Woolley & Wallis held the The Robin Simpson Collection of Commemoratives which included an impressive collection of nearly 20 Political Stoneware Flasks. Prices for lots ranged from £90 to £2,500.
Colour Box Holiday Time by Susan Brewer Peter Fagan, creator of those delightful Colour Box series of figures, depicted his cats, bears and other creatures in all kinds of situations – including holiday scenes. The Colour Box characters enjoyed a holiday just as much as we do – they knew there was nothing to beat sand beneath their paws, seaweed tangling their fur or saltwater damping their tails. And through the talent of sculptor Peter Fagan we saw the cats, bears, and many other creatures, having fun on the beach. Much of the excitement of a holiday is the anticipation and the packing – at least, Robert seemed to think so. The super sculpture Holiday Bear (TC 210) issued in 1988, showed the little bear perched on top of a large blue trunk, obviously bound for a holiday destination. The trunk was beautifully modelled to show the straps, fastenings, and name label, and Robert had his own red bucket and spade, ball, bag of chips and lollipop. This was one of the larger pieces in the Teddy Bear Collection, as was Bathing Beach (TC113) 1990, which depicted Christopher sitting on a towel with his picnic lunch of a banana, orange drink and a sandwich close by. Nearby a notice warned ‘No Bathing’ (and in tiny letters underneath ‘by order of P Fagan’)! A seagull perched on top of the notice, while beneath was a collection of items including a bucket, spade, pebbles, shells, length of rope and a bottle of Fagan’s Pop. Amongst the bears you might possibly encounter at the seaside were Jimmy, Martin or Bosun. Jimmy (TC618) 1991, looked a rather shy bear, who, according to his booklet was ‘champion at building sandcastles. He lived in Bournemouth near the beach, where his family ran a fish and chip shop.’ Jimmy wore smart blue and white striped bathing trunks, and one white woolly mitten. Martin (TC121) issued 1993, was a smart Able Seaman bear, who carried a canvas kitbag and wore a sailor’s hat with ‘HMS Teddy’ around the brim. He was dressed in navy shorts and a white shirt decorated with a motif of a cruise liner. Bosun (TC074) 1997 was an unclothed bear, except for his official peaked hat. Cats don’t seem so keen on the seaside, but Beach Boy (HS536) 1991, showed a black cat on the sand with a sailboat-decorated red bucket and the beginnings of a sandcastle, while in the delightful Sixpenny Cornet (HS528), also 1991, we saw a cheeky ginger and white striped cat busily licking an ice cream cone while snuggling up to a tub of Fagan’s Dairy Ice Cream complete with a large silver spoon. Picnic Puss, a Colour Box club special depicted those naughty cats stealing food from a picnic hamper, though whether it was on the beach or not, I couldn’t say! The dogs weren’t forgotten. Sea Dog (DG302) 1991, from the Personality Pups collection was a smashing sculpture of a very hairy brown and beige mutt perched on top of a red bollard. Ropes were entwined around the bollard, and the dog had an expectant look, which, according to the story booklet was because he was based on Peter’s boyhood dog who would jump on top of a bollard waiting to be fed batter from Peter’s fish and chips! Tethered to the bollard by a silver chain were two grey and black dogs, which could also be bought separately as Fatherly Love (DG205) 1991. Pennywhistle Lane collection featured a piece called Old Sea Salt (PL203) 1994 which showed Sam the pipe-smoking monkey dressed in beige trousers, dark red jacket, yellow-spotted blue scarf and jaunty blue hat standing on top of his old green sea trunk ‘full of past treasures’. Sitting on the end of the trunk was a cheeky little mouse wearing a sailor suit. The trunk was amazingly detailed, with all the brass studs, rivets, padlock and handles carefully accentuated in gold. Sam held a thick length of rope. The Hopscotch range included several tiny creatures you might find on your holiday, including a bright scarlet lobster (H106)), a beige crab (H105)), a plump orange fish (H104), and a cheeky blue clam peeking from its shell (H103), all issued in 1996. The Miniatures Collection also contained many animals and birds associated with the coast, for instance, Puffin (MC16) 1987, standing on a grey-green base. This model could also be found with a sand-yellow base. The Seal (MC49) 1989, and Seal and Pup (MC6) 1983, were both highly-detailed models, with the water, stones and rocks realistically depicted, as well as the creatures themselves, in tiny sculptures less than one-and-a-half inches high. If you were very lucky, you might just have caught a glimpse of a shimmering blue tail glinting in the sun, or perhaps noticed a friendly paw rise for a moment from the waves. Then you would have known that you had seen a Merbear (TC158) 1998, one of Colour Box’s prettiest-ever creations. Guardian of the Ocean, she cared for those who travel on her seas, as well as looking after the marine life. Many other sculptures from the Colour Box range featured holiday topics, including limited editions or club pieces such as Sail Away, All at Sea, Lifeguard and Out For a Run. Early Colour Box sculptures can often be found at collectors fairs, or on the net, and are worth collecting for their amazing detail and smile-making subjects. Colour Box & Peter Fagan Related Colour Box & Peter Fagan
Every good, middle or upper class Victorian gentleman worth his salt would have owned one. A small silver propelling pencil, perhaps attached to an Albert chain with a fob watch on the other end and stored in a waistcoat pocket, or kept with a notebook for a day’s important jottings. These retractable, sliding pencils were not inexpensive, and as such were bought or received as prestigious gifts and kept for a lifetime. They were made in enormous variety, with the size, shape, materials and level of decoration being a display of both your wealth and tastes. A little like today’s mobile phones or handbags, I suppose. Pictured: A Victorian gold and hardstone mounted propelling pencil, by Sampson Mordan & Co. Estimate £250-£350. Image Copyright Bonhams. Although there were many makers and retailers, there’s one name that jumps out as being bound inextricably with these pencils, right back to their inception and development in the early 19th century. That name is Sampson Mordan, famed and (once) famous silver and goldsmith. However, having said this, all is not so clear. The precise details of the development of this indispensable writing tool lie with someone else. Pictured: A Victorian Sampson Mordan & Co, London 1895 propelling pencil – A good quality Victorian fully hallmarked silver sliding Propelling Pencil, the cylindrical body with deep foliate scroll engraved decoration, an engraved cartouche with the owners name, the screw-off seal terminal set with a bloodstone. The image is Copyright of Steppes Hill Farm Antiques who have a speciality in pens and writing equipment. Visit https://www.steppeshillfarmantiques.com to view their site. As with many important inventions, the name of the real brain behind it is not the one that is most widely known. In this case, the real inventor was an engineer called John Isaac Hawkins. An interesting and innovative man who shared his life between the US and UK, Hawkins was also responsible for developing a polygraph and an upright piano, as well as conjuring up the name ‘bi-focals’. Hawkins had seen that most pencils were made from a long lead bound in wax and rope or fabric, or cased in wood or metal. As they were used, they needed to be sharpened, requiring extra tools. Surely the lead could be placed in a mechanism allowing it to be telescoped out on a spiral as it wore down through use? This would also then allow all manner of elaborate cases to be developed, widening the market for his invention. So, in 1822, the twist-screw mechanism behind most propelling pencils was developed. Precisely what Mordan had to do with this is, I believe, as yet unknown, although he is credited as co-inventor despite apparently having had little experience of inventing or engineering himself. However, Mordan had studied under another inventor, Joseph Bramah, who also had a hand in developing writing instruments, so perhaps he met Hawkins and grew his knowledge this way. Pictured: A Victorian Sampson Mordan & Co novelty propelling pencil c 1880 – A rare Victorian novelty silver Propelling Pencil formed as a 19th century Golf Club, the pencil emerging from the handle with a twist mechanism. The image is Copyright of Steppes Hill Farm Antiques who have a speciality in pens and writing equipment. Visit https://www.steppeshillfarmantiques.com to view their site. Whatever, Mordan was able to acquire the total rights to the design in the same year. Quite why Hawkins sold them outright so quickly to Mordan is a mystery. Some say that Hawkins was primarily an inventor and engineer and was not interested in business, and there is evidence to back this up. To use two clichés, Mordan took the bull by its horns and really went to town. He built a highly successful business that, by the mid 19th century, was arguably unrivalled in terms of its expertise, skill and inventiveness. Many thousands of examples were produced with their cases ranging in form from simply decorated cylinders to novelty shapes such as owls and even people. However, by the early 20th century, people began to turn their back on Mordan’s costly confections. The development of brightly coloured plastics, and the rise of famous names such as Parker, Waterman and MontBlanc, sounded the death knell. People wanted more, for less, and they could have it. When the Mordan factory was bombed during WWII, the final end came. Even so, the company he founded lives on today, having been bought by traditional maker Yard-O-Led, part of the Filofax group. Despite what I have said above, and the precious materials used, the majority of examples found will have values of somewhere between £40 and £400. This really isn’t expensive for what they are, when you think about it. After all, these are made from solid silver or solid gold, and were made entirely by hand with skilled use of machines for certain tasks, including making the finely engineered internal parts. Just think how much similar work would cost today if you walked into, say, Asprey? There are four primary concerns when thinking about value. Firstly, there is the material. Solid gold is obviously more valuable than solid silver. It would have cost considerably more at the time, so is rarer today as fewer would have been sold. High (18) carat gold is even scarcer, particularly in fine condition as gold is a comparatively soft and easily worn material in high carats. Look closely too, as there are three colours of gold; yellow, green and rose/pink. The addition of precious stones is also a sign of rarity. Whilst small turquoise cabochons were often used during the 1860s & 70s, and seed pearls can also be found, precious stones such as rubies and sapphires are much scarcer. A pencil like the tiny one shown here combines all of these– three colours of solid gold, pearls and precious stones – rare indeed. In fact, only four have ever been seen by collectors. Other materials found on Mordan pencils include ivory, tortoiseshell and carved wood. Despite its humble origins, carved wood can be quite rare, particularly if […]
Bewitched has been voted one of the top 50 shows of all time and we take a look at some of the Bewitched collectibles, Bewitched merchandise and Bewitched toys that have appeared over the years. We also look at how Bewitched was a show that also tackled issues such as feminism and racism, and its influence on modern culture. The Concept of Bewitched TV Show The Bewitched TV series follows the adventures of Samantha Stephens, a young witch who is married to a mortal man named Darrin. The couple live in the suburbs with their two children, Tabitha (first appearing in 1966) and Adam (first appearing in 1969). Throughout the series, Samantha struggles to keep her magical powers hidden from her family and friends, as she knows that Darrin does not approve of witchcraft. However, her well-meaning meddling often leads to hilarious hijinks and chaos. For eight seasons, from 1964 to 1972, The Bewitched TV series charmed audiences with its mix of comedy and fantasy, making it one of the most beloved shows of its era. The Characters The series starred Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stephens, a young witch who marrying a mortal, Darrin Stephens (played by Dick York and later Dick Sargent), and tries to lead the life of a typical suburban housewife. The show also featured Agnes Moorehead as Endora, Samantha’s Mother; David White as Larry Tate, Darrin’s boss; Alice Pearce (later Sandra Gould) as Gladys Kravitz, the nosy neighbor; Bernard Fox as Dr. Bombay, the witch doctor; Erin Murphy as Tabitha Stephens, the couple’s daughter; Mervyn Eddys as Sam Francis “Sam” Blake, Darrin’s advertising agency partner; and Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur. How the Show was Created Bewitched was created by screenwriter Sol Saks (1910–2011). While the concept of a witch living among mortals was not new (I Married a Witch, anyone?), the show’s creator Sal Saks drew heavily from this influence when creating Bewitched. This film, which was released in 1942, tells the story of a young witch who Falls in love with a mortal man and tries to live a normal life. Another influence for the creation of the show was the play and film Bell, Book and Candle, which tells the story of a witch who falls in love with a mortal man. Sol Saks received credit as the creator of the show; he wrote the pilot of Bewitched but was not involved with the show after the pilot. The show’s depiction of women and minorities The Bewitched TV series was revolutionary for its depiction of women. In a time when most television shows portrayed women as homemakers and wives, Bewitched showed women as independent and capable. The show’s main character, Samantha, was a working woman who used her magical powers to make her life easier. She was also a mother, but she was never shown struggling to balance work and family life. Instead, she was always shown as competent and able to handle whatever came her way. The show’s depiction of women as strong and independent paved the way for future generations of television shows that would show women in a more positive light. In 1963 Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique and in 1964 published a two-part essay Television and the Feminine Mystique for TV Guide. Endora, in the show uses Friedan language and concepts to criticise the role of women as just housewives. Elizabeth Montgomery said that the Episode Sisters at Heart was her favourite. It was very important episode that tackled racism head on and show inter-racial frienships as positive. The episode is equally imporessive as it was written by 26 African-American students from a tenth grade English class at Jefferson High School. Sisters at Heart – The narrative follows Lisa Wilson, an African-American girl, as she visits her friend Tabitha Stephens, a white girl. Meanwhile, Tabitha’s father Darrin Stephens, who works at an advertising agency, fails to land a million-dollar account with toy company owner Mr. Brockway because Mr. Brockway is racist and incorrectly believes Darrin to be married to Lisa’s mother Dorothy. In an attempt to convince Mr. Brockway to overcome his bigotry, Darrin’s wife Samantha, who is a witch, casts a spell on Mr. Brockway so he sees everyone, including himself, as having black skin. Bewitched collectibles and merchandise over the years Bewitched was very popular finishing as the second-rated show in America during its debut season in 1964, and staying in the top ten for its first three seasons, and ranking in eleventh place for both seasons four and five. The show continues to be seen throughout the world in syndication and on recorded media. As a result, there was a lot of merchandise marketed around the show. Some of the most popular items were coloring books, cookie jars, mugs, lunch boxes, comic books, board games, jigsaw puzzles dolls, and dolls / action figures. One of the most popular Bewitched collectibles is the doll that was made by Ideal in the 1965. The doll was based on the character of Samantha Stephens and depicted her in a red dress, with a red witch’s hat and with a broomstick. It was promoted as Samantha as portrayed by Elizabeth Montgomery THE BEWITCHED POSING DOLL … star of the the ABC hit TV show BEWITCHED. Boxed examples are valued at $1,500 to $2,000. There is another doll from the series that is even more collectible the ‘ Tabitha The Bewitched Baby ‘ doll. The Tabitha The Bewitched Baby doll can sell from $2,000 to $3,000. The box is very cute and features Samantha, Darrin and Endora peering down on baby Tabitha. Games based on the series include Bewitched by Game Gems and The Bewitched Stymie Card Game from Milton Bradley. Funko POP! have released two dolls based of Samantha and Endora. Related ‘Bewitched’ broke ground 45 years ago on USA Today