First developed in the early nineteen hundreds, it’s a range of patterned, pressed glass suffused with an iridescent lust re, which reflects the light, making the surface gleam with metallic highlights. It resembles the rainbow effect that you see when oil is spilt in a puddle. This effect was gained by spraying the hot surface of the glass with metallic salt solutions and then re-firing to set the iridescence. Pressed glass products using this method first appeared in the US in 1905. They resembled the high lustre finish achieved by high-class glass manufacturers such as Tiffany on their exquisite hand-blown pieces. It is said that when pressed glass companies began producing iridescent glass, Tiffany sales slumped because customers didn’t like to think that poor folk could now afford to have similar products in their homes!During the 1880s, hand-operated press moulds were developed by the American glasshouses, which enabled them to produce domestic glassware in large quantities much more cheaply than the traditional methods allowed. Unlike hand-blown glass which was time-consuming to make, pressed glass was formed using these moulds. Two moulds were needed. The molten glass was poured into the outer mould, and then the inner mould (or ‘plunger’) was forced in, using great pressure. Sometimes the moulds were in two or more parts, and so a trickle of the molten glass would seep through the gaps. Later, these seam lines would be polished out if they weren’t hidden in the intricate design. At first the products were made from clear glass, but gradually colours were introduced. Even though Carnival glass was initially pressed into moulds it still needed plenty of hand- finishing, because the makers wanted to create an air of individuality. The glassmakers completed their creations in a variety of ways. Sometimes they would very gently draw up the edges of a plate into a fluted shape, thu s creating a bowl. They might even add some rounded feet. Using special tools, they could pinch or crimp edges, or could make ruffles, pleats, frills and scallops. Gorgeous rose bowls and posy bowls could be formed by carefully pinching in the top edges of small basins, while tall vases were elongated by using centrifugal force which had the effect of stretching the malleable glass. Then the top edges could be decorated by crimping. The most commonly-found shade of Carnival glass is marigold, then comes amethyst, blue, green and red (probably the rarest of all.) Other shades do exist, including black, pastel shades, and many varieties of the main colours such as amber, electric blue or sapphire. In addition, some of the colours were coated with white, altering the hues – for example, marigold and white is called peach opalescent. The colour refers to the actua l base colour of the glass, not to the iridescence, and the best way to discover it is to hold the piece to the light. Then the true colour will show.An amazing variety of items were created from Carnival glass, many of which were intended for everyday use, rather than for decoration, so it surprising just how many items have survived over the years in good condition. Rose bowls, plates, ashtrays, hatpins, salad bowls, cream jugs, punch bowls, plates, stemmed dishes, vases and hair tidies were just a few of the items that poured from the factories during the relatively short period that the glass was in production.America was the major producer of Carnival glass, and the first country to produce the glass in commercial quantities. The so-called ‘big five’ companies were Northwood, Fenton, Imperial, Dugan and Millersburg, and they each had their own specialities. In addition there were a few smaller concerns. Other countries which produced the glass included England, Australia, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, Estonia, Finland and Sweden.The glass was originally made to bridge a gap in the market by providing ornamental glass for those who couldn’t afford to buy the fashionable, expensive, iridised handmade glassware. However, by the 1930s, fashions changed as as people began to follow Art Deco trends and the pretty glass became less popular.It wasn’t till much later that it acquired the name, ‘Carnival glass’, as it was thought that when it fell from favour, it was sold off cheaply to fairgrounds and offered as prizes. Whether or not this was true is a moot point. Other names for the glass were Poor man’s Tiffany, Rainbow glass, Aurora glass or Taffeta glass. The enormous range of patterns means that collectors will always be searching for more pieces. It’s calcul ated that well over a thousand different patterns were produced by the American companies, and when you realise that they came in many different colours, shapes and sizes, you can see why a Carnival glass collection can never be complete.Patterns were given names which usually echoed the design, such as leaf and beads, starfish, pineapple and bow, beaded cable, peacock tails, Persian medallion, open rose and fluffy peacock. Flowers, fruits, leaves were especially popular designs – pansies, roses, water-lilies, blackberries, grapes, cherries, oak and vine leaves. Sometimes horses’ heads, dragons, birds, or kittens were featured. Geometric shapes or abstract patterns are found too, and are shown to perfection by the iridescence which catches the light as the piece is turned, emphasising the various facets.Because of the way that the glass is manufactured, no two items are quite the same – if you place two dishes or vases of the same pattern, shape, colour and size from the same manufacturer, side by side, you will notice subtle differences. One may seem more blue than purple, or have a section which gleams gold, or maybe have a pink or green tinge. A single item of carnival glass on display is beautiful – a collection, especially if illuminated by spotlights, or perhaps placed in a north-facing window (away from the danger of the sun’s rays which could trigger a fire), makes a stunning spectacle.The price of carnival glass varies considerably, depending on the manuf acturer, colour, design – and where you buy. Although […]
Sun Records, located at 706 Union Ave., was a record label based in Memphis, Tennessee starting operations on March 27 1952. Founded by Sam Phillips, Sun Records was known for giving notable musicians such as Elvis Presley (whose recording contract was sold by Sun Records to RCA Victor Records for $35,000 in 1956 to relieve financial difficulties they were going through), Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash their first recording contracts and helping to launch their careers. Pictured right: Sun Studio Memphis – image used under the Creative Commons 3.0 license. Before those days Sun Records had mainly been noted for recording African-American artists, as Phillips loved Rhythm and Blues and wanted to get black music recorded for a white audience. It was Sun record producer and engineer, Jack Clement, who discovered and recorded Jerry Lee Lewis, while owner Sam Phillips was away on a trip to Florida. The original Sun Records logo was designed by John Gale Parker, Jr., a resident of Memphis and high school classmate of Phillips. Pictured left: Elvis Presley ‘That’s All Right’ record on the Sun label. The music of many Sun Records musicians helped lay part of the foundation of late 20th century popular music and rock and roll, plus it influenced many younger musicians, particularly the Beatles. In 2001, Paul McCartney appeared on a tribute compilation album titled Good Rockin’ Tonight: The Legacy Of Sun Records. In 1969, Mercury Records label producer Shelby Singleton; noted for producing the Ray Stevens’ hit “Ahab The Arab” in 1962, and later Jeannie C. Riley’s 1968 hit single “Harper Valley PTA” on his Nashville based Plantation Records label; purchased the Sun label from Phillips. Singleton merged his operations into Sun International Corporation, which re-released and re-packaged compilations of Sun’s early artists in the early 1970s. It would later introduce rockabilly tribute singer Jimmy Ellis in 1980 as Orion taking on the persona of Elvis Presley. Pictured: Jerry Lewis Great Balls of Fire Sun Label. The company remains in business today as Sun Entertainment Corporation, which currently licenses its brand and classic hit recordings (many of which have appeared in CD boxed sets and other compilations) to independent reissue labels. Sun Entertainment also includes SSS International Records, Plantation Records, Amazon Records, Red Bird Records, Blue Cat Records among other labels the company acquired over the years. Its website sells collectible items as well as compact discs bearing the original 1950s Sun logo. Sun Label: Record Collecting Guide Text: Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed. Related Elvis Presley Memorabilia Rock and Pop Collecting Overview
The Adventures of Tintin (Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of classic comic books created by Belgian artist Georges Rémi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name of Hergé. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century, with translations published in more than 80 languages and more than 350 million copies of the books sold to date. With the recent The Adventure of Tintin film we take a look at Tintin Books & Tintin Collectibles. Pictured right: Tintin Book – Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (in the original French, Les Aventures de Tintin, reporter du “Petit Vingtième”, au pays des Soviets) is the first title in the comic book series The Adventures of Tintin, written and drawn by Belgian cartoonist Hergé (1907-1983). Originally serialised in the Belgian children’s newspaper supplement Le Petit Vingtième between 10 January 1929 and 8 May 1930, it was subsequently published in book form in 1930. Designed to be a work of anti-Marxist and anti-socialist propaganda for children, it was commissioned by Hergé’s boss, the Abbé Norbert Wallez, who ran the right wing Roman Catholic weekly Le XXe Siècle in which Le Petit Vingtième was published. The series first appeared in French in Le Petit Vingtième, a children’s supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le XXe Siècle on 10 January 1929. The success of the series saw the serialised strips collected into a series of twenty-four albums, spun into a successful Tintin magazine, and adapted for film, radio, television and theatre. Pictured left: Tintin Collectible Tintin Holding the Unicorn figurine from the Steven Spielberg adaptation of Tintin and the Secret of the Unicorn Set during a largely realistic 20th century, the hero of the series is Tintin, a young Belgian reporter. He is aided in his adventures from the beginning by his faithful fox terrier dog Snowy (Milou in French). Pictured right: ABS Tintin Collectibles figurine showing the historic first meeting between Tintin and Captain Haddock, as featured on page 15 of The Crab with the Golden Claws. Each model is neatly presented within a Plexiglas cube, The high-quality finish of every character ensures that each tiny detail, movement and expression has been faithfully rendered to reproduce Hergé’s original drawings. Later, popular additions to the cast included the brash, cynical, grumpy and often drunk Captain Haddock, the highly intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus (Professeur Tournesol) and other supporting characters such as the incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson, who can only be told apart by the cut of their moustaches, (Dupont et Dupond). Hergé himself features in several of the comics as a background character, as do his assistants in some instances. The comic strip series has long been admired for its clean, expressive drawings in Hergé’s signature ligne claire style. Its engaging, well-researched plots straddle a variety of genres: swashbuckling adventures with elements of fantasy, mysteries, political thrillers, and science fiction. The stories within the Tintin series always feature slapstick humour, accompanied in later albums by satire, and political and cultural commentary. Pictured right: Movie poster from the The Adventures of Tintin Secret of the Unicorn Tintin Books & Collectibles Related AbeBooks.co.uk – find more than 110 million out-of-print books worldwide. Tintin Book Titles 1. Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (1929–1930, 1930) 2. Tintin in the Congo (1930–1931, 1931, 1946) 3. Tintin in America (1931–1932, 1932, 1945) 4. Cigars of the Pharaoh (1932–1934, 1934, 1955) 5. The Blue Lotus (1934–1935, 1936, 1946) 6. The Broken Ear (1935–1937, 1937, 1943) 7. The Black Island (1937–1938, 1938, 1943, 1966) 8. King Ottokar’s Sceptre (1938–1939, 1939, 1947) 9. The Crab with the Golden Claws (1940–1941, 1941, 1943) 10. The Shooting Star (1941–1942, 1942) 11. The Secret of the Unicorn (1942–1943, 1943) 12. Red Rackham’s Treasure (1943, 1944) 13. The Seven Crystal Balls (1943–1946, 1948) 14. Prisoners of the Sun (1946–1948, 1949) 15. Land of Black Gold (1948–1950, 1950, 1971) 16. Destination Moon (1950–1953, 1953) 17. Explorers on the Moon (1950–1953, 1954) 18. The Calculus Affair (1954–1956, 1956) 19. The Red Sea Sharks (1956–1958, 1958) 20. Tintin in Tibet (1958–1959, 1960) 21. The Castafiore Emerald (1961–1962, 1963) 22. Flight 714 (1966–1967, 1968) 23. Tintin and the Picaros (1975–1976, 1976) 24. Tintin and Alph-Art (1986, 2004) Unfinished work, published posthumously
From Prim And Proper To Fun And Frolic – Dolls from 1900-1910 by Sue Brewer This was a strange decade; the first few years were overshadowed by the death of Queen Victoria. She died in 1901, after sixty-three years on the throne, and initially people found it hard to adjust to the thought of a king, Victoria`s son Bertie, who was proclaimed Edward VII. Naturally, Edward was no spring chicken, he was already sixty-one when his mother died, and, however fond he was of his mother, must have been waiting for this moment for decades. Although she was a reclusive old woman, her death plunged the whole world in shock, for Victoria had been greatly loved and admired; she was not just Queen of England, she was Empress to many far-flung lands. On the day of her funeral, it is said that even the prostitutes wore mourning (but presumably only for a short while!) Edward inherited a kingdom which had grown accustomed to a righteous, majestic, staid monarch (even if Victoria had, as rumours persisted, taken a lover in the shape of dour Scotsman John Brown), but he soon set about changing things. He liked to party, enjoyed his food, loved his drink and adored the ladies – and he didn`t let the fact he that was married get in the way. His long-suffering wife was the delightful, deaf Alexandra. The jolly, fun-loving king became immensely popular, and though his reign was brief, the first decade of the 1900s was very much stamped with his personality. It was a time of change, not only in attitude but in many spheres of development, not least, the doll world. By now, wax dolls which had been so common in the early and mid Victorian years were scarcely made, as manufactures realised the benefits of china, though makers such as Pierotti did continue the tradition for a couple more decades. This was really the era of the bisque doll. Bisque, an un-glazed form of porcelain, resembled human skin, and dolls became stunningly beautiful with large glass eyes, human hair or mohair wigs and delicate painting of lashes and lips. The German manufacturer Armand Marseille produced a doll which was to become a favourite for the next three decades – a pretty girl with the mould number 390 stamped on her neck. At first, she was issued with a body made from kid leather, later from wood or composition. As with many of the bisque dolls, the quality of the body seemed to deteriorate over the years, and later dolls often had more shapeless limbs as marketing became more and more intense. One of the reasons that the 390 girl became so popular was that Armand Marseille understood the importance of mass-marketing, and was able to flood the market with his dolls. By altering height, eye colour, head size, wig length and wig colour, the 390 doll could vary her appearance enormously. She must have been a very accessible doll at the time, certainly if the numbers of the dolls which are still around today are anything to go by. Naturally, there were many other German makers, such as Kammer & Reinhardt, Simon & Halbig, Heubach, Schoenau &Hoffmeister, and Kestner. In fact, the dolls poured from the factories, so causing the French manufacturers some concern. Eventually, companies such as Bru, Jumeau and several others banded together to form the Societe Francaise de Fabrication de Bebes et Jouets (S.F.B.J.) with the aim of increasing productivity, registering its trademark in 1905. The 1900s must have been exciting times; they were a time of invention and development. Perhaps the most important achievement was that by Wilbur and Orville Wright when, on the seventeenth of December 1903, they made the first ever controlled power flight. The brothers took turns in attempting to get their flimsy biplane off of the ground, finally succeeding in making four flights, the longest of which lasted for fifty-seven seconds. By doing so, they opened up the world – today, just over a hundred years later, we think nothing of twelve-hour flights, and man has even journeyed to the moon. Another innovation which changed our horizons was developed by Henry Ford. His 1908 Model T Ford, affectionately known as ‘Tin Lizzie’, was the first car to be produced in such quantity and at such an affordable price that it allowed motoring to be accessible to working-class people, not just the rich and affluent. Domestic life was made easier by the invention of the first electric washing machine, while the development of plastics, such as bakelite, would soon transform our lives. Young boys rushed to join the new Scout movement, formed by Baden-Powell in 1907, and three years later girls had their own organisation, the Girl Guides. In 1905 the Dean`s Rag Book Company was formed, as a subsidiary of a much older publishing company. Initially, the intention was to provide for ‘children who wear their food and eat their clothes’ according to the rag book`s originator! Soon, though, they were producing rag dolls as well, which at first were printed as sew-it-yourself calico panels called ‘Knock-About Toys’, and included a Geisha doll, Red Riding Hood and ‘Dolly and her wardrobe.’ However, it wasn’t long before Dean’s were making the dolls themselves. One of the earliest of the Dean`s dolls was a huge, 24 inch rag doll baby which could wear the clothes of a two-year old, but perhaps the most popular Dean`s rag dolls from the era were Betty Blue and Curly Locks. They also produced dressing-up clothes for boys and girls. Cloth dolls were manufactured by the Steiff company too, who nowadays are more famed for their teddy bears. Usually made from felt, these were often character dolls with glass eyes and stitched or painted mouths. One of the most famous cloth dolls of all time owes his origins to an early 1900s breakfast cereal – Sunny Jim, an old-fashioned gentleman, was a figure used to advertise Force wheat flakes. Later, from […]
Most of you will have a copy of Monopoly of some form tucked away somewhere. Whether it’s at the back of a cupboard, on a shelf or in the attic. Before you dig it out for a post lockdown car boot sale check out the value of it. You could be surprised. Borne from a board game devised by Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Magie called ‘The Landlord’s Game’ to promote the Georgist idea of a single tax system for land owners, Monopoly has gone on to achieve worldwide success, acclaim and has most probably caused more arguments than any other family activity. Does anybody actually know and play by the correct and full rules? Has anybody actually played a game to its completion? The answer to both questions is ‘very probably’ as there have been, until now, 14 Monopoly World Championships which are held every 4 to 6 years. The most recent being held in Macau in 2015 and won by Italian Nicolò Falcone. The original Monopoly game by Parker Brothers was a worldwide success, putting their stamp on board game producing. They credited a salesman as the sole inventor of the game. No mention of Ms Magie. The salesman became the first board game designer millionaire, but more about him later. More recently Parker Brothers was absorbed into Hasbro who have been the current producers since 1991. So what is the appeal? Why is this game in particular deemed collectible by fans old and young? Well there are many intellectual properties used in Monopoly from cities across the globe, movie franchises like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, pop culture such as Only Fools and Horses, Nintendo and Fortnite. There are even copies which can be personalised to you and your family. For collector Neil Scallan from Crawley in the UK, he started collecting copies of the geographical line due to his love of travel. He said in an interview that it was a postcard from places he had visited and worldwide destinations he would never be fortunate enough to visit. He achieved a Guinness World Record in September 2018 of the largest collection of Monopoly games and memorabilia with 2,249 items and his collection continues to grow. Waddingtons, a printing firm based in the northern city of Leeds in the UK, began printing playing cards in 1921 due to the demand for games played at home after the First World War. They acquired the UK rights to produce Monopoly in 1935 and strangely, despite being based in Leeds, they based the game on the streets of London. Fun fact – Angel Islington is not a road. It actually refers to an old inn called ‘The Angel Inn’ in the Islington area of London. So what is a copy of the game worth? Do you remember Lizzie Magie who designed ‘The Landlords Game’ ? Despite having it patented twice, she sold the rights to her game to a heating salesman, Charles Darrow for the sum of $500. Much less than she had spent trying to produce it. Darrow was the one to take it to Parker Brothers. By 1933, and before selling his own tweaked version of Magie’s game to Parker Brothers, he had rewritten the rules and simply renamed it ‘Monopoly’. Darrow hand made 5,000 copies of the game, some of which are still in existence today. In December 2010 one of these original copies turned up at in auction at Sotheby’s, New York as part of the Malcolm Forbes toy collection and sold for a staggering $120,000 (around £90,000). For the French version of the 80th anniversary edition in 2015, Hasbro hid real money in variations of the game totalling a run of 30,000 copies in various forms. Different amounts were included and in one box all of the money was real – over €20,000! However do not discount any copies of Monopoly you may own and would like valued. Sealed copies of the game will obviously be worth more, but are harder to find. Collector’s Special Editions can be valuable even having been opened and played. Look for: Early editions of the game from 1935 with ‘Patent Pending’ on the box as they can bring in anything from £200 The last games produced by Parker Bros in 1991 were valued from around £1,500 The 1985 produced 50th anniversary edition is only expected to be worth around £50 The 80th anniversary edition had tokens from over the years represented and can fetch around £30 to £50 Look for early Waddingtons UK produced editions and 1994 editions before the ownership went to Hasbro Older does not necessarily mean more valuable. The 2012 South Park special edition is pretty hard to find. Still sealed these can sell for hundreds of pounds due to the high demand So don’t get caught out like Lizzie Magie. Do your research and contact us for a valuation. Monopoly feature by Rob Edmonds.
Bernard Leach the Father of British studio pottery
The Dean’s family had founded their book publishing business in 1711 and during the next 200 years or so, prospered greatly. In 1902, one of the Deans family, a certain Captain Henry Samuel Dean, together with a fellow director of the firm had produced a rag book. This was a fairly simple affair – a single colour print (except for the cover which had two colours) on calico. It had the benefit that when soiled by a child, it could be washed rather than expensively replaced. It was offered to the Edwardian nannies of the day at a cost of 5 shillings (between £40 and £50 today) and proved an instant success. On the back of this single marketing sample, The Dean’s Rag Book Company Ltd. was formed in 1903 with its manufacturing unit in Fleet Street, London. Diversification followed and rag books in all sizes were made – and in colour. Photograph Albums, postcard albums, cut-out doll sheets, kites, blow-up toys and rag dolls were just some items produced over the next ten years. At the outbreak of the First World War in September 1914, Dean’s, like many other firms in the burgeoning toy industry tried to make good the shortage of imported toys from Germany and Austria and in 1915, produced its ‘Kuddlemee’ catalogue which contained illustrations of 3 mohair bears. We know of no-one who has seen these bears in recent times. Pictured left is Master Bruno – c.1915. In 1917, moulded faced dolls were produced for the first time and over the next 20 years, the Dean’s Rag Book Company Ltd. grew to a position of prominence in the British toy industry. Character merchandise began to appear – Dismal Desmond in 1926, Mickey Mouse in 1930 and were followed by Pluto, Goofy, Lucky Oswald, Popeye and others. Pictured right are Mickey Mouse Toys from the 1930’s. Dean’s were involved in the war effort during World War II and it took some while to return to former glories. However, by 1954, the Dean’s range was once more comprehensive and now featuring bears and gollies as never before. Pictured left is Nigel – c.1937. The Company moved to Rye in Sussex in 1955 and in 1972, to Pontypool in South Wales. In the 1980s, the introduction of cheaper toys from the Far East made it impossible to to carry on as before. Pictured right is Welsh Lady – 1996. The husband and wife team of Neil and Barbara Miller who had bought the Company in 1988 began to introduce Limited Edition bears to their range in 1991 for the British market. (Some bears had been made earlier in the 1980s specifically for the U.S. market) The production of collector bears soon overtook toy production with the last rag book being produced in 1997. Pictured left is Harry, the 2012 Dean’s Club membership bear. Harry is in fact the 18th member of the Dean’s Collectors Club. Harry’s mohair is supplied by Schulte, and is specially commisioned for Dean’s. The mohair is a corn gold colour and has a ratinee finish which we think gives him much more character. He is fully jointed and has black eyes. His pads are made from a camel coloured suedette material and his right foot has the Dean’s Rag Book label and his certificate is numbered. The Millers, now aided by their son, Robin, have once more steered Dean’s to a position of prominence – this time in the Collector Bear market. Not only do the Miller family now design the range (Artist Showcase excepted), they also do their own photography, catalogues, brochures and now their Internet site themselves – a truly family concern. The Dean’s Collectors Club membership benefits include a copy of the current years Dean’s catalogue, a lapel pin, a pen, and regular magazines and updates.
Netsuke date back to the 17th Century, and became extremely popular in Europe towards the end of the 19th Century. This coincided with the Japanese adopting the suit and its pockets and with oriental artefacts being very much in vogue with buyers in western Europe. A huge supply of redundant netsuke came into Europe and were sold in many places as novelty items very cheaply. For the collector today there are many styles, and types, some by well known designers and the range in price can be incredible: from a few $/£ to £140,000 paid for a netsuke horse carved by Tomotada. Netsuke served both functional and aesthetic purposes. The tradtional Japanese dress, the kimono had no pockets. The robes were hung together by a broad sash (obi), so items that were needed to be carried were held on a cord tucked under the sash. The hanging objects (sagemono) were secured with carved toggles (netsuke). A sliding bead (ojime) was strung on the cord between the netsuke and the sagemono to tighten or loosen the opening of the sagemono. The best known accessory was the inro, a small box used by the wealthy for carrying medicines and seals. Netsuke were also used to secure purses, and were widely used to hold the tobacco pouches that became almost universal with the introduction of smoking in Japan. The quality of Netsuke was variable. As everyday objects many were carved quickly with left over materials. Netsuke could be made using a variety of materials mainly wood, and ivory (also shell, bone, horn, even metal and precious stones). Wealthier people would have finer netsuke, and it could be possible to tell the status of an individual by the quality of their netsuke. The workmanship is some is outstanding and despite their small size 1 to 2 inches, there can be considerable detail. There are several types of netsuke including: manju, round or square button like boxes; and kagamibuta, comprising a metal lid and a bowl; and katabori. The range of subjects included all manner of animals, birds, the heores and villains from folklore, the immortals and mythical animals of Japanese legend, the grotesque and the amusing. The variety and variability of netsuke is a reason for their continued popularity today. Knowledgeable collectors look for compactness, a design that appears good from any angle, and the cord holes must not interfere with the piece and may often form part of it. With the decline of the kimono there was less demand in Japan for netsuke, but they continued to be produced for export. Some skilled designers continued to produce excellent pieces which are much sort after. Production continued into the 20th Century with a revival in the art as interest incr eases. In recent years a number of poor netsuke have been produced and a number of fakes of original pieces have also been manufactured. These pieces are often produced using ivory obtained from illegally poached elephants and other animals. Resin replicas are also being produced. Many are sold as such but collectors should be careful. Forms of Netsuke kataborinetsuke (形彫根付) or “sculpture netsuke” – this is the most familiar style, a compact three-dimensional figure carved in the round, usually around one to three inches high anaborinetsuke (穴彫根付) or “hollowed netsuke” – subset of katabori which is hollowed-out and carved within; the most common are scenes in clams sashinetsuke (差根付) – this is an elongated form of katabori, literally “stab” netsuke, similar in length to the sticks and gourds used as improvised netsuke before carved pieces were produced, about six inches long obi-hasami – another elongated netsuke with curved top and bottom. It sits behind the obi with the curved ends visible above and below the obi. mennetsuke (面根付) or “mask netsuke” – the largest category after katabori, these were often imitations of full size noh masks, and share characteristics in common with both katabori and manju/kagamibuta manjunetsuke (饅頭根付) or “manju netsuke”- a thick, flat, round type of netsuke, with carving usually done in relief, sometimes made of two ivory halves. Shaped like a manju. ryusanetsuke (柳左根付）- shaped like a manju, but carved like lace, so that light shines completely through kagamibutanetsuke (鏡蓋根付) or “mirror lid netsuke” – shaped like a manju, but with a metal disc serving as lid to a shallow bowl, usually of ivory. The metal is often highly decorated with a wide variety of metallurgical techniques. karakurinetsuke (からくり根付) or “trick/mechanism netsuke” – any netsuke that does something, ones with moving parts or hidden surprisesForms of Netsuke text – Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed. Books on Netsuke
Toys to Delight – Sugar and Spice Toys by Sue Brewer Is there a difference between girls’ toys and boys’ toys? Well, yes, quite often there is. Sometimes it’s a fairly obvious distinction; as a rule of thumb girls are given dolls, cradles, dolls’ houses, toy brooms, fluffy creatures with long hair and anything pink. Boys tend to be given trains, cars, guns, space toys, science kits and, most certainly, nothing pink! There are exceptions of course, and while children are small they aren’t so fussy; it’s only when they start nursery school that peer pressure dictates the toys they choose. Lots of toys are suitable for both sexes; puzzles, board games, Lego, Fuzzy Felt, puppets and tricycles for example, though even then there can be differences. Puzzles might feature either a girlie picture of fairies or a boy-appealing ferocious dinosaur while Fuzzy Felt will be ballet or pirates. Even Lego can be girl-orientated when it contains pink bricks and small dolls. Of course, the classic toy for a girl is a doll; from earliest times it was assumed that the woman’s role in life was to care for babies and to create a home while man was the hunter or worker. Even today, when women have far more freedom and independence, and are increasingly taking over occupations once regarded as male, small girls are still given dolls. Look round any toyshop dolls of all kinds, from babies to fashion and fairies to mermaids predominate, usually sold in pink boxes or wearing pink sparkly outfits. Many girls’ toys are traditional “ our great grandmothers, even their great grandmothers, might have played with some of them. Things such as toy sewing machines, skipping ropes, tea sets, knitting sets, dolls’ prams, music boxes, clockwork dolls and tinkle tonks. The greatest revolution in toys began just after the Second World War, and was caused by the plastics explosion. Plastics transformed the toy industry “ at last there was a material which was light, colourful, versatile, easy to mould and difficult to break. A further explosion took place in the 1980s with the introduction of ‘collectable series toys’, following on the heels of the Star Wars toys of the late 1970s suddenly manufacturers discovered an exciting way of earning more money. By issuing toys in sets, children would need to buy several before they could satisfactorily play with them. My Little Pony was one of the most popular of the new lines, though many parents and teachers loathed the pastel pink creatures which, they believed, had no play value at all. The ponies had no moving parts, so it just seemed that their young owners combed and plaited the manes and tails. Yet that wasn’t strictly true as most girls created their own imaginative story lines, building up pon y worlds as they bought more and more ponies with names such as Cotton Candy, Applejack and Blossom. Over the years, dozens of different types of ponies made their appearance, often with special features such as rainbow or glittery manes, sparkling eyes, sleep eyes, transparent bodies, thick curly tails, scented or musical. Some featured translucent wings or magic heat-appearing motifs. There were clumpy male cart-horse types, unicorns, sea-horses, flutter ponies (very fragile, with delicate wings which soon broke) and Pegasus ponies too, all made by Hasbro, who had certainly struck gold with this product. Also on the scene in the 1980s was the ‘World of Strawberry Shortcake’, a large range of dolls and accessories, the most popular being a series of scented small dolls, 5Â½ inches high, with slightly overlarge heads. Jointed at the hips, neck and shoulders, each doll was marked ‘American Greetings Corps. 1979′. Strawberry Shortcake and her friends were sold by Kenner, though some were issued through Palitoy. Each character had its own hair colour or style, and, of course, a special fruit perfume so that they smelt of their name. By 1982 there were fourteen little dolls in the range, all with delicious names such as Lime Chiffon, Raspberry Tart, Lemon Meringue, Angel Cake, Apricot, Cherry Cuddler, Butter Cookie, Apple Dumpling, Orange Blossom and Strawberry Shortcake herself. The dolls came with their own pets, and had accessories such as houses, vehicles and shops. This same decade saw Rainbow Brite, Care Bears, Moon Dreamers, Flower Fairies, Sylvanian Families, Fairy Tails and Lady LovelyLocks â€“ all toys carefully designed so that a child needed several of them, plus the various accessories, in order to obtain the maximum play value. Of all the character toys, perhaps Sylvanian Familes was the most successful, offering maximum play value. The little animals first arrived in Britain in 1987 though were copyrighted in 1985; a selection of mice, bear, rabbit and racoon families. They were made by Epoch in Japan, and distributed by Tomy. The two main families were the bears, the Evergreens and the Timbertops, each with ten members, and the adult characters stood around 3.5 inches high. The youngsters were slightly smaller. Nowadays there are dozens of different creatures in the range from penguins to moles. Sylvanian Families are still sold today, now made by Flair, and the buildings and accessories are particularly sturdy and well designed. Many of the pieces of furniture and smaller items are bought by adults who use them in their own dolls’ houses! Dolls houses have been popular for centuries; although most are made for young girls, many have been created for adult collectors. At Windsor Castle is a spectacular dolls’ house which was originally made for Queen Mary in the 1920s, and it is packed with valuable treasures such as miniature hand-written books by famous authors, and tiny items of furniture created by craftsmen. More recently, dolls’ houses have taken a new form, with toys such as Palitoy’s Treehouse, the Matchbox Play Boot and Bluebird’s iconic Big Yellow Teapot, whilst Fisher Price have produced several designs including the Fisher Price A-Frame and a Tudor Style House. Young girls take great delight in imitating their mothers; they love toy vacuum […]
Muffin the Mule was a puppet character on the British children’s television show For the Children that first aired on the BBC in 1946. The show featured a wooden puppet mule who would interact and dance along with human characters. Although the show was very popular with children, it also had an appeal for adults. The humour and wit of the show made it entertaining for all ages. Over the years, Muffin the Mule has become an iconic figure in British culture. He is often referenced in popular culture and has been featured in commercials, movies, and books. For many people, Muffin the Mule is a reminder of their childhood and a symbol of British culture. We take a brief look how Muffin the Mule was created and look at some of the Muffin the Mule collectables and Muffin the Mule merchandise over the years in this Collecting Muffin the Mule feature. The original Muffin the Mule puppet was created in 1933 by puppet maker Fred Tickner for puppeteers Jan Bussell and Ann Hogarth. Although we know him as Muffin, the puppet was originally unnamed. The puppet was part of a puppet circus made for the Hogarth Puppet Theatre. The couple had met while they were both working as puppeteers in London. They married in 1932 and decided to open their own puppet theatre. The original Muffin the Mule puppet was made from papier-mâché and had a wooden head. It was operated by two strings, one attached to each side of the head. Muffin was used for a short while but as Jan Bussell and Ann Hogarth moved on to more experimental and dramatic puppetry he was put away, re-appearing some 12 years later 1946. Bussell and Hogarth were working with presenter Annette Mills (sister of actor John Mills). Annette Mills named the puppet mule “Muffin”, and it first appeared on television in an edition of For the Children broadcast on 20 October 1946, where she performed as a singer, pianist and story teller. She wrote the songs and the music, including Muffin’s popular signature theme song “We Want Muffin! (Muffin The Mule)”, some of which appeared Muffin the Mule songbooks, as well as making records. Ann Hogarth wrote the scripts for the series. The show ran on the BBC until 1955 when Annette Mills died. During the show Muffin the Mule used to clip-clop and dance around on top of a piano which was being played by Annette Mills. Annette and Muffin would interact and the show appealed to not only children but to adults as well. Other characters were later added to the show including Prudence the Kitten (who went on to have her own show), Mr Peregrine the Penguin, Sally the Sea-Lion, Louise the Lamb, Oswald the Ostrich, and Morris and Doris the field mice. As Muffin the Mule’s popularity grew a range of merchandising, toys and comics were created mainly on Muffin but a few products were created featuring other characters. Lesney created a die-cast movable puppet which according the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh was “the first toy to be marketed under licence as a result of a successful TV appearances”. Other items include Toy Television Sets, a Muffin the Mule Pelham Puppet, games, Metal figures by Argosy Toys, licensed pottery, tins and much more.