Originally released in 1973 this highly competitive, strategy card and dice driven board game can be found as a newer version almost fifty years on. However, there is still a market for the first edition. Set during the real-life eponymous daring escape from Colditz prison, one player takes the role of a German security officer, and the other players will play the Allied prisoners looking to escape. Fascinatingly, the game was inspired and co-created by Major P.R. Reid who was one of the few British soldiers to successfully escape from Colditz Prison during the Second World War. Although used, original 1973 copies of the game printed by Gibson Games of London can still sell for around £40 and is considered highly collectible. A newer version was produced by Osprey Games for those interested in playing this classic game and sells new for around the same price as the original. So you could always sell your old copy and invest in the shiny reprinted version. Otherwise, those who are nostalgic for this classic game can easily pick one up on the secondhand market. Action Man Escape from Colditz This set is very collectable and if you are able to find a set in perfect condition and complete it will sell for over £500 / $700. Even empty boxes in very good condition can sell for £80 / $110. The Action Man Escape from Colditz Set was released in 1974 was part of a range built upon the success of the BBC TV Colditz series and the popularity of Action Man at the time. The Escape from Colditz box set included the uniforms of the Escape Officer and a German Sentry – basically a paired down German Stormtrooper, along with detailed Colditz accessories, including a self- assembly German cardboard sentry box with barrier, and forged escape papers. The set was also released in a 40th Anniversary Edition. This set has a secondary market estimate of £150-£250 / $225-$375 Escape from Colditz board game feature by Rob Edmonds.
Collecting Communion Tokens and small Communion Tokens price guide. Communion tokens were round or oval in shape, and they were given to individuals who took communion in churches during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Presbyterian worship in Scotland is particularly associated with them, but they may also be found in England, the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland. The Communion tokens were used to identify those who were entitled to receive Communion. The minister would give the person a token before giving them Communion. When Communion was being given, the individual would show the token to the Communion steward. There are a number of reasons why communion tokens were used. First, communion tokens ensured that only those who were members of the church and who had been properly instructed in the faith were able to receive Communion. This was important because Communion is a sacred act in which Christians partake of the body and blood of Christ. Second, communion tokens helped to prevent Communion from being taken by those who might not appreciate its significance or who might abuse it in some way. Finally, communion tokens served as a tangible reminder of an individual’s commitment to the Christian faith. Though communion tokens fell out of use in the 18th century, they remain an important part of Protestant and Calvinist history. Communion tokens remind us of the importance of maintaining a proper understanding of Communion and of our commitment to the Christian faith. They were also used as a means of identifying Communion members who had been away from the church for a period of time. They were also given to children when they were first admitted to communion. Often, these tokens would be made of metal or other durable materials and would be worn around the neck or on a keychain. The most common materials were metal, wood, and bone. In some cases, Communion Tokens were also made of other materials such as stone or glass. They could have holes in the centre and so could be strung together. Tokens were often engraved with a Christian symbol or the initials of the person who received the Communion Token. Communion tokens were collectibles even back then and people would try to get as many different ones as possible. There are many different types of communion tokens that can be found. Some have biblical scenes or symbols on them, while others have the name of the church or the year they were made. Messages on tokens would include biblical quotes such as ‘This Do In Remembrance of Me’ and ‘Let A Man Examine Himself’. Today, they are still collected by some people as a hobby and for the most part can be acquired fairly inexpensively.
Cats are surrounded with superstition, black cats especially so. In ancient Egypt, cats were revered, the black ones being most omnipotent of all.
Folio Society Books All those who appreciate beautiful books should give three cheers for The Folio Society, the sixty-four year old publishing enterprise which produces fine volumes of great literature at affordable prices. Founded in 1947 by Charles Ede, The Folio Society caters for bibliophiles who value books not just for their literary content but also for how they look and feel. Before the Society came along, handsomely bound books with fine illustrations were beyond the means of all but the wealthy. Ede had a vision to change that, to bring the pleasure of owning a library of superior publications within the scope of most people. He was assisted in this endeavour by two experienced figures in the world of book publishing, Alan Bott, founder of The Book Society and Pan Books, and Christopher Sandford of the Golden Cockerel Press. In 1947 three titles emerged from the fledgling enterprise – Tales from Tolstoy, Trilby by George du Maurier, and a translation of Aucassin and Nicolette, a thirteenth century love story by an unknown author. Today, there are over 300 titles to choose from, covering a wide range of subjects including history, biography, humour, fiction, travel, children’s literature, poetry, religion and philosophy. In the early days, Folio Society books came with dust jackets but since 1954 they have been presented in smart slip cases which help preserve the books. The attractive bindings come in a variety of materials including buckram, cloth, silk, goatskin and leather, with every volume designed to look stylish both outside and in. Indeed, one of the great joys of owning a collection of Folio Society books lies in appreciating the elegant spectacle they make on a bookcase. The standards remain impressive once you open a Folio Society volume. The books are printed on high quality, wood-and-acid-free paper which does not go brown and deteriorate with age, and is thus the only sensible choice for books that are intended to last for generations. Great care is also taken with the typography to ensure that reading a Folio book is a pleasurable experience, since nothing spoils the enjoyment of a book more than tightly packed or overly ornate type that swims before one’s eyes and causes headaches. Then there are the books’ illustrations – beautiful wood engravings, etchings, linocuts and lithographs that are usually specially commissioned by the Folio Society and executed by some of the leading artists of today. Just occasionally, high quality reproductions of famous, well-loved illustrations are used; after all, who could draw Alice better than John Tenniel or Winnie the Pooh better than E.H. Shepard? Folio Society Books collecting as a member For budget conscious collectors, the beauty about Folio Society books is that there are several different ways in which they can be collected. First of all, there is the most orthodox method which involves responding to one of the Society’s many press advertisements. In return for a commitment to buy a minimum of four titles in a twelve month period, new members are allowed to purchase a specified book or set of books at a greatly reduced price. At the time of writing, for example, there are several enticing joining offers including The Complete Pictorial Guides by A. Wainwright for £19.95, a discount of 91% from the usual price of £219.85, and The Complete Paddington by Michael Bond, also for £19.95 instead of the usual £246.95. A postage and packing charge of £4.95 is added to these prices but even so they represent incredible value for money. In recent years a similar deal offered four superbly illustrated volumes of fairy tales and fables at a vastly discounted price, an offer many book lovers would have found hard to resist. There are other benefits of membership, too, including joining ‘gifts’ – usually an interesting book and a diary or a pen – and regular, highly informative newsletters. Yet however tempting these special offers may seem, there is a risk that people will think all Folio Society titles are as expensive as the ones that have had their prices slashed in order to attract new members. In reality this is very far from the truth. Relatively few cost more than £50 and in the current prospectus, around 113 of the 248 titles are priced at less than £30, very little more than the cost of any ordinary, mass-produced hardback. Many of the titles offered in this price range tend to be popular works of fiction. This makes fulfilling the four-book minimum order requirement easily achievable for most book lovers. Membership is made even more attractive by the occasional ‘buy one, get one free’ deals offered to members. A typical offer allows members to select one free book for each title they order, as long as it is of equal or lesser value. Great savings can be made in this way, enabling members to snap up titles from the prospectus that they had earmarked but had so far been unable to afford. Folio Society Books secondary market purchasing Although Folio Society membership offers many benefits, some people simply don’t like being obligated to purchase a minimum number of books and for them, the secondary market is the place to look. As a quick Google search reveals, plenty of second-hand book dealers sell Folio Society titles so then it’s simply a question of browsing through the dealers’ lists until something of interest is found. It’s a good idea to shop around because prices do vary from dealer to dealer, and postage and packing charges also fluctuate wildly. It is also an idea to browse internet auction sites as they are a good source for potential bargains. For example, a few years ago the Folio Society prospectus offered a lovely edition of the E. Nesbit children’s classic, The Railway Children, for £22.95 plus £4.95 for postage. At the same time, a copy of the same book was listed on Ebay with a ‘Buy It Now’ price of £8.99 plus £3.00 postage. That’s a saving of £15.91, which […]
Here’s a different theme idea for you “why not concentrate on your favourite era; dolls which capture the essence of the decade, even though they might have been made very recently? My favourite era has to be the 1960s. People say that if you remember the sixties, you weren`t there“ well, I remember it, and I was most certainly there! It was a time unlike any other, a decade of colour, movement, music and youth. It was a ‘good to be alive’ time, at least in Britain, and for once, we were proud of our country. We had the Beatles, of course, and Mary Quant, Twiggy, Tuffin and Foale, Biba and Carnaby Street. Walking down Carnaby Street in the mid-sixties, seeing the boutiques, the psychedelic window displays and the mad fashions paraded along the pavement was a crazy experience. It’s easy to recreate the feeling with a collection of dolls in those zany sixties fashions, perhaps adding a Beatle or two for good measure, and maybe displaying the whole lot against an op art background. Load a Sergeant Pepper cd (or play the vinyl version if you want to be truly authentic), dress yourself in a floaty caftan or a psychedelic mini â€“ and there you are, you’ve regressed forty years! There’s a tremendous selection of dolls to choose from, some actually dating from the 1960s while others are modern repros or fashion dolls. The 60’s look can be instantly captured by including a few Twiggy dolls. After all, Twiggy was designated ‘The Face of ’66’ by the Daily Express, and she went on to become the world’s first supermodel. Mattel issued a Twiggy doll in 1965, a vinyl teen just under 11″ high. Though she doesn’t bear a great resemblance to her namesake, she’s very cute, and certainly looks the part in her blue, green and yellow striped mini dress with yellow knee-high boots. Other outfits could be purchased separately, such as ‘Twigster’, an orange and yellow geometric-design mini. Much more recent are Medicom’s series of small, all-plastic ‘Little Twiggy’ dolls standing 4″ high with moulded outfits, and their 10″ doll with moulded hair, dressed in a black and white mini dress, red low-slung belt and pink-spotted tights. The most stunning Twiggy doll must surely be the bisque beauty issued by Franklin Mint in 2001. Standing 16″ high, she really can’t be mistaken for anyone else. Her makeup is perfect, from her ultra long spiky lashes to her pouty lips, while her psychedelic cat-suit really is groovy! Other outfits could be obtained including a lemon yellow mini, and a white dress decorated with metallic rings. Twiggy came with a fashionable op-art ‘trunk’ or wardrobe, decorated with colourful Twiggy decals. In 1960, Barbie had only been around for a year, and was sophisticated in sheath dresses and high heels â€“ not really capturing the British feel of the decade at all. However, Mattel issued a stunning 1960s look Barbie in 2000, dressed in a bright pink fun fur, so typical of the era. This ‘Groovy Sixties’ Barbie is a delight in her drop-waist dress with a print top, white boots and white cap. Amongst the range of dolls by American designer Robert Tonner are the Tiny Kitty Collier series. They mainly wear 1950’s styles, but occasionally stray into the following era, such as ‘Kitty A Go-Go’. Her classic sixties style block printed mini dress is bold and dramatic in two colours â€“ fuchsia and white. In the 1960s this style was often seen in black and white; in fact, I had one! Another creation is ‘Mod Togs’, a white sleeveless mini over a black and white striped top, while mix ‘n’ match ‘Kit and Caboodle’ contains a white mini quartered by a wide black stripe and a super lilac pvc mac with long matching boots. These outfits appeared about three years ago, and all fit well into a 1960’s collection. An absolute must in a 1960’s theme collection is Sindy. Sindy was Britain’s first 12” fashion teen, and her clothes reflected the trends. The classic is, of course, ‘Weekenders’, an outfit designed by Sally Tuffin and Marion Foale, who were very much in vogue. ‘Weekenders’ reflected the patriotic feel of the era with its red, white and blue striped matelot top, blue jeans and white sneakers. Authentic 1960’s Sindys are still obtainable at doll fairs or on internet auctions, or you could go for the stunning porcelain replica issued by Danbury Mint in 2006. Just like the original Sindy, she wears a ‘Weekenders’ outfit. Another option is the British Airways’ range of retro cabin crew Sindys; one wears a delightful representation of a 1967 white paper dress decorated with large flowers, finishing the look with a flower in her hair. During the 1960s, this outfit was sported by stewardesses on BOAC flights between New York and the Caribbean. Perhaps the designers who have most captured the 1960’s feel are Doug James and Laura Meisner. In 1999, they introduced Willow and Daisy, two glamorous girls wearing over-the-top outfits. They included ‘Ladybug Concert’ â€“ an obvious play on the Beatles â€“ consisting of a stunning white pvc getup topped with a matching ‘baker boy’ cap; a psychedelic hippie trouser suit called ‘Rock and Roll’; ‘Carnaby Street’; a lime green and lemon pvc mini with translucent panels, and ‘An Art Opening With Andy and Edie’. This tribute to Andy Warhol and his muse, Edie Sedgwick consisted of a vivid Warhol print pvc dress. Daisy’s black hair was cut in a geometric style, and the look was completed with a huge pair of turquoise earrings. The series was discontinued in 2002, but last year an associated range appeared, dressed in similar sixties’ quirky fashions, such as guitar wielding ‘Troubadour’ in a military style red and blue jacket, and ‘Sunflower’ in a lemon chiffon mini, crocheted hat and colourful velvet boots. Australian designer Jan McLean, issued a group of porcelain ‘Lollipop’ dolls a few years […]
Everyone I know who has seen Wicked the Musical has become a massive fan. As with the original Wizard of Oz it has captured the public’s imagination and is now performed all over the world. The original production of Wicked premiered on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre in October 2003, and its original stars included Idina Menzel as Elphaba, Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, and Joel Grey as the Wizard. It’s full title is Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz had has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman. There are some fans who have seen the show scores of times and many who have started to collect Wicked related merchandise, collectors items and collectables. We take a look at some of the items available to Wizomaniacs and look further at the Wicked phenomenon. The show is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West which is an alternative telling of the original The Wizard of Oz film and L. Frank Baum’s classic 1900 story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Gregory Maguire has written a series of Wicked books which also include by Son of a Witch (published in September 2005), A Lion Among Men (published in October 2008), and Out of Oz (published in November 2011). Most fans and collectors first see the musical and then some discover the books. The original 1995 Gregory Maguire book has become quite desirable with 1st editions in good condition selling for upwards of £300. Signed copies fetch slightly more and some copies even have drawings by the writer himself. The book can be somewhat of a surprise to fans of musical as it dark, has serious political undertones, a lot of sex and some think does not show Elphaba in a good light. I read the book after seeing the musical and without going into an in depth analysis, although I was intrigued Maguire’s explanation of the history and origin of the Oz characters, I found parts disturbing. On a positive the musical came out of it. Wicked the Musical Dolls Doll companies love Wicked! It is full of strong female characters with colorful costumes and has the history of Oz behind it. Madame Alexander have created some wonderful re-creations of the characters notably Elphaba and Glinda in various situations and dress. Wicked the Musical Collectables The musical is told from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz; its plot begins before and continues after Dorothy’s arrival in Oz from Kansas, and it includes several references to the 1939 film and Baum’s novel. Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (whose name later changes to Glinda the Good Witch), who struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government and, ultimately, Elphaba’s public fall from grace. Wicked the Musical Plush Toys A Wicked film is in production for release in 2019 which should see a massive increase and attention to the story and related merchandise. So start collecting now. Wicked the Musical 10th Anniversary A number of special editions were created for the 10th anniversary of the show.
Unlike us, bears have discovered the enviable secret of eternal youth. An eighty-eight-year-old Rupert? Ridiculous! A seventy-eight-year-old Mary Plain? Unthinkable! An eighty-eight-year-old Pooh? Preposterous. And as for a fifty-year-old Paddington – you must be joking! How can a bear who creates mischief and mayhem wherever he goes – admittedly a bear whose sole aim in life is to be helpful and polite, but who is unfortunately accident prone, impulsive and always in deep trouble – be well on the way to collecting his bus pass? Bears always find an age with which they are comfortable and stick to it. So, believe it or not, Paddington really does celebrate his fiftieth birthday this year. Pictured left: Paddington Bear by Gabrielle No doubt he will be hosting a party with an iced cake cooked by Mrs Bird, buns and cocoa donated by Mr Gruber, and a ‘here’s one I made earlier’ wobbly jelly from the Blue Peter team. (For many years, Paddington was a regular in the Blue Peter studio.) Of course, there will be a huge pile of sandwiches too, but the vital question is, will they be filled with marmalade – or Marmite? Up until recently, the choice of filling would have been a forgone conclusion, but suddenly our loveable bear has developed a taste for the sticky brown stuff. Of course, he still loves marmalade very much. In fact, when Paddington was first approached by the advertising company he exclaimed, “But I always have marmalade in my sandwiches!” The agency explained, “That’s exactly why we think you would be perfect for the campaign. We want people who normally have something different in their sandwiches to try Marmite.” Pictured right: Paddington Bear with Marmalade Hidden Treasures from Arora Design – each figurine has a secret compartment containing a hidden treasure. So, rather tentatively, Paddington took a sniff, and then a nibble, and finally a big bite. He discovered that he enjoyed Marmite very much indeed, and though it could never really replace his beloved marmalade, it certainly made a jolly acceptable change. The pigeons and the ducks are not too sure, though, as can be seen in the adverts. Michael Bond is not too sure, either, and in a letter to The Times wrote, “Paddington likes his food and tries anything, but he would certainly never be weaned off marmalade”, saying that Paddington’s characteristics are “set in stone and you shouldn’t change them.” In the past he has always tried to avoid any hint of commercialising Paddington Bear, so he added darkly, “Now there’s no going back.” What actually is Marmite? Well, it’s a spread made from yeast extract, vegetable extract, salt and various spices and, as the adverts proclaim, ‘You either love it or hate it’. You certainly can’t be indifferent to that tangy, tongue numbing taste. Although Paddington has been weaned off the marmalade for a while to promote the new, squeezy Marmite, I’m sure it won’t be long before he reverts to his favourite marmalade chunks. A marmalade-free Paddington is about as unthinkable as a Paddington who has lost his duffel coat and floppy hat. When Michael Bond found a small toy teddy bear on a shelf in a London Store on Christmas Eve 1956, he decided to buy it as a present for his wife. He called the bear Paddington. Just for fun, he wrote some stories revolving around the bear, and after a few days realised he had a book on his hands. However, he admits that while he was writing he didn’t consciously set out to write a children’s book – which is good, because, as all Paddington enthusiasts know, the books are far too special to be the sole prerogative of youngsters. Eventually, the book was placed with William Collins and Sons (now HarperCollins), and illustrator Peggy Fortnum was commissioned to produce the delightful sketches which complemented the stories so well. ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ was published in 1958, and as we all know, the rest is history. Amazingly, the Paddington series of books have sold over thirty million copies world wide and have been translated into thirty languages. Pictured left: Paddington Bear by Steiff As the birthday bear’s big day approaches, as well as planning his party shopping list and putting both Marmite and marmalade at the top of it, how else will Paddington be celebrating? For starters, he will be starring in a new book, the first Michael Bond Paddington Bear book to be published for thirty years. Rumour has it that a mysterious stranger will cause Paddington to reflect where home really is – surely he won’t forsake 32 Windsor Gardens and return to darkest Peru? ‘Paddington Here and Now’ will be published in June, while in October, to commemorate the publication of that very first book, HarperCollins will issue a special anniversary edition of ‘A Bear Called Paddington’. And there’s more – in March, as part of World Book Day, a £1 read, ‘Paddington Rules the Waves’, will be amongst the titles on offer. There will be plenty of new Paddington Bear collectables and merchandise this year, too, including a new Steiff creation. As we all know, Paddington was first discovered by Mr and Mrs Brown on Paddington Station, hence his name. The optimistic little refugee was sitting hopefully on a suitcase containing his worldly goods, and Steiff have depicted him, carrying his case, in a limited edition of 1,500 pieces. This 11 inch tall Paddington wears a pale blue coat and is complete with a gold-plated button-in-ear. He is based on the FilmFair Paddington Bear from the television series, a super bonus for fans of the animated episodes. Other items include puzzles courtesy of Hausemann en Hotte/Falcon, while Robert Harrop has produced a gorgeous commemorative figurine of Paddington munching a marmalade sandwich (not a blob of Marmite in sight!). More planned Paddington releases include a commemorative coin, a pewter figurine, clothing, greetings cards, a cookery book and gift wrap, as well as a range of soft […]
The Cube Teapot was a combination of modern design, successful advertising and British innovation. This made the Patent Cube Teapot a revolution of its day. Now it is a rare and stylish collectable item that conjures up images of the times when “everything stopped for tea”. The Cube Teapot was a quest to find the “Perfect Teapot”, one that did not drip tea when poured and was easily stored away when not used without the worry of the spout being chipped. Many companies had tried to create this perfect item but rather than change the whole design they had just concentrated on one of the defects. It was only when the Cube Teapot came onto the market that the all the problems were solved. The entrepreneur Robert Crawford Johnson was responsible for the design of this revolutionary new teapot and registered “Cube Teapots Ltd” in 1917. He perfected the sought after design, one that did not drip, poured easily and was chip resistant, together with easy stacking for storage. With no spout or projecting handle the cube teapot looked exactly as it sounds – a cube. Even though it was registered in 1917 the first teapot was not actually put in to production until 1920 and it claimed to be the climax in teapot construction. The first company to produce this teapot in earthenware was “Arthur Wood” of Stoke-on-Trent. But by the mid twenties this company was not the only one to make the cube and there were variations on cubic designs by other companies who were not all producing under licence. As with any successful innovative idea there are always rivals and copies, and Johnson sought on different occasions to take legal advice although he was unable to take any actual action against his rivals. James Sadler and Sons as we know today are specialists in novelty teapot designs had produced many ranges of teapots such as the “Nesta” range which were popular with the restaurant trade as they stacked neatly on top of each other, another of their designs was the “Handy Hexagon” an almost identical design to Johnson’s cube. Johnson aware that the problem needed to be tackled decided that the only course of action was a strategic marketing plan. In 1925 he formed “CUBE Teapots Co., Ltd” and embarked on the marketing and distribution of the cube teapot and similar tea ware. Percy Aspinall was one of the directors and emphasised in his campaigns that the original article was far more appealing than any imitation. A huge marketing campaign was launched to help retailers sell the product, it included colourful showcards and booklets but the most exciting was a moving display in the window of the Leicester Showrooms of a lady perfectly pouring from the cube. This campaign was a huge success with anyone who is anyone wanting a cube teapot and the companies producing under licence increased to include big names such as Wedgwood & Co Ltd and T.G. Green & Co. Ltd. There had been a continual growth of tearooms in Britain, a place where ladies could acquire refreshment in a public place. Lyons Corner Houses are probably one of the most well known and the country’s largest and with such an expanding tea business the cube teapot was exactly what the industry had been waiting for. The Cube not just popular in cafes and restaurants became used at sea on the Transatlantic Ocean Liners. This is the epiphany of the twenties to me, drinking tea out of a teapot whilst cruising the oceans at a time where transatlantic travel was the only way to go! The Cunard Line was one of the companies using the tea ware although other vessels that were not Transatlantic Liners used it on board as well. Probably the biggest contract for the teapot was when Cunard wanted the Cube supplied on its greatest liner Queen Mary. Used by all from First Class downwards it was a daily occurrence to see people sipping their morning tea having been poured from the Cube Teapot. Because it was only the shape of the teapot that was patented potteries could decorate it how they pleased. There are many differently decorated pots, my favourite being the bold bright colours of T.G. Green but variations on decoration go from one extreme to the other. The most commonly found Cube teapots today are the simple plain white ones, or the Ivory Banded Cubes used on the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth which were supplied by Brain’s Foley China. Unusual decoration such as the “Shagreen” effect again by Foley or the Grimwades earthenware models are a lot harder to find on the secondary market, recently a plain Grimwades model sold for £40. As with all good things they have to come to an end and the demise of the Cube was in the early 1950s when other modern teapot designs became popular. I believe that the key to its success was definitely the high volume of self-promotion. It was also a modernist design at a time when change was accepted and welcomed with opened arms. I am always on the look out for affordable and unusual collectables and the Cube teapot definitely sits in that bracket. Although a good mint condition one is hard to find I think the hunt would certainly be worth the effort because image how you could impress any guest that might pop in on the off chance for afternoon tea! THE CUBE TEAPOT FACTS. DID YOU KNOW? · Minton’s supplied Cunard Liners Mauretania and Aquitania · Myott and S. Fielding & Co. Ltd supplied the QE2 · T.G. Green famously known today with collectors for Cornish Ware produced the Cube palette and cup. · Foley China Works supplied bone china Cube Teapots to both Queen Mary and QE2. · George Clews and Co. Ltd produced stoneware Cube sets for the state rooms on board Queen Mary. · It was said that the cube was the largest sale of any patent teapot […]
Beads, Bobs And Babies – Dolls in The 1920s by Sue Brewer What a time it was! Carefree, sparkling, crazy; the 1920s was a decade for the young. It was fashionable to be youthful, with thin bodies, no busts and long legs ending in strappy-shoes. Parties were held at the slightest excuse, and dances such as the Charleston were all the rage, performed by arm-flailing, leg-kicking youngsters in fringed and beaded dresses with feathered headbands worn low across their foreheads. The Music-hall was still popular, with roguish singers such as Marie Lloyd playing to packed houses every night, while wind-up gramophones ensured that music was always available – and at least one member at every celebratory gathering was an ace piano-player. My grandmother held parties in her flat next door to the Palace Theatre in Walthamstow, and the artistes would call in after the show, dancing and singing and filling the air with laughter and love, something her children would always remember. She was one of the first so-called `flappers` in the area, rushing to get her hair bobbed as soon as she heard of the fashion. There was a feeling of optimism – the devastating Great War was over – and women were becoming much more independent. During the hostilities, they had worked in previously male-dominated occupations, and having acquired a taste for freedom and life outside the home environment, were determined not to give it up again. Naturally, not everyone was affected by this wave of euphoria. Thousands of people lived in abject poverty, and families still grieved for the men who never returned from the war. In Britain, King George V and Queen Mary were popular monarchs, and George had spent much of the War visiting the troops abroad. He wanted to fight for his country, but was not permitted as it was feared he could be captured as a prize hostage. Queen Mary was very fond of dolls and was presented with a wonderful doll`s house, exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. It can still be viewed today at Windsor Castle. This enormous, five foot tall house, designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, contains hundreds of items made by crafts people of the time, such as tiny bottles filled with champagne, ornamental figurines, Doulton china, Cartier clocks and carved furniture. It boasts running water, electric lights and a working lift. German dolls were exceedingly popular during the 1920s, and it was during this time that Armand Marseille introduced one of his most popular lines with the `My Dream Baby` doll. This pretty baby, with a bisque porcelain head, is a favourite amongst today`s collectors. Available in several sizes, with a hard or soft body and in various `skin tones`, there was one to suit every little girl. There was even a choice of open or closed mouths. The open-mouth My Dream Baby was marked with the mould number 351 and was bald-headed with a moulded few curls. Her mouth revealed two tiny bottom teeth. These babies featured the recently-introduced bent-limbed body (as opposed to the `traditional` straight-limbed bodies jointed at knees and elbows.) The closed-mouth version, mould number 341, is particularly sought after today. She has a rather dreamy expression and sweetly-shaped lips, and is not quite so plentiful as her open-mouthed sister. My Dream Baby dolls had either flange or socket heads (indicated by a letter `K` on the back of the neck), and could be obtained as caucasian, black or oriental types, though no attempt was made to alter the features, it was just the colouring which differed. The oriental dolls had a creamy complexion, while the colour of the black dolls varied from milk-to-dark chocolate brown. In America, Grace Storey Putnam developed another top-selling baby doll, the Bye-Lo baby, which was introduced shortly before My Dream Baby – though Armand Marseille claimed he had designed his doll first but not produced it! The Bye-Lo had more realistic face-modelling than the Dream Baby, managing to achieve a `screwed-up` look with the porcelain. Apparently, it was based on a new-born baby, and little creases were put into the composition limbs. Issued in 1922, these sweet dolls became nicknamed the `million dollar babies` because they were so much in demand. They were made by various German companies, including Kestner. Many other manufacturers such as Ernst Heubach, Schoenau & Hoffmeister, Kammer & Reinhardt, Kestner and Simon & Halbig produced bisque dolls at this time, most using the new bent-limbed baby-type body, though girl dolls with multi-jointed bodies were still available. Armand Marseille made other baby types, too, including a particularly attractive character-faced 990 mould. This doll was produced in various sizes, and the larger-than-life model tended to find its way into shop windows, where it was used to model baby wear. Babies were in fashion, because a very special little girl was born in 1926 to the Duke and Duchess of York, who later became Queen Elizabeth II. Little all-bisque dolls were popular, too. These could fit into a dolls` house, or neatly into a pocket to be carried around as a child`s companion. During the Great War, when German exports were discouraged, Japanese dolls made from a coarse white bisque had been introduced, but now, the finer-quality German dolls were back in the shops. Celluloid, wood and cloth dolls were also produced, with manufacturers such Dean`s issuing exquisite moulded-cotton-faced dolls, including the Princess doll from 1927, Posy dolls, boudoir dolls and a range using the newly-developed `Evripose` jointing system. Chad Valley was another company manufacturing cloth dolls at this time; these beautiful dolls featured moulded-felt faces with glass eyes. Their dolls included the Bambina series, made from felt and velvet, and a leggy Boudoir doll. Norah Wellings, originally a designer with Chad Valley, began producing her own collection of dolls during the 1920s, setting up a factory in Shropshire. Her Cora dolls featured felt faces, velveteen bodies and were dressed in pretty frilly frocks. Later she became known for her cheeky sailor dolls. The […]
The leaving of visiting cards was a prevalent feature of Victorian society and life. Visiting cards were an essential accessory to any proper Regency or Victorian lady or gentleman and served not just as a letter of introduction or aide memoire, but as an indicator of social class and good manners. In those days a card case was as essential an article of personal equipment as was the cigarette case was in the 1950s and 1960s. Few upper and middle class men and women were without one a card case, and they were designed and manufactured in all manner of materials and styles. Pictured: A Victorian Silver Card Case – Mark Of Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham, 1845 Cover decorated in high relief with the Scott Memorial, reverse chased with foliate scrolls around a cartouche inscribed Mary E. Farnsworth 3½ in. long (8.8 cm.). Sold for £813 at Christies, London, Dec 2013. Image Copyright Christies. Silver card cases were manufactured in great variety, usually elaborately engraved or embossed, the highly decorative treatment of initials or monogram often a distinctive feature. Highly collected are those of architectural views, collectively known as “castle tops”. Card cases for gentelemen tended to be smaller than those of ladies. Occasionally one comes across a tiny silver case no larger than a lady’s visiting-card, with side chains and a ring attached. It was made for suspending to that one-time fashionable adjunct of a Victorian lady’s outfit, a silver chatelaine. As with vinaigrettes Birmingham was a key area for the manufacture of silver card cases with noted makers including Joseph Willmore, Taylor & Perry, one of the leading designers Nathaniel Mills. Victorian card cases were also made tortoise-shell and mother-of-pearl and many show their daintiness and superior workmanship to the immense charm and interest inherent in many things Victorian. The middle of the 18th century ushered in a fashion, borrowed from the Continent, for cartes de visite adorned with a picture or engraving, perhaps portraying a classical or mythological figure, or depicting views of different towns or famous monuments; perhaps displaying a simple floral motif, swag or festoons. As time went on the standard of design and workmanship deteriorated. The vogue for this sort of card declined, giving place to the plain Victorian visiting card bearing merely name, or name and address in a variety of styles of printing or engraving, a type still surviving in what cards are used at the present day. It is a moot point whether Beau Brummell or the Royal Family set the fashion for this unadorned variety. Simple and austere as the cards were, the art of using them was ordered by a rigid and complicated code of etiquette which it believed the socially ambitious to master, or else suffer the humiliation of rebuff or disregard. The earliest card cases were made with a pull-off top in contradistinction to the hinged lid of later varieties, including the deeper, more roomy type with a two-hinged lid, and interior of concertina-like folds of stiff paper, silk or satin, forming several compartments for the cards. Perhaps the most strikingly attractive line, and one turned out in great numbers, was the case made of mother-of-pearl or nacre, small diamond or rectangular shaped pieces of which were fitted together, completely covering an underlying structure of thin wood. The nacre was used in a variety of ways— sometimes alone, its decorative value in its high irridescent gloss; sometimes in two shades—light and dark—making a wonderfully arresting contrast; sometimes combined with tortoiseshell; sometimes with silver introduced as corner or side embellishment, or centrally as an escutcheon for initials. Cases of tortoiseshell were legion—light, dark, plain, fluted, banded with ivory, silver or pewter; some bore a celluloid monogram in high relief, in colour to tone. Perhaps the most interesting class in this material were cases with designs of mother-of-pearl inlay, often in conjunction with gilt wire. Among this type were many of superior workmanship, and exceptionally charming design. A case with a dark tortoiseshell background would feature an all-over grape-vine pattern in which tiny bunches of grapes and vine leaves were in inlay of contrasting light pearl, stems and tendrils of twisted gilt wire. The result was most decorative and attractive. Ivory cases were a strong durable line, their styles mostly severely plain, intricately carved, or with a design delineated in tiny gold points in the manner of pique work. Synchronous with the popular demand for card cases was the great 19th century innovation of papier-mache. Many cases of this, then novel, material were made, their decoration in character with that of other papier-mache objects of the period-gaily painted landscapes and flower motifs, exotic birds, playing fountains, etc., or in the true Victorian tradition, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, usually enhanced with skilful gilding. In Victorian times travellers abroad would often bring home as souvenirs card cases of work peculiar to the countries visited; of metal filigree, for instance, from the Canary Isles, the patterns in wire tracery similar to those of the well-known Tenerife lacework ; of sandalwood from India; of elaborately carved ivory and tortoiseshell from China and Japan; specimens from Persia in beautifully carved cedarwood enriched with fine native mosaic-work. From time to time cases of other materials crop up, e.g., those showing the work of the accomplished fingers of the Victorian needle-woman, in beadwork, petit point, Berlin woolwork and other embroideries fashionable at the time. For several decades following the obsolescence of the fashion, card cases seemed to fail in any serious appeal as collectors’ pieces. No longer serving a utilitarian purpose and with many specimens of fragile construction, they tended to be regarded somewhat as unwanted bygones— a drug on the market, so to speak. Nowadays, in their distinctive Victorian charm, their great variety, and speaking as they do of an elegant facet of more leisurely days of last century, far from being allowed ignominiously to disappear from the artistic scene, they have caught the attention of the connoisseur to become a most fascinating collector’s item in Victoriana.