The Alexander Doll Company Storesale and Pre-holiday
private shopping event takes place from the 14th-16th October,
with the Madame Alexander Company Store opening its factory
doors to the public for limited time only
The exclusive sales event offering new merchandise arriving
daily and new products previously not available.
Madame Alexander offers dolls of the highest quality, with
elaborate designs and couture fashions in collectible dolls,
fashion dolls, baby dolls, doll clothing, doll accessories and
figurines. The perfect Holiday Gift with our classic 8"
Wendy Dolls that were up to $100.00 now $40.00 and up, 21"
Cissy Dolls that were $499.00 now $199.00 and up, 16" Fashion
Dolls that were $150 now $50-buy one at $50 and get the second
one at $25. Many of these items are up to 80 percent off of
original retail prices.
The Alexander Doll Company
615 West 131 Street (between Broadway and 12th Avenue)
Subway: 1or 9 to 125th Street (walk uptown on Broadway to 131st
and make left turn, walk down hill to middle of block, blue
awning on right side)
New York, N.Y. 10027
Dates and Time
Thursday, October 14th 9:00am-6:00pm
Friday, October 15th 9:00am- 6:00pm
Saturday October 16th 9:00am- 5:00pm
All major credit cards accepted (Visa, M.C., and Amex)
Personal checks (with proper Identification)
No returns, merchandise sold as is.
For more details visit the Madame
Alexander web site.
Visit the WCN MA information pages
and message board.
Write for WCN
Random Collecting Feature
Two birds flying high, A Chinese vessel, sailing by. A bridge with three men, sometimes four, A willow tree, hanging o’er. A Chinese temple, there it stands, Built upon the river sands. An apple tree, with apples on, A crooked fence to end my song. As one of the most renowned and fascinating of romantic fables, with its Shakespearean overtones of doomed love and tragedy, the Willow Pattern story is universally familiar. This timeless tale of star-crossed lovers appeals to the imagination whilst the intricate and decorative Willow Pattern itself has been hugely popular for centuries. This instantly recognisable pattern is a classic Chinese landscape design, the fundamentals of which include a weeping willow, pagodas, a crooked fence, a tree bearing fruit, three or four figures on a bridge, a boat and a pair of lovebirds forever kissing. Combining these elements, the long-established and poignant saga is revealed. In a bygone age a wealthy and powerful Mandarin of the Chinese Empire lived with his lovely daughter Knoon-se in a grand palace surrounded by ornate, exotic flowers and trees. Chang, a low born but intelligent and personable young man, was employed as secretary to the Mandarin and fell hopelessly in love with the exquisite and captivating Knoon-se. Reciprocating his affections, Knoon-se met with Chang each evening beneath a weeping willow tree by the river. The Mandarin learned of their trysts and, infuriated that his adored daughter had fallen in love with a commoner, dismissed Chang, banning him from the estate, while Knoon-se was imprisoned in a pavilion overlooking the river. He surrounded the palace grounds with a crooked fence and, against her wishes, arranged for Knoon-se to marry the warrior Duke Ta-jin. With no company apart from servants, Knoon-se befriended and fed many birds and, knowing that her wedding would take place once the fruit tree outside her window was in bloom, she stared desolately into the river, contemplating her isolation and despairing of her future without Chang. The devoted Chang, unaware of Knoon-se’s approaching nuptials, also cared for and spoke with birds while dreaming of ways to contact his lost love. [Here, versions of the legend differ; as some say that] Chang sent a message to his beloved by fixing a sail to a shell and floating it down the river bearing a love poem, “As this boat sails to thee, so my thoughts tend”, which Knoon-se scooped from the river with her parasol. Her spirits lifted as she read his words and knew that Chang would come for her. During the hours of darkness she replied unseen, adding a burning incense stick to the shell and warning Chang to “Gather thy blossom, ‘ere it be stolen”. Knoon-se watched the tiny light until it disappeared downstream and prayed for rescue. [Other versions claim that the lovesick couple communicated using their feathered friends as go-betweens.] The tree was heavy with bud and near to blossom as the Duke Ta-jin arrived amid great fanfare, accompanied by a huge retinue of servants. He presented his betrothed Knoon-se with a casket of r are and priceless jewels, but she could think of none other than Chang and gazed at her unwanted future husband with a heart of stone, her eyes dull with despair. Nights of celebration and sumptuous banquets followed. Chang entered the palace grounds disguised as a servant and glimpsed the Mandarin and Duke through a window, both sated and asleep. Seizing the moment, he crept to the riverside apartment where Knoon-se languished alone. The lovers embraced with tears of joy and, pausing only to grab the casket of jewels, fled across the bridge to a boat that Chang had moored nearby in readiness. Alas, a slight noise alerted the Mandarin and he gave chase. [At the height of this daring adventure, the Willow Pattern depicts Knoon-se on the bridge holding the Staff of Virginity, followed by Chang bearing the box of jewels with the Mandarin in hot pursuit, brandishing a whip. When the fourth figure is shown in the Willow Pattern this represents the Duke, desperate to recapture his fleeing bride-to-be and her lover.] Knoon-se and Chang sailed to a faraway land where they sold the jewels to purchase a small pagoda and lived in bliss, sharing the life they had yearned for through many seasons. [The Willow Pattern shows their distant pagoda surrounded by lush foliage.] In a fit of vengeful spite, the Mandarin captured and caged all the birds in his gardens, as birdsong was anathema to his ears. Relentlessly he and the Duke sent spies and warriors on long and unsuccessful quests to find the couple. Ultimately the brooding Mandarin, obsessed by his lost daughter and thwarted at every turn, chanced upon a possible solution. He released all the birds and ordered his men to follow them as they flew away. The devoted birds, who had never forgotten Knoon-se or Chang, unwittingly led the evil army straight to their far off dwelling. At the dead of night, murderous men surrounded the pagoda, setting it alight as Knoon-se and Chang slept. Tragically, the lovers perished in the flames. Revenge and bitterness had seemingly prevailed as the fire raged and engulfed all. Cosmic winds howled as the ever-watchful gods took pity on the doomed lovers and blessed their undying devotion by granting them immortality. From the charred ruins of their home, the souls of Knoon-se and Chang soared into the sky as turtledoves and kissed again; beyond fear, beyond danger, forever free and symbolising eternal love. The Legend of the Willow Pattern – as we know it – may have little substance as an ancient Chinese fable. An expert in Chinese History at Murdoch University in Western Australia suggests that the essence and outcome of our familiar version is at odds with imperial Chinese ethics and social order of the past. Differences of perception between East and West are illustrated here; as a similar Chinese allegory would be a cautionary tale of stupidity and deception – because Knoon-se disobeyed her […]
Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. He died aged 42 on August 16, 1977 but during his short life and since his death he has become one of the most well known cultural icons of modern times.
These days there is a definite tendency to over-use adjectives such as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘inspirational’ but when these words are applied to the achievements of Margarete Steiff, founder of the world famous Steiff company, their use is amply justified. In the nineteenth century, to be female was almost as great a stumbling block to achieving international commercial success as being disabled. Margarete was both and yet she overcame these ‘disadvantages’ to establish a business that was phenomenally successful in her own day and remains so today, 127 years after it was founded. Pictured right: Recreation of Richard Steiff’s workshop, featuring a scale replica of 55 PB, the world’s first teddy bear Born in Giengen, Germany in 1847 to a master builder and his wife, Margarete was stricken with polio before she reached her second year, leaving her paralysed in both legs and with a severely weakened right arm. It was a devastating setback that left her confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life but whilst the polio was able to damage Margarete physically, it was unable to destroy her spirit. Surrounded by a loving family, she grew up with a strong sense of confidence in her abilities and with a vision to earn her own living. She took the first step towards achieving this goal when she began dressmaking in 1866 and, eleven years later, opened her own shop selling felt garments which she had designed and made herself. As the business prospered, Margarete was able to employ a few people to help produce her garments. Pictured left: PB 28, Richard Steiff’s second jointed bear, also known to collectors as the Rod Bear The switch to toy making occurred in 1880 when Margarete used a pattern from a German magazine to create a small felt elephant which could be used as a pincushion or simply as a toy. Encouraged by the positive reaction of friends to whom she showed the elephant, Margarete started to experiment, making felt dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and pigs as well as the original elephant. The more she made, the more people wanted them, and thus Margarete Steiff GmbH was born. As her business grew, Margarete devised ways of bringing her products to the attention of an ever-increasing audience. In 1892, for example, the company produced its first catalogue which featured the maxim, ‘Only the best is good enough for our children.’ Simple and to the point, the motto is still used by the Steiff company today. Another step towards worldwide recognition came in 1897 when Margarete booked a stand for the first time at the Leipzig Toy Fair, the toy industry’s most important trade event. Unable to attend in pers on, Margarete arranged for a new employee to represent her company at this prestigious fair. The young man in question, fresh out of college having just completed his studies at the Stuttgart School of Art, was to play a seminal role in the future of Steiff. A favourite nephew of Margarete, his name was Richard Steiff and his gift to the world was the Teddy bear, arguably the best-loved toy of all time. Pictured right: First Steiff catalogue, produced in 1892; it introduced the company’s motto, ‘Only the best is good enough for our children’ Until the early twentieth century, bears had been represented in toy form as fierce and somewhat unlovable but Richard Steiff was determined to change that. He had a passion for real bears and made it his mission to create a soft toy bear that would win the hearts of children. To this end he made countless sketches of the bears he saw at Stuttgart Zoo as well as those found in travelling circuses and animal shows. At the end of the nineteenth century he designed a number of bears on wheels that could be ridden on or pulled along, and he also produced bears that stood up on their hind legs. In all his experimentation, his object was to give the toy bears life-like movement but nothing quite satisfied him. Then, in 1902, he made a significant breakthrough, creating a bear that was able to move thanks to its innovative string-joints. Called Bär 55 PB, it was destined to take the world by storm. Pictured left: Margarete Steiff holding Richard Steiff’s perfected bear First, however, the new toy had to be unveiled to the world and the venue chosen for this was the 1903 Leipzig Toy Fair. At first, the reaction to Steiff’s new, jointed bear was disappointing but that changed when an influential New York buyer, searching for something new and unusual, placed an order for 3000 of them. The arrival of Bär 55 PB in America coincided with President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt’s much publicised refusal to shoot an injured bear for sport. Public perception linked the new toy bear with the popular President and thus the ‘Teddy’ bear was born. To cope with the unprecedented demand for the bears and to accommodate the rapid expansion of the company, a state-of-the-art glass and steel factory was erected in Giengen in 1903. So revolutionary was the design of the building that it does not look dated and is still in use today. For all its success, however, Richard Steiff was not entirely satisfied with his jointed bear and he continued to experiment and develop. His aim was to perfect his design and in 1905 he achieved this by replacing the bear’s string joints with disc joints, an ingenious method that has remained in use to the present day, 100 years after its invention. This ‘perfected’ bear met with unparalleled success, requiring Steiff to produce 974,000 of them in 1907 alone. Margarete Steiff died just two years later but her company continued to flourish in the capable hands of her nephews. Their combined vision and business acumen enabled the company to grow and to weather the worst that the troubled 20th century had to offer. Today, Steiff has an unrivalled worldwide reputation for the excellence of […]
Many collectors have a soft spot for Lee Middleton Dolls from the Lee Middleton Company; beautiful babies without the ugly wrinkles and creases which many manufactures feel obliged to mar their creations. I began collecting them comparatively recently, with my first acquisition dating only to 2001, but in fact the company has been active for twenty-five years. Pictured right: First Generation It all began in 1978 when the founder, Lee Middleton, from Ohio, wanted dolls resembling her own children, and she decided to make them herself. She sculpted those first dolls on her kitchen table. Very soon, relatives and friends asked Lee to sculpt dolls of their children, too. Lee’s talent was obvious, and before long she had formed a company, finding herself in charge of a cottage industry. She received her first nomination for a DOTY (Doll of the Year) Award in 1985. Larger premises were needed, eventually leading to the opening of a manufacturing facility in Belpre, Ohio, in 1989, and soon the company were producing more baby dolls a year than any other manufacturer in America. In fact the Mayor of Belpre declared the city to be “The Baby Doll Capital of the World.” Lee Middleton changed the way collectors felt about vinyl dolls; before, most designers had insisted on working with porcelain, but Lee’s dolls helped show that vinyl could be just as collectable. Her dolls went from strength to strength. Then, in 1997, tragedy struck – Lee died from a heart attack. Naturally, her employees were devastated. However, out of the heartbreak came an unexpected twist with the discovery of talented Canadian doll artist, Reva Schick, who would not only carry on the Lee Middleton tradition of creating exquisite dolls, but would take the company to new heights. Pictured left: Pride and Joy Lee Middleton had believed that her artistic talent was a gift from God, and Reva Schick holds the same belief, continuing the charming custom of including a tiny Bible in each doll box. In 1998, she was nominated for a DOTY award, and since then, has received almost forty prestigious awards and nominations. Yet in spite of all her sculpting, Reva still finds time to go on national doll signing tours and attend conventions, meeting thousands of fans. The dolls appeal to celebrities, too, who are just as tempted by the sweet faces – Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore are both enthusiasts. The dolls from the Middleton Doll Company are life-size and weighted. Every year new dolls in various skin tones, eye colours, hair colours and sizes are introduced, made from a soft to touch vinyl, which feels very authentic. Their facial f eatures are realistic, and the babies have often been mistaken for real babies, with stories of police chastising women for holding their ‘babies’ on their laps instead of putting them in a restraint, or of leaving them unattended in cars. Pictured right: Tulip The quality of the Lee Middleton Dolls is excellent, and this extends to the clothing where only the finest materials are used. Beautiful lace, silky dresses, embroidered flowers, crocheted caps and patent shoes, as well as more trendy cords, anoraks, modern prints and even ethnic traditional dress ensure there is a baby to suit every taste. In 2004, Lee Middleton Original Dolls expanded its line to include ‘Breath of Life Babies’. This collection of incredibly lifelike preemie-sized dolls features a new skin-like vinyl called ‘New Baby Skin’ and rooted ‘Baby Fine’ hair. More than half of the first collection of Breath of Life Babies sold out before even being featured in stores. Interestingly, unlike most other companies, the dolls are not given conventional names; instead they are given a short description such as ‘Young At Heart’, ‘Holiday Wishes’, ‘Spring In Paris’, ‘Love Makes the World Go Round’ or ‘Uniquely Yours’. This allows the purchaser to bestow a name of her own choosing onto the doll, and also means that the name does not sway the choice. (For instance, if you were bullied by a Linda at school, or disliked a person called Mavis, you are not so likely to buy a doll if it bears those names!) Pictured left: Love Makes the World Go Round The various face sculpts also have titles; ‘Sweet Lips’, ‘Munchkin’, ‘Small Wonder’, ‘Lil’ Darlin’’, ‘Little Sunshine’, ‘Cutie Pie’ and ‘Beautiful Baby’ – there are dozens of them, and it’s amazing how, just by varying skin tone, eye colour or hair, the face can appear totally different. Some collectors aim to collect an example of every doll issued which features their favourite face. A few years ago the company set up ‘The Newborn Nursery’ at their store in Belpre, Ohio, and it proved so successful that department stores throughout America now contain these nurseries. Designed to look like a real hospital nursery, the Newborn Nursery lets children go through a fun baby doll adoption process before bringing their new bundles of joy home. When children choose to ‘adopt’ a Middleton Company baby, they can go along to a centre where sales associates wearing nursing uniforms teach the girls how to properly care for their dolls and give the new dolls health ‘check-ups’. They are handed ‘adoption papers’ before the baby is presented to the new little mummy. These nurseries have proved so popular that summer club events are organised where girls and their baby dolls gather to play. Recently, the company opened a museum to show the history and development of the Lee Middleton doll. It’s a must for collectors visiting Ohio, and can be found near the retail store. The tour begins with a replica kitchen table, illustrating how Lee Middleton began her sculpting, and traces her humble beginnings in rural south-eastern Ohio. Dolls on display include rare and interesting doll collections on loan from long-time collectors. Many creations by Reva Schick are exhibited, including one of her earliest works, a fascinating baby created with bread dough and made at her kitchen table! Pictured left: Happy Birthday Teddy Over the […]
Star Wars Drifter In 1977 George Lucas’s Star Wars was released in cinemas all over the world. The film revolutionised the cinema industry, and the two sequels, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi were equally successful. Around the films has been built a massive merchandising industry which seems set to grow as a new generation of fans arrives willing to buy figures, comics, posters, autographs, cells, games, puzzles, light sabres, masks, stationary, videos of the films, videos of the making of the films, display pieces, promotional material, Pez dispensers, Tazos etc etc etc. Outside of the main characters which we are all so familiar with, there was a cast of hundreds. At a recent collectors show WCN met John Chapman who played one of the X-Wing Pilots in the briefing room scene. This scene never made it into the final cut and eventually only the scene with the back of the X-Wing pilots viewed. The lost briefing room scene still exists and has caused a lot of debate among die hard fans. His character Gil ‘Drifter’ Viray was one of the survivors of the assault on the Death Star and John also appeared in the end ceremony where Luke, Han and Chewbacca are awarded medals. John Chapman is attempting to find other members from the lost briefing room scene to have a re-union. He is also attempting to develop his character further with stories of Drifter’s adventures after Star Wars. Although in only a small, non-speaking part John Chapman is developing a fan base, especially among completist Star Wars collectors, who just have to have everything associated with the film. As well as attending memorabilia fairs, John has been a guest at several Star Wars conventions where he has been surprised by the interest in his character. “I’d never bothered with the convention circuit as I didn’t have speaking part, I was just one of the extras in the briefing room scene”. Will Drifter memorabilia be collectable? Probably not, but to the many Star Wars fans out there, this is another slice of unusual Star Wars history that adds a new dimension to their collecting.
Released during the Great War from 1915-1919 was an impressive set of eleven toby jugs based on the Allied Political and Military leaders by Wilkinson after designs and caricatures by Sir Francis Carruthers Gould. Each of the figures holds an item or is an item and has associated words e.g. Lloyd George holds a cannon shell with the words Shell Out on it (full list below). The set is extremely well designed, made and coloured and each molded figure was polychrome enameled and gilded. The features the retailers mark Soane & Smith, who were based in Knightsbridge. Lord Kitchener, holding a jug inscribed ‘Bitter for the KAISER’, 25cm high Admiral Beatty, holding a shell inscribed ‘Dread Nought’, 26.5cm high Field Marshall Haig, seated upon a tank, titled ‘Push and Go’ to the base, 27cm high Admiral Jellicoe, holding a jug inscribed ‘Hell Fire Jack’, 26cm high Marshall Joffre, holding a shell inscribed ’75mm Ce Que Joffre’, 25.5cm high Lord French, holding a jug inscribed ‘French Pour Les Francais’, 26cm high Lloyd George, holding a shell titled ‘Shell Out!’, 25cm high Marshall Foch holding a champagne bottle inscribed ‘Au Diable Le Kaiser’, 31.5cm high General Botha, holding a jug inscribed ‘Loyalty’, 26.5cm high Woodrow Wilson, with an aeroplane on his lap, the base inscribed ‘Welcome! Uncle Sam’, 27cm high King George V, holding a globe, the base inscribed ‘Pro Patria’, 30cm high A fabulous and rare set not often seen for sale as a full set.
Britain is a nation of gardeners; I’ve heard that 80% of houses in Britain have private gardens, covering an area twice as large as Surrey. That’s fifteen million gardens in our green and pleasant land. Every weekend sees thousands of us making our way to garden centres, where we choose plants, bulbs, seeds and sundries to try to make our garden beautiful. Slugs, aphids and caterpillars eat most of them, but gardeners are a tolerant bunch – it’s not just the plants, it’s the general feeling of well-being and of feeling at one with nature which urges us to plunge our hands into the soil to embed yet another plant into the ground. Pictured right: Alpine Strawberry by Roy Kirkham plate Some of us build conservatories, or maybe garden shelters, so that we can use the garden as an extension of our homes even when the weather is inclement. We dot ornaments around the flower beds, nesting boxes and insect homes along the garden walls and we build ponds and fountains so birds can bathe. When we dine in the garden, we use floral plates, butterfly-decorated glasses, flowery cutlery – and all these things can be deemed collectable, whether you use vintage pieces or go for modern or retro designs. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still create a garden feel indoors by collecting items with a floral or naturalistic theme. I’ve known people who have created an indoor garden by displaying pretty flowered plates against white wall-mounted trellis and hanging a few indoor plants to enhance the effect. Another way of ‘garden collecting’ is to collect old gardening items, from tools to seed packets, and from statues to lawnmowers. The most obvious choice for garden collectables is probably the well-known ‘Botanic Garden’ range of tableware made by Portmeirion pottery. Portmeirion, though, have produced many other beautiful designs which would look stunning at an alfresco meal. Pictured right: 1980s Portmeirion British Birds One of my personal favourites is the ‘British Birds’ design, based on illustrations from the Natural History of British Birds by Edward Donovan, published in 1794. Forty birds were featured in the collection, and because the designs are in a antiquated style the pieces have a timeless quality about them, which is probably why they have remained in production for so long. This pattern was originally conceived in 1974, and sadly is not now sold in Britain, though is still available in America. I acquired my items in the 1980s when visiting the shop in Portmeirion village, but pieces do crop up at collector’s fairs. Pictured left: Portmeirion Strawberry Fair I’m also very fond of the ‘Strawberry Fair’ decoration – perfect for serving scones on a summer’s day – and the ‘Pomona’ design of varieties of fruits. There are many other Portmeirion designs with a ‘garden’ theme, amongst them the recent ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ which is based on the popular picture book by Eric Carle. Incidentally, if you are visiting North Wales, do try to visit the village of Portmeirion. The pottery isn’t made there, though there is a shop selling the current range – but the village is stunningly quirky. It’s as though a slice of a sleepy Italian village has been deposited on a beautiful stretch of Welsh coastline; it’s a restful place and one of my all-time special spots. Pictured right: Meakin Poppy Jug 1960s Many ranges of tableware from the 1960s and 70s employed the flower motif – these were the days of flower power. Think Meakin, for the delicate pink floral ‘Filigree’ design, or the more bold ‘Poppy’, while ‘Topic’, with its blue stylised flowers is classic 60s elegance. Even more stylised is the swirling 1960s ‘Spanish Garden’ from Midwinter, while their ‘Country Garden’, with its pattern of leaves and buds symmetrically curling from either side of a large blue and pink flower, is beautiful. It would be impossible to mention all the floral ranges – practically every manufacturer of tableware has included a floral design at one time – but they range from delicate chintz type patterns to vibrant, bold roses. Pictured left: 1960s Meakin Filigree & Viners Love Story Floral china is perfect for a meal in the garden on a summer’s day, and can be themed with pretty cutlery, such as the 1960s’ Viner’s ‘Love Story’ which bears a design of tiny silver daisies. Don’t forget glasses; there are plenty of beautiful designs to look out for, both vintage and modern, featuring flowers, leaves or butterflies. You could look out for a suitable vintage tablecloth, too – ‘lazy daisy’ stitch was very popular in the 1930s, 40s and 50s and will complement your garden theme. If you’re worried about risking your treasured china in the garden, then there are plenty of modern plastic pieces around – and some, such as the gorgeous retro sixties floral designs which Asda came up not so long ago, might even become future classics! As well as tablecloths, other fabric items can be used outside including cushions, throws and canopies; look out for vintage patterns, such as the large-flowered round-petalled daisy types from the 1960s and the bold flowered orange and deep green 1970s’ designs. It’s best, though, to bring them in at night as they could get damp, and also not to keep them in the sunlight for too long, in case they fade. Floral handbags and scarves, or wicker shopping baskets and hampers look good artlessly dotted around at a garden party or a get-together. They add an element of fun, and are a great way of displaying a collection of traditional or retro items. I’m a Simon Drew fan – he is an artist with a quirky sense of humour. He’s based at Dartmouth where he has a shop and gallery, and many of his designs are based on puns such as a ‘receding hare’ or ‘joined up whiting’. Some of his garden themes, including ‘Incapability Brown’ have been featured in a range of ‘bug proof’ mugs. They come […]
As the Queen celebrates her official birthday on Saturday June 11 we thought we would take a look at some of the collectables and memorabilia available for collectors. These include offerings from Royal Doulton and smaller potteries such as Hazle Ceramics and Bairstow Pottery, teddies from Merrythought & Steiff, cars and buses from Corgi, a great offering from the Royal Collection and more. Merrythought Teddy Bear Merrythought have created a wonderful Limited Edition teddy bear to Celebrate HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday Merrythought, Britain’s last remaining teddy bear factory, has designed a splendid collectable teddy bear in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday, alongside her historic achievement in becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch. This exquisite piece has been hand crafted in the original workshop in Ironbridge, Shropshire, where Merrythought have been making teddy bears since 1930; a magical place where each teddy bear is brought to life using only the finest material and traditional craftsmanship that has been passed down four generations of the family business. ‘HM Queen Elizabeth II Teddy Bear’ is available from quality retailers, including Harrods, Teddy Bears of Witney, World of Bears and The Merrythought Teddy Bear Shop and website (www.merrythought.co.uk) priced at around £259.00. Steiff Teddy Bear Steiff have created a special bear for the Danbury Mint to celebrate the event with the Queen’s 90th Birthday Bear which will be issued in a strict limited edition and will only be made during 2016. She is hand-made from the finest peach-coloured mohair, with a hand-stitched nose and mouth, is fully jointed and around her neck there is a regal purple ribbon with a specially-commissioned birthday pendant. Lavishly plated in 9ct rose gold, it shimmers with over 40 diamond-white crystals. There are also two sparkling pear-cut amethyst-coloured stones and a genuine solitaire diamond – the Queen’s birthstone. The bear’s paws are embroidered in majestic purple thread with the words “Queen Elizabeth” and the year “2016”. The bear measures 11″ (28cm) standing, and is priced at £199. Hazle Ceramics Hazle Ceramics still produce some of the best collectables from their pottery in Essex. They are able to create special pieces for many special events and if you have not heard of them visit https://www.hazle.com. The models are The Post Office – Happy Birthday Ma’am! (priced at £54) and The Queen’s Birthday Breakfast (priced at £110). Corgi Corgi are celebrating the 90th Birthday Of HM Queen Elizabeth II with two special commemorative die-cast vehicles: a Routemaster bus and a classic mini, both in regal purple livery. Both models are priced at £9.99 and can ordered from the Corgi web site. Royal Doulton Royal Doulton have created a series of four figurines Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90. The models are: Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: At Home, Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: Birthday Celebration, Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: A Royal Christening and Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: Army Days. Each model is 22cm high. Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: At Home £150.00 Queen Elizabeth in a striking yellow suit with the Royal Family’s recognisable corgis at her feet whilst relaxing at home. Masterfully crafted and rendered in beautiful colours, this is a stand-out piece to honour Her Majesty the Queen’s landmark birthday and her 63 years of service in the Royal Family. Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: Birthday Celebration £125.00 Standing at 22cm tall and rendered in a vivid deep red to her coat and hat, Queen Elizabeth is portrayed here with celebratory birthday flowers and her iconic sense of style. Every detail has been considered and executed with fine craftsmanship for a collectable to last a lifetime and beyond. Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: A Royal Christening £175.00 A scene paying tribute to Prince George of Cambridge’s christening, this impeccably crafted figurine depicts a scene set up for official photos of the day – showing Her Majesty the Queen with the Duke, Duchess and Prince of Cambridge sitting on a sofa that would have been within the regal surroundings of Buckingham Palace. Rendered in beautiful colours with striking attention to detail, this piece would make a beautiful gift for any home, and a highly desirable collector’s piece. Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: Army Days £125.00 This commemorative figurine displays Queen Elizabeth in her days within the army after she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945. Presented in bold time-honoured colours with impeccable attention to detail, Queen Elizabeth is shown with her correct uniform and bag. Keep as a treasured collectable or give as a superb gift. The Royal Collection Shop The Royal Collection shop has a whole range of of commemorative chinaware and gifts commissioned by Buckingham Palace. The collection includes a Commemorative Pillbox, Mint Imperials, Plates, Tankards, China, Carriage Clock, Mugs, Jewellery etc. For more information visit https://www.royalcollectionshop.co.uk/ Bairstow Pottery Queen Elizabeth ll 90th Birthday Commemorative Character Jugs Bairstow Pottery, of Stoke have released a commemorative Queen Elizabeth ll character jug to celebrate her 90th Birthday. The Queen Elizabeth ll 90th Birthday Commemorative Character is being produced in a number of colourways including yellow, orange and blue version.
1961 was the best of times. JFK and Jackie were in the White House, NASA was in space, Elvis was back from the Army, and Marx Disneykins were introduced on toyshop shelves throughout the Western world. Made of injection molded hard plastic and hand-painted by artists in British Hong Kong, each Disneykin figure was a perfectly packaged “miniature masterpiece” of postwar technology. Playfully packaged in bright candy-like boxes and intriguing shadow box scenes, Disneykins were a perfect cartoon fantasy universe unto themselves. Carried in pockets and schoolbook bags they could spring to life at a moment’s notice, providing hours of imaginative fun and make-believe. Disneykins embodied both the self-assured innocence of the times and the Walt Disney Productions’ cartoon mythology. The figures included representations of almost the entire Disney pantheon of toon stars, from everyday favorites like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Dumbo and Peter Pan (from the first series) – to more exotic personalities like Bongo the bear, Professor Ludwig Von Drake, Uncle Scrooge, Toby Tortoise, the Mad Hatter and Willie the Whale (from the second series) – to name a few. The Louis Marx Toy Company manufactured Disneykins from 1961 right up to the company’s demise in 1972-3. By the end of the line, the Marx Company had produced a large number of completely different Disneykins and Disneykin lines, with a total of over 160 figures at last count. Basically, Marx made a Disneykin representation of nearly every major character in a Disney animated film that was released (or re-released) during that twelve-year period. When combined, the original 1961 “First Series” of 34 figures (the most common Disneykins) and the rarer 36 “Second Series” figures (called “New” Disneykins) feature the major cartoon stars of PINOCCHIO, BAMBI, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, PETER PAN, SLEEPING BEAUTY and DUMBO. Other more film-specific Disneykin lines that followed were: the 1961 101 Dalmatians series (sold primarily in Europe and Great Britian), 1962’s Babes in Toyland series (soldiers and flats, in two sizes), Lady & the Tramp (1962), The Sword in the Stone (released in 1963 and only available as a large playset), 1967’s The Jungle Book, and closing with the scarce Robin Hood cartoon line in 1972. In addition, a special Pinocchio series was briefly marketed during the film’s 1962 re-release, as well as a separate Ludwig Von Drake series of figures and playsets which tied-in with both NBC & RCA and his Wonderful World of Color (NBC-TV) appearances. Featured products from the Disneykin era included many finely detailed, way-out miniaturized toys such as: The Lady & the Tramp Kennel Box Set — with the entire film’s cast of 12 dogs and cats in kennel windows. The Sword In The Stone Playset — a larger HO scale boxed playset, which included a castle, playmat, knights, Madame Mim and Merlin’s houses and the entire cast of character figures. The “See and Play” Disneykin Dreamhouse Playset (Marx/Montgomery Wards, 1968) — an intricate see-through 2 story suburban house, complete with landscaping, two cars, Disneykins, and all modern conveniences, including a 60s-era kitchen, gaudy dining room set, TV, carpeting, pool and even a bathroom). The 101 Dalmatians Playset line — which featured the film’s complete story, uniquely illustrated in six boxed playset scenes, with figures, props and furniture — which came in two different sizes. A Brief History Like many Marx toys from the 1960s, Disneykins were basically a recycled product, having their roots in the previous decade. Most of the Disneykin figures are essentially the “grandchildren” of the 38 soft-plastic, 60mm unpainted Disney character figures from the large scale Marx “Walt Disney Television Playhouse” (1953) along with the 13 additional character figures. The “kin” evolutionary path went through a few more essential steps — such as the metal hand-painted Linemar line, and the German, Holland and Japanese figures – before being miniaturized, hand-painted and rechristened “Disneykins.” They are essentially the same figures with the same poses – only the scale and materials differ. Disneykins were usually packaged and sold in four basic formats: Single figures – in little candy-colored individual boxes, with or without a window TV-Scenes – one or two figures and props in a small 3″ x 3″ television-like window display box. Playsets – larger, more elaborate window display boxes which housed five to eight figures in a stage-set scene, with furniture, props and a themed background. Gift Box – a large window display package which included all or most of the figures from an entire series, each in its own individual cubby hole with name ta g. This format is frequently misidentified as a store display. In addition, some Disneykin series included larger combo gift boxes of multiple playsets and TV-Scenes. The playset combo is called a Triple Playset and featured three separate playset scenes in one box, and the TV-Scene Gift Box included six separate TV-Scenes in one box. Again, these packaging formats are frequently misidentified as store displays. The ingenious, and confusing aspect of the Disneykin packaging was not only the large variety of interesting box formats and packaging used to sell (and re-sell) the same items, but the fact that a child would have to purchase nearly every playset in a line just to assemble one film’s cartoon cast. For example, in the First Series: The “Mickey Mouse & Friends” playset includes Peter Pan, the “Donald Duck Pier” playset has Captain Hook, and Tinkerbelle appears in the “Dumbo’s Circus” playset alongside Alice. In the Second Series it became even wierder: the “Lost Boys” playset features Flower the Skunk from Bambi, the “Lady & The Tramp” playset scene has the two clowns from Dumbo, the “Three Little Pigs” playset included Brer Fox standing in for the Big Bad Wolf, and the “Cinderella” scene box has Peter Pan’s Wendy masquerading as Cinderella alongside the Owl from Bambi. (Note: a Big Bad Wolfe figure was eventually produced in the early 1970s lineup, and Marx never made a specific Cinderella figure.) Although many of the Disneykin figures were available for over ten years […]
Jumeau was a French company, founded in the early 1840s, which designed and manufactured high quality bisque dolls. It was founded by Louis-Desire Belton and Pierre-François Jumeau in the Maison Jumeau of Montreuil-sous-Bois, near Paris, France. While Belton did not remain with the company for long, under Jumeau’s leadership (and later, under the leadership of his son, Emile), the company soon gained a reputation for dolls with beautiful faces and “exquisite” clothing which replicated the popular fashions of the time. Pictured: French Bisque Bebe Triste, Size 14, Emile Jumeau with Original Couturier Costume c1867 – 26″ (66 cm.) Bisque swivel head on kid-edged bisque shoulder plate, perfectly oval-shaped face with appealing plumpness to lower chin, small blue glass enamel inset eyes with darker blue outer rims, dark eyeliner, painted lashes, mauve-blushed eye shadow, feathered brows, shaded nostrils of aquiline nose, closed mouth with well-defined lips enhanced by accent lines, pierced ears pierced into head, blonde mohair wig over cork pate, kid body with shapely torso, gusset-jointed arms, stitch-jointed legs, ice-blue silk antique gown, undergarments, blue kidskin ankle boots, bonnet. Condition: generally excellent, body sturdy and clean. Comments: Pierre-Francois Jumeau, circa 1867, the portrait-like model was likely created for exhibition at the Paris 1867 International Exposition. Doll from The Billie & Paige Welker Collection Image Copyright Theriaults. The Jumeau company first emerged as a partnership between Louis-Desire Belton and Pierre-François Jumeau in Paris in the early 1840s. In 1844, Belton and Jumeau presented their dolls at the Paris Exposition (at which they received an honorable mention), but by 1846 Belton’s name was no longer associated with the dolls, and Jumeau was trading in his own right. A bronze medal in the 1849 Paris Exposition followed, as did an appearance at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, at which the company was awarded a First Place Medal. Through much of this period, the firm sold only their own dolls to wholesalers, although during the 1850s and 1860s, the company moved into selling wax dolls imported from Britain. Pictured: French Bisque Bebe Triste, Size 14, Emile Jumeau with Original Couturier Costume – 30″ (76 cm.) Bisque socket head with very full cheeks and chin, large blue glass paperweight inset eyes with heavy upper eyelids, dark eyeliner, painted lashes, mauve-blushed eye shadow, brush-stroked and feathered brows with decorative glaze, shaded nostrils, closed mouth with outlined and accented lips, dimpled chin, separately modeled pierced ears, blonde human hair over cork pate, French composition and wooden fully jointed plump body with straight wrists. Condition: generally excellent. Marks: 14 (head) Jumeau Medaille d’Or Paris (body). Comments: Emile Jumeau, the wistful-faced Bebe Triste, circa 1884. Doll from The Billie & Paige Welker Collection Image Copyright Theriaults. At the Paris expositions and the Great Exhibition in London, Jumeau dolls received their commendations due largely to the quality of the clothing, and no special significance was attached to the dolls themselves. This changed in 1867, when at the Exposition Universelle of that year, the company was awarded a Silver Medal, and “special mention was made of the doll’s heads”. 1867 was also the year that Pierre-François’ son, Emile Jumeau, joined the company. By 1873, when they were awarded a gold medal at the Vienna Exposition, the company was producing their own bisque dolls in their factory in Montreuil. Pictured: Extremely rare and large Pierre Francois portrait Jumeau bisque shoulder head fashion doll – Having the features of a character lady, fixed blue glass eyes, with delicate shading to lids, closed slightly smiling mouth, moulded pierced ears and long blonde mohair wig, swivel head to kid leather body with separate fingers, wearing ivory silk and lace two piece gown, under garments, lace up boots and straw bonnet, 66cm (26in) tall. Image Copyright Bonhams. Although the Jumeau firm had won commendations, very few Jumeau dolls can be securely identified dating before the 1870s. However, by 1877 Emile Jumeau had produced the first Bébés (or dolls in the image of a little girl). With realistic glass eyes and “stylish fashions” produced by costumiers, thousands of Bébé dolls were produced for an international market. Pictured: French Bisque Portrait Bebe by Emile Jumeau – 12″ (30 cm.) Pressed bisque socket head, large grey/blue glass inset eyes known as “wrap-around” with spiral threading and pronounced black pupils, painted lashes, dark eyeliner, rose-blushed eye shadow, feathered brows, accented nostrils and eye corners, closed mouth, outlined lips, pierced ears, blonde mohair wig over cork pate, French composition and wooden eight-loose-ball-jointed body with straight wrists, pretty antique aqua silk costume, undergarments, leather slippers. Condition: generally excellent. Marks: 8/0 (head) Jumeau Medaille d’Or Paris (body). Comments: Emile Jumeau, circa 1878. Doll from The Billie & Paige Welker Collection Image Copyright Theriaults. In 1878, the Jumeau company won a Gold Medal at the Exposition Universelle (1878). The award was proudly advertised on the bodies, boxes, shoes and even the dress labels of the dolls. Jumeau won a number of other high awards including the prizes for the best dollmaker at both the Sydney International Exhibition (1879) and Melbourne International Exhibition (1880) in Australia. The dolls were internationally sought after as luxury items and status symbols. The firm also was regarded as an industrial success, with production figures of over three million dolls annually by the mid-1890s. The “Golden Age” of the Jumeau factory lasted for two decades, from the late 1870s to the late 1890s, when the competition from German dolls sent the firm into financial difficulties. The Jumeau dolls from the later 1890s are of more variable quality. German dolls in the 1890s were cheaper than the French, but still well-made and much loved by little girls, even if they were by no means as elegant or graceful in face or costume as the best Jumeau dolls.