Optical toys such as kaleidoscopes have been popular for decades: children still play with stereoscopes which have been popular since the time of Queen Victoria, while projectors, toy cameras and many other optical novelties are all manufactured today.
Bonzo is probably the most popular character collected from the 1920’s right through to present day. A strange looking creature with a pudgy face and bright blue eyes he has appeared on everything from postcards through to toffee tins. I felt the urge to find out what made this little dog one of the top collectors items on the market and why he was so envied by all in his day. Pictured – George Studdy, Bonzo’s creator. Image courtesy of Richard Fitzpatrick. George Studdy, Bonzo’s creator was born on 23rd June 1878 in Devonport, Plymouth. He had one older sister and a younger brother and all were brought up in a strict household due to their father Ernest Studdy, being a lieutenant in the 32nd Regiment, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Ernest was hopeful that one of his sons would also follow a military career but due to an injury to his foot George’s life took a completely different path. His Aunt was aware that George had a love for art and gifted him £100 to start him on his way. He attended evening classes at Heatherley’s Art School and also one term at Calderon’s Animal School where he studied animal anatomy. He began to put a portfolio together and was then able to sell some of his sketches to publications and make a little money for himself. Comic Cuts was the first ever publication to buy his work on a regular basis and this was the start of George building up his client base amongst the Fleet Street publishers. Pictured – The Bonzo Book. By 1912 George’s reputation was formidable as a cartoonist and had illustrations appearing in all sorts of publications from “The Tatler” to “The Sketch”. An odd little dog kept appearing in his illustrations but it was not until 1918 when the editor of “The Sketch” became interested in what was known as “The Studdy Dog” that this little character really began to develop. Changing from recognised breeds over the years this little dog began to take on the form of a more cartoon character appearance, a mischievous pup he really caught the hearts of all the readers but there was one thing missing – his name! After receiving a host of letters from readers asking when this pup’s name was going to be divulged. The Editor of “The Sketch” Bruce Ingram, made the decision in 1922 and announced to the world that that this dog was called “Bonzo” and changed Studdy’s weekly illustration from “This Week’s Studdy” to “This Week’s Bonzo” thus the first official appearance of the cute little pup as we know and love him today. George and his wife Blanche had a daughter Vivienne who appeared in some of these sketches alongside Bonzo but she was not always happy with the end result especially when “Heads I win” was published. It wasn’t the fact that a little girl was crying against the wall with a headless doll in her hands and Bonzo grinning with a dolls head in his mouth that upset her but the fact that her knickers were showing and her socks were half way down her legs “I would never had looked that dishevelled!” she told her father. Pictured – A collection of various Bonzo soft toys. Image courtesy of Richard Fitzpatrick. Bonzo went from strength to strength and was in huge demand. Other publications wanted him on board and he was a regular image on various advertisements. He even appeared in neon lights in London’s Piccadilly Circus. The little pup began to pop up everywhere and so also did a host of Bonzo merchandise. Items such as scent bottles; plates, ashtrays and condiment sets were just the tip of the merchandise iceberg. Every toy shop in the country had Bonzo Toys that were made by both Chad Valley and Deans Rag Book Company. George was producing hundreds of postcards, which was the strongest market and today are collected all over the world. Bonzo even stared in 26 films for which George and ten other artists had to illustrate thousands of drawings, these ten minute films were released during 1924 and 1925. Sadly “The Sketch” finally made the decision to give poor little tired Bonzo a holiday after over 5 years of publication – this was to be his final appearance in the newspaper although George returned with other characters such as Ooloo! in 1929. Although he was no longer in “The Sketch” his image appeared in the countless postcards published by Valentines of Dundee and Dean’s published him in many Bonzo books from 1935. George Studdy sadly passed away in 1948 but the Annuals continued to be published up until 1952 other artists were used but the quality was no where near as good so Bonzo too was laid to rest Pictured – A modern enamelled badge. This was originally made by Richard Dennis to accompany the publication of The Bonzo Book by Paul Babb & Gay Owen. The badge has proved so popular with collectors that the Richard Dennis company still makes it today. Image courtesy of Richard Fitzpatrick. This strange little dog was part of people’s lives for over 30 years and is still very much part of collectors lives today. Anything associated with him now commands high prices on the secondary market especially the more unusual items. “Bonzo The Life and Work of George Studdy” is published by Richard Dennis Publications and written by Paul Babb and Gay Owen. Both are avid collectors of this little character and Paul explained to me that it was Studdy’s humour that made Bonzo such an interesting item to collect. The rarest items in Paul’s collection are original artwork and paintings that he acquired at an auction many years ago when illustrators were not so sought after or highly regarded as today. There are so many different pieces of merchandise to collect but one of the most sought after items by collectors is the Bonzo toffee tins manufactured by […]
With the forthcoming TCM Hollywood Cool auction at Bonhams and the sale of items associated with Happy Days and The Fonz (one of the most merchandised characters of the 1970s), we thought we would take a look at some of collectibles released over the years based on the Happy Days series and characters. Happy Days was an American sitcom television series portraying an idealistic vision of life in the 1950s and early 1960s Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Happy Days was created by by Garry Marshall and was one of the most successful of the 1970s running on the ABC network from January 15 1974 to July 19 1984. A total of 255 half-hour episodes were made spanning 11 seasons. Initially focused on the character Richie Cunningham played by Ron Howard, his family and friends and all their experiences it was a moderate ratings success but began to falter during its second season. The show took a change of direction and began emphasizing comedy and after spotlighting the previously minor character of Fonzie, a “cool” biker and high school dropout the show never looked back and became the number-one program in television in 1976–1977. The show was a hit internationally especially in the UK. The main cast included: Henry Winkler (Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli), Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham), Marion Ross (Marion Cunningham), Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham), Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham), Anson Williams (Warren ‘Potsie’ Weber), Donny Most (Ralph Malph) and Chachi (Scott Baio). The Fonz – Fonzie became one of the most merchandised characters of the 1970s Arthur Fonzarelli, a.k.a. The Fonz or Fonzie – Initially a minor character, he was a hugely popular breakout character and was made a series regular. Fonzarelli’s “Fonzie” nickname and comeback phrase, “Sit on it,” were created by the show’s producer, Bob Brunner. Known for being especially cool and for his catchphrases “(H)eyyyy!” and “Whoa!” His coolness gave him special powers, such as making machinery (such as Arnold’s jukebox and other vending machines, electric lights, and car engines) function by pounding on them with his fist, or getting the attention of girls by snapping his fingers. His parents abandoned him as a child and his grandmother raised him from the age of four. (Source: Wikipedia) The Mego Happy Days carded 8″ action figures also included Richie, Potsy and Ralph. Mego also released Fonzie’s Jalopy so the gang were able to drive around. Tuscany Studios created a chalkware The Fonz figure. We are not too sure on the likeness but it is a very rare and unusual item to have. More Happy Days Collectibles Funko released five Funko Pop! models in June 2021 which included: 1124 Fonzie, 1125 Richie, 1126 Arnold, 1127 Joanie and 1128 Chachi. Did you know? Happy Days spawned a number of spin-off TV series including Laverne & Shirley, Joanie Loves Chachi and Mork & Mindy. Related Mork and Mindy Collectibles
Tiny Tears Dolls – The Most Popular Vinyl Doll – Launched in a blaze of publicity in 1965, amazingly Tiny Tears dolls are still sold today – and the earliest ones are becoming exceedingly collectable. At the time, Palitoy was one of Britain’s largest toy manufacturers, and their revolutionary doll went on to win the ‘Toy of the Year’ award no less than three times. But what made this vinyl doll any different to the hundreds of others on the market at the time? Well, not only she could she shed ‘real’ tears and wet her nappy, additionally her limbs were attached with unique rotational joints, causing her to fall naturally into a floppy, babylike position when she was held. The very first, 1965, Tiny Tears doll was 16″ high with fine pale blonde hair and blue sleeping eyes. The back of her neck was marked ‘Made in England 16D’. She had delicate features, a small, pursed mouth, wore a turquoise or pink gingham romper and came with a bib, bottle and a dummy. This doll proved so popular that a year later Palitoy produced a smaller version, Teeny Tiny Tears, just 12″ high. Shortly after, Palitoy became part of the American company, General Mills Inc., who decided to keep the Palitoy name. Sometimes today collectors come across a baby doll similar to Tiny Tears but with a smiling face. This is Baby Flopsy, issued around the same time and advertised as being able to wear Teeny Tiny Tears outfits. She was sold wearing just a nappy. Five years after the initial launch, Tiny Tears was given a complete revamp which made her appear older; her delicate face was more rounded, her eyes were larger, her mouth wider and her hair was thicker. This is the face which most people remember, and it was to stay the same for the next fifteen years. She was marked ‘Palitoy’ on the back of the neck. One of her most popular outfits was a white nylon dress with blue and pink smocking on the yoke, and she was sold in this from 1973 to 1980, at a recommended retail price of œ7.99. Tiny Tears dolls came with guarantees and gift certificates, as well as instructions on how to feed the doll and make her cry. The tear mechanism was activated by ‘feeding’ the doll with water, quickly inserting a dummy to prevent the water trickling out of the mouth, and then squeezing her tummy hard. She would wet her nappy at the same time, probably due to shock! To mark the next decade, Tiny Tears was given a pretty cotton dress with a floral design in either pink or blue, and, at first, matching pants and bonnet, though soon a nappy was substituted for the pants while the bonnet was discarded.The eye-catching box read ‘She’s as cute and cuddly as a real baby. Just like a real baby she cries real tiny tears.’ The decade also heralded a new addition, the little Teeny Weeny Tiny Tears, just 9″ tall, who is now extremely popular with collectors and quite hard to find. A Tiny Tears logo was introduced, shaped like a yellow ‘sun-ray’, to decorate clothing and accessories, and in 1982, the floral outfit was updated to a white cotton dress trimmed with blue gingham. Three years later one of the prettiest versions of Tiny Tears appeared. Her ash-blonde hair was very thick and curly, her face was slimmer, and she wore a distinctive all-in-one jump-suit consisting of pink and blue spotted trousers over a white and blue striped top, with the words ‘Tiny Tears’ embroidered in blue on the trouser bib. Although the boxes of these dolls were labelled ‘Palitoy’, the actual doll bore no mark. It was around this time that General Mills withdrew from the toy scene and for a while, it seemed that Tiny Tears would disappear too. However, you can’t keep a popular doll down, and soon she was back, now produced by Tonka Toys, who introduced a brunette version as well as the standard blonde. It was Tonka who were responsible for one of the more unusual innovations when, in 1988, they gave Tiny Tears ‘flirty’ eyes, which moved from side to side. At the same time, they revamped her body, giving her realistically-curled fingers. This roving-eye doll is very collectable, but be careful, because the delicate eye mechanism is often damaged. When Tiny Tears celebrated her 25th birthday in 1990 (sold in a special anniversary presentation box) she was given a complete makeover, and reverted to the original delicate features. Tonka introduced two new dolls to the range. Timmy Tears, still a favourite today, and advertised as Tiny Tears’ twin brother, had dark hair, a saucy face, and wore a white and navy dungaree suit. He had the same crying and wetting abilities as his twin. The other addition was big sister Katie, who was a triumph, and one of the prettiest dolls on the market at the time. She was dainty, with a sweet face and, at 17″ tall, an inch taller than her siblings. Her outfit consisted of a white-spotted cerise or navy dress, and though she wasn’t a crying doll, she could do something even more clever – she could grow her hair! Around her neck hung a large plastic locket containing a pull cord, which enabled the hair to be wound in or out from her head, and an additional hairpiece was included in her box. Katie was soon discontinued, and is today one of the most sought-after of the Tiny Tears collection. During this period, the who-owned-whom became complicated. A spokes-person, writing in 1998 on behalf of Playmates Toys, a more recent owner of Tiny Tears, states that General Mills was bought out by Tonka and ‘eventually Kenner Parker. The company stayed Kenner Parker up until about 5 years ago (1992), when it was bought out by Hasbro, however the company still remained with the name Kenner Parker, which became a part of […]
Bernard Leach the Father of British studio pottery
Of all the varieties of china manufactured by the firm of W. H. Goss, the cottages and other small buildings have probably the greatest appeal. They are accurately modelled, of a fine translucent body, well decorated and are not disfigured by a transfer crest. It is these two latter criteria which are used, quite arbitrarily, to define the term ‘cottage’ in this article. Pictured: Three W H Goss Cottages including the First and Last House in England, small with green door, Shakespeare’s House, small full length, one chimney damaged, and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Estimate £100-£150. Image Copyright Bonhams. Plain white pieces, whether parian, or glazed with a crest, have not been included. Thus the series of lighthouses has been omitted, as have any uniformly coloured buildings. It was in 1883, just over 20 years after the founding of the firm of W. H. Goss, that the well-known heraldic china was introduced, with an eye to catching the popular market, although the more costly jewelled china and parian ware continued to be manufactured. So successful was this venture that, about 1893, Goss started a new line for his wider public, which was apparently an immediate success. This consisted initially of models of three cottages, Ann Hathaway’s, Burns’, and Shakespeare’s. Pictured: A WH Goss model of Robert Burns’ cottage. Estimate £60-£80. Image Copyright Bonhams. Perhaps, at this point, there seemed little need to increase the range, and new models were at first very slow in being issued. The Manx cottage and the ‘Window in Thrums’ were issued about 1898, and in 1908 a further model, of the First and Last House at Land’s End, was produced. All these models were produced in two sizes, the larger being designed to be used as a nightlight. The choice of subject was intended to make as wide an appeal as possible and was mainly confined to well-known tourist attractions, though Goss’s liter ary interest is evident throughout, and models associated with Shakespeare, Dickens, Johnson, Wordsworth, Barry, Thomas Hardy and Izaak Walton are included. The period from 1910 to 1915 was one of intense activity, and no less than 15 new models were announced. These, as the earlier ones, are distinguished by having a registered design number, a practice which was discontinued in July 1914. The firm’s fortune started to decline during the First World War, but new models continued to be issued. As a group these were labelled ‘Copyright’, until about 1922, when any reference to protection of the design was omitted, although all the models were clearly labelled with the name W. H. Goss and the trademark, the Goss hawk, a kind of falcon which was taken from the family crest. In addition, every model bears a brief inscription as a form of identification. Some, particularly the earlier models, also bear an impressed mark, W. H. Goss, but this is not, as has been suggested, a reliable method of dating. A collection of eleven W H Goss cottages, early 20th century – Comprising two large cottages ‘Model of Burns’ Cottage’, 14.5cm wide, and ‘Model of Shakespeare’s House’, 18.5cm wide,and nine smaller examples ‘Ann Hathaway’s Cottage’, ‘Charles Dicken’s House’, ‘Prince Llewelyn’s House Beddgelert’, ‘Rt. Hon D Lloyd George’s early home Criccieth’, ‘St. Nicholas Chapel, Lantern Hill, Ilfracombe’, ‘A Window in Thrums’, ‘Old Maids’ Cottage at Lee, Devon’, ‘The House at Lichfield in which Dr Samuel Johnson was born’ and ‘Model of oven in which Goss porcelain is fired’, printed black marks. Estimate £800-£1000. Image Copyright Bonhams. The exact date of issue of the pieces is by no means easy to establish. As long as the registered design numbers were used, it is quite straightforward to find the approximate first date of issue. From 1914, the only evidence readily available is from the Goss Records, which were small catalogues listing all the so-called ‘special models’, covering heraldic ware as well as cottages, parian busts and many other types. The last two editions of these Records were issued in 1914 and 1921 with a slim supplement in 1918, so that any exact dating is impossible from the simple list of new models that was issued. The 1921 Record, for example, lists six models as being in preparation, but for the last six, no documentary evidence is available. The lists given here represent an attempt to place the models roughly in order according to the first date of issue. With the exception of the last piece, John Knox’s house, it is likely that all the models were issued well before the firm sold out in 1929. The buyer had also acquired several other china firms, together with their moulds, and a num ber of their products were issued, marked with the Goss trademark, which had a well-deserved reputation for quality. As regards the cottages, these were mainly very inferior models of Shakespeare’s and Ann Hathaway’s cottages, in various sizes, crudely coloured and bearing the original Goss transfer label. John Knox’s house, how ever, having no counterpart in the for mer range, bears the later style of trade mark, ‘W. H. Goss, England’, which applied to new designs after 1929. Although, as the lists show, there are only about 40 different subjects, my own collection comprises about 115 recognisably different varieties, either Because of different size, different colour, or depending on whether the models are matt or glazed. For example, of the first 17 subjects listed, that is, of those first issued up to about 1912, 15 are found both glazed and unglazed. The Newquay Look-out House, being akin to a lighthouse, and having little colour ing, is invariably glazed, while the First and Last Post Office has so far not been seen glazed, although it may well exist. None of the subsequent subjects has been found in the glazed state and it is postulated, with some supporting evi dence, that all models were issued glazed for a limited period around 1912. The glaze has the effect of protecting the paint, so that the glazed models are normally found in outstanding […]
In this highly digital age board games are taking more and more prevalence for spending interactive time with family and friends. From this we seem to be digging those family board games we still own from the seventies and eighties out of the cupboards, blowing off the dust and this gets us thinking….. Is this worth selling or playing? What is mine worth? How do I get a valuation? Is mine collectible? One example is the game consisting of the original usual suspects. Colonel Mustard, the Reverend Mr Green, Mrs Peacock, Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum and the (apparently) controversial Mrs White. She was removed from the game in 2016 after it was claimed that having a housekeeper was a ‘dated idea’ and was replaced with Dr Orchid. The artwork was also updated to a more cartoon style. An original 1949 edition of Cluedo, the popular crime deduction game can sell for around £150. But wait, it would have to be unplayed !! Unplayed?? Who, genuinely in 1949 was thinking that this brand new board game would be worth buying, taking home and NOT playing with it in the hope that in seventy years time it will be something of value? Surely these games are there to be played with? A pre loved copy of a board game has more character having stood the test of time. Write in the comments below if you are a board game collector and own the games to play or to simply to have bragging rights that you own a much sought after copy. As a board game collector myself, what interests me more than anything is owning an original copy of a game that has been played with since it was originally produced. The idea that I am now sitting with my family and friends playing a game which was handled and played when it was very first produced? What are your thoughts on this? When looking for an original copy of Cluedo don’t forget that the black and white cover thought to be the first edition is not actually the case. This could affect your expected valuation. Instead you would be looking for a bold, red thumb print under the magnifying glass as in the above picture. This changed to the simple black and white as the additional printing layer of the blood red was far too costly to keep up with the demand for the game. Over the years the art has changed significantly on the box and in the game. From the late 1950s into the 1960s it would look like this. I’m in my mid forties and I remember this art from the late 1960s through the 1970s. More recently Cluedo looks like this. In recent years the game has been franchised into versions from films, specific areas (similar to Monopoly), Disney, comics and more. These include Harry Potter, Nightmare Before Christmas, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ricky and Morty, Sherlock and even a Newcastle and Gateshead edition. These editions are more niche and limited and have the potential to increase in the value. And remember that in the United States the game has simply been called Clue. There is even a spin off film starring Tim Curry which I am a huge fan of. Our research shows that certain online auction sites have varying prices. Why?Because there are two sides to the story. What someone wants for it and what someone is willing to pay. Board game related features How much is my Monopoly worth? Cluedo feature by Rob Edmonds.
Masons Ironstone China The 19th Century saw a massive growth in the British pottery industry with the production of functional, durable and decorative ceramic tableware. The durable nature of the pottery being produced and the ability to use transfer-printing, meant that customers still wanting Oriental patterns could now have the patterns on a much more dense, and stronger “china”. Pictured: A Mason’s Ironstone Part Dinner Service Late 19th Century, Impressed And Black Printed Ironstone China Marks Each piece with a figural chinoiserie vignette within a paper scroll and oyster ground punctuated with floral sprays and cartouches of precious objects. The set comprised over 100 plates, platters, dishes etc. Sold for $50,400 at Christies, New York, 2006. Image Copyright Christies. The manufacturing process could also be scaled up and the production moved to large factories, the cost of items was reduced and a new market of aspiring middle classes could now afford household china for everday use. This move supplanted the more delicate Chinese style porcelain that was common at the time. One such material was ironstone – a hard, dense and durable, slightly transparent white earthenware. The first form of ironstone was thought to have been manufactured by William Turner around 1800 at the Lane End potteries at Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. A number of potters were experimenting and it was also known as semi-porcelain, opaque porcelain, English porcelain, stone china and new stone. Pictured: A William Mason blue and white dessert-plate and three Mason’s Ironstone dishes Circa 1820, the dishes with printed and impressed MASON’S PATENT IRONSTONE CHINA marks The dessert-plate printed with the ‘Furness Abbey’ pattern, within moulded arcading and broad borders of scrolling cartouches of landscapes divided by passion-flowers and convolvulus, the dishes of leaf-shaped form with double-scroll handle, printed with the ‘Blue Pheasant’ pattern (all with riveted repairs and slight chipping, and staining to first) The first 7½ in. (19 cm.) diam., the second 9 5/8 in. (24.4 cm.) wide (4). Sold for £688 at Christies, London, 2009. Image Copyright Christies. Ironstone was first patented in 1813 by Charles James Mason, the son of Miles Mason. The Mason’s were a family of potters and had been developing a number of potting techniques at their works at Lane Delph, Fenton. The patent was No. 3724 was for a process for the “Improvement of the Manufacture of English Porcelain’, IRONSTONE PATENT CHINA”. The initial patent was for 14 years and was not renewed. Other companies such as Davenport and Hicks, Meigh & Johnson started producing similar wares. Pictured: Eight Mason’s Ironstone Jugs Circa 1825-35, Black Printed Marks Of octagonal form and graduated in size, painted with Oriental figures within shaped cartouches on an iron-red tiled ground The tallest 7½ in. (19 cm.) high (8). Sold for £688 at Christies, London, 2009. Image Copyright Christies. At the time the patent was taken out the ownership of the company was transferred to Miles Mason’s two sons and became known as G. & C. Mason or G. & C. Mason & Co. Family members include Miles Mason, his sons William Mason and Charles James Mason, and George Miles Mason.The company enjoyed enormous early success and continued to introduce new wares and designs. However, a change in fortunes saw Charles James Mason declared bankrupt and the firm close in 1848. Charles James Mason started a new factory at the Dasiy Bank Pottery but he died in 1856. At that time all the Mason patterns and moulds passed to Francis Morley. Morley and the Ashworth family formed a partnership during the period 1858-60, at the Broad Street works in Hanley. In 1862 Morley retired and passed everything to Ashworth including the Mason patterns, copper plates, moulds and trade marks. The company was acquired in 1884 by John Shaw Goddard and remained in the Goddard family until 1973 when the firm joined the Wedgwood Group. Masons Ironstone Related Masons Ironstone at Auction The Mason Family of Potter MILES MASON Miles was born in December 1752 in the village of Dent, Yorkshire. By 1769 he had moved to Chigwell where he was a neighbour of the Farrar family. On 13th August 1782 he married Ruth Farrar at St. Gabriel’s, Fenchurch Street. He was aged 30 but she was only 16 years old. After the marriage Miles became tenant-in-chief of a fine house and other properties at Chigwell Row, Essex which had previously been let to his late father-in-law by the Lord of the Manor of Barringtons. Apparently he never lived there. On 8th September 1783 Miles became a Freeman of the Glass-sellers’ Company and took the Livery on 23 September 1784. He was the founder of the Mason company and was producing porcelain of a high quality from the early 1800’s. He started by taking over the business of selling imported china which had been started by Richard Farrar, his father-in-law, in London in about 1783. Much of the porcelain sold was of the shape and design of the very popular Chinese export market porcelain. At this time a producer of such wares was called a ‘chinaman’ – a producer of china. By September 1784 he had taken over the china business of Richard Garrett. In 1793 he moved with his family from Fenchurch Street to 41 Finsbury Square and it was at this time that he was master of a City Livery Company. In 1796 Miles had moved to 25 Queenhithe near Blackfriars and it was a this time that he became a partner in three different partnerships and was involved in the manufacturing and retail sides of the pottery trade. One partnership was with Thomas Wolfe of the Islington China Manufactory, Folly Lane, Liverpool, a manufacturer of earthenware, a second with James Green of Upper Thames Street, London, a wholesale pottery-dealing company and thirdly a partnership was formed with George Wolfe so that he could make eartherware at Lane Delph. In June 1800 he dissolved the partnership with Thomas Wolfe, due to the heavy duties that were imposed by the Government in 1799 on […]
Evenings are longer now, and traditionally this is the time of year when witches shake the dust from their broomsticks to take off into the skies, black cats polish their whiskers and wizards settle down with their spell books and a goblet of something tasty made from newts. Harry Potter is big business, and as well as dvds, keyrings, mugs and sticker books there are some stunning dolls made in his likeness, and those of Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and the rest of the Hogwarts’ inhabitants. Ever since Harry first appeared – ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, was released in 2001 – dolls have been made as tie-ins with the films, and it has been fascinating to watch these dolls develop, reflecting the growing up of the children in the films. So far, the films which have appeared are ‘Philosopher’s Stone’, ‘Chamber of Secrets’, ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’, ‘Goblet of Fire’, ‘Order of the Phoenix’ and the latest ‘Half-Blood Prince’, and as each hits the cinemas, so a new range of toys and dolls reaches the shops. Not all of the dolls are intended just for children, either! When Robert Tonner, a prestigious American designer, announced in 2005 that he intended to issue a line of Harry Potter dolls, collectors were intrigued. The first doll in the series, ‘Harry Potter at Hogwarts’ featured Harry in his school outfit of grey sweater and flannel trousers with a black robe, and was breathtaking; this was a perfect Harry! Most of the dolls in the series stand around 17 inches tall, and feature 17 points of articulation, which means they are eminently poseable. They have hand-painted faces and the modelling is excellent. Since that initial release, other Tonner versions of Harry have appeared, such as Harry in his Quidditch outfit and Harry ready for the Yule Ball. The Quidditch Harry features him dressed in a custom knit sweater over racing trousers and shin guards. His red and yellow house robe bears the Gryffindor crest. A magnificent Firebolt broomstick is available separately. The Yule Ball version is a rather sinister Harry, in a long black robe over a formal shirt, trousers, waistcoat and bow tie. A model of Hedwig, his owl, can be purchased to add a finishing touch by perching it on Harry’s arm. The Ron and Hermione dolls are equally stunning, especially the Yule Ball versions. Ron at the Yule Ball wears his vintage tapestry robe – the subject of much mirth in the book – over a frilled formal shirt, trousers and velvet bow tie. His ginger hair is set off well by the autumnal shades of his robe. Hermione is beautiful in her long ball gown in graduated shades of purple chiffon ruffles, and with her upswept hair styled in ringlets around her face. The company also sells casual outfits which the three friends can wear for weekend outings. Now Tonner has added more characters, such as Draco Malfoy, Cho Chang, Professor Snape and Voldemort. Even Dobby, Kreacher, Crookshanks, Fawkes and the Sorting Hat are included in the Tonner creations, which means that keen collectors can act out the stories through their dolls if they want, or arrange them in scenes from the books or films on a shelf. Perhaps the most handsome of the dolls is the fair-haired Draco Malfoy, which conveys not only a sense of smouldering evil, but also of smouldering good looks. Draco has also been created as a ‘special’ in his Quidditch outfit. The delightful Cho Chang is charming in her school uniform, while the elegant Yule ball version features her in an embroidered kimono-style dress. Of course, Tonner aren’t the only company to have made Harry Potter dolls; amongst others are Gotz, Mattel, Vivid Imaginations and Gund. Gund created a series of plush dolls a few years ago, skilfully modelled with flocked-felt faces. They also produced a range of all-fabric dolls. Mattel too made soft-bodied dolls featuring Harry and his friends. These Mattel dolls, which were some of the earliest Harry Potter commemorative dolls, were 12 inches high and featured thick yarn hair. Each doll came with an appropriate charm – Harry had an owl, Ron a dragon, whilst Hermione had a hat. Hagrid, the burly half-giant, has been made as plush toy by both Gund and Vivid Imaginations Various smaller dolls have appeared over the last decade. Mattel have been responsible for several ranges, amongst them the ‘Wizard Sweets’ series, which featured 8 inch high dolls packed in sweet shop illustrated boxes and included various sweet-themed items. They also produced moulded figures in assorted sizes, incorporating some of the characters not normally issued as dolls, such as Dumbledore and Ginny Weasley, and even a model of the Hogwarts Express, all ready to leave from platform 9¾ . Gund, too, produce unusual characters – they make an excellent ‘Fluffy’ (three headed dog), baby Norbert (dragon), Hedwig (owl) and Mrs Norris (Kneazle), all created from soft plush or fabric. They even make a golden snitch with pearly fabric wings, ready for a game of Quidditch. In 2002 the German Gotz company released a set of three excellent characters – Harry, Ron and Hermione. Each doll was 18 inches high, and the modelling was impressive. Their costumes were very detailed and excellently constructed and the character faces were slightly quirky These dolls were limited editions, but surprisingly, although they were so well-made (and expensive, around £100), they don’t sell for much on the secondary market at present. I would expect these to be ‘sleeper dolls’, which will suddenly rise in value. Character dolls, especially the top-of the range kinds, such as those featured here by Gotz and Robert Tonner, are usually a good investment for the collector.The world of entertainment is volatile, and so personalities tend to come and go. Soon, there will be no new Harry Potter films, and manufacturers will turn to different films for inspiration. Then the Harry Potter dolls, especially those which have been kept mint in box, will come into their own. DID YOU KNOW? […]
The Time Tunnel remains a cult classic and we take a look at some of the The Time Tunnel collectibles, The Time Tunnel merchandise and The Time Tunnel toys that have appeared over the years. We also look at some auction results and some guide prices. The Time Tunnel was created by Irwin Allen and was his third science-fiction television series (after Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space). It was set around time travel and starred James Darren as Tony (Dr. Anthony Newman) and Robert Colbert as Doug (Dr. Douglas Phillips) as the two Time Travellers. The Time Tunnel ran for one season of 30 episodes from 1966 to 1967. The Time Tunnel and Project Tic-Toc The series is set in 1968, two years into the future from the actual broadcast season, 1966-67. Project Tic-Toc is a top-secret U.S. government effort to build an experimental time machine, known as The Time Tunnel due to its appearance as a cylindrical hallway. The base for Project Tic-Toc is a huge, hidden underground complex in Arizona, 800 floors deep and employing more than 12,000 specialized personnel. Project Tic-Toc is in its 10th year and at a cost of $7.5 billion (equivalent to near $60 billion in 2022) and is under threat of being cancelled. After an ultimatum is delivered either the project sends someone into time and return him during the course of his visit or their funding will cease. Tony volunteers but he is turned down by project director Doug Phillips. Defying this decision, Tony sends himself into time and finds himself on the maiden voyage of The Titanic. The Time Tunnel team can see where Tony is and when he gets locked up Doug follows to rescue him. From then onwards they travel to various time periods for many adventures. The Time Tunnel View Master set (Sawyer’s B491) features 3 reels showing 21 views from the Rendezvous With Yesterday which was the pilot episode. A complete set in very good condition is estimated at $50. The Time Tunnel Gold Key comics – this ran for two issues. Issue 1 featured The Assassins set in April 14th 1865 and features the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, The Lion or the Volcano? set in August 24th 79 A.D. Pompeii and see Tony and Doug in a Roman adventure and Mars Count-Down set in 1980 and features a trip to Mars. . Issue 2 featured two stories The Conquerors in which Doug and Tony end up in the future and discover a plot to go back in time and help the Nazis win World War II and The Captives in which the pair end up stuck in the middle of a conflict between Indians and General George Custer. As with most comics condition is a major determinant of value. Issues in Near Mint condition are valued at $80 for Issue 1 and $40 for Issue 2. The Time Tunnel Game was produced by Ideal Based on ABC Television Network Series. The copy pictured was sold by Hakes Auctions for $420 in 2012. The sets see the game travel from Prehistoric Era, The Middle Ages, 19th and 20th Century and The Future. The first player to complete voyages through all four time periods wins. Very few come to auction so we would expect a near mint example to be highly sought after. The Time Tunnel Spin to Win Game was produced by the Pressman Toy Co and was one of the Spin Cycle Series of games. The copy pictured was also sold by Hakes Auctions for $132 in September 2009. As with The Time Tunnel Game very few come to auction so we would expect a near mint example to be highly sought after. The Time Tunnel Trading Gum Cards Where Historic Events and Periods did The Time Tunnel visit? Tony and Doug become participants in past events such as the sinking of the Titanic (Episode 1 Rendezvous with Yesterday), the attack on Pearl Harbor Epiode 4 The Day the Sky Fell In), the eruption of Krakatoa (Episode 6 Crack of Doom), Custer’s Last Stand (Episode 8 Massacre), the Battle of the Alamo (Episode 13 The Alamo) and even the signing of The Magna Carta and meeting Robin Hood (Episode 16 The Revenge of Robin Hood). General Kirk, Ray, and Ann in the control room are able to locate them in time and space, observe them, occasionally communicate with them through voice contact, and send help. With no concern for the Time Continuum, Tony and Doug meddle in time through the ages. The Time Tunnel Disc Cards Did Tony and Doug Escape the Time Tunnel? When the series was abruptly cancelled in the summer of 1967 by ABC, they had not filmed an episode in which Tony and Doug are safely returned to the Time Tunnel complex. Autographs and signed items from the stars are an essential in a collection of The Time Tunnel Collectibles. Further information Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Collectibles https://www.thetimetunnel.com/ lots of information on the series