Canadian Collectibles

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When
collectors of the world think about Canadian collectibles, they
think about “Maple” Beanie Babies – which are made by a U.S. company
in Asia – or Wayne Gretzky hockey cards, another American product.

The sad truth is that we were too busy felling forests and fighting
off frostbite to develop much of a collectibles history. However,
the home-grown items that we did come up with are starting to shine
on the secondary market, primarily because they were made in limited
quantities for our limited population. Home-grown rarities! Pictured
above right Rare red-toned Blue Mountain Pottery from the early
70’s and traditional coloured vase.

Blue Mountain Pottery (https://www.bluemountainpottery.com)
has been in business since 1947, and their traditional deep
green tones with a high-gloss finish make their products easy
to identify. A popular variation is their cobalt blue colourway.
Over the last few years, this Collingwood pottery has spawned
an ever-growing legion of international collectors. During the
60’s, you couldn’t walk across a rec room without stumbling
over a piece of the stuff, so it’s plentiful here and easy to
spot at yard sales. 

Although
not as well known, Beauceware (https://www.quebexport.com/beauceware/indexE.html)
is another ceramic up-and-comer. From 1939 to 1989, Ceramique
de Beauce in Beauce County, Quebec, churned out utilitarian
art pottery, enough that at one stage they were supplying a
full half of the Canadian market. Their natural earth tones,
often broken by a bright glaze, appeared on animal vases, pitchers,
lamps, dinnerware, and on the bulk of ceramics from Expo 67.
Pieces are marked “Beauceware”, “cb”, or “Beauce Canada”. 
This is a future collectible to watch. 

While
the ceramicists were busy designing practical products – a decidedly
Canadian trait, being “practical” – some manufacturers in the
toy business were having a bit more fun.

Best Made Toys
of Toronto released a cheery plush version of
the Post Sugar Crisp “Sugar Bear” in the late 60’s. Only that decade
could have produced such a hip, laid-back, anti-establishment spokescritter
to represent a children’s cereal. The coolness of this bear gives
it plenty of kitsch potential. 

Obscurity gives the Star Doll Manufacturing Co. the same
cachet. This Toronto company was founded in 1952, and produced
good quality plastic or vinyl dolls until 1970 when Good Time
Toys took over the operation.

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Many
of the head moulds were designed in-house, and some were marked
“Star Doll” or “Star”. However, many had no markings, and since
Good Time used some of the same moulds, it is impossible to tell
which of the two companies  manufactured a specific doll
without the original box.  Good Time had a bad time in 1977
and ceased operations. To confuse matters further, the Wis-Ton
Toy Mfg. Co. carried on with the “Star” name from 1983 until 1991.
When it closed its doors, the history of commercial doll production
in Canada ended.

When it comes to being home-grown, it’s tough to beat Wiarton
Willie
for celebrity status. The numbered, bean bag versions
of everyone’s favourite weather forecaster that were released
in 1999 under license from the town of Wiarton have an excellent
collectibility factor. Not to mention a laugh-ability factor.
Who else but us would make an albino groundhog a star? Only in
Canada, you say.