People have been collecting sports memorabalia since the early 20th century when improved communications turned organized athletics into mass entertainment. Athletes went from being local heroes to international celebrities, leaving a trail of mementoes and products in their wake.
Indisputably, baseball is the most widely collected of all sports, with baseball cards being the most active area. The first baseball cards were printed late in the 19th century by tobacco companies, such as American Tobacco Co., and were distributed with the company products as a bonus. During the 1920’s, candy companies entered the fray with their own versions of cards. Rare cards can sell for many thousands of dollars. There are many other popular areas of baseball collecting – pennants, posters, signed balls and bats, jerseys, and so on.
American football runs a close second to baseball in terms of collecting. Football cards have been printed since the 1890’s, but the release of the first bubble gum football card in the Goudey Sports King set of 1933 really got the ball rolling, as it were. Although not as expensive as baseball cards, football cards can also sell for thousands, as can football related paraphenalia. World football (soccer, to North Americans) is also a hot area for collecting, particularly with the phenomenal success of 2002’s World Cup series. Jersies are a premium item and shirts worn by star players sell for thousands and thousands of pounds.
Golf is another sport that is widely collected and this market is exploding. Manufacturers used to put a puppy or a baby on a product if they wanted it to sell – now, they simply add something golf related. Of course, the game of golf is an ancient and honorable sport that developed in Scotland. The first record of golf appears in an unlikely place, Gloucester Cathedral, which was dedicated in 1100 and is famous for its stained glass windows. A window erected in the east wing of the Cathedral was commissioned by Sir Thomas Broadstone to commemorate his comrades who fell fighting the French at Cre’cy and is dated about 1340. This was 60 years before the first written reference to golf appears. Apparently one of Sir Thomas’s men was an avid golfer and was immortalized mid-swing. Areas of collecting include vintage clubs, golf balls, celebrity golfers’ autographs, decanters, mugs, etc.
Fishing items have also become highly collectible. Vintage lures, reels and rods sell for high prices, as does artwork depicting the sport.
Other sports of burgeoning interest are boxing and hockey, both of which feature a wide variety of collectible items. The fact is that there are as many different collections are there are sports, from bowling to curling, from skateboarding to skiing. If an organized sport exists, there will be collectors who treasure its souvenirs.
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Bjørn Wiinblad – Instantly recognisable, his style is very modern and personal with almost naively drawn, but immensely charming, characters, usually with happy round faces
In the late 19th Century, a group of women in Boston came together to form what was to become the Saturday Evening Girls Club (S.E.G.). It would run as a group until 1969 and started as reading group for young immigrant women in Boston’s North End. The group met at the North Bennet Street Industrial School (NBSIS) , in Boston’s North End. At the time the area was economically and socially deprived. Financed by philanthropist Helen Storrow (1872-1932) and run by librarian Edith Guerrier (1870-1958) and her partner, artist Edith Brown (1872-1932), the club had the purpose of providing social and educational opportunities for women, and it soon became a popular gathering place for members of the local arts and crafts community. The club would later acquire a kiln and open a pottery which would on its move to the Old North Church, Boston would be named The Paul Revere Pottery, a name that has become synonymous with the American Arts and Craft movement. Edith Guerrier a librarian and writer worked at the North End nursery and she was tasked with maintaining the school’s reading room, officially known as “Station W” of the Boston Public Library. She began a series of reading groups, one of which became very popular with the young women at the school, forming the foundation of what in 1901 became the Saturday Evening Girls’ Club. The club covered subjects ranging from music, literature, economics, job opportunities, and art. Through activities and group discussions, the S.E.G. provided social and intellectual stimulation for the young women, exposing them to an array of experience across religious, language, and ethnic divides. In 1906, Guerrier and Brown visited Europe and were inspired by the folk work of peasant artisans and the designs of the Arts and Crafts movement. They had the idea to create a pottery to produce American peasant ware that would be created and sold by the Saturday Evening Girls Club to gain extra income for the girls. We spoke of making marmalade, or fruitcake, of hemming napkins and dishtowels, and finally we spoke of pottery, of the charming peasant ware of Italy, of Holland, of Germany, and now of Switzerland. Since our club girls were almost all of peasant stock, why not start an art pottery and produce American peasant ware? The group bought a kiln 1906 and in 1907 a small pottery was opened. The endeavour was successful, but was not fully supported by the North Bennet Street Industrial School. In 1908 funded by Helen Storrow the pottery moved to a new location when she bought a four-story brick building in Boston’s North End, located on Hull Street. The Library Club House, or Hull House as it was often called, was very near to the Old North Church. The iconic Old North Church church, was where Paul Revere had hung his lantern and inspired the name of the pottery to become the Paul Revere Pottery. The pottery was more than an arts and crafts project designed to keep young women off the streets; it provided them with decent jobs. Working conditions at the pottery were better than the women could have expected elsewhere: they worked an eight-hour day and received a fair wage, daily hot lunches, and a yearly paid vacation. The pottery flourished for several decades, garnering national and international recognition through features in magazines, journals, and newsletters. The pottery created was mainly utilitarian ware intended for everyday use and vases. The simple design subjects included farm animals, simple landscapes, houses and scenes from American folk art. More unusual designs included witches on broomsticks and windmills. Banded painting decoration was typical of the pottery and a few pieces featured all over decoration. The pottery used lots of soft and pastel colours and the finishes were a porous matte or a soft gloss. Paul Revere Pottery continued to flourish for several decades, garnering national and international recognition through features in magazines, journals, and newsletters. At the height of its popularity in the 1910s, the pottery’s wares were sold in most major cities throughout the United States. It finally closed in 1942. The sophisticated simplicity and colours of the pottery have made in popular among collectors. As pieces were designed for use many are found damaged making. Pieces with full decoration have more value and pieces using the Cuerda seca technique are always superior. Cuerda seca a Spanish term meaning “dry cord.” It refers to a painting technique used on ceramic pottery, in which lines are delineated using a dampened rope or cord dipped in paint. The design is then painted over with one or more colors, usually using a brush. One of the most notable painters collected from the pottery is that of Sara Galner (1894-1982). Her designs and paintings on pottery have become very desirable and she holds some of the record for some of the highest prices paid at auction. She also went on to manage a Paul Revere Pottery shop in Washington, D.C. The story of The Saturday Evening Girls Club and The Paul Revere Pottery is definitely a fascinating one. Please look at the related links below for further background on the pottery and the women who made it happen. Related The Saturday Evening Girls Make Pottery History feature on New England Historical Society Sara Galner, the Saturday Evening Girls, and the Paul Revere Pottery Selections from the Bloom Collection at Museum of Fine Arts in Boston Ceramics from the Paul Revere Pottery at Museum of Fine Arts in Boston A story in clay: Sara Galner and the Saturday Evening Girls from National Museum of American History
One of the highlights during a recent visit to the Lake District was a visit to Hill Top the home of Beatrix Potter. The house (an other properties) were left by Beatrix Potter when she died in 1943 to the National Trust and is open to visitors throughout most of the year and includes access to items from the Beatrix Potter collection as well as artwork. If you do intend to visit get there early so you can book a ticket as it is a very popular place. As well as viewing the house, gardens and collection I was also interested in the shop which has a great selection of books, collectables, accessories and some exclusive items. Beatrix Potter bought the house and its 34-acre working farm in July 1906 as her home away from London and her artistic retreat with the profits from her first six books including The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Beatrix Potter first visited the Lake District in 1882 with her parents and from that time visited many times. During her visits Beatrix indulged in her interest in nature, spending hours exploring and sketching the wildlife. Beatrix frequently returned from holiday with animals such as mice, rabbits, newts, caterpillars and birds which formed an entire menagerie that lived in the schoolroom. National Trust website. The house is located near Sawrey, Hawkshead, Ambleside, Cumbria a few miles from Lake Windermere. The ferry at Windermere was closed when we went so we went the long route via Ambleside and Hawkshead. The weather was perfect for a visit to the house and village and to view some of the places that inspired many Beatrix Potter stories.. The house, farm and nearby villages feature in Potter’s books, The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan, The Tale of Tom Kitten, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck and The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or The Roly-Poly Pudding. Not only was Beatrix Potter a talented author, artist, a farmer, and a naturalist she was also a very astute business woman. She designed and patented a Peter Rabbit doll, making Peter Rabbit the world’s oldest licensed character and also developed links with Wedgwood and Royal Doulton. Her figurines and series ware are still collected today. Although there were no current Wedgwood and Royal Doulton lines in the shop there were many other interesting items including exclusive figurines, amazing miniature bronzes, limited edition books and silver coins. The shop featured three exclusive figurines. Profits from these exclusive figurines help support the work at Hill Top. Samuel Whiskers figurine – The Tale of Samuel Whiskers was published in 1908; Beatrix Potter was inspired to write the tale since moving to Hill Top as Hill Top had a terrible problem with rats. She counted 96 in her first two years. Jemima Puddleduck and Tom Kitten figurines were inspired by gates at Hill Top. These miniature bronze interpretations look incredible. More Beatrix Potter toys, collectables, accessories and more! For more details about Hill Top visit the National Trust web site Related Beatrix Potter Collecting Friends of Peter Rabbit Club
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 […]
Collecting Chinese Snuff Bottles Collecting Chinese Snuff Bottles – Snuff bottles were used by the Chinese during the Qing Dynasty to contain powdered tobacco. Smoking tobacco was illegal during the Dynasty, but the use of snuff was allowed because the Chinese considered snuff to be a remedy for common illnesses such as colds, headaches and stomach disorders. Therefore, snuff was carried in a small bottle like other medicines. The snuff bottle is comparable to the snuff box used by Europeans. Pictured right: A FAMILLE ROSE ENAMELLED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795) Of spade shape, the bottle is painted in bright enamels with a butterfly above mallow and reeds to one side, a small iron-red Guyuexuan seal to the side, and a grasshopper amongst begonia and arrowhead to the other, all below a stylised ruyi head band at the very slightly flaring neck. The base is enamelled with a Guyuexuan mark in iron-red. It has an amethyst stopper. 2 5/8 in. (6.6 cm.) overall height. Sold for HK$52,500 ($6,796) at Christies, Hong Kong, May 2012. Image Copyright Christies. Tobacco was introduced to the court at Beijing some time during the mid- to late-16th century. It was originally smoked in pipes before the establishment of the Qing Dynasty. The use of snuff and snuff bottles spread through the upper class, and by the end of the 17th century it had become a part of social ritual to use snuff. This lasted through most of the 18th century. Eventually, the trend spread into the rest of the country and into every social class. It was common to offer a pinch of snuff as a way to greet friends and relatives. Snuff bottles soon became an object of beauty and a way to represent status. The highest status went to whoever had the rarest and finest snuff bottle. The peak of snuff bottle manufacture was during the 18th century. Pictured left: A WHITE JADE ‘BASKET WEAVE’ SNUFF BOTTLE QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795) Of flattened spherical form, the bottle is carved overall with an intricate basket weave pattern with the cylindrical neck left plain. The jade is of an even white tone with russet streaks. It has a rounded coral stopper. 2 5/8 in. (6.6 cm.) overall height. Sold for HK$37,500 ($4,854) at Christies, Hong Kong, May 2012. Image Copyright Christies. The use of snuff increased and decreased with the rise and fall of the Qing Dynasty and died away soon after the establishment of the Republic of China. However, replica snuff bottles are still being made, and can be purchased in souvenir shops, flea markets and museum gift shops. Original snuff bottles from the Qing period are a desirable target for serious collectors and museums. A good bottle has an extra quality over and above its exquisite beauty and value: that is touch. Snuff bottles were made to be held and so, as a rule, they have a pleasant tactile quality. Collecting Chinese Snuff Bottles – Materials and size The size of a snuff bottle is small enough to fit inside the palm. Snuff bottles were made out of many different materials including porcelain, jade, ivory, wood, tortoiseshell, metal and ceramic, though probably the most commonly used material was glass. The stopper usually had a very small spoon attached for extracting the snuff. Though rare, such bottles were also used by women in Europe in Victorian times, with the bottles typically made of cut glass. Pictured right: A VERY RARE AND UNUSUAL JADE PEBBLE SNUFF BOTTLE SUZHOU, 1680-1780 Of compressed form with a slightly convex lip and flat oval foot, the well-hollowed bottle carved with a continuous rocky landscape with plantains and a wutong tree, the other side with a seated scholar holding a qin on his lap, the figure seated before a rocky outcrop acting as a table upon which rests a brazier with a tea-kettle and a smoking censer, amber stopper, jadeite finial and vinyl collar 2 in. (6.31 cm.) high. Sold for $110,500 at Christies, New York, Sep 2008. Image Copyright Christies. Chinese snuff bottles were typically decorated with paintings or carvings, which distinguished bottles of different quality and value. Decorative bottles were, and remain, time-consuming in their production and are thus desirable for today’s collectors. Collecting Chinese Snuff Bottles – Symbolism in snuff bottle decoration Many bottles are completely devoid of decoration, others are incredibly ornate. As in all Chinese arts and crafts, motifs and symbols play an important part in decorative detail. Symbols are derived from a multitude of sources such as legends, history, religion, philosophy and superstition. The ideas used are almost always directed toward bringing wealth, health, good luck, longevity, even immortality to the owner of an artefact, frequently as a wish expressed in a kind of coded form by the giver of a gift. Probably the most popular decoration is the Shou character, a symbol of happiness and longevity, illustrated at right. Shou or Sau was one of Three Star Gods. Pictured left: A fine and extremely rare carved honey agate snuff bottle 1800-1880 Exceptionally well hollowed, with slightly concave lip and recessed flat oval foot surrounded by a footrim, the semi-transparent grayish-lilac stone with deep orange red inclusions, deftly carved in low relief through a layer of mustard-orange on the principal side with a pair of chicks, both with their heads bent pecking at an incised butterfly, with a bat and lingzhi carved in low relief on one of the narrow sides, stopper. Sold for $91,500 at Bonhams, March 2011. Image Copyright Bonhams. Another popular device is a representation of the 18 Lohan, who were the personal disciples of Buddha, just one group of the many revered immortals in China. Apart from the 18 Lohan there is a constellation of other divines who are portrayed, even their innards. The eight precious organs of the Buddha are venerated – his heart, gall bladder, spleen, lungs, liver, stomach, kidneys and intestines. These are rarely depicted on snuff bottles. Animals, on the other hand appear with regularity, the most common being the dragon. […]
Raggedy Ann Dolls by Sue Brewer @bunnypussflunge Raggedy Ann Dolls are one of the great American classic dolls. Instantly recognisable with her beaming smile, red triangular nose and round black eyes, Raggedy was originally a storybook doll. Unlike the majority of dolls which are devised purely for commercial reasons, Raggedy Ann was created for the nicest reason of all – she was created through love. Her creator was an artist and storyteller called Johnny Gruelle, who told the tales and drew the delightful pictures to entertain his small daughter when she was ill – or so the story goes. However, the anecdotes woven around the creation of this charismatic doll have become embellished, contradicted and disputed over the years, so no-body really knows for certain. Johnny’s small daughter was named Marcella, and one anecdote has it that while she was playing in the attic she discovered an old cloth doll with a faded face, which had belonged to her grandmother. Her father drew a new face onto the doll, and it was she who became immortalised as Raggedy Ann. Marcella was enchanted, and from then on, Raggedy Ann became her constant companion, inspiring her father to tell stories to the little girl about her doll. Tragically, Marcella died when she was still quite young from a smallpox vaccination which became infected, and it was then that Johnny took the decision to publish the stories which she had loved, for other children to share – it was his tribute to his daughter. He patented and trademarked the Raggedy Ann design in 1915. Over the years, numerous editions of the books have appeared, though they have never been as popular in Britain as they are in the United States. Other characters have been introduced too, perhaps the most famous being her brother Raggedy Andy, Beloved Belindy, Uncle Clem and the gloriously-named ‘Camel With Wrinkled Knees.’ The stories tell how Raggedy Ann, a sweet kindly doll – because she has a candy heart – comes to life when humans aren’t around, and has great adventures with her brother, Andy. First in the series was ‘Raggedy Ann Stories’, which was published in 1918 by the P. F. Volland company, who later followed up the success with a character Raggedy Ann doll. The rest is history. More stories followed; Raggedy Ann’s Magical Wishes, The Paper Dragon, Raggedy Ann in the Deep Deep Woods and Raggedy Ann and the Left-Handed Safety Pin amongst many, many others. Raggedy Ann dolls have been made for almost as long as the books have been published. Apparently Johnny Gruelle persuaded his family to make some cloth dolls to accompany the earliest of the books, maybe for shop display purposes, we can’t be sure now. One delightful rumour said that each doll was given a candy heart which read ‘I Love You’, just as Raggedy Ann has in the story books. So far, this hasn’t be proved – old dolls don’t seem to contain any remnants of candy, though it is a charming idea. Many people, especially in America, concentrate on Raggedy Ann and Andy, forming immense collections of dolls and other memorabilia. The dolls have been made by manufacturers such as Volland, Knickerbocker, Russ, Playskool and Dakin. One hangtag reads, ‘These stories – infused with a father’s pure, simple love – became immortal.’ The early Raggedy Ann dolls often had brown hair, and less of a caricature face than later Raggedy Anns. Volland dolls were made during the 1920s and 30s, and many are highly prized, while even those from some of the later companies, Knickerbocker for instance, are increasing in price, especially in America where Raggedy Ann is one of the most famous character dolls. In Britain, she is much less-widely known, and frequently gets muddled with the ‘Orphan Annie’ character who later became the star of a musical and movie. Raggedy Ann is often dressed in a pinafore worn over a cotton print frock and stripy red stockings. Perhaps the most expensive of the early dolls, occasionally found today, is Beloved Belindy, a plump black doll wearing a headscarf. She appeals not only to Raggedy Ann enthusiasts but to the collectors of black dolls as well. Recently, R. John Wright, the famous creator of exquisite felt toys and dolls, produced a beautiful version of the young Marcella, holding her Raggedy Ann. Standing 17 inches high, the little girl has a pensive expression, and is dressed in a yellow print dress and straw bonnet, which is tied with a wide blue ribbon. She clutches her beloved Raggedy Ann. R. John Wright has also created particularly jaunty versions of both Raggedy Ann and Andy, 17 inches high, made from pure wool felt. He maintains that they are the most authentic Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls ever made. As Raggedy Ann is such a traditional character, and, being a rag doll, is relatively easy to make, thousands of home-made copies have appeared over the years, some of them excellent, others very basic. Beware when you are buying a doll which you haven‘t examined, especially if buying from ebay, because it is all too easy to be fobbed off with a copy. Having said that, many collectors are happy with the copies too, feeling that they are all part of Raggedy Ann’s history. A special museum devoted to Raggedy Ann Dolls opened in 1999 in Arcola, Illinois. Called The Johnny Gruelle Raggedy Ann & Andy Museum, it is the only officially licensed Raggedy Ann & Andy museum in the world. The museum also sells dolls, books and memorabilia. And in 2005, Raggedy Ann celebrated her 90th anniversary, prompting several companies to produce commemorative versions of the doll. Johnny Gruelle, who died in 1938, eventually became known as ‘The Raggedy Ann Man’ – he would no doubt be astounded could he know that his sweet creation was still widely collected and very much loved today. Raggedy Ann Dolls values and Raggedy Ann Dolls price guide Realised prices at auction give a reflective price […]
We take a look at some of the Christmas Collectables, Christmas Collectibles and Christmas gifts available for Xmas 2018. Royal Doulton Royal Doulton has several festive offerings including their annual Christmas Figure entitled Christmas Surprise, their 2018 Father Christmas entitled Santa Christmas List and the annual petite figure Glad Tidings. Also available are two new models from the Carol Singers collection: Angels from the Realms of Glory and Here We Come A-Carolling. We especially like Santa’s Christmas List which is a colourful study reflecting all the magical charm of the festive season. The jolly Santa reads from a scroll bearing the names of the children he’s leaving gifts for under the flamboyantly decorated Christmas Tree. For more details visit Royal Doulton. Jim Shore Heartland Creek Jim Shore does create wonderful festive items and colourful items. White Woodland Santa is a new addition to the White Woodland Collections from Heartwood Creek by Jim Shore. Standing at 48cm tall, this impressive piece features Mr Claus with his arms out-stretched, holding a piece of bark in his hands. At either side of the log are small woodland creatures including a squirrel and two birds. His feet are surrounded by other creatures, with the piece depicting a white rabbit and grey raccoon. There are a number of new pieces in the White Woodland collection whose colours feature muted winter tones of ice blues, silvers and greys, creating a coherent look that will complement other items across the range while working harmoniously in any home off-set against existing festive décor. For more details visit Enesco’s Heartwood Creek by Jim Shore. Swarovski Silver Crystal The release of the Swarovski annual Christmas ornaments, stars and editions are always keenly anticipated. The 2018 Christmas editions include the SCS Christmas ornament, annual Christmas ball and a Kris Bear annual edition. The Annual Edition Ornament 2018 has been designed by Verena Castelein and is in golden crystal with 156 facets, and comes with a golden satin ribbon and a specially designed metal tag engraved with ‘SCS’ on one side and ‘2018’ on the other. The Christmas Ball edition is very nice and has been designed by Stefanie Nederegger. The Christmas Ball Ornament, Annual Edition 2018 showcases a delicate shooting star, a symbol of dreams and wishes, inside a hand-made, mouth-blown glass ball. Small hand-glued crystals add extra sparkle and make each piece truly one-of-a-kind. The 2018 Kris Bear Christmas Annual Edition shows the Kris Bear in an active pose, decorating a colourful crystal Christmas tree with a golden crystal star on top. The edition has been modelled by artist Viktoria Holzknecht. For more details visit Swarovski.com. Lladro Lladro have released three versions of the Lladro Christmas Bell and three versions of the Lladro Christmas Ball. These classic designs both feature new decoration inspired by musical instruments. In matte porcelain and decorated in three different colours. For more details visit Lladro.com. Steiff The Sweet Santa Musical Teddy Bear by Steiff is a limited edition teddy made in white mohair. It is a limited edition piece, has the white ear tag and the trademark Button in Ear – gold plated, and is being produced in an edition of only 1225 pieces. It stands 27cm tall and plays Jingle Bells . Very sweet. Visit https://www.steiff.com for more details.
Collecting Annie Dolls – When the Annie musical first hit London, in 1978, following on from the Broadway production a year before, it was a smash-hit. It gave numerous young girls a chance to shine, amongst them a very youthful Catherine Zeta Jones, who played the lead role in a Swansea production, aged just ten. Little Orphan Annie made her debut in a cartoon strip in the Chicago Tribune in 1924, brainchild of artist Harold Gray. The story of the twelve-year-old girl surviving by her wits as she made her way in the world proved enormously popular. In 1927, according to the cartoon, Annie was living with a kind lady called Mrs. Pewter, who decided the little girl needed a new frock. She made her a red dress, with a white collar and cuffs – and the Annie image was born! Today, the carroty curls and red, white-trimmed dress, are instantly recognisable to people on both sides of the Atlantic, thanks to the musical, and, even more so, the movie. The London show, at the Victoria Palace theatre, starred Sheila Hancock and Stratford Johns, with Andrea McArdle playing Annie, and ran for 1,485 performances. It was a resounding success, and was soon followed by a movie version, which today graces not only our television screens but is often still shown at cinemas, too. Most of us know the story of the orphan girl who was adopted by the benevolent millionaire Daddy Warbucks, but cruelly tricked by scheming Miss Hannigan into believing that her parents were still alive. Songs such as ‘I think I`m gonna like it here`, ‘You`re never fully dressed without a smile’, ‘It`s a hard knock life’ and, of course, ‘Tomorrow’ led to a happily ever after finale – and spawned loads of memorabilia, including dolls. Annie was very much an all-American icon; she lifted spirits during the dark days of the depression, and has always had a special place in the hearts of the American people. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the dolls are American, some dating from the musical and movie days, others more recent, and a few which were made in the 1930s and 40s. When the musical first came out, manufacturers were quick to realise the marketing potential, but it was the release of the movie in 1982 which really triggered the mass interest. At the time toyshops featured colourful displays of the scarlet-dressed Annie, though, certainly in Britain, most of the dolls were of the cloth doll type. It might be just as well to clear up a popular misconception here – Annie is not the same character as Raggedy Ann. Raggedy Ann was a doll dreamt up by American writer Johnny Gruelle in 1915 to amuse his sick daughter. The doll was a pinafore-wearing rag doll with a triangular nose and red hair. By contrast, Annie (or Little Orphan Annie) was a fictional child whose character became world-famous through the medium of cartoons, musical theatre and cinema. Many of the Annie dolls are easy to find, though often you will need to purchase from America as the more unusual types were not sold in Britain. Those that are easy to find over here include a selection of cloth dolls. One of the most appealing was made by Knickerbocker in the early 1980s. She stood 16 inches tall, and her gingery hair was sewn in tight wool curls. A tiny furry Sandy, the dog which she adopted in the film, was tucked inside a pocket in her red dress. The company also made a smaller, 6 inch, Annie doll, but she was not so well detailed, as well as several larger sizes. Applause was another company who made Annie cloth dolls, including some with reinforced, stiff faces. The interesting thing about the Applause dolls was the way that the company tried to capture the blank-eyed expression of the original cartoon character by giving the dolls printed eyes which appeared to be gazing upwards. These dolls were similarly dressed to the Knickerbocker girls, but their curls were looser and softer. Applause Annies were made in various sizes, including some small clip-on types. Expect to pay around £15 for a cloth Annie doll depending on condition. Also available in Britain was a delightful small vinyl Annie doll, made by Knickerbocker. This doll stood just six inches high and was sold in the ubiquitous red Annie dress. A ‘gold’ locket was included in the box with the doll, large enough for a child to wear. In the show, the locket was a vital piece of evidence in the search for Annie’s parents. The outfits issued at the time for this little doll included a pale yellow floral dress, a cream two piece, a blue coat, a pink floral nightdress and a blue play-suit, with accompanying hats and shoes. Other characters were issued in the same series, but were much harder to find in the UK, and today you would probably need to try ebay if you want to add them to your collection. Punjab, an Indian doll, looked handsome in his white cotton suit and turban with a bright red and black striped sash tied around his waist. Daddy Warbucks wore a black satin evening suit with a white shirt, black bow tie and red cummerbund. Knickerbocker managed to achieve some great characterisation in these small playdolls, capturing Daddy Warbuck`s expression – and his bald head – very well. Scary, intoxicated Miss Hannigan was also included in the set, dressed in a mauve two-piece patterned with small multi-coloured shapes, while little Molly, Annie’s friend at the orphanage, wore a green pinafore over a floral long-sleeved blouse. Molly had a delightful smile and her brown hair was cut into a short bob with a fringe. Knickerbocker produced several accessories to go with these dolls, amongst them a super blue 1929 Model Duesenberg Limousine, complete with chauffeur. It measured 15 inches long, and there was room in the back seats for two Annie dolls. The company also made […]
The Fulper Pottery Company was founded in Flemington, New Jersey in 1899 by Charles Fulper and his sons. However, the pottery had existed since 1815 when the first pottery was created by Samuel Hill. The pottery initially produced a wide variety of utilitarian ware, and drain tiles and storage crocks and jars from Flemington’s red earthenware clay. In 1847 Dutchman Abraham Fulper, an employee since the 1820s became Hill’s partner. He later took over the company. It was not until the early 1900s when William Hill Fulper II (1870-1953) started to experiment with colored glazes and the company started to create some of the art pottery it is famed for. Fulper is credited with inventing the dry-body slip glaze, which was used to create colorful designs on his pottery. He also developed a method of using electric kilns to fire his glazes, which resulted in brighter and more consistent colors. Fulper Pottery’s Vasekraft line was inspired by the work of German potter John Martin Strangl. The line includes a wide variety of vases, bowls, and other vessels, all with Strangl’s signature clean lines and simple forms. The company is especially known for the Fulper lamps-with glazed pottery shades inset with colored glass-were truly innovative forms. The firm’s most spectacular and innovative accomplishments are the table lamps made with glazed pottery bases and shades, which were inset with pieces of colored opalescent glass. These were produced from about 1910-1915 and are very rare, especially in perfect order. William Hill Fulper II was also an excellent advertiser and marketeer and Fulper’s Vasekraft products were sold throughout the United States in the most prestigious department stores and gift shops. Fulper’s pottery was exhibited at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, where it received a gold medal. His work is also included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. During its first twenty-five years, Fulper Pottery was particularly known for its flambé glazes, which were heavily influenced by Chinese and Japanese ceramic traditions. These glazes, which resulted in vibrant and often unexpected colors, helped to establish Fulper Pottery’s reputation for innovative and high-quality art pottery. After World War I, Fulper Pottery began to shift away from its Germanic roots and move towards more Oriental-inspired forms. The company’s designers began to experiment with new shapes and glazes, inspired by the Art Deco movement that was sweeping Europe at the time. The Vasekraft name was changed to Fulper Pottery Artware. These new pieces were softer and more graceful than the functional stoneware that Fulper had been producing up until that point, and they proved to be very popular with the public. In the 1920s, Fulper Pottery was one of the leading producers of Art Deco ceramics in the United States. The company’s designers created a wide range of vases, lamps, and other objects that were both beautiful and stylish. Fulper’s pieces were featured in some of the most prestigious design magazines of the day, and they were popular with both collectors and everyday consumers. In 1925, Charles Fulper died, and his sons took over the operation of the pottery. Under their leadership, Fulper Pottery continued to experiment with new glazes and firing techniques. They also began to produce a line of dinnerware, which was very popular during the Depression-era. The Great Depression hit Fulper Pottery hard, as it did many other businesses. The company was forced to lay off a large number of employees and cut back on production. However, Fulper’s designers continued to experiment with new ideas, and the company managed to survive the difficult economic times. William Hill Fulper II died suddenly in 1928. The company continued to be run with Martin Stangl as President. In 1935, Fulper Pottery Artware production was ceased at the small remaining Flemington location, and that building was utilized solely as a retail showroom for the company’s ceramic products. After 1935, the company continued to be Fulper Pottery, but produced only Stangl Pottery brand dinnerware and artware. Related Fulper Pottery at Auction American Pottery at WCN
Nailsea glass was originally an inexpensive means of introducing radiant colour into farmhouse and cottage. This was because the basic glass was pale green bottle-glass or, from about 1815, crown glass. Such glass was not subject to the excise tax of sixpence per pound levied on flint-glass. Colourful curios in many shades of blue, green, amber and red, which might be flecked, mottled or striped, were made not only at Nailsea in Somerset but by the glassmen of Sunderland, Newcastle, Stourbridge, Wrockwardine Wood in Shropshire, Alloa in Scotland and elsewhere.