Before the publication of my first book, “The Net User’s Guide to Buying, Selling and Trading Collectibles”, two years ago, I bought and sold hundreds of pieces online, ever vigilant for that inevitable rip-off artist. He or she never materialized. Since that time, I’ve continued to trade hundreds of collectibles and have yet to be taken to the cleaners. In fact, I made the happy discovery that, by and large, people are scrupulously honest in their dealings. Message boards are small communities and a bad reputation spreads quickly. Crooks are driven out of town as fast as their little IP addresses can carry them.
That being said, there are fraudsters out there. The message boards at World Collectors Net – over 100 of them – are ripe for rip-offs, and collectors can be easy prey. The thought of finding that rare Moorcroft vase or elusive Hummel for a good price can push prudence out the window. When that happens, it can spell trouble. Here’s some pointers for protecting yourself and your hard-earned cash:
If you find a piece you’d like to buy, email the seller, asking about availability and shipping costs. If you’ve never dealt with this seller before, ask for their full name, address and phone number, and references from previous deals. Check the references. Post a message on the message board asking if others have had dealings with this individual before, and ask them to email you directly, not post their comments. If he won’t give you the information you’ve requested, then walk away from the offer. An honest seller will always be forthcoming.
If he has a box number instead of a street address, walk away. Boxes are easy to rent and utilize for fraudulent purposes.
Call information in the city where the seller lives and double-check the phone number and address. Better still, go to www.411.com and do a search there. Just click on “White Pages”, enter the person’s name and state, and away you go. This will verify the information, or possibly scare you away.
So far, you’ve gathered some useful information about the seller – name and address verified, and comments from previous customers. Of course, this doesn’t mean you still can’t get ripped off, but at least you’ve got some concrete information.
You can continue your research by checking his or her IP address.
At the bottom of every message on WCN, you’ll find the IP address that the message was posted from. Go to www.samspade.com.
Enter the address into the box with the button that says “Do Stuff” and click away. It will trace what servers the message came through and will tell you if the IP address is a fake. This is particularly useful if someone is posting false or slanderous remarks about someone else. They rarely use their real email address, for obvious reasons.
There’s more you can do. Ask if they trade on an auction site, such as Ebay, and check their references there. Make sure they give you their real auction nickname, not someone else’s with a sterling reputation. Simply go to the auction site, and send them a note through the site’s “Contact Seller” service. If it’s the real person, they will get your email and respond.
And speaking of Ebay, it does offer $200 fraud insurance to buyers who get robbed in a bad auction deal. They keep $25 as an administration fee (pulleeeze!) so you actually will only recover $175 maximum. Another option is to pay through Paypal – which is now owned by Ebay – instead of sending a cheque or money order. Paypal will also compensate for fraud on bad Ebay deals and this amount can, apparently, supplement the Ebay insurance limit.
Finally, here’s a method I’ve used many times. If you are buying an item that has more than one part, such as a Harmony Kingdom box, or an essential Certificate of Authenticity, work out a deal whereby you pay half the amount first, and the seller sends the lid of the piece or the Certificate. Now, you both have something that is worthless! It forces both parties to complete the deal, and pronto.
Please keep in mind that World Collectors Net is a very large web site run by only a few collectors. Message boards are not monitored regularly and you use them at your own risk. You have no choice but to protect yourself and th ese easy suggestions will help to keep your trades happy and fraud-free.
Also remember that the odds are in your favour – during WCN’s five-year history, there have been very few instances of outright fraud, in spite of millions of trades having taken place. Generally what looks like fraud turns out to be miscommunication and misunderstanding. When you’re dealing, make your intentions and your wishes absolutely crystal clear right from the start. That’s the best recipe for a smooth transaction.
R. J. Gulliver is the author of “The Net User’s Guide to Buying, Selling and Trading Collectibles”, published by Stoddart Publishing. The book is available at www.gulliverscollectibles.com.
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Random Collecting Feature
Today is 21st October 2015 (well it is if you are reading when first published) and for Back to the Future fans it is a special day – it is the day Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown travelled to in Back to the Future 2 in 1989. 2015 also mark the 30th Anniversary of the original Back to the Future release, so we thought we would indulge ourselves and write a feature on Back to the Future Collectibles and Merchandise. We are going Back to, no we are Collecting Back to the Future! Pictured: Back to the Future (Universal, 1985) One Sheet (27″ X 41″) movie poster. This version sold at Heritage Auctions for $501.90 in February 2015. Back to the Future Part II (Universal, 1989) Advance One Sheet movie poster (27″ X 41″) which sold at Heritage Auctions for $195.50 in February 2006. Back to the Future Part III (Universal, 1990) One Sheet movie poster (27″ X 40″) which sold at Heritage Auctions for $143.40 in June 2015. The Back to the Future Movie Franchise The original film was directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, produced by Gale and Neil Canton. The cast included Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson. The film follows teenager Marty McFly (Fox) as he travels accidentally back in time to a Hill Valley of 1955 in a De Lorean time machine built by the eccentric scientist Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown. Pictured: One of the iconic De Lorean cars from the Back to the Future films. This version was sold by Profiles in History at their Icons of Hollywood auction in December 2011 for $541,200. There is some debate as to how many De Loreans were used in the films but seven seems to be agreed upon by several sources. Only a few have survived and at the time this was the only one in private hands. Most of us cannot afford a real De Lorean, yet alone one used in filming. Luckily there have been a number of small models over the years. Corgi produced a very popular 1:36th scale model which included a Doc Brown figure. In mint condition in box these can now sell for £50-£60. In 2001 Corgi produced a Limited Edition of 100 “Back To The Future” – Delorean – Finished In Silver to commemorate the launch of their TV & Film Collection. This model now sells for nearly £200. During his brief time he meets his future parents in high school, becomes his mother’s romantic interest and changes the course of history. Marty with the help of Doc Brown must repair the damage and find a way to return to 1985. The film was released on July 3, 1985, grossing over $300 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1985. The film marked the beginning of a franchise, with two sequels, Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990). Back to the Future Action Figures There are now more toys and collectibles available for the collectors than there has even been. Surprisingly there do es not seem to be any action figures produced for the films at the time. Please let us know if you have any information. The Back to the Future license has been taken up by a number of companies and brands including Funko, POP!, Hot Toys, ReAction, MiniMates etc. Back to the Movie Props and Replicas Owning an original Back to the Future movie prop is the holy grail for any collector. Prop replicas are also an affordable way to enter this market. Online and specialist auction houses have made access to these sort of items much easier. Below are a few items from the ScreenUsed and BacktotheFuture.com 30th Anniversary auction. Replicas of the items below are also available. Back to the Future Collectibles, Toys & Memorabilia Related backtothefuture.com ScreenUsed.com
Dumbo by Walt Disney Productions premiered on October 23, 1941 and celebrates its 75th Anniversay in 2016. It was Walt Disney’s fourth animated feature and was based upon a storyline written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl. The main character is a baby elephant Jumbo Jr., who is nicknamed “Dumbo” due to his big ears. Dumbo is ridiculed for his big ears, but in fact he is capable of flying by using his ears as wings. Throughout most of the film, his only true friend, aside from his mother, is the mouse, Timothy. A number of Dumbo related collectibles and art have been created or are being released to coincide with the 75th Anniversary. Jim Shore Sweet Snow Fall – Dumbo 75th Anniversary Figurine Jim Shore celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Disney classic Dumbo with this unique design featuring the beloved baby elephant decked out for the holidays. Disney Dumbo 75th Anniversary Musical Ornament This delightful Hallmark Gold Crown Exclusive is designed by Kristina Gaughran and features Dumbo being cradled by his mother. The ornament plays Baby Mine. Lionel Dumbo 75th Anniversary Boxcar This little gem from Lionel features a traditional boxcar featuring Dumbo designs. It is priced at $84.99. New Zealand Mint Dumbo 75th Anniversary Coins The New Zealand Mint has been minting legal tender collectible coins, gold bullion and medallions for more than four decades and has released to coins for Dumbo’s 75th Anniversary – the Dumbo 1 oz Silver and Dumbo 1/4 oz Gold Coins. Thomas Kinkade Company Disney Dumbo Limited Edition Art Continuing the work of Thomas Kinkade, this wonderful new release from the Thomas Kinkade Company celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the release of Dumbo. Disney Dumbo by Thomas Kinkade Studios portrays the happiness and pride that his circus friends feel for Dumbo as he soars above the crowd. This painting captures Dumbo’s shining moment, reminding us, as Timothy tells him, “The very things that held you down are going to carry you up and up and up!” Disney Dumbo’s 75th Anniversary Facts Disney premiered Dumbo in movie theaters across the United States on October 23, 1941. Dumbo was the fourth movie in the “Walt Disney Animated Classics” series. The story was based upon the “Roll-A-Book” written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl. The film was conceived during the Great Depression and Disney’s goal was to give Americans a story with an uplifting message as they faced difficult times. Walt Disney acted out each part of the movie, as it was being planned. With a run-time of 64 minutes, Dumbo is one of Disney’s shortest animated features
This is an ideal time to begin collecting pop star dolls, because at the moment the shops seem to be full of them; stars include Steps, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Five and S-Club 7, but perhaps the most notable dolls of recent times have been the Spice Girls. These certainly hit the headlines when they were first produced in 1997 because they were expensive when compared to Barbie and as most girls wanted the set of five, parents were faced with a bill of around a hundred pounds. Nevertheless, the dolls sold in large quantities at first, though sadly they soon became relegated to the bargain section of toy-stores, where they might still be found. Such is the price of fame! These Spice Girls dolls were nicely modelled and bore a reasonable likeness to Scary, Posh, Sporty, Ginger and Baby, aka Mel B, Victoria, Mel C, Geri and Emma. Manufactured by Galoob, the dolls appeared in several sets. The first set, ‘Girl Power’, featured Geri in her notorious Union Flag dress. Emma wore a pink silky mini, Victoria a black mini, Mel C a sporty black jogging suit and Mel B leopard print pants and matching crop top. Each doll had an accessory such as a dog-shaped bag for Emma and a handbag for Victoria. The most interesting thing about the Spice Girls range is the way they kept up with the style of the group – the most obvious being, of course, Geri’s sudden departure, which meant that she was swiftly dispatched from future sets! However, she featured in the ‘On Tour’ set and also in ‘Spice It Up’ (in which she wore a super long white dress emblazoned with the words ‘Girl Power’!) The later ‘On Stage’ set, in which the girls wore velvet trouser suits was Geri-free! With so many of them about, it is unlikely that they will ever change hands for mega-prices, but if you’re collecting for pleasure, not for investment, then these well-made dolls will make a great display. In the 1980s, sets of Take That dolls were issued. The five lads, Mark, Jason, Howard, Gary and Robbie were casually dressed in jackets, jerkins and jeans. Made by Vivid Imaginations, these are now beginning to become collectable, changing hands for around £20 or so, if mint and boxed. (It’s best to keep these character dolls packaged and unplayed with.) A few years later came Boyzone and already these dolls are sought after; Shane, Stephen, Michael, Ronan and Keith also wore casual styles in leather or denim. Look out too for Vivid Imaginations’ 1997 Peter Andre doll. Dressed in black trousers and white T-shirt, this bore a super likeness to the singer. Dolls from the world of pop are nothing new – in the 1960s there were Beatles dolls, Sonny and Cher and Elvis. The Seventies gave us the very collectable 1978 Abba set, made by Matchbox, which featured Frida, Benny, Anna and Bjorn dressed in typical stage clothes – Frida and Anna in a short white minis and boots, Benny in a gold jacket and white satin flares and Bjorn in a blue satin shirt under white bib-top dungarees. Extra outfits could be purchased separately. Teen idol Donny Osmond and his sister Marie were made by Mattel, and made an attractive pair – Donny wore a purple and fuchsia jumpsuit with a silver belt, while Marie’s tiered dress was in similar shades. Boy George, too, was available as a soft-bodied doll, complete with typical hat and long beribboned locks, and is very collectable today. Recently, a fabulous collectors series by Mattel featured Elvis Presley, and he was also Barbie’s hero in the ‘Barbie loves Elvis’ set. The ‘Barbie loves Frankie’, set also by Mattel, would be great for fans of Frank Sinatra. Beatles figurines have recently been issued by McFarlane Toys commemorating the Yellow Submarine film, and also the Sergeant Pepper LP – though not strictly dolls, they would still be at home in a pop collection. In 1995, Triumph International issued an excellent Michael Jackson doll. Not only did this bear a striking resemblance to the star, it boasted a musical chip which played ‘Black and White’ (extremely loudly!) Michael was dressed in black trousers, white jacket and white top. An additional clothing set consisting of a super red leather jacket, black trousers and vividly-coloured T-shirt was also available. This too contained a musical chip, which, when plugged into the doll played ‘Beat It’. An earlier Michael Jackson doll, by MU Productions, wearing a red leather suit, is today keenly sought after. The current wave of dolls mentioned earlier include an excellent Britney Spears series, in which she wears typical outfits such as her schoolgirl gear, or a smart white trouser suit. Made by Play Along Toys, these are well-modelled. In addition there are deluxe sets which contains CDs, as well as Britney dressed in trendy outfits such as a fur-trimmed pink dress or a pink top and tartan skirt. Vivid Imaginations have produced a singing Britney, also dressed in her schooolgirl get-up of red crop-top, white blouse, short navy skirt, grey cardi and long grey socks. You can get other outfits too, complete with slot-in sound packs. Steps dolls, again by Vivid Imaginations, are attractive and can be obtained as ordinary fashion-type dolls, or containing a ‘real working Boom Box’ which plays ‘Tragedy’. The dolls bear excellent likenesses to Faye, Claire, Lee, H and Lisa and are dressed in Steps ‘uniform’ of white tops and trousers. The Christina Aguilera doll by Vivid Imaginations can also be obtained in both singing and non-singing versions. This pretty doll wears such outfits as denim jeans and matching jacket over a brown suede top, or red pvc trousers and a blue, silver- bordered top. Hasbro’s S-Club 7 – Jo, Rachel, Tina and Hannah – can be obtained in various brightly-coloured trendy outfits, and Vivid Imaginations’ Five dolls – Abs, Ritchie, Scott, Sean and J – are also available at the moment from toy stores. No […]
Tunbridge Wells is located in Kent about 40 miles south-east of London, and situated in a pleasantly wooded district. In the seventeenth century, before many fine trees were cut down to provide fuel for iron-smelting, there was so much timber that woodwork became the town’s staple industry. For over two hundred years, local makers specialised in this distinctive wooden ware which has become known as Tunbridge Ware. The rise and fall of this craft was linked to tourism, developing techniques and eventually changing public tastes. A special kind of Tunbridgeware had undoubtedly been made in the neighbourhood for many years before the mention of it by Celia Fiennes, who gave an account of a visit to the place during the reign of William and Mary in her famous book Through England on a Side Saddle. She says she saw “all sorts of curious wooden ware which this place is noted for.” Another observant diarist, Fanny Burney, also noted, in 1789, that the Tunbridge ware shops were a feature of the town. A street market formed one of its attractions, and here the crowd of fashionable idlers used to buy gifts for members of their families who had remained at home. Such gifts were known as “Fairings ” and consisted of toys and dainty pieces of bric-a-brac from local workshops. Celia Fiennes mentions that the Tunbridge woodwork of her day was “delicate, neat and thin ware of both white and Lignum Vitae wood.” The first Tunbridge wares were undecorated but in the second half of the 1700s more decoration appeared. Some were painted in colours on a whitewood background or painted in black to imitate oriental styles. Print decorated wares also emerged in the 1800s, often showing views of Tunbridge Wells and other local attractions. The district possessed a number of very skilful woodworkers and cabinet-makers, and it was one of these, a certain William Burrows, who devised an ingenious method of decorating wooden articles with a species of mosaic. He founded a factory and saleroom at Gibraltar Cottage , where he began to turn out specimens of his improved Tunbridge ware. Mosaic, of course, means a picture or design created by the fitting together of hundreds of pieces of marble, wood, or other suitable material. Each separate fragment had to be laboriously fitted into its place until the picture was completed. Even then only one mosaic resulted from days of toil. To get over this difficulty Burrows hit on the scheme of assembling a number of thin strips of appropriately coloured woods into a block, about twelve to eighteen inches deep, so that their ends made up the desired scene or pattern. Bound, and glued under pressure, the strips were finally formed into one compact whole. A circular saw was next employed to shave off wafer-thin slices from across the block, and each of these layers now became a veneer which could easily be glued to the article it was to decorate. The final stage consisted of hand polishing, a process that called for much experience. In time the quality of the ware declined, polishing was replaced by the use of varnish, which was easily chipped or scratched. The drawing from which the craftsman made up the design was divide up like a Berlin woolwork pattern. The method, of course, required extreme skill, particularly in selecting and arranging the various wood strips in the correct colours to take their particular places in the design, but once the block had been assembled and the layers of veneer cut from across it , the rest was simple to a trained cabinet-maker. An immense variety of woods, British and foreign, were used , and in only one case was the natural colour tampered with white holly was stained with Tunbridge mineral water to give it a unique shade of grey. Green was obtained from fallen oak branches stained by a fungus which imparted a rich shade of the required colour. William Burrows had a brother, Humphrey, who also began to make the ware at Jordan House, and the story goes that one of their apprentices left his employment and made known its mysteries to one George Wise, a cabinet-maker living in the neigh bouring town of Tonbridge, who later started a rival firm which continued in his family until the death of another George Wise in 1876. Their factory was situated on the bank of the river near the Great Bridge. The manufacture of mosaic ware was also adopted by Messrs. Fenner and Nye, a firm of woodworkers founded in 1720, at their factory on Mount Ephraim. Later Edmund Nye carried on alone, until his business was finally acquired by Alderman Thomas Barton in 1863. Tunbridge ware’s popularity grew over the 1800s and it was even favoured by the young Princess Victoria. Local makers drew lots to present Princess Victoria with a single example piece of their artistry. A work table described as ‘veneered with party-coloured woods from every part of the globe’ and ‘lined with gold tufted satin’ was given to the royal visitor. Tunbridge ware at the Great Exhibition of 1851 At the Great Exhibition of 1851 Tunbridge ware was represented by three major manufacturers: Edmund Nye, Robert Russell and Henry Hollamby. Edmund Nye exhibits included an elaborate “Marine Table,” a wonderful mosaic of a sailing ship at sea consisting of 110,800 pieces of wood. Besides this masterpiece there was a book stand decorated with the representation of an Indian butterfly which, with the pattern surrounding it, was made from 11,000 pieces of English and foreign wood. Also there was a superb workbox decorated with a view of the ruins of Bayham Abbey. This was made of 15 ,000 pieces. Tunbridge ware could be had in a variety of objects. Tables, tea caddies, rulers, workboxes, holders , fruit or bread baskets, candlesticks, chess tables, pencil boxes, stationery cabinets, and pin trays were but a few of the many items decorated with wood mosaic. At first the designs were of a simple type and were often geometrical, such […]
Antique Bisque Dolls – Years ago, the dream of most doll collectors was to be able to afford an antique doll – a doll made from bisque china with glass eyes and a jointed wood or composition body. We used to sigh over pictures in magazines and drool at doll fairs. Then, not so long ago, something happened; prices came tumbling down and doll collectors discovered that their dream really could come true. Now is the perfect time to buy antique dolls, before prices begin to rise again – and rise they will, because however lovely reproduction dolls, vinyl babies or modern collectors’ teens might be, they are not old and do not have that special air of mystery which only an antique doll can bestow. Pictured: An Antique Bisque Doll by Walther & Sohn 125.10 doll Bisque is an unglazed porcelain; it’s matt instead of shiny, hence the ‘biscuit’ finish and so it gives a natural look to the face of a doll. Before the advent of plastics, dolls’ faces would be made from carved wood, composition, papier mache, wax or bisque. Although these substances all had their advantages, bisque was not only the most durable, it also allowed artists to portray the human face in a beautiful way. A doll made completely from bisque would prove expensive, so most had bisque heads attached to bodies and limbs made of composition, leather, wood or fabric stuffed with woodwool. Pictured: An Antique Bisque Doll by Heubach 300 doll French doll makers made exceptionally beautiful dolls, though they tended to be exceedingly expensive as they were so labour intensive. These dolls, by makers such as Juneau and Bru, were dressed in top quality high fashion garments, and even today most are out of the reach of the average collector. However, German makers also made dolls and soon grew to dominate the industry as they were skilled in mass production. Consequently, they produced dolls in their thousands, far more cheaply than the French factories could manage. The vast majority of old dolls that beginner-collectors are likely to come across will be German, but just because they are cheaper, it doesn’t mean that they are less beautiful. Many German dolls are very pretty indeed, and usually they are incised on the back of the neck with the maker’s name, mark, initials or a number, so from that information and a bit of research you can find the factory and the date the doll was first produced. Pictured: An Antique Bisque Doll by Armand Marseille 390 doll The most prolific of the German companies was that owned by Armand Marseille, who, despite his French-seeming name, was German. Often it is an Armand Marseille doll that a novice collector will buy as their first old bisque doll, because they are so easily found and can be bought from around £100–£150 depending on condition. Pictured: An Antique Bisque Doll by Kammer & Reinhardt 133 doll One of the most popular and easy to find dolls are the Armand Marseille 390 girls, which have pretty faces and glass eyes. These are usually mounted on a wooden ball-jointed body, which means that you can pose the doll gracefully on display. With these 390s, as with all bisque dolls, it is amazing how dolls from the same mould look so different, due to the handpainting of their faces, which varies the colouring, thickness of lashes and shape of mouth. Also, eye and hair colours/styles influence the doll’s appearance. This is why a 390 is a good doll to start off with – there is so much choice, because these dolls were developed in the early 1900s and remained in production till 1938, and so there are thousands around. Other Armand Marseille moulds to look out for include the character toddler 990, the character girl 327 and the 370 girl. All these dolls should be available in ‘played with’ condition for under £300 – with dolls, obviously price depends on condition, and a much-played with doll with broken fingers and a scant wig will be far less than an almost perfect doll. Another Armand Marseille doll which the collector will easily find is the ‘My Dream Baby’. My Dream Baby swept Britain and the Continent during the mid- 1920s, when baby dolls came into vogue, and had a sweet face with either an open or a closed mouth. Today, the closed mouth babies sell for a slightly higher price, as more of the open mouth type were produced, but even so should comfortably fit into the £300 price range. As with the 390 girls, the appearance of these babies varies enormously depending on the painting, the body type, the eye size and the size of the doll (they range from tiny babies just a few inches high to very large babies often used as shop window display models). Of course, there are many other types of affordable German dolls, such as some marked ‘Heubach Koppelsdorf’. Ernst Heubach was a brother-in-law of Armand Marseille, and his company produced very attractive dolls, often with a rather flushed appearance. Other makers of bisque dolls that might be found by collectors include Simon & Halbig, Kestner, Schoenau & Hoffmeister, Kammer & Reinhardt, Alt. Beck & Gottschalk and Schuetzmeister & Quendt. It should be possible to buy the more common models by these makers at a reasonable price, though naturally the rare, more desirable moulds will always fetch a premium. The best advice is to familiarise yourself with the various kinds of dolls and makers by reading books on the subject. Some of these books are in the form of price guides, so will help you discover the models that you can afford. Recently, there has been something of a price slump with some of the antique bisques, so if you find one which appeals, now is the time to buy because prices are bound to rise. Wherever possible, it’s best to buy a doll that you have already seen and handled, rather than one which is advertised on […]
Whilst travelling back from a toy fair where I saw a couple of Banana Splits toys, The Dickies version of the Banana Splits Tra La La song came on the radio. I was a massive fan of the show when I was younger so I thought I would indulge myself and cobble together a feature and on Collecting the Banana Splits and Banana Splits collectibles. The feature includes some vintage and newer Banana Splits collectibles and a price guide for the items. In 1967, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera approached Sid Krofft and Marty Krofft to design costumes for a television show which would feature animated and live-action segments, with the whole show hosted by a bubblegum rock group of anthropomorphic characters. The format of the show was loosely based on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. The Banana Splits Adventure Hour premiered on NBC on September 7, 1968. Each show represented a meeting of the “Banana Splits Club”, and the wraparounds featured the adventures of the club members, who doubled as a musical quartet, meant to be reminiscent of The Monkees. The main characters were Fleegle, a beagle (possibly crossed with a flat-coated retriever); Bingo, an orange-furred gorilla (possibly, half-orangutan); Drooper, a lion; and Snorky, called “Snork” in the theme song lyrics, an elephant. Fleegle would assume the role as leader of the Banana Splits and preside at club meetings. The characters were played by actors in voluminous fleecy costumes similar to later Sid and Marty Krofft characters such as H.R. Pufnstuf. They all spoke in English – Drooper with a Southern drawl in the manner of Michael Nesmith, Fleegle with a pronounced lisp – except for Snorky who “spoke” in honking noises. The Banana Splits’ segments included cartoons, songs, comedy skits, and live action features. Cartoons included Arabian Knights, The Three Musketeers and repeats of The Hillbilly Bears, a cartoon segment that previously appeared on The Atom Ant Show (1965–1968). The show’s live-action segments included Danger Island, a cliffhanger serial, as well as the short-lived Micro Ventures, an animated series consisting of only four episodes. For the first season, some of the live-action segments – specifically those used during the musical segments – were shot at Six Flags Over Texas, an amusement park located in Arlington, Texas. For the second season, filming took place at Coney Island amusement park in Cincinnati, Ohio. In many episodes, the Banana Splits would be seen riding on the Runaway Mine Train roller coasters, Log Flumes, Bumper Cars, Merry-Go-Rounds, and many other rides at Six Flags and Coney Island. The Sour Grapes Bunch is a group of human girl characters from the Banana Splits. One of the members of the club – Charley, usually played by Shirley Hillstrom – would bring a written note to the Splits. None of the Sour Grapes spoke in the entire series; however, they would also do a number with the Banana Splits. In the first-season episode on October 5, 1968, a song debuted entitled “Doin’ The Banana Split,” as all five girls appeared together with the Splits. The Banana Buggies and Toys Who didn’t want a Banana Splits buggy? The Banana splits buggies were customized Amphicat six-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles each decorated to resemble the character who drove them. These were seen driven by each live-action character in the opening and closing segments and occasionally in show segments. The closest most collectors will get to the Banana Buggy were the plastic 1/25 scale model kits issued by Aurora Plastics Corporation in 1969 and discontinued in 1971. These were only out for two seasons and when seen a mint in box edition will sell for over $200. A recent sale on ebay saw a excellent example sell for £220 ($281). Funko released a series of four Dorbz Ridez models in 2016 based on the series released in editions of 300 at the San Diego Comic Con (Banana Buggy with Bingo and Banana Buggy with Bingo with Snorky) and New York Comic Con (Banana Buggy with Fleegle and Banana Buggy with Bingo with Drooper) . These are now selling for between $75 and $100 each. Banana Splits and Comics Gold Key began publishing a comic version of The Banana Splits’ adventures in 1969, releasing eight issues through 1971. The series was drawn by Jack Manning and followed the Banana Splits team trying to find work or on the road between gigs. Issue number 1 in high grade VFNM CGC 9.0 will sell for about $150. In 2017 DC comics made a Banana Splits had a crossover with the Suicide Squad in Suicide Squad/Banana Splits Annual #1. “SUICIDE SPLITS”! Mistaken for metahumans, thrown in the bowels of Belle Reve, the animal rock band Banana Splits are recruited by Amanda Waller for a secret mission: to save the Suicide Squad! What follows is the weirdest team-up you never thought you’d see! How can Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky stand up to Harley, Deadshot, Katana and Croc? Banana Splits Reference Professor Plastic the banana splits banana buggy
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 […]
Ewald Dahlskog (1894-1950) was a Swedish designer who has become known for his ceramic, glass work, pottery designs and his work in public buildings. His work is often minimalist and inspired by natural forms, which can be seen in his use of simple curves and muted colors. Dahlskog’s pieces are both beautiful and functional, and have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. Ewald Dahlskog’s studied at Konstfack (University of Arts, Crafts and Designwork) from 1908 to 1912 and from 1913 to 1917 at the Royal Art Academy in Stockholm. His work is deeply rooted in Swedish design traditions, which he combines with a modern sensibility. His pieces are both elegant and functional, and often incorporate natural forms into their design. Dahlskog’s use of simple curves and muted colors give his work a calming, tranquil feeling. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, and he is considered one of Sweden’s leading ceramicists. Ewald Dahlskog at the Kosta Boda factory Ewald Dahlskog worked at Swedish glassworks Orrefors Kosta Boda from 1926 to 1929, where he was an artistic assistant, during which time he radically transformed the production of art glass, using cut decoration in a new vigorous modern aesthetic. Whilst at Kosta he had joint exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York city. He has designed many of the glassware pieces that are produced by the factory, and his work often reflects nature in its designs. His pieces often incorporate elements such as leaves and vines, and he strives to create shapes that are both organic and elegant. Ewald Dahlskog at the Bo Fajans factory After leaving Kosta, Dahlskog moved on to work at the Bo Fajans factory (Boberg Fajansfabrik AB in Gävle) in 1929. He remained at Bo Fajans for 21 years until his death in 1950. At Bo Fajans he continued to innovate creating high-quality ceramics in geometric designs inspired by nature. His work at Bo Fajans is considered to be some of his best, and his pieces are highly sought after by collectors. Dahlskog’s designs are often inspired by nature, and he strives to create shapes that are both organic and elegant. At the 1930 Stockholm Exhibition, his designs were described as ‘functionalist’. The vases displayed showed highly ribbed surfaces reminiscent of electrcial transformers. The Scandinavian design philosophy was internationally recognized at the Exhibition. They were shown in London in 1931 and had a great influence on British designer Keith Murray (Keith Murray Designs for Life). As well as being a versatile designer Dahlskog is famed for his artistically designed inlays in public buildings, such as the 1924-1926 built Stockholm Konserthuset and the silent film palace and later revue theater Chinateatern 1926-1928 directly at Berzelii Park in the Norrmalm district was built in the center of the Swedish capital. His work has won many awards, and his pieces are collected by museums and private individuals all over the world. Related Ewald Dahlskog items on ebay Bowl at Met Museum
Recently, a friend said, ‘I’d like to collect dolls. But there are lots of different kinds. How do I start and what are the best to buy?’ This really had me thinking; it’s a difficult query to reply to as there’s no easy answer. The first thing to establish is why my friend wants to collect – if it’s for investment purposes, my reply will be, “Don’t!” That isn’t to say there is no money to be made in the doll collecting world – a lady I know must be rubbing her hands with glee at the moment having just sold a mint in box Pedigree doll (which originally cost £5) for over £650! While anyone who still owns their childhood Blythe doll could, with a bit of luck, be sitting on a nice little earner of £500 upwards. I’m sure that if you ask Kathy Martin which bears to collect, Mark Hill which glass to collect or Tracy Martin which handbags to collect, they will all tell you the same – “Buy those which you really love (as long as you can afford them!).” There is no point in buying items which you dislike purely because they might possibly rise in value in ten years time – after all, you have to live with them until then. If you invest in an ultra rare, mint, perfect doll, but it happens to be one of those types which scares you even before you placed your bid, well, yes, you might possibly make a profit in a few years – but in the meantime, you’ll have turned into a nervous wreck, with the doll haunting your dreams and scaring all your friends away! Stick with what appeals to you, and you’ll be fine. What if you decide you want to collect the kind of dolls you like, but the trouble is, you like them all? Well, firstly, welcome to the club, most doll collectors face this exact dilemma! Sometimes you can narrow it down a bit. Maybe, fashion is your thing and the new fashion dolls, especially those by the American designers such as Tonner, will fit the bill. There are many ranges of exquisite dolls to choose from, whether you decide to go for the 1940s look as worn by Mel Odom’s Gene, 1950s chic encapsulated in such dolls as Tonner’s Kitty Collier, 1960s zany styles as demonstrated by the new Doug James range of Gabby and Violet teens, or ballet and theatrical glamour found in the stunning range by Clea Bella. All of these dolls are worth checking out by fashion fans. If, however, your fashion tastes are more simple, then you might prefer to begin your collection by seeking out old Sindy, Barbie, Daisy, Tressy and Tammy dolls. All of these have their fans, and it is still relatively easy to pick up good examples without laying out too much money – a Sindy, for example, in her original Weekenders outfit, or a Quant Daisy wearing her trendy Bees Knees get-up, can be bought for the price of a meal out. Barbie and Sindy are still being made, so you could add some you really like to your collection just by popping along to your local toy shop. Maybe, though, it’s the older dolls which really appeal to you – it must be said that some of the bisque dolls from the 1920s and before are stunningly beautiful, with large glass eyes, creamy smooth porcelain cheeks and rosebud mouths. To me, it is a really special feeling to hold one of these old dolls, to imagine the children who played with her and the history they witnessed, a nd, especially, to marvel at the way a china doll which has been loved and played with by generations of children, can still be so fresh and perfect. Antique dolls are often expensive – yet, some modern dolls can cost just as much, if not more. If you are hoping to collect antique dolls, now is a very good time to buy. At present, many of the more commonly-found old dolls have dropped in price, possibly due to an influx on the market as elderly owners decide to part with their possessions; look out for makers such as Armand Marseille, Ernst Heubach, Simon & Halbig and Schoenau & Hoffmeister, all of whom made delightful and popular dolls. At present it is possible to buy a reasonable antique doll in good condition for around £150 from a dealer or fair. I would never recommend that you buy any antique doll without inspecting it first, unless the seller is someone known to you who you trust implicitly. When you find an antique doll which you really love, ask the seller if there are any cracks, including hairlines, chips or other damage (normally this should have already been noted on the tag attached to the doll). Check to see whether the wig is original (a replacement isn’t necessarily a problem, as long as it isn’t a modern nylon wig), and ask if you can remove some of the clothing to check the condition of the body. Sometimes you will find there are scuffed toes or missing fingers; most collectors are not overly concerned with minor play damage such as this, and some will accept a hairline crack if it doesn’t detract from the doll’s beauty. Antique dolls aren’t always made from china, there are some very beautiful wax dolls about. Many people dislike wax dolls as they find the wax likeness to human skin rather creepy for comfort, while often the faces tend to craze which can give them a sinister air. Anther reason they are out of favour is because they can dry out in modern centrally-heated homes. Nevertheless, wax dolls can be very pretty, and often not particularly expensive. With a little care, they can make an excellent and interesting collection, as can celluloid dolls, which, though prone to dents, and which, being inflammable, mustn’t be put near a naked […]
Black dolls are special, they enhance and enrich any collection of dolls. They provide a focal point, and the eye is always drawn to the black beauties amongst a group of insipid ‘white-skinned’ dolls Pictured right: Lee Middleton First Generation Doll Whether pale chocolate, dark ebony or coffee coloured, black dolls bring contrast to a collection; certainly, a group of black dolls is a stunning sight, and many collectors specialise in them. With older dolls, especially, black versions are often more expensive than their white siblings because manufacturers tended to produce black dolls in smaller quantities than their white counterparts. In the case of some of Britain’s classic dolls, such as Tiny Tears, the black varieties were only sold abroad, while although many modern play dolls come with a leaflet advertising a black version, they are not always easy to obtain. For example, when my daughter wanted a black version of a Hornby/Tyco ballerina doll in the early1990s, Toys ‘R’ Us had to order it specially for her, even though it was depicted on the box as part of the range. Even today, though millions of people in Britain are ‘ethnic’, the vast majority of dolls in an average toyshop are white. Pictured right: Composition Topsy Doll When I was a child, no collection of dolls was regarded as complete unless crowned by a black doll; mine was a 1950s Roddy thumbs-up walker with a soft, black, mohair wig, amber eyes and ‘gold’ earrings. Hard plastic, she stood 12 inches high, and as she walked her head moved from side to side. Recently, I managed to find a replacement, she cost me almost £40, although an equivalent Caucasian version would have been at least £10 less. I have also added a Roddy ‘Topsy’ baby doll, which features three tufts of hair, as well as a larger Roddy bent-legged baby – both of these, too, cost more than the white versions. Many black dolls earn the Topsy name, taken from the popular novel, ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ by Harriet Beecher Stowe. This book, first issued in 1851, did much to popularise black dolls, mainly due to the cheeky little character named Topsy. Years later, baby dolls with three tufts of hair sprouting from their heads became known as Topsy dolls, and were made by various manufacturers, becoming especially popular during the 1930s and again in the 1950s. Pictured right: Daisy Kingdom Daisy Doll Although some black dolls have Negro features, more often they are just a basic white doll painted black or chocolate brown to save the cost of making a special mould and given a black wig and brown or amber eyes. Dolls such as the Zapf black Baby Born make no attempt to depict the correct characteristics, while at the other end of the scale, creations by doll artist Philip Heath, are amazingly-detailed depictions of African children. A German catalogue dating from 1860 reveals that a fifth of the jointed wooden dolls made at the time were black. During the nineteenth century, dolls were often made from black wax or painted papier-mache, but when bisque became popular, manufacturers had problems with the black ones. Eventually they developed a technique to fix the colour during a second firing; before that, the colour tended to chip or flake from the bisque revealing pale patches. By the beginning of the twentieth century, black dolls were produced by manufacturers such as Kammer and Reinhart, Kestner, Heubach Koppelsdorf, Armand Marseille, Simon and Halbig, and others. Many were beautiful, with even colouring as techniques improved. French black dolls, by makers such as Bru and Jumeau, were luxury creations often painted in several different shades of black and brown to create a very realistic skin tone. Production of black dolls increased during the 1920s and 30s, coinciding with the popularity of the baby doll; dolls such as Armand Marseille’s ‘My Dream Baby’ and Grace Putnam’s ‘Bye-Lo Baby’ were created as black versions, though they still had Caucasian features. Black versions of bisque dolls can cost much more than their white counterparts, especially those displaying even colouring. Pictured left: Pedigree HP Boy Doll When composition dolls began to take over from bisque in the 1930s, it was noticeable how the black colouration varied considerably, with some showing a rich hue while others were blotchy and inclined to flake. Amongst the composition dolls were several Topsy types, including a 9 inch cutie with side-glance eyes, a floral romper suit and three woolly pigtails tied with scarlet ribbons, produced by the Gem Toy Co., of America. Several other companies produced dolls with the three-pigtailed style, while the British Cecil Coleman firm issued a crawling ‘Topsy’ in the 1930s. Effanbee, of America, produced their composition Patsy dolls in black as well as white, and these were copied by manufacturers such as Bouton Woolf, who produced ‘Phyllis’, a 12 inch girl. Phyllis was unevenly sprayed and had a strange waxy glaze prone to crazing. I have one of these in my collection, and in spite of her faults she is one of my favourite dolls. Pictured right: Pedigree Kizzie Doll Black dolls were also made from celluloid, until this material was phased out in the 1950s as a fire hazard. Many of these dolls were extremely pretty, and, produced by companies such as PetitColin of France and the German turtle mark Rheinische Schildkrot, were often dressed in ethnic costumes to be sold as souvenirs. Norah Wellings, a British dollmaker working in the 1930s – 50s, was famed for her character-type cloth dolls, and one of her most popular creations was the ‘South Sea Islander’, made from dark brown velvet, and wearing a grass skirt and a smile. The male counterpart sported a bright pair of trousers and a rather toothy grin. Black fabric dolls were also produced by Dean’s, Alpha Farnell, Chad Valley and Merrythought, but the majority are more difficult to find today than their white counterparts. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, not long after the war, […]