Cartoon Characters and Collectables
Characters from popular cartoons have long been used for collectable products.
Disney is the prime example of recognising the possibility of merchandising
cartoon characters. Each year famous collectable companies such as LLadro and Swarovski
produce collectables for Disney which immediately become sort after. However,
the use of cartoons and illustrations on products was in existence long before Disney.
Royal Doulton produced a series of plates depicting the cat Kateroo from the illustrations
of Henry Souter back in 1905, and slightly earlier in 1901 produced plates featuring
the Gibson Girl by Charles Dana Gibson. Many of the early characters used were
from cartoon illustrations and newstrips. With the creation of animation and its
popularity, the number of immediately recognisable characters has been a trigger
for the rapid growth in characters used.
Beswick began producing animals and began modelling characters from the stories
of Beatrix Potter, and realising that animated characters could make excellent figures
produced Zimmy the Lion (this was created by David Hand who worked on several
Disney features such as Snow White and Bambi). In 1952 Beswick began its Disney range
with Mickey Mouse, and later in 1968 produced a series of Winnie the Pooh figures.
Recently Beswick have produced figures based on The Flintstones, Tom & Jerry,
Droopy, and Top Cat.
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, Bunnykins from the pictures of Sister Barbara Vernon,
Dennis the Menace from the Beano comic have all found themselves the the subject
of figurines, plates and jugs. Bunnykins have achieved great success and earlier
pieces are quite soughtafter.
The Disney Classics Collection remains popular but tie-ins with
other collectable names are also of great interest. Last year Royal
Doulton started to produce its Disney Princesses series. The first
two figurines were Snow White and Cinderella, followed by Belle and Ariel
and just released Aurora and Jasmine. These are excellent figures and
are limited to just 2000 models. They should be extremely collectable.
It is rumoured that next year Royal Doulton are producing a series
of Disney villains including Cruella de Ville.
Cardew have also made deal with Disney to produce a series of collectable
teapots. Already produced are Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast,
Cinderella and 101 Dalmations, with plans for lot more. These are very
nice and should bring Cardew to the attention of new collectors.
Warner Bros in the US have begun a collectors club. They have been
producing figurines, plate and cells for a while and as with most collectables
a club is just the next step. The free gift is an excellent Bugs Bunny. As
Warner Bros stores are a fairly new addition to the UK and Europe there
are no plans to create a collectors club in Europe. Like Disney, the Warner
Studios have a plethora of household names to use for collectables.
It seems that there is great interest among collectors for cartoon
characters. By cross marketing established characters with popular
collectables, there popularity is set to continue!