Master Mind (sometimes Mastermind) is a classic strategy game that has been around for decades. The game was invented in 1970 by Mordecai Meirowitz, a Israeli-American engineer. Meirowitz was inspired by an old Chinese game called Bulls and Cows, which is thought to date back to the 12th century. He created Master Mind as a more challenging and engaging version of Bulls and Cows. In its first decade of production over 30 million copies were sold. We take a look at the history of the game and some of the variations made over the years. The object of the game is to correctly guess the sequence of colored pegs used by your opponent. The first player to do so wins the game. Over the years, Master Mind has been released in many variations including Royale Mastermind, Grand Mastermind, Super Mastermind, Word Mastermind, Mini Mastermind and even an Electronic Mastermind. The games varied in a number of ways including the number of colours and versions for more than two people. Junior version were also released including Mastermind for Kids featuring a Jungle Animal theme. Who were the couple of the box of Master Mind box The Master Mind box cover design is iconic and is probably one of the most recognisable of all time. The photo features a mysterious, beautiful Asian lady standing next to bearded man wearing a suit. The pair are in front of what appears to be a glass topped table, so there reflection appears at the bottom of the box. Is the man a rich, powerful Master Mind challenging people from the cover to crack his code? Is the lady an expert gazing at us with a condescending look questioning our expertise? Or were they in fact Bill Woodward, the owner of a chain of Leicester hair salons, and Celia Fung a computer science student at the University of Leicester. They were both approached off the street for the campaign and the result is the iconic image we all associate with the Mastermind game. Bill Woodward was to appear in many of the covers of the later versions of the game. The game was released internationally and the cover did vary in other countries with other people used, but the lady standing and man sitting remained constant for many of these releases. The Disney Master Mind There was even a Walt Disney Master Mind created by Invicta Games in 1978. It uses Disney characters instead of colours. The cover features a castle with Disney characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pinnochio and Geppetto. Once again Bill Woodward is on the cover sitting in a chair and beckoning the Disney posse. In this cover he is a less mysterious and wear a light grey suit. In this version we have to Help Mickey and his friends escape from the magic castle in the sky Disney Master Mind valuation / price guide A fine to near mint version in box £20-£30 / $24-$36 Today, it remains one of the most popular strategy games in the world. Thanks to its simple yet intriguing gameplay, Master Mind is a timeless classic that will continue to be enjoyed for years to come. Related Cunning and Logic: The International Imagery of ‘Mastermind’ The Mysterious Origins of Mastermind, the Codebreaking Board Game
The Ridgway Homemaker Pattern is a classic retro design that is now becoming very collectable. The range was mass produced in the 1950s and 60s and was sold exclusively through Woolworth’s stores. The pattern was created by Enid Seeney and was manufactured by Ridgway Potteries of Stoke-on-Trent. The pattern was to be used on the Metro shape designed by Ridgway designer Tom Arnold. It was Tom Arnold, himself, that asked Seeney to create a pattern that could be produced in large quantities using the new the Murray-Curvex litho process. The pattern was applied in reverse to the bottom of a gelatine pad (or ‘bomb’). The wet paint was then transferred to the piece in a way that would allow it to mould to the shape. This process made all-over patterns such as Homemaker possible. The pattern was later released on Cadenza shape. The Homemaker pattern was initially given the name ‘ Furniture ‘. It was first shown at exhibition in Blackpool in 1956 but only took off when spotted by a Woolworth’s buyer in 1957. It was trialed in a few London shops and proved a success appealing to the contemporary market of the late 1950s and 1960s. The pattern itself was a distinctive black on white featuring illustrations of the latest home furnishings and utensils against a background of irregular black lines. Items illustrated included a boomerang or kidney shaped table, a Robin Day armchair, a Gordon Russell type sideboard, plant holders on legs, tripod lights and lamp shades, and a two seat Sigvard Bernadotte style sofa. The Ridgway Homemaker Pattern Price Guide / Value Guide Homemaker was produced in large quantities from 1956 to 1970 so few pieces are rare. The range is becoming increasingly collectable and prices at auction are rising. Rarer pieces include the Bon Bon Dish, the Cadenza Teapot and other teapots and coffee pots. The plates are the most common items to find. 7″ plates estimate £5-£8 each. 9″ plates estimate £8-£12 each. Did you know? The Ridgway Homemaker pattern was also produced in a Red colour. This red and white colourway was produced in very limited numbers as a trial in 1960 and as such are very rare. There are very few examples coming to traditional auction houses or ebay and very few in shops. A single plate such as the one below sold on AntiquesAtlas for £350/$483. Further information Ridgway Homemaker at RetroWow
The Who celebrate 50 years of rock in 2014 and we take a look at their history, impact and most importantly for us their collectables. The Who are an English rock band that formed in 1964. Their best known line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century and are one of the world’s best-selling bands. Pictured left: The Who My Generation LP 1965 on the Brunswick label. Mono 1st Press. In mint condition this record can sell for around £300. This actual LP sold on ebay for £283 in Nov 2014. The Who developed from an earlier group, the Detours, before stabilising around a line-up of Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon. After releasing a single as the High Numbers, the group established themselves as part of the mod movement and featured auto-destructive art by destroying guitars and drums on stage. Pictured right: The Who A concert poster THE WHO in A Two-Hour Non Stop Concert To Include Tommy, London Coliseum, Sunday, 14th December, 1969. Sold for £1,000 at Christies, London in June 2010. They achieved recognition in the UK after their first single as the Who, “I Can’t Explain”, reached the top ten. A string of successful singles followed, including “My Generation”, “Substitute” and “Happy Jack”. Although initially regarded as a singles act, they also found success with the albums My Generation and A Quick One. In 1967, they achieved success in the US after performing at the Monterey Pop Festival, and with the top ten single “I Can See for Miles”. They released The Who Sell Out at the end of the year, and spent much of 1968 touring. Pictured left: Pete Townshend / The Who: A cherry red Gibson SG Special guitar, serial number 884484 stamped 2, circa late 1967, owned and used by Pete Townshend in the early 1970s – early 1980s; the double cutaway body in cherry red finish, mahogany neck, Grover machine heads, 22 fret bound fingerboard with dot inlays, two P90 pickups, four rotary controls, selector switch, metal bridge, black pickguard bound in white, tailpiece removed; original Gibson contour hardshell case with scarlet plush lining; accompanied by a letter signed by Townshend detailing the provenance. Sold for £37,500 inc premium at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, June 2014. The group’s fourth album, 1969’s rock opera Tommy, was a major commercial and critical success. Subsequent live appearances at Woodstock and the Isle of Wight Festival, along with the live album Live At Leeds, transformed the Who’s reputation from a hit-singles band into a respected rock act. With their success came increased pressure on lead songwriter Townshend, and the follow-up to Tommy, Lifehouse, was abandoned in favour of 1971’s Who’s Next. Pictured right: A rare Quadrophenia film poster, 1980, large format for the Italian release of the film starring Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash and Sting, directed by Franc Roddam, 140 x 100cm, framed and glazed. Sold for £525 inc premium at Bonhams, Goodwood , July 2013. The group subsequently released Quadrophenia (1973) and The Who by Numbers (1975), oversaw the film adaptation of Tommy and toured to large audiences before semi-retiring from live performances at the end of 1976. The release of Who Are You in August 1978 was overshadowed by the death of Moon on 7 September. Pictured left: The Who David Bailey Live Aid – A black and white limited edition photograph of The Who by David Bailey, 1985, signed by the photographer and on the verso in black felt pen by Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Kenny Jones, additionally signed in pencil by the photographer, dated 85 and numbered 1/3. Sold for £960 at Christies, London in May 2006. Kenney Jones, formerly of the Small Faces and the Faces, replaced Moon and the group resumed touring. A film adaptation of Quadrophenia and the retrospective documentary The Kids Are Alright were released in 1979. The group continued recording, releasing Face Dances in 1981 and It’s Hard the following year, before breaking up. They occasionally re-formed for live appearances such as Live Aid in 1985, a 25th anniversary tour in 1989 and for a tour of Quadrophenia in 1996. Pictured left: The Who – A very rare concert poster Uxbridge Blues And Folk Festival, 19th June, 1965, artists include The Who, Marianne Faithfull, John Mayall, The Birds, Long John Baldry, Spencer Davis, Zoot Money, and others — 29x40in. (75×101.6cm.) Sold for £9,375 at Christies, London in June 2010. The Who resumed regular touring in 1999, with drummer Zak Starkey, to a positive response, and were considering the possibility of a new album, but these plans were stalled by Entwistle’s death in June 2002. Townshend and Daltrey elected to continue as the Who, releasing Endless Wire (2006), which reached the top ten in the UK and US. The group continued to play live regularly, including the Quadrophenia and More tour in 2012, before announcing in 2014 their intention to retire from touring following a new album and accompanying live shows ending the following year. Pictured right: This Japan Polydor 7″ 45 The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again / Don’t Know Myself DP 1817 sold for £819 on ebay in August 2014. With 50 years behind them many studio albums, live albums, many tours, numerous singles and ephemera, there is plenty for the collector to collect. Many of the international pressings of The Who’s albums can be more valuable than the UK pressings. Japanese pressings are of great interest to certain collectors. With the re-emergence of record players, there is once again an increased market for records.
London was already the great centre for the furniture world when in 1790 Thomas Sheraton, whose styles and designs were to be dominant for many decades, moved there from the North of England. Even at that time many of London’s shops were putting up plate glass windows, and a number of them displayed furniture made by the highly skilled English craftsmen. The famous Thomas Chippendale had died about nine years before Sheraton’s arrival. George Hepplewhite. too, had been dead two years. Furniture styles were changing, as they always do with the passing of time. As each phase emerged it was developed and brought into line with existing taste. Chippendale improved upon early Georgian styles and, as we know, evolved a lastingly beautiful style of his own. Hepplewhite brought in new forms based on some of Chippendale’s work, and established his own individuality. Robert Adam, primarily an architect, furnished the houses he built in the grand manner with classic dignity. Then from the 1790’s it appears to have been Thomas Sheraton’s turn. There were, of course, other furniture designers at work. Thomas Shearer is one of these and of some importance and much of his furniture resembles Sheraton’s. Sheraton must have been a man full of energy and bursting with ideas. He settled in Soho and to keep the wolf from the door while he put the finishing touches to his first book of designs he gave drawing lessons. The following year, 1791, he published The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book, which he compiled to help the working cabinetmaker by providing designs and instructions on drawing and explanations of geometry problems and perspective. Although his designs were on the whole original, naturally his work came under the various influences of his predecessors. Straight legs to chairs, tables and so on were by no means unknown. Robert Adam in copying the forms of Ancient Greece and Rome, like the French at the end of Louis the Fifteenth’s reign, adopted severe styles with straight lines and angles instead of curves. Nor was Sheraton the first to introduce furniture that was lighter in weight. Hepplewhite’s pieces were lighter and less cumbersome than Chippendale’s with its lavish carving and cabriole legs. Hepplewhite’s carvings were less exuberant, his whole style more restrained, his lines graceful and he mounted his sideboards on tall straight legs, as did Sheraton. Going further, Sheraton swept away the curves in chairs and tables and practically all his designs, except the splayedout square cut legs to various tables. An outstanding feature of Sheraton’s furniture was, however, his great economy in the use of timber. He thinned down legs, chair arms and uprights, thus adding immensely to their grace, yet he made them strong and steady. His furniture is extremely elegant and delicate. He used mainly mahogany and a considerable amount of satinwood. Another outstanding characteristic is the very little decoration he employed. His delicately executed borders of crossbanded inlays are easily recognisable. They give just enough contrast to the mahogany by the use of satinwood, rosewood, ebony, tulip wood and am boyna. His brass handles are extremely simple. Sideboards and chests of drawers generally have round or oval brass handles with a modest moulded pattern, frequently a formal flower or an arrangement of convex dots. Handles are occasionally octagonal with curved corners. On tallboys he put the plainest rounded brass handles squared at corners or rounded with small brass backplates to fix them on. Sometimes a simple brass ring in the handle or a brass lion’s head with the ring in its mouth. Sheraton pieces are seldom enhanced with carving, and panels on drawers were almost invariably outlined with the delicate crossbanding inlays. If the piece was of lighter coloured wood, there was usually a thin border or stringing of ebony where the cross banding would have been. In discussing Sheraton’s designs it is important to realise that when we say Sheraton, we are in fact alluding to the period in which his designs were copied by craftsmen rather than to Sheraton personally. His entire work was the production of books with advice and drawings. They were, unfortunately for him, not really appreciated until after his death. And he made no money from them. The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book came out in many editions between 1791 and 1793. His next book was The Cabinet Maker’s Dictionary containing an explanation of all the terms used in the cabinet, chair and upholsterers’ branches and containing a display of useful articles of furniture. A long title was quite usual in those days! That Sheraton’s books were again published nearly a century later proves how his styles appealed. He and Hepplewhite have a great deal in common in their styles and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between them. As well as using straight legs, Hepplewhite favoured flat round brass handles to his sideboards which were similar to Sheraton’s. Sheraton gave particular attention to the development of sideboards. They have practically no decoration as a rule except his borders of crossbanding. He sometimes painted chairs all over, an idea no other eighteenth century designer had suggested before. He also decorated with painted panels on the lines of those done by Angelica Kauffman. His chairs have lower backs and the top rail is a separate piece tenoned between the uprights. The legs are square cut and tapered or turned and tapered. Sheraton armchairs have arms that sweep back, they are fixed in the uprights and, as in all his chairs, the back rail is fixed on separately, giving a square appearance. Another feature to look for is the swanneck pediment surmounting the cornice on cabinets. He used mahogany, which was the last of the best from the shores of San Domingo; those forests of the largest and straightest trees which had taken years to grow to their height and magnificence, and which provided the eighteenth century cabinet makers with immense smooth planks of timber. Sheraton’s designs were always in good proportions, stylish, graceful and elegant. He stood for refinement. This is typically indicated by his lovely cylinder writing […]
Snowstorms, snow globes, snow shakers, snow domes, whatever you like to call them, are one of those collectables on which you can spend pounds or pence – the choice is yours. At the top end of the scale, you could pay a small fortune for an antique snowstorm, but an interesting and enjoyable collection can be built up with much cheaper examples. The Snowstorms shown here should all be available for under $35/£20. Magical, enchanting and very tactile, these little transparent snowy globes have intrigued children and adults for years. It is virtually impossible to pass a display of snowstorms without picking up at least one and shaking it, to watch the snow whirl madly around before gradually settling. Sometimes they are made from glass, though nowadays more frequently moulded from plastic, and each dome contains an ornamental figure which becomes hidden amongst a flurry of snow or glitter when agitated. They are becoming extremely sophisticated, and many contain musical movements, animated figures, glitter, lights or even a mechanism to do the shaking for you. Some hold tiny fans to whirr polystyrene snow from within. No-one seems to know for sure exactly when snowstorms were first made, but the Victorians enjoyed them and collected them as souvenirs of their travels. Some of the earliest were displayed an ‘all nations’ exhibition in Paris in 1878, and they must have been manufactured for several years beforehand, as the Victorians were very fond of the novelties and by the 1870s were collecting them on their travels. It could be that snowstorms evolved from domed glass picture paperweights – another favourite trinket with people at the time and often bought as a souvenir. Snowstorms were extremely popular in the 1920s and 30s, then again in the 1950s and 60s, when most children would find one in their Christmas stockings. Today, they have re-emerged as a tourist souvenir, on sale at many resorts throughout Britain alongside the sticks of rock and ‘A present from –’ mugs, as well as being a quality collectable sold in gift shops and department stores. Though the word ‘snow’ associates them with Christmas, many have general themes, often summery. Before the advent of plastic, globes were made from glass, using various substances for snow such as ground-up bone, ceramic dust, sand or ground rice, but today both globe and snow are often plastic. Frequently, instead of snow, you will find glitter, tiny coloured beads, stars or confetti – and, apparently, the correct technical term for the snow is flitter! The liquid inside is water, often with an additive such as glycol to slow the fall of the snow, so that it doesn’t sink immediately and swirls for a while. Snowstorms aren’t always round – in the 1940s a German manufacture r experimented with various shapes and decided that a compressed oval shape was less likely to break than the traditional globe. Before then, the majority of snowstorms were spherical and could be viewed from any angle, which meant they needed to contain a three-dimensional sculpture or figurine. With the advent of the new shape, half of the dome was painted (normally blue) to create a backdrop, and flat-backed figures could be used, leading to a saving in labour. Now, the backs of the figures didn’t need to be painted and the figures could easily be stamped from plastic. Although globes are still made, the oval shape is very common, especially for the cheaper plastic ranges. Rectangular, bullet, cube, bottle, octagonal, cylindrical, conical, lantern and egg-shaped are just a few of the other shapes encountered. The subjects of a snowstorm vary enormously. Although we tend to think of Christmas themes – nativities, reindeer, angels, santas, fir trees and snowmen – they can be anything. Particularly popular are Disney characters, often incarcerated amidst elaborate scenes, for example, the restaurant episode from Lady and the Tramp, where the two dogs are linked by a spaghetti strand. Nursery tales are another favourite: the British toy company Hawkins supplies Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, The Frog Prince and Hansel and Gretel snowstorms which are made in Germany by the son of the man who invented the compressed dome shape. He still uses the traditional moulds, methods and hand-painted figures, and the designs date back to the 1950s. Interestingly, many other designs inside snowstorms go back several decades – only recently I saw one on sale containing the figure of a little angel with a fawn, identical in every way to one which I was given (and still own) in 1957. Other popular themes for snowstorms are advertising, tourist attractions, animals, fish, ballerinas, houses, butterflies and boats. The majority of the tourist-type snowstorms originate from China or Taiwan, and though at the cheaper end of the market, they shouldn’t be overlooked as the designs are often ingenious. Most new collectors begin with the easily obtainable snowstorms, quickly assembling a clutch of cheap and cheerful mass-produced types made over the last two or three decades. There are thousands to choose from, and often the modern designs are stunning. Many of the most desirable snowstorms originated in Europe. The Erwin Perzy factory, in Vienna, have been producing them since 1900, and their designs are renowned for their simplicity of style, detailed hand-painting, and, especially, the clarity of the specially formulated liquid which allows the ample quantity of snow to stay suspended for well over a minute before re-settling. Another well-known company is a German concern, Koziol, whose globes have been delighting people since 1948, while Walter and Prediger, also from Germany, were one of the first to issue the now commonplace dome-shaped snowstorms. Some traditionalists will only collect the original, glass globe-shape, but the plastic ones can be just as charming. Many collectors prefer the earlier snowstorms, dating from the 1950s or before, and as the majority of these were made from glass they are prone to cracking. At the time they were mostly sold as novelties for children, and consequently may have been stored in […]
The Time Tunnel remains a cult classic and we take a look at some of the The Time Tunnel collectibles, The Time Tunnel merchandise and The Time Tunnel toys that have appeared over the years. We also look at some auction results and some guide prices. The Time Tunnel was created by Irwin Allen and was his third science-fiction television series (after Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space). It was set around time travel and starred James Darren as Tony (Dr. Anthony Newman) and Robert Colbert as Doug (Dr. Douglas Phillips) as the two Time Travellers. The Time Tunnel ran for one season of 30 episodes from 1966 to 1967. The Time Tunnel and Project Tic-Toc The series is set in 1968, two years into the future from the actual broadcast season, 1966-67. Project Tic-Toc is a top-secret U.S. government effort to build an experimental time machine, known as The Time Tunnel due to its appearance as a cylindrical hallway. The base for Project Tic-Toc is a huge, hidden underground complex in Arizona, 800 floors deep and employing more than 12,000 specialized personnel. Project Tic-Toc is in its 10th year and at a cost of $7.5 billion (equivalent to near $60 billion in 2022) and is under threat of being cancelled. After an ultimatum is delivered either the project sends someone into time and return him during the course of his visit or their funding will cease. Tony volunteers but he is turned down by project director Doug Phillips. Defying this decision, Tony sends himself into time and finds himself on the maiden voyage of The Titanic. The Time Tunnel team can see where Tony is and when he gets locked up Doug follows to rescue him. From then onwards they travel to various time periods for many adventures. The Time Tunnel View Master set (Sawyer’s B491) features 3 reels showing 21 views from the Rendezvous With Yesterday which was the pilot episode. A complete set in very good condition is estimated at $50. The Time Tunnel Gold Key comics – this ran for two issues. Issue 1 featured The Assassins set in April 14th 1865 and features the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, The Lion or the Volcano? set in August 24th 79 A.D. Pompeii and see Tony and Doug in a Roman adventure and Mars Count-Down set in 1980 and features a trip to Mars. . Issue 2 featured two stories The Conquerors in which Doug and Tony end up in the future and discover a plot to go back in time and help the Nazis win World War II and The Captives in which the pair end up stuck in the middle of a conflict between Indians and General George Custer. As with most comics condition is a major determinant of value. Issues in Near Mint condition are valued at $80 for Issue 1 and $40 for Issue 2. The Time Tunnel Game was produced by Ideal Based on ABC Television Network Series. The copy pictured was sold by Hakes Auctions for $420 in 2012. The sets see the game travel from Prehistoric Era, The Middle Ages, 19th and 20th Century and The Future. The first player to complete voyages through all four time periods wins. Very few come to auction so we would expect a near mint example to be highly sought after. The Time Tunnel Spin to Win Game was produced by the Pressman Toy Co and was one of the Spin Cycle Series of games. The copy pictured was also sold by Hakes Auctions for $132 in September 2009. As with The Time Tunnel Game very few come to auction so we would expect a near mint example to be highly sought after. The Time Tunnel Trading Gum Cards Where Historic Events and Periods did The Time Tunnel visit? Tony and Doug become participants in past events such as the sinking of the Titanic (Episode 1 Rendezvous with Yesterday), the attack on Pearl Harbor Epiode 4 The Day the Sky Fell In), the eruption of Krakatoa (Episode 6 Crack of Doom), Custer’s Last Stand (Episode 8 Massacre), the Battle of the Alamo (Episode 13 The Alamo) and even the signing of The Magna Carta and meeting Robin Hood (Episode 16 The Revenge of Robin Hood). General Kirk, Ray, and Ann in the control room are able to locate them in time and space, observe them, occasionally communicate with them through voice contact, and send help. With no concern for the Time Continuum, Tony and Doug meddle in time through the ages. The Time Tunnel Disc Cards Did Tony and Doug Escape the Time Tunnel? When the series was abruptly cancelled in the summer of 1967 by ABC, they had not filmed an episode in which Tony and Doug are safely returned to the Time Tunnel complex. Autographs and signed items from the stars are an essential in a collection of The Time Tunnel Collectibles. Further information Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Collectibles https://www.thetimetunnel.com/ lots of information on the series
You may find that you have a copy of a board game that sounds familiar, but the game itself and the artwork may look dated and different from the versions you have seen more recently. From time to time even modern hobby board games get to the age where they are reprinted. New artwork may be added, extra gameplay or player counts added or maybe even changed with a whole new theme altogether. When this happens the value of the original versions of the board game can rocket in value as copies can become rare and sought after. Martin Wallace is a renowned British board game designer and his board games are quite famous for getting reprinted and updated. The values of his first editions can increase whenever word gets out that he will be bringing out a new edition of a previous game. His collaborations for theme are of fine pedigree, from Neil Gaiman’s work to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld! I own this very game as it was one of the first games my partner bought for me when we started getting into the modern board gaming hobby. This game was picked up for a mere £30. You will now see it listed at a higher value, for sale online for over £100. Purely because it is not produced any more. The game itself is out there, but was re themed in London as Nanty Narking. I won’t be selling my copy of Discworld Ankh Morpork any time as we love the game. However I will be looking to pick up a copy of Nanty Narking as it does look like a good re skin and you can pick it up for around £60. Another fine example of reprinted games is War of the Ring. A battle between the Fellowship and the dark forces of Sauron through Middle Earth, trying to gain possession of The One Ring. A very popular second edition of the game is available and first editions are available, but not as highly sought after. One edition of the game is the Collectors’ Edition. Limited to only 1500 copies in the world and printed in English and German, this edition has exclusive 3D painted figures and structures and is encompassed in a huge wooden case. There is currently a special edition of this game listed on eBay for $3,900 (around £2,750) making this a HUGE outlay for any collector. Board game related features How much is my Monopoly worth? Cluedo Detecting the Value of this Classic Game Cluedo feature by Rob Edmonds.
One thing that often appeals to us collectors is a sense of order.
Each year during the run up to Christmas I make a special trip to London and head straight for the prestigious department store Harrods. The purpose of this annual adventure is not to admire the festive window displays or even take in the electric atmosphere as people frantically cram their baskets full of Christmas goodies. For me this special journey is so that I can purchase that particular years exclusive Harrods Christmas bear to add to my growing collection. Pictured right: Harrord Christmas Bear 1986 The tradition of Harrods celebrating each Christmas with a specially designed teddy bear began in 1986 with ‘Snow Bear.’ This 13” snowy white plush bear appeared in the Christmas catalogue wearing a green and red knitted hat on his head which was decorated with Christmas designs and the word ‘Harrods’ in white across the front. He also had a removable matching scarf around his neck but unlike the bears which followed he was not graced with the Harrods logo and was not foot dated on his left paw. An extremely rare and sought after bear the mere fact that he was not foot dated does cause confusion with collectors as a full set of anniversary replica bears were produced in 1995 and this included the replica of the 1986 bear. The differences between the original bear and the replica are that the second issue bear does have the 1986 date and Harrods logo on his left paw and his knitted hat and scarf have a slight variation to the pattern. The Harrods archive department informed me that generally collectors check the ‘tush tag’ – but of course a collector needs to know what the authentic ‘tush tag’ looks like in order to tell if the bear is the genuine original 1986 bear, the 1995 replica or even a copy. In fact even the Harrods archive department are not in possession of the original as the archiving didn’t begin until 1989. Although they have acquired the other early bears this elusive 1986 example is proving almost impossible to find as they seldom appear on the open market and when they do can sell for in excess of £600 – a vast improvement of its original £14.95 retail price tag. This first bear proved such a success that Harrods made the decision to produce an exclusive Christmas bear for each year thereafter which people could only buy during the holiday season. They also decided that the bears would carry the year date and Harrods logo on the left paw. 1987 saw the release of the first foot dated bear, made with beautiful soft brown plush again he wore a festive knitted hat with a green bobble on top and a matching scarf with green bobbles on each end. This bear is also desirable with collectors and some are prepared to pay over £100 to own him. Pictured left: Harrods 1993 Christmas Panda bear In 1988 a cream plush bear – very much along the same design theme as the earlier two – was released however, in 1989 Harrods produced their exclusive bear in the form of a simple white plush polar bear as it tied in with the store’s theme of ‘White Christmas.’ In 1990 Harrods went back to producing the more traditional looking bear until 1992 when a grizzly was released, again to tie in with an American theme. The following year their Christmas bear was a plush panda. During the 1990s the Harrods Christmas bears had become increasingly popular especially with the Japanese collectors. However, these collectors wanted to know more about the bears themselves, whether each had an individual name and what were the stories behind the bears? So in 2003 wearing a bright red duffel coat, ‘William’ was released as the first ever named Christmas bear and in 2004 ‘Thomas’ arrived. However, in order to satisfy the curiosity of the collectors and to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Christmas bears in 2005, Harrods produced a special booklet for the Japanese market in which all the bears up to that date were retrospectively given names and background stories. The 2005 Christmas bear, ‘Nicolas’ also had ‘20th Anniversary’ embroidered on his right paw and his tag contained his Christmas story which read that ‘Nicolas had grown up in the Scottish highlands of the Harrods Balnagown Estate and it had become a tradition for all his friends, the other Harrods bears, to spend the winter months together in the old mill of the Balnagown Estate by the stream. Here they would celebrate the holiday season, trimming the old mill with Christmas decorations, enjoying a feast of Christmas treats and playing in the snow.’ 2009 sees the newest Christmas bear ‘Maxwell’ join the twenty-four strong hug of furry friends. Made with a super soft caramel coat he has warm chocolate brown eyes and is snugly wrapped up in a cherry red hooded jumper which has embroidered Christmassy items such as a festive tree, gingerbread man and Christmas pudding around the bottom. Maxwell is a friendly little soul and loves shopping at Harrods. His tag says that ‘he buys lots of gifts to make his family and friends smile but because he is so special he is even invited into Father Christmas’s secret Harrods workshop, a place where only select toys are allowed. Together with his friend George (another plush Harrods bear released this year) the two bears travel around the store with their favourite place being the Candy room where they eat lots of colourful sweets and plan their next exciting adventure!” Pictured right: Maxwell the Harrods 2009 Christmas Bear Priced at just £19.95 Maxwell is a definite must-have for any collector of bears. In fact this is one of the reasons that Harrods Christmas bears are so appealing, they tick all the right boxes where collecting is concerned as only one is released each year, they are easy to obtain, are more than affordable for every pocket and aside from being delightful have the probability […]
Nothing prepared me for the overwhelming feelings that burst through me when, on a recent trip to Barcelona, I first discovered the works of Antoni Gaudi. A sheer genius, never before have I felt so encapsulated by one designer as his use of the natural world combined with Gothic and medieval influences made me hungrily want to take in every tiny detail. Hard to place into words, you really cannot appreciate this talented architect, artist and designer’s individualism until it is confronting you, however I can tell you that in my own opinion Gaudi was not only a pioneer of his time but also one of the most unique architectural talents I have ever encountered. Born into a simple life in Reus, provincial Catalonia to a coppersmith and his wife on 25th June 1852, Gaudi was one of five children. However, as a child he developed a rheumatic problem, which was to stay with him throughout his life. This disease effected him during his childhood as it prevented Gaudi from mixing with other children his own age because the pain when walking was so intensifying that he was forced to travel by donkey whenever he left the house Although Gaudi did attend school he had periods where he had to miss lessons due to the rheumatic illness and so would use this time to observe plants and animals. It is these organic shapes of nature that became prolific in his later architectural works which are found entwined with the gothic and medieval influences which he became so passionate about. In 1868 Gaudi moved to Barcelona in order to study architecture at university. It was whilst attending this course that he also took classes on Aesthetics, history, philosophy and economics. He had a strong belief that the various architectural styles did not necessarily depend on the aesthetic ideas but instead were heavily influenced by political and social affairs. Much of Gaudi’s influences and inspiration was gained from medieval books, along with the strong Gothic styles that were beginning to appear. He was also heavily impressed with the new Art Nouveau style which replaced the rigidity of straight lines with a more organic flowing form of design. Unfortunately Gaudi’s studies were interrupted for a while as he had to fulfil military service. Working as a draughtsman he finally completed his term and returned to graduate from the New School of Architecture in 1877. He then went on to open his office in 1878, with one of his first commissions being for the lampposts in Plaza Real, Barcelona. He designed two models, one of which had three arms and the other with six. They are still standing today and many people walk past them not realising that they are actually one of the first Gaudi works that he created. Other work started to appear and Gaudi created furniture, alter pieces and even gloves for the Comella firm to show at the Paris Exhibition of 1878. However, it was the friendship that he formed with Eusebio Guell which really took his career into another dimension as Guell was to commission much work for Gaudi in the following years as well as introducing him to other like minded artists. Joan Martorell was a talented architect who became a strong influence on Gaudi’s life. Especially as it was Martorell whom suggested in 1883 that Gaudi should officially take over the project of the ‘Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia.’ This was to become his lifelong project and in turn his most momentous work. An extremely religious man, Gaudi saw it as God’s will and so dedicated 43 years to the construction of the temple. Aside from Sagrada Familia Gaudi was also commissioned to work on many other projects, especially as now he had become a well known and respected architect. Many of his works were for the Guell family, and this included the famous park. His friend, Eusebio Guell planned to build a ‘suburban city’ and although 60 plots were allocated for housing, only three were actually built. Two of which are today owned by the Trias family and one was created as a show house, although Gaudi actually bought it for himself in 1906. The park is surrounded by a rubblework wall which Gaudi crowned with ceramic ‘trencadis’ (mosaic made from broken ceramic pieces.). At each end there are two pavilions which are often referred to as gingerbread houses, and each possess the common trait of not having any straight lines or angles anywhere within the house or to the exterior. Another fascinating building which is a vision of modernism and one of Gaudi’s exceptional masterpieces is Casa Batllo. The owner Josep Batllo intended to tear down the building but changed his mind and decided to remodel it. Gaudi was instructed to carry out the work and as with all his projects created something so unique that this is probably one of the most amazing private homes I have ever seen. The façade of the building has an undulating surface covered in polychrome circles of glazed ceramics and broken fragments of glass. When built Gaudi personally told the workman how to position each piece by directing them from the pavement outside and this stunning façade has been compared to the ‘Water Lilies’ series of oil paintings by Monet. However, when you get onto the roof it resembles mystical animals and legends, as the sinuous shape of the roof together with multi-coloured ceramic scales on the main façade give you the effect of standing behind a dragon’s back. Pere Mila had seen the Batllo house after its completion and was so enthusiastic about it that he approached Gaudi and asked if he could build a large building which could be turned into flats. To say that Gaudi mixed his architectural styles is an understatement, this particular project the ‘La Pedrera (Casa Mila) otherwise known as the Quarry House, is so far away from the design of the Batllo house. Based on wrought metallic girders and […]