Whilst reporting on a toy auction I came across a collection of unique jointed metal dolls from the A. Bucherer and Cie Company of Amriswil, Switzerland. The dolls ranged from popular characters from the 1920s including Charlie Chaplin and Mutt & Jeff to farm ladies and a pilot. On checking my reference library I was only able to find one reference to A Bucherer dolls in Dawn Herlocher’s 200 Years of Dolls: Identification and Price Guide and even internet search did not reveal much more information of these inventive dolls except an excellent feature by Sherry Minton on AntiqueTrader. Luckily a number have made their way for sale and to the auction market enabling us examine the dolls in more detail. ‘Bucherer, Amriswil, 1921-1930, made dolls with a patented metal ball-jointed body. Advertised as having changeable heads, the dolls represented comic characters and celebrities such as everyday civilians such as chauffeurs, policemen and firemen. Many were dressed in regional costumes with outfits sewn directly onto the doll.’ 200 Years of Dolls: Identification and Price Guide by Dawn Herlocher The A. Bucherer and Cie Company produced dolls from 1921 to 1930. Swiss innovation and invention in the early 20th Century made the country a world leader in clocks and watch technology, and music boxes among others. It seems that knowledge and technology moved into the creation of finely articulated dolls. The dolls had changeable heads which were made of plaster composite material as were the hands and feet. Head features such as hats were also moulded see the Bucherer Policeman and Bucherer Coldstream Guard as examples. The dolls measured between 6 to 10 inches high and were marketed under the name SABA an acronym for Speilwarenfabrik (toy factory) August (first name of Burcherer) Burcherer Amriswil (location of factory). Many of the dolls were made for particular markets especially America where the celebrities and comic characters were popular, and according to records two-thirds of the dolls produced found their way to US market. Bucherer Reference 200 Years of Dolls: Identification and Price Guide (200 Years of Dolls: Identification & Price Guide) Speaking of Dolls: Metal in their bodies shows invention and innovation in the world of dolls by Sherry Minton
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite Her Fairies and Postcards Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (1888 – 1960) was an Australian illustrator of children’s books and most noted for her work depicting fairies. Born on 9th June 1888 in Carlton, Victoria to Rev. Dr. John Laurence Rentoul and Annie Isobel. She married Arthur Grenbry Outhwaite on 8th December 1909 and thereafter was generally known as Ida Rentoul Outhwaite. Her works can be signed in a number of formats including I.S.R. and at some point changed this to I.R.O. She also occasionally used I.S.R.O. and full spellings rather than abbreviations. Her first illustration was published by New Idea magazine in 1904 when she was just 15 years of age – it accompanied a story, entitled The Fairies of Fern Gully, written by her older sister, Anne Rattray Rentoul. In the years that followed, the sisters collaborated on a number of stories. Following her marriage to Grenbry Outhwaite in 1909, she also collaborated with her husband – most notably for The Enchanted Forest (1921), The Little Fairy Sister (1923) and Fairyland (1926). In a number of cases, her children – Robert, Anne, Wendy and William – served as models for her illustrations. Outhwaite worked predominantly with pen and ink, and watercolour. Her work was very popular in her native Australia combining a love for fairies and native wildlife including koalas, kookaburras and kangaroos. Her work was made even popular in the UK when Queen Mary wife of George V by sending postcards to her friends in the 1920s. Her illustrations were exhibited throughout Australia, as well as in London and Paris between 1907 and 1933. She died in Caulfield, Victoria, Australia. There are normally 150-250 Ida Outhwaite postcards on ebay click on link to view – Ida Outhwaite on ebay. Values of Outhwaite postcards in very good condition vary from £10-£50 each. Ida Rentoul Outhwaite Postcard Price Guide
The most famous American name in the history of art glass is Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), the first and the greatest of his nation to make an original and lasting contribution to the art of glass making.
The Adventures of Tintin (Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of classic comic books created by Belgian artist Georges Rémi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name of Hergé. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century, with translations published in more than 80 languages and more than 350 million copies of the books sold to date. With the recent The Adventure of Tintin film we take a look at Tintin Books & Tintin Collectibles. Pictured right: Tintin Book – Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (in the original French, Les Aventures de Tintin, reporter du “Petit Vingtième”, au pays des Soviets) is the first title in the comic book series The Adventures of Tintin, written and drawn by Belgian cartoonist Hergé (1907-1983). Originally serialised in the Belgian children’s newspaper supplement Le Petit Vingtième between 10 January 1929 and 8 May 1930, it was subsequently published in book form in 1930. Designed to be a work of anti-Marxist and anti-socialist propaganda for children, it was commissioned by Hergé’s boss, the Abbé Norbert Wallez, who ran the right wing Roman Catholic weekly Le XXe Siècle in which Le Petit Vingtième was published. The series first appeared in French in Le Petit Vingtième, a children’s supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le XXe Siècle on 10 January 1929. The success of the series saw the serialised strips collected into a series of twenty-four albums, spun into a successful Tintin magazine, and adapted for film, radio, television and theatre. Pictured left: Tintin Collectible Tintin Holding the Unicorn figurine from the Steven Spielberg adaptation of Tintin and the Secret of the Unicorn Set during a largely realistic 20th century, the hero of the series is Tintin, a young Belgian reporter. He is aided in his adventures from the beginning by his faithful fox terrier dog Snowy (Milou in French). Pictured right: ABS Tintin Collectibles figurine showing the historic first meeting between Tintin and Captain Haddock, as featured on page 15 of The Crab with the Golden Claws. Each model is neatly presented within a Plexiglas cube, The high-quality finish of every character ensures that each tiny detail, movement and expression has been faithfully rendered to reproduce Hergé’s original drawings. Later, popular additions to the cast included the brash, cynical, grumpy and often drunk Captain Haddock, the highly intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus (Professeur Tournesol) and other supporting characters such as the incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson, who can only be told apart by the cut of their moustaches, (Dupont et Dupond). Hergé himself features in several of the comics as a background character, as do his assistants in some instances. The comic strip series has long been admired for its clean, expressive drawings in Hergé’s signature ligne claire style. Its engaging, well-researched plots straddle a variety of genres: swashbuckling adventures with elements of fantasy, mysteries, political thrillers, and science fiction. The stories within the Tintin series always feature slapstick humour, accompanied in later albums by satire, and political and cultural commentary. Pictured right: Movie poster from the The Adventures of Tintin Secret of the Unicorn Tintin Books & Collectibles Related AbeBooks.co.uk – find more than 110 million out-of-print books worldwide. Tintin Book Titles 1. Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (1929–1930, 1930) 2. Tintin in the Congo (1930–1931, 1931, 1946) 3. Tintin in America (1931–1932, 1932, 1945) 4. Cigars of the Pharaoh (1932–1934, 1934, 1955) 5. The Blue Lotus (1934–1935, 1936, 1946) 6. The Broken Ear (1935–1937, 1937, 1943) 7. The Black Island (1937–1938, 1938, 1943, 1966) 8. King Ottokar’s Sceptre (1938–1939, 1939, 1947) 9. The Crab with the Golden Claws (1940–1941, 1941, 1943) 10. The Shooting Star (1941–1942, 1942) 11. The Secret of the Unicorn (1942–1943, 1943) 12. Red Rackham’s Treasure (1943, 1944) 13. The Seven Crystal Balls (1943–1946, 1948) 14. Prisoners of the Sun (1946–1948, 1949) 15. Land of Black Gold (1948–1950, 1950, 1971) 16. Destination Moon (1950–1953, 1953) 17. Explorers on the Moon (1950–1953, 1954) 18. The Calculus Affair (1954–1956, 1956) 19. The Red Sea Sharks (1956–1958, 1958) 20. Tintin in Tibet (1958–1959, 1960) 21. The Castafiore Emerald (1961–1962, 1963) 22. Flight 714 (1966–1967, 1968) 23. Tintin and the Picaros (1975–1976, 1976) 24. Tintin and Alph-Art (1986, 2004) Unfinished work, published posthumously
Thunderbirds first screened on the ITV Network in 1965, and 2015 sees the series celebrate its 50th annversary. The series was created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, and filmed by their production company AP Films (APF) and distributed by ITC Entertainment. The first Thunderbirds collectables and books appeared in 1966 and we take a look at some of the highlights from the last 50 years, and their values and produce a small Thunderbirds collectables price guide. Pictured: Thunderbirds Annuals from 1966 and 1971. The first Thunderbirds annual appeared in 1966 with editions in 1967-1970 and 1971 & 1972. There have also been annuals in the 1990s and more recently with the Thunderbirds film and new TV series. In excellent condition early annuals are valued at £25-£35 each. Condition is everything, in lesser conditions annuals can be just a few pounds each.<a target=”_blank” href=”https://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=9&pub=5574679543&toolid=10001&campid=5335953011&customid=thunderbirds&icep_uq=thunderbirds+annual&icep_sellerId=&icep_ex_kw=&icep_sortBy=12&icep_catId=&icep_minPrice=&icep_maxPrice=&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229508&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”>View Thunderbird Annuals on ebay</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”https://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?ff3=9&pub=5574679543&toolid=10001&campid=5335953011&customid=thunderbirds&uq=thunderbirds+annual&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER]”>. One of the most popular characters is Lady Penelope actually appeared first in the TV21 annual of 1965. Thunderbirds is set in the mid-2060s and followed the exploits of International Rescue (IR), a life-saving organisation equipped with technologically-advanced land, sea, air and space rescue craft; these are headed by a fleet of five vehicles named the Thunderbirds and launched from IR’s secret base in the Pacific Ocean. The main characters are ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy, the founder of IR, and his five adult sons – Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan, who pilot the Thunderbird ships. Other main characters included Lady Penelope and Brains. Pictured: A Dinky No.100 “Thunderbirds” – Lady Penelope’s FAB1 – pink, clear roof slides, gold interior with “Lady Penelope & Parker” figures, cast detailed hubs – comes with missiles and harpoons in bag – overall condition appears to be generally Near Mint, still a superb example in a Near Mint bubble pack. Sold for £360 at Vectis, August 2015. Image Copyright Vectis. As with all die-cast models condition is everything and this is a very good example. There have been several versions over the years of this classic and Corgi are releasing a 50th Anniversary version – click for more details. It was the fourth Supermarionation puppet TV series to be produced by APF. Previous shows included Four Feather Falls, Supercar, Fireball XL5 and Stingray. Supermarionation used a form of electronic marionette puppetry combined with scale model special effects sequences. The Thunderbird Ships Thunderbird 1: a hypersonic rocket plane used for fast response and accident zone reconnaissance. Piloted by primary rescue co-ordinator Scott Tracy. Thunderbird 2: a supersonic carrier aircraft that transports rescue vehicles and equipment to accident zones in detachable capsules known as “Pods”. Piloted by Virgil. Thunderbird 3: a single-stage-to-orbit spacecraft. Piloted alternately by Alan and John, with Scott as co-pilot. Thunderbird 4: a utility submersible. Piloted by Gordon and normally launched from Thunderbird 2. Thunderbird 5: a space station that relays distress calls from around the world. Manned alternately by “Space Monitors” John and Alan. JR21 (named after managing director Jack Rosenthal) which later became Century 21 produced a range of toys featuring all the vehicles (Thunderbirds 1-5 and Lady Penelope’s FAB 1) in the show and some with variations. These JR21 and Century 21 toys have become collectables with models in boxes in very good condition fetching up to £300. Robert Harrop have been producing Supermarionation and Thunderbirds models for a number of years and their reproductions have won many fans and plaudits. Robert Harrop started producing figures in 1986 with their initial range of Doggie People. They have made models of all the main characters, associated characters, models and scenes and have designed a range to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Below are a selection of the 50th anniversary models. Tracy Island – The Greatest Toy Ever In 1992, Tracy Island became a phenomenon in the UK, after Thunderbirds was re-run on BBC2 and generated massive interest in Thunderbird related toys. The Tracy Island playset was top of many Christmas lists but large demand resulted in a shortage that left many parents and children upset. Pictured: 1992 Matchbox Tracy Island. These now sell boxed from £40-£100. The story was reported in the national news and is cited as the archetypal mistake to be avoided by the toy industry in general during the Christmas shopping season. Blue Peter responded to the stock shortage by demonstrating how to build a home-made version. Another release of the series in 2000 also sparked a peak in interest and a new Tracy Island playset from Vivid Imaginations went on to become the best-selling toy of 2000. Blue Peter once again had an island building creation. Thunderbirds on TV and in the movies Thunderbirds original series 1965 Thunderbirds Are Go film 1966 Thunderbird 6 film 1968 Thunderbirds film 2004 Thunderbirds Are Go tv series 2015 Other Thunderbirds Collectables and Ephemera There have been many Thunderbirds advertising tie-ins, books, ephemera, models, puppets, coins and more produced over the years – too numerous too mention in a brief article. Below are a few we like here at WCN. Thunderbirds Collectables and Toys related links Thunderbirds Vintage Toys has some great information and many wonderful images of rare and unusual Thunderbirds merchandise – click to visit. Stingray Collectables and Stingray Toys Price Guide
Most Wade collectors know the name of Faust Lang. They know that there were a number of figurines made before the Second World War, which now cost a small fortune, that were modelled by Faust Lang. They know that to discover an authentic Wade Faust Lang figure in perfect condition at a reasonable price would be a great ‘find.’ So just who was Faust Lang and what is so special about his figures? To see a figurine modelled by Faust Lang answers the second question as his models are so full of life and movement and always so very detailed. Unlike any other modeller who worked for Wade, Faust Lang modelled his figurines in wood, sometimes taking many weeks to complete a commission. In fact he never actually worked for Wade but was commissioned by them to produce his masterpieces. Faust Emanuel Lang was a Bavarian, born in Oberammergau in 1887, the son of Andreas Lang, a local wood carver.The beautiful town of Oberammergau is in southern Germany and probably best known for its Passion Play held there every ten years in commemoration of the town being delivered from a plague which decimated Europe in 1632. Both Faust and his father were players in the spectacular at various times but woodcarving was in their blood and it was in this that Faust excelled. In 1911 Faust married an English girl from Brtistol, two years his junior. They had met two years earlier when she was travelling through Europe with her mother and sister in a horse drawn caravan on an adventurous holiday. After their marriage Faust and Una spent the next twenty-two idyllic years together in Oberammergau and it was there that their only child, a son was born in 1925. During the 1st World War which started in 1914, Faust was a medical orderly in the German army and when he came home in 1918 the years were very hard with food shortages and rampant inflation. Faust was a keen sportsman and proficient skier whose relay team won a bronze medal at the first modern Winter Olympics held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1922. In the uncertain times of Germany in the 1930s and probably with the memories of the 1st World War still fresh in their minds, the family decided to move to England in 1934. They initially lived in Mawgan Porth near Newquay in North Cornwall moving to St Ives in 1950. Faust Lang became a British citizen in 1938. In 1938 Faust Lang met a certain Harry Adams, a Scotsman on holiday in Mawgan Porth who had a connection with Wade. Adams recommended Faust to the company who commissioned him to carve a series of what were to become amongst the most beautiful and prestigious figurines ever produced by Wade. The figures were finished in the ‘Copenhagen’ style. With the coming of the Second World War in September 1939, all giftware production was halted at the Wade factories and Faust Lang’s short but productive connection ended. In fact he had already completed a small bust of the thirties actress and singer Gracie Fields which although blocked and samples had been made, never went into production.Faust Lang joined the thriving artist’s colony in St Ives in 1950 and spent the rest of his life in England. He died in 1973 and is buried in St Ives. For more details and images please visit CS Collectables
The Tiffany family might not have made it to the New World aboard the ‘Mayflower’ but they might still qualify as early arrivals when, sometime around 1660, a certain Squire Humphrey Tiffany arrived and settled in the Massachusetts Bay colony. Some 150 years later his descendants were in business running a general store in Connecticut. The son of this concern, Charles Louis Tiffany, together with his college friend John Young, decided to try their luck setting up shop in New York at 259 Broadway, aided by a $1,000 loan from Charles’s father – the year was 1837 and Charles was 25 years of age. Initially trading as Tiffany and Young the firm is known to have offered stationery and fancy goods. Pictured: Tiffany Glass Lustre Vase – part of the Haworth Art Gallery Tiffany Glass collection. Image copyright Haworth Art Gallery. The enterprise eventually became Tiffany and Co and gained a reputation for carefully selected European objects that benefited from being tastefully displayed attracting both a discerning and growing clientele. By 1850 the company was importing jewellery and that same year acquired a collection of jewels that had once been owned by Marie Antoinette. The firm had prospered to such an extent that by 1887 they were in a position to purchase a significant proportion of the former French crown jewels for the sum of two million French francs. By now Tiffany and Co were jewellers and silversmiths to an elite clientele of multi millionaires with such legendary names as Havemeyer, Gould, Astor and Vanderbilt. This was a stratum of US society keen to offload vast sums of cash on the best that their money could buy and Charles Tiffany was a master at keeping his customers satisfied. His son Louis Comfort Tiffany was born into this rarefied retail outlet in 1848 and had benefited at birth from growing up in a home surrounded by tasteful furnishings of the finest quality. Despite the expectancy that the son would naturally join the family firm it became obvious that he had other ideas and by his teenage years had shown intent to develop his painting skills by studying under George Innes the celebrated American landscape artist working in the Barbizon style. In 1867 he travelled to London and Paris where he developed a fascination with the ‘Orientalist’ approach to painting that sought subject matter of both middle and far eastern themes. The young Tiffany had the additional benefit of being mentored by Edward C Moore who worked for his father and was recognised by all as a significant expert in all matters of historical design and fine art. Over the years LCT made several painting trips to Europe and North Africa where he had become particularly inspired by the simple and pleasing colours of the buildings, instilling an ambition of bringing colour into the buildings and homes of his native country. On one trip he was joined by his friend and much respected fellow artist Samuel Colman with whom in later years along with Candace Wheeler, the much respected needlework and textile designer, they collectively traded as Louis Comfort Tiffany and Associated Artists. Their relatively short lived joint venture was aimed at providing a total interior design and decoration service with Candace Wheeler in particular admitting LCT to be difficult to work alongside due to his obsession with his experimentation with all things glass. Their success appeared to be well and truly consolidated after being commissioned by President Chester Alan Arthur to redecorate several rooms in the White House. Other significant clients included Mark Twain and Lily Langtry – referred to at the time as the ‘Jersey Lily’. Tiffany’s fascination with glass had been nurtured during his early visits to Europe where he studied medieval stained glass in the many cathedrals as well as the early glass displayed in important museums. This interest was also stimulated by the ancient Roman and Islamic glass that he came across whilst travelling around the Middle East. His preoccupation with the commercial possibilities offered by producing aesthetically pleasing art glass began to override his expected involvement with his interior design company. As early as 1878 he had set up his own glassworks employing Venetian glass maker Andrea Boldini as his partner. Unfortunately their enterprise appears to have failed after the works had burnt down on two occasions leading the Italian to resign. Tiffany was however determined to pursue his dream and in 1880 began to file various patents including one that made use of metallic lustres and was to become manifest as his now legendary ‘Favrile’ glass. The term being a derivative of the word ‘Fabrile’ an old English term for being hand made. His efforts and further trialling appear to have taken place across the East River in the Louis Heidt glassworks located in then fashionable Brooklyn. In 1882, three years after parting company with Candace Wheeler and Samuel Colman, his continuing fascination resulted in the founding of the Tiffany Glass Company. The company was initially involved in the making decorative windows that had witnessed a growing demand that was also providing commissions for his one time friend John La Farge. Tiffany’s experimentation included iridescent glass that emulated that uncovered from archaeological sites and eventually retailed as ‘Cypriot’ glass. Other techniques included coloured lustre, wheel carving, paperweight, agate, reactive, lava, cameo and aquamarine. The latter might be considered to be a novelty type of glass albeit extremely difficult to perfect, which therefore accounts for such pieces being relatively rare. The intention was to emulate aquatic weeds, marine life and fish within a solid mass of clear glass encased within an integral vase or bowl or as simple doorstops and paperweights. In 1892 he made the decision to rename his business the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, thereby making it known that his interior design service was still operating and attracting no shortage of commissions. More importantly Louis Comfort Tiffany had by now secured the position and reputation of being able to claim the accolade as the […]
Toys to Delight – Sugar and Spice Toys by Sue Brewer Is there a difference between girls’ toys and boys’ toys? Well, yes, quite often there is. Sometimes it’s a fairly obvious distinction; as a rule of thumb girls are given dolls, cradles, dolls’ houses, toy brooms, fluffy creatures with long hair and anything pink. Boys tend to be given trains, cars, guns, space toys, science kits and, most certainly, nothing pink! There are exceptions of course, and while children are small they aren’t so fussy; it’s only when they start nursery school that peer pressure dictates the toys they choose. Lots of toys are suitable for both sexes; puzzles, board games, Lego, Fuzzy Felt, puppets and tricycles for example, though even then there can be differences. Puzzles might feature either a girlie picture of fairies or a boy-appealing ferocious dinosaur while Fuzzy Felt will be ballet or pirates. Even Lego can be girl-orientated when it contains pink bricks and small dolls. Of course, the classic toy for a girl is a doll; from earliest times it was assumed that the woman’s role in life was to care for babies and to create a home while man was the hunter or worker. Even today, when women have far more freedom and independence, and are increasingly taking over occupations once regarded as male, small girls are still given dolls. Look round any toyshop dolls of all kinds, from babies to fashion and fairies to mermaids predominate, usually sold in pink boxes or wearing pink sparkly outfits. Many girls’ toys are traditional “ our great grandmothers, even their great grandmothers, might have played with some of them. Things such as toy sewing machines, skipping ropes, tea sets, knitting sets, dolls’ prams, music boxes, clockwork dolls and tinkle tonks. The greatest revolution in toys began just after the Second World War, and was caused by the plastics explosion. Plastics transformed the toy industry “ at last there was a material which was light, colourful, versatile, easy to mould and difficult to break. A further explosion took place in the 1980s with the introduction of ‘collectable series toys’, following on the heels of the Star Wars toys of the late 1970s suddenly manufacturers discovered an exciting way of earning more money. By issuing toys in sets, children would need to buy several before they could satisfactorily play with them. My Little Pony was one of the most popular of the new lines, though many parents and teachers loathed the pastel pink creatures which, they believed, had no play value at all. The ponies had no moving parts, so it just seemed that their young owners combed and plaited the manes and tails. Yet that wasn’t strictly true as most girls created their own imaginative story lines, building up pon y worlds as they bought more and more ponies with names such as Cotton Candy, Applejack and Blossom. Over the years, dozens of different types of ponies made their appearance, often with special features such as rainbow or glittery manes, sparkling eyes, sleep eyes, transparent bodies, thick curly tails, scented or musical. Some featured translucent wings or magic heat-appearing motifs. There were clumpy male cart-horse types, unicorns, sea-horses, flutter ponies (very fragile, with delicate wings which soon broke) and Pegasus ponies too, all made by Hasbro, who had certainly struck gold with this product. Also on the scene in the 1980s was the ‘World of Strawberry Shortcake’, a large range of dolls and accessories, the most popular being a series of scented small dolls, 5Â½ inches high, with slightly overlarge heads. Jointed at the hips, neck and shoulders, each doll was marked ‘American Greetings Corps. 1979′. Strawberry Shortcake and her friends were sold by Kenner, though some were issued through Palitoy. Each character had its own hair colour or style, and, of course, a special fruit perfume so that they smelt of their name. By 1982 there were fourteen little dolls in the range, all with delicious names such as Lime Chiffon, Raspberry Tart, Lemon Meringue, Angel Cake, Apricot, Cherry Cuddler, Butter Cookie, Apple Dumpling, Orange Blossom and Strawberry Shortcake herself. The dolls came with their own pets, and had accessories such as houses, vehicles and shops. This same decade saw Rainbow Brite, Care Bears, Moon Dreamers, Flower Fairies, Sylvanian Families, Fairy Tails and Lady LovelyLocks â€“ all toys carefully designed so that a child needed several of them, plus the various accessories, in order to obtain the maximum play value. Of all the character toys, perhaps Sylvanian Familes was the most successful, offering maximum play value. The little animals first arrived in Britain in 1987 though were copyrighted in 1985; a selection of mice, bear, rabbit and racoon families. They were made by Epoch in Japan, and distributed by Tomy. The two main families were the bears, the Evergreens and the Timbertops, each with ten members, and the adult characters stood around 3.5 inches high. The youngsters were slightly smaller. Nowadays there are dozens of different creatures in the range from penguins to moles. Sylvanian Families are still sold today, now made by Flair, and the buildings and accessories are particularly sturdy and well designed. Many of the pieces of furniture and smaller items are bought by adults who use them in their own dolls’ houses! Dolls houses have been popular for centuries; although most are made for young girls, many have been created for adult collectors. At Windsor Castle is a spectacular dolls’ house which was originally made for Queen Mary in the 1920s, and it is packed with valuable treasures such as miniature hand-written books by famous authors, and tiny items of furniture created by craftsmen. More recently, dolls’ houses have taken a new form, with toys such as Palitoy’s Treehouse, the Matchbox Play Boot and Bluebird’s iconic Big Yellow Teapot, whilst Fisher Price have produced several designs including the Fisher Price A-Frame and a Tudor Style House. Young girls take great delight in imitating their mothers; they love toy vacuum […]
Graceland is the name of the 13.8 acre estate and large white-columned mansion that once belonged to Elvis Presley, located at 3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. It is located south of Downtown Memphis, less than four miles north of the Mississippi border. It currently serves as a museum. It was opened to the public in 1982, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1991 and declared a National Historic Landmark on March 27, 2006. Elvis Presley, who died at the estate on August 16, 1977, his parents Gladys and Vernon Presley, and his grandmother, are buried there in what is called the Meditation Gardens. Graceland History Graceland was originally owned by S. E. Toof, publisher of the Memphis newspaper, the Memphis Daily Appeal. The grounds were named after Toof’s daughter, Grace, who would come to inherit the farm. Soon after, the portion of the land designated as Graceland today was given to a niece, Ruth Moore, who, in 1939 together with her husband Dr. Thomas Moore, had the present American “colonial” style mansion built. Pictured right: This beautifully detailed brass ornament shows a 360 degree view of the Graceland mansion. Elvis purchased Graceland in early 1957 for approximately $100,000 after vacating an East Memphis house located at 1034 Audubon Drive. He moved because of privacy and security concerns, and the opposition of neighbors to the enthusiastic behavior of the many fans who slowly cruised by his home. Elvis moved into Graceland together with his father Vernon Presley and his mother Gladys. After Gladys died in 1958, and Vernon married Dee Stanley in 1960, the couple lived there for a time. Wife-to-be Priscilla Beaulieu also lived at Graceland for five years before she and Elvis married.After their marriage in Las Vegas on May 1, 1967, Priscilla lived in Graceland five more years until she separated from Elvis in late 1972. Pictured left: Thomas Kinkade painting of Graceland marking the 50th Anniversary of the purchase by Elvis Presley. On August 16, 1977, Elvis died in his bathroom at Graceland allegedly of a heart attack, according to one medical examiner report at the time. However, there are conflicting reports as to the cause of his death. According to Peter Guralnick, the singer “had thrown up after being stricken, apparently while seated on the toilet. It looked to the medical investigator as if he had ‘stumbled or crawled several feet before he died.’ ” The author adds that “drug use was heavily implicated in this unanticipated death of a middle-aged man with no known history of heart disease…no one ruled out the possibility of anaphylactic shock brought on by the codeine pills he had gotten from his dentist.” After initially being buried at Forrest Hill Cemetery, and fo llowing an attempt to rob his grave, Presley’s remains were moved to Graceland. The estate has become a pilgrimage for Elvis fans across the world. Graceland architecture and modifications The mansion is constructed of tan limestone and consists of twenty-three rooms, including eight bedrooms and bathrooms. The entrance way contains several Corinthian columns and two large lions perched on both sides of the portico. After purchasing the property Presley carried out extensive modifications to suit his needs and tastes, including: a fieldstone wall surrounding the grounds, a wrought-iron music styled gate, a swimming pool, a racquetball court, and the famous “jungle room” which features an indoor waterfall, among other modifications. One of Presleys better known modifications was the addition of the Meditation Gardens, where he, his parents Gladys and Vernon, and grandmother are buried. The garden was opened to the public in 1978. For more details concerning the decorative arts that makes Elvis’s mansion seem a creation as well as a site, see Karal Ann Marling, Graceland: Going Home With Elvis (Harvard University Press, 1996). Graceland’s “act of faith in serial novelty,” the author argues, synthesized the “intense concern for personal style” that made B. B. King notice a teenaged Elvis in a pawnshop years before he was famous and the fashion sense informing the “theme clothes” of the ’70s — “carapace[s] of sheer, radiant glory.” Graceland grew from 10,266 square feet when originally bought by Presley to 17,552 square feet today. Managers of the complex announced a major renovation project that will include a new visitors center, a 500-room convention hotel and high-tech museum displays. The current visitors center, souvenir shops, the 128-room Heartbreak Hotel, and museums will be torn down and replaced with the new facilities. The project will take approximately 3 years to complete. Elvis Presley at Graceland According to Mark Crispin Miller, Graceland became for Elvis “the home of the organization that was himself, was tended by a large vague clan of Presleys and deputy Presleys, each squandering the vast gratuities which Elvis used to keep his whole world smiling.” The author adds that Presley’s father Vernon “had a swimming pool in his bedroom”, that there “was a jukebox next to the swimming pool, containing Elvis’s favorite records” and that the singer himself “would spend hours in his bedroom, watching his property on a closed-circuit television.” Pictured left: Plate featuring Elvis at the Gates of Graceland. Graceland was Lisa Marie Presley’s first official home, and residence after her birth on February the 1st 1968 and her childhood home, although her main state of residence was California where she lived with her mother after she divorced Elvis when Lisa was in elementary school. Every year at Christmas time Lisa Marie Presley, and all her family go to Graceland to celebrate Christmas together. Lisa Marie Presley often goes back to Graceland for visits. When she turned 30, Lisa Marie inherited the estate and she sold 85 percent of it. According to Brad Olsen, “Some of the rooms at Graceland testify to the brilliance and quirkiness of Elvis Presley. The TV room in the basement is where he often watched three television sets at once, and was within close reach of a wet bar.” Elvis […]
As the Queen celebrates her official birthday on Saturday June 11 we thought we would take a look at some of the collectables and memorabilia available for collectors. These include offerings from Royal Doulton and smaller potteries such as Hazle Ceramics and Bairstow Pottery, teddies from Merrythought & Steiff, cars and buses from Corgi, a great offering from the Royal Collection and more. Merrythought Teddy Bear Merrythought have created a wonderful Limited Edition teddy bear to Celebrate HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday Merrythought, Britain’s last remaining teddy bear factory, has designed a splendid collectable teddy bear in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday, alongside her historic achievement in becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch. This exquisite piece has been hand crafted in the original workshop in Ironbridge, Shropshire, where Merrythought have been making teddy bears since 1930; a magical place where each teddy bear is brought to life using only the finest material and traditional craftsmanship that has been passed down four generations of the family business. ‘HM Queen Elizabeth II Teddy Bear’ is available from quality retailers, including Harrods, Teddy Bears of Witney, World of Bears and The Merrythought Teddy Bear Shop and website (www.merrythought.co.uk) priced at around £259.00. Steiff Teddy Bear Steiff have created a special bear for the Danbury Mint to celebrate the event with the Queen’s 90th Birthday Bear which will be issued in a strict limited edition and will only be made during 2016. She is hand-made from the finest peach-coloured mohair, with a hand-stitched nose and mouth, is fully jointed and around her neck there is a regal purple ribbon with a specially-commissioned birthday pendant. Lavishly plated in 9ct rose gold, it shimmers with over 40 diamond-white crystals. There are also two sparkling pear-cut amethyst-coloured stones and a genuine solitaire diamond – the Queen’s birthstone. The bear’s paws are embroidered in majestic purple thread with the words “Queen Elizabeth” and the year “2016”. The bear measures 11″ (28cm) standing, and is priced at £199. Hazle Ceramics Hazle Ceramics still produce some of the best collectables from their pottery in Essex. They are able to create special pieces for many special events and if you have not heard of them visit https://www.hazle.com. The models are The Post Office – Happy Birthday Ma’am! (priced at £54) and The Queen’s Birthday Breakfast (priced at £110). Corgi Corgi are celebrating the 90th Birthday Of HM Queen Elizabeth II with two special commemorative die-cast vehicles: a Routemaster bus and a classic mini, both in regal purple livery. Both models are priced at £9.99 and can ordered from the Corgi web site. Royal Doulton Royal Doulton have created a series of four figurines Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90. The models are: Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: At Home, Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: Birthday Celebration, Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: A Royal Christening and Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: Army Days. Each model is 22cm high. Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: At Home £150.00 Queen Elizabeth in a striking yellow suit with the Royal Family’s recognisable corgis at her feet whilst relaxing at home. Masterfully crafted and rendered in beautiful colours, this is a stand-out piece to honour Her Majesty the Queen’s landmark birthday and her 63 years of service in the Royal Family. Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: Birthday Celebration £125.00 Standing at 22cm tall and rendered in a vivid deep red to her coat and hat, Queen Elizabeth is portrayed here with celebratory birthday flowers and her iconic sense of style. Every detail has been considered and executed with fine craftsmanship for a collectable to last a lifetime and beyond. Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: A Royal Christening £175.00 A scene paying tribute to Prince George of Cambridge’s christening, this impeccably crafted figurine depicts a scene set up for official photos of the day – showing Her Majesty the Queen with the Duke, Duchess and Prince of Cambridge sitting on a sofa that would have been within the regal surroundings of Buckingham Palace. Rendered in beautiful colours with striking attention to detail, this piece would make a beautiful gift for any home, and a highly desirable collector’s piece. Celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90: Army Days £125.00 This commemorative figurine displays Queen Elizabeth in her days within the army after she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945. Presented in bold time-honoured colours with impeccable attention to detail, Queen Elizabeth is shown with her correct uniform and bag. Keep as a treasured collectable or give as a superb gift. The Royal Collection Shop The Royal Collection shop has a whole range of of commemorative chinaware and gifts commissioned by Buckingham Palace. The collection includes a Commemorative Pillbox, Mint Imperials, Plates, Tankards, China, Carriage Clock, Mugs, Jewellery etc. For more information visit https://www.royalcollectionshop.co.uk/ Bairstow Pottery Queen Elizabeth ll 90th Birthday Commemorative Character Jugs Bairstow Pottery, of Stoke have released a commemorative Queen Elizabeth ll character jug to celebrate her 90th Birthday. The Queen Elizabeth ll 90th Birthday Commemorative Character is being produced in a number of colourways including yellow, orange and blue version.