Marc Davis – Disney Legend by Tawnya Gilreath Marc Davis is probably the world’s most beloved unknown man. Marc’s fabulous career spans over 60 years, including 43 years at Disney. In 1988, Marc was officially designated a “Living Legend” by The Walt Disney Company which is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Disney artist. Many of Marc’s creations such as Cinderella, Tinker Bell, Sleeping Beauty, Cruella de Vil and the beloved skunk Flower are fond memories for people throughout the world. Disney utilized Marc’s humor and storytelling abilities in many of their most popular theme park rides. His contributions to It’s A Small World, The Haunted Mansion, and The Pirates of the Caribbean have enchanted millions of visitors. His talent is timeless and future generations will surely cherish his genius as we do today. In addition to being the world’s foremost animator and theme park designer, Marc is also an adventurer and an explorer. He has created hundreds of sketches and paintings of the people and cultures he encountered during his travels. Marc was so intrigued by the art and culture of Papua New Guinea that he created over 400 works of art which capture forever the beauty and mystery of this disappearing world. Since Marc is also an avid collector, he has a special affinity for collectors and understands the difficulties in building an outstanding collection. That is why he has agreed to open his vaults to The Official Marc Davis Collectors Society. From time to time Marc will hand pick previously unavailable works of art that will be made available to members only. All works will be numbered and signed for limited distribution. The Marc Davis Collectors Society is both the key and the vehicle through which Marc Davis treasures will be made available to the public. The organization has a charter that allows only 5,000 founding members worldwide making the membership itself a collector’s item. Founding members receive a hand-signed print of the “Jolly Roger”, a pirate character which Marc and Walt Disney considered for their walk-in attraction, The Pirates of the Caribbean, before it became the ride. This rare item will never be available through normal Disney channels in any form. A one-time membership fee of $275 secures your lifetime membership into this exclusive organization. Benefits include quarterly newsletters, a membership card and certificate, and an invitation to the annual convention. Whether you are a Disney buff or a fine art collector this is the opportunity of a lifetime. To join the Marc Davis Collectors Society or to learn more about Marc’s life and works, visit The Official Marc Davis Collectors Society web site. Membership may also be procured by calling (818) 347-4837 or fax to (818) 347-4793.
The United States was the home of Carnival Glass. It was developed there, and though other countries soon began to produce their own versions, most collectors today begin with American glass as it is the easiest to obtain. A previous article described the manufacture and appearance of this beautiful product, but briefly, it is a living glass – vibrant and bright – which reflects colour rather like spilt oil on water. Although the patterns are formed in a mould, unlike pressed glass Carnival Glass needs a lot of hand- finishing and decorating, and the iridescence (created by adding metallic oxides to the hot glass) means that the finished product doesn’t have that somewhat flat appearance often noticed in pressed glass. Pictured left is a Northwood fruit and flowers electric cable ice blue small bowl. Carnival Glass didn’t really become of interest to collectors until the late 1950s, and consequently the history of many of the early companies is still not fully-researched, so many dates are vague. A trawl through textbooks throws up a variety of dates – it seems that no-one is absolutely certain when the various manufacturers first developed their Carnival Glass products, though it is known that by 1905 the first cheap, iridised glass to rival the expensive Tiffany’s was in production. Pictured right is a Noryhwood Rosette rare green bowl. The Northwood Glass Company was founded by English-born Harry Northwood, son of a talented glass manufacturer. Harry left England to work in America in 1880, when he was twenty years old, and founded his own factory in 1887 in Ohio, before eventually moving to Wheeling, West Virginia. Many people believe that it was Harry who brought the technique of iridisation to the USA, having seen it at his father’s glassworks. By 1908 he was producing a range of iridised glass, using moulds from earlier pressed glass. He began by making a range of marigold Carnival Glass, which he called ‘Golden Iris’. Iris is from the Greek word for rainbow, and Harry thought that this was a good name for a glass which seemed to contain and reflect so many colours. Pictured left is a Northwood grape and cable plate.. Northwood proved to be a very productive factory, introducing designs such as grape and cable, fine cut and rose, beaded cable, wild rose, singing birds, peacock at the fountain, leaf and beads, nippon and rosette. Of all its designs, grape and cable was the most popular, and at one time could be obtained in over seventy shapes of dishes, vases, plates and bowls. Other companies, noting the popularity, copied the designs, which seemed to be quite a common practice at the time. Harry Northwood also introduced some lovely pastel carnival glass, which came in delicate shades of ice blue, ice green and white. Today, the pastels are highly sought after but are quite rare. White is perhaps the easiest to find and is very pretty with a delicate pearly sheen. Later, in 1915, a range of iridised custard glass appeared. This opaque and cream coloured glass has a pastel iridescent overlay, and is now very rare, commanding high prices. Most Carnival Glass is unmarked, but the Northwood company regularly marked their products with a letter ‘N’ in a circle, which makes them easily identifiable even by novice collectors. For a round ten years the Company was at the forefront of the Carnival Glass industry, but then, sadly, Harry contracted a fatal disease. He died in 1918, and without him the company seemed to lose direction, finally foundering to a halt in 1925. Harry Northwood at one time leased the Dugan Glass Company (when under a different name), and was related to Thomas Dugan, one of the managers. When Harry left, the name was changed to Dugan, and in 1910 the company began to produce Carnival Glass, often using old Northwood moulds. Normally it marked its pieces with a ‘D’ set inside a diamond shape, which is probably why, in 1913, it again changed its name, this time to the Diamond Glass Company. Based in Indiana Pennsylvania, Dugan was responsible for many wonderful pieces of iridescent glass with opalescent edges, using patterns such as fan, cherry, apple blossom twigs, butterfly and tulip, farmyard, fishnet, starfish stippled, pastel swans, raindrops and heavy grape. This company continued production right up until 1931, when the factory was destroyed by a disastrous fire. Pictured right is a Dugan grape delight amethyst rosebowl. The Imperial Glass Company, Ohio, was set up in the early 1900s, though the iridised glass didn’t appear till 1910 . Before then, it made pressed glass tumblers, water sets, cruets, pickle trays and other items of table ware. When the company finally introduced its range of Carnival Glass, it was an instant success and huge quantities were manufactured. It was so prolific in its output that most collectors today have some Imperial pieces in their collections. This company decided to specialise in geometric designs rather than the naturalistic patterns favoured by many of the other Carnival Glass companies, and it continued to produce items of practical use as opposed to the more decorative glassware which Northwood, Dugan, Fenton and Millersburg preferred. Pictured right is an Imperial grape marigold tumbler. Imperial experimented with many types of glass, often producing unusual base glass colours such as clambroth (a pale ginger-ale) and smoke (light blue-grey). They also managed to achieve an exceptionally brilliant iridescence on their wares, while their purple glass was a very deep, rich shade which no other manufacturer could accomplish. Much of their work resembles the Bohemian glass of the same period. At the time it was apparently quite common for a complete workshop group to decide to emigrate, and Imperial employed many Bohemian German-speaking workers who brought their expertise and ideas with them. The Company also produced a tremendous amount of marigold Carnival Glass, the commonest colour, and so one of the most affordable. Pictured left is an Imperial heavy grape one-handled dish. Glass from Imperial was sold […]
The brass basins, dishes and bowls created in Nuremberg, Bavaria in the 15th, 16th and 17th century are often referred to by collectors as ‘alms dishes’ hence the collective term Nuremberg Alms Dishes. Although Nuremberg was the leading centre for base metal production in Europe at the time, the manufacture of brass dishes were also made in Dinant and the surrounding area from Bouvingnes to Aachen, and up to the Netherlands. The Nuremberg brass dishes were exported all over Europe including England. During the period all metals were expensive even brass and the alms dishes produced, although functional, were often purchased by wealthy townspeople who would display decorative domestic objects to give the impression of wealth, style and status to guests. Brass dishes were a less expensive alternative to the silver and gold displayed in the European courts. The dishes were often embossed and decorated with secular and religious scenes including: Coats of Arms; scenes from the Bible such as the fall of man, the annunciation and The Spies of Canaan; inscriptions; scenes from Classical Mythology; stags, flying harts etc. Some dishes are inscribed with an ownership mark which shows that these objects were significant possessions. The dishes were embossed by hammering/beating the brass into a steel die. Other features were punched through. Inscriptions and lettering were often added but these were often meaningless. One of the reasons that Nuremberg became the main centre for the production was the strength of the local guilds. The Nuremberg Guilds Unlike other production centres which were governed by guilds, Nuremberg craftsmanship was governed by the Town Council. The council was made up members of the most powerful Nuremberg families who controlled the standard of craftsmanship within the town. The strictest professions were the trades bound by oath. Craftsmen had to take an oath to follow strict rules of production in order to be able to practice their trade. The Basin Beaters, who made brass dishes and bowls, became an oath bound trade in 1471. Rules included a restriction on the number of apprentices and journeymen each master could have and a regulation that apprentices must be citizens of Nuremberg. This helped to protect the town’s production and to ensure that no one craftsman became more powerful than the rest. (Source V&A) As the dishes went out of fashion at the end of the 17th century many found there way into the churches and were used as ‘alms dishes’. Nuremberg Alms Dishes Price Guide From looking at the recent auction prices there is enormous variation in the value of different Nuremberg dishes. Although some are four to five hundred years old, they were made in such numbers that many have survived and many in relatively good condition. Simpler designs range from £50 / $70 to £200 / $300. A dish featuring St George and the Dragon sold for £4,600 at Halls Auctioneers in 2012. A few more examples are pictured in this feature. Nuremberg Alms Dishes Reference Collections at V & A Nuremberg Basin at https://www.antiquemetalware.org.uk/
The distinctive designs of Elsa Schiaparelli can only be described as outrageous and ironic, and yet these innovative creations infused the romance of art together with the spirit of surrealism. With the ability to make fun, yet sophisticated, garments, worn by the likes of Mrs Wallis Simpson, The Duchess of Windsor, Schiaparelli’s innovative designs have inevitably secured her the title of being one of the most respected iconic fashion designers of the 20th Century. Born in Rome on 10th September 1890, to a well-to-do family, Schiaparelli originally studied philosophy. She married young, moved to New York and gave birth to her baby girl, Marisa, but unfortunately the marriage broke down when her husband left her, so together with her daughter, Schiaparelli returned to Europe and settled in Paris. With no profession and penniless, Schiaparelli wanted to become a scriptwriter but found herself working within the fashion industry. This was to mark the beginning of a long and successful career, and it became her lifelong passion. In 1928 Schiaparelli designed her first garment. A black jersey with white trompe l’oeil bow, it was noticed by a department store buyer who immediately placed a large order. It was at that point that Schiaparelli realised her life would be devoted to fashion and she opened a studio in Paris. By 1933 her designs were being compared with the work of her counterpart Coco Chanel. A great rivalry grew between the two iconic 1930s’ fashion designers and Chanel’s envy seeped through when being asked about the work of the Italian Designer. Undeterred by this, Schiaparelli opened a shop in London and then took over Madam Cheruit’s fashion house at Place Vendome in Paris, renaming it after herself. Concentrating on clothing that was ironic yet provocative, she wanted women to stand out and attract attention, which is why she began to take an interest in surrealist artists such as Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Jean Cocteau. Although she became firmly part of the Surrealism set, a special relationship was formed with Salvador Dali, as she found great inspiration from his work, and it was Dali in 1937, who came up with the idea for the outrageous “Shoe” hat. This inspired Schiaparelli to create many more flamboyant hats including the “Lamb Chop” which was worn by Daisy Fellowes, the Singer sewing machine heiress. Another collaboration between Schiaparelli and Dali was for the famous “Lobster” dress worn by the Duchess of Windsor, Mrs Simpson. As with all of Schiaparelli’s designs this dress was made for fun and had the element of amusement by featuring a large red lobster. Although her career in the fashion industry began predominantly with designing clothing ranges, as with any designer of this time, Schiaparelli started to look to other areas within the fashion industry, one such being, costume jewellery. She believed that jewellery was an art form within itself and as with her clothing created quirky and unusual pieces. Very different to the designs of her contemporary counterparts, the launch of the “Shocking Pink” collection in 1936 again showed Schiaparelli instilling her own injection of surrealism. This vibrant colour was something completely different as women still tended to wear the “little black dress” and her collection of jewellery along with cosmetic ranges was worlds apart from the otherwise contemporary designs of this time. Launched in a blast of advertising campaigns the “Shocking Pink” collection was quite obviously surrealism lead, with an advertisement depicting a typical surrealism image indicating that Schiaparelli always wore her heart on her sleeve. The “Shocking Pink” jewellery ranges included a “Lava Rock Necklace” with shocking pink lava stones which today would cost between £400-£500. Aside from the jewellery, another of Schiaparelli’s most collected areas has to be her innovative perfume bottles. She created many scents with the first being “Shocking” which was launched in 1936. The bottle was designed in the form of a female torso, which had been inspired by the hourglass shape of Mae West, a 1930s film star, for whom Schiaparelli designed clothes. These bottles are now highly sought after and range in price from £250 upwards. Another scent, “Zut”, released in the 1940s has a bottle shaped as a woman’s legs with a skirt around the ankle. Looking at these early innovative 1930s’ designs, it is quite obvious where today’s designer, Jean Paul Gaultier, gains inspiration for his highly collected scent bottles shaped like male and female torsos. In 1940 Schiaparelli fled from the Nazi Occupation in France and took refuge from World War II in New York. She refused to design any clothes until France was liberated and only returned to Paris in 1945, once the war was over, to re-open her fashion boutique. However, since the end of the war her avant-garde creations were no longer popular and so she returned to New York to set up her first Readyto- Wear boutique. By 1954 she decided it was time to close down her boutique in Paris and so held her final fashion show and then ceased production. She returned to live in New York in order to concentrate on her costume jewellery designs. During the 1950s Schiaparelli designed some gorgeous abstract pieces of jewellery using colourful glass and stones. These today are much easier to find than her earlier 1930s’ pieces and are all marked with her signature – although as with any top designer there are fakes on the market, so only buy from reputable dealers. Prices range from £400 for a paste bracelet to £1,000 for a set consisting of earrings, bracelet and pin made from lava rock stones, faux pearls and cabochons. Combining art with fashion Schiaparelli was once quoted as saying “Dress designing is, to me not a profession but an art.” This passion for mixing the two loves of her life is visible in everything that she designed from the clothing and hats to the innovative perfume bottles and costume jewellery. She succeeded where no other fashion designer has – by allowing women to expand their […]
Maria Longworth Nichols Storer founded Rookwood Pottery in 1880 as a way to market her hobby – the painting of blank tableware.
Collecting Chinese Snuff Bottles Collecting Chinese Snuff Bottles – Snuff bottles were used by the Chinese during the Qing Dynasty to contain powdered tobacco. Smoking tobacco was illegal during the Dynasty, but the use of snuff was allowed because the Chinese considered snuff to be a remedy for common illnesses such as colds, headaches and stomach disorders. Therefore, snuff was carried in a small bottle like other medicines. The snuff bottle is comparable to the snuff box used by Europeans. Pictured right: A FAMILLE ROSE ENAMELLED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795) Of spade shape, the bottle is painted in bright enamels with a butterfly above mallow and reeds to one side, a small iron-red Guyuexuan seal to the side, and a grasshopper amongst begonia and arrowhead to the other, all below a stylised ruyi head band at the very slightly flaring neck. The base is enamelled with a Guyuexuan mark in iron-red. It has an amethyst stopper. 2 5/8 in. (6.6 cm.) overall height. Sold for HK$52,500 ($6,796) at Christies, Hong Kong, May 2012. Image Copyright Christies. Tobacco was introduced to the court at Beijing some time during the mid- to late-16th century. It was originally smoked in pipes before the establishment of the Qing Dynasty. The use of snuff and snuff bottles spread through the upper class, and by the end of the 17th century it had become a part of social ritual to use snuff. This lasted through most of the 18th century. Eventually, the trend spread into the rest of the country and into every social class. It was common to offer a pinch of snuff as a way to greet friends and relatives. Snuff bottles soon became an object of beauty and a way to represent status. The highest status went to whoever had the rarest and finest snuff bottle. The peak of snuff bottle manufacture was during the 18th century. Pictured left: A WHITE JADE ‘BASKET WEAVE’ SNUFF BOTTLE QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795) Of flattened spherical form, the bottle is carved overall with an intricate basket weave pattern with the cylindrical neck left plain. The jade is of an even white tone with russet streaks. It has a rounded coral stopper. 2 5/8 in. (6.6 cm.) overall height. Sold for HK$37,500 ($4,854) at Christies, Hong Kong, May 2012. Image Copyright Christies. The use of snuff increased and decreased with the rise and fall of the Qing Dynasty and died away soon after the establishment of the Republic of China. However, replica snuff bottles are still being made, and can be purchased in souvenir shops, flea markets and museum gift shops. Original snuff bottles from the Qing period are a desirable target for serious collectors and museums. A good bottle has an extra quality over and above its exquisite beauty and value: that is touch. Snuff bottles were made to be held and so, as a rule, they have a pleasant tactile quality. Collecting Chinese Snuff Bottles – Materials and size The size of a snuff bottle is small enough to fit inside the palm. Snuff bottles were made out of many different materials including porcelain, jade, ivory, wood, tortoiseshell, metal and ceramic, though probably the most commonly used material was glass. The stopper usually had a very small spoon attached for extracting the snuff. Though rare, such bottles were also used by women in Europe in Victorian times, with the bottles typically made of cut glass. Pictured right: A VERY RARE AND UNUSUAL JADE PEBBLE SNUFF BOTTLE SUZHOU, 1680-1780 Of compressed form with a slightly convex lip and flat oval foot, the well-hollowed bottle carved with a continuous rocky landscape with plantains and a wutong tree, the other side with a seated scholar holding a qin on his lap, the figure seated before a rocky outcrop acting as a table upon which rests a brazier with a tea-kettle and a smoking censer, amber stopper, jadeite finial and vinyl collar 2 in. (6.31 cm.) high. Sold for $110,500 at Christies, New York, Sep 2008. Image Copyright Christies. Chinese snuff bottles were typically decorated with paintings or carvings, which distinguished bottles of different quality and value. Decorative bottles were, and remain, time-consuming in their production and are thus desirable for today’s collectors. Collecting Chinese Snuff Bottles – Symbolism in snuff bottle decoration Many bottles are completely devoid of decoration, others are incredibly ornate. As in all Chinese arts and crafts, motifs and symbols play an important part in decorative detail. Symbols are derived from a multitude of sources such as legends, history, religion, philosophy and superstition. The ideas used are almost always directed toward bringing wealth, health, good luck, longevity, even immortality to the owner of an artefact, frequently as a wish expressed in a kind of coded form by the giver of a gift. Probably the most popular decoration is the Shou character, a symbol of happiness and longevity, illustrated at right. Shou or Sau was one of Three Star Gods. Pictured left: A fine and extremely rare carved honey agate snuff bottle 1800-1880 Exceptionally well hollowed, with slightly concave lip and recessed flat oval foot surrounded by a footrim, the semi-transparent grayish-lilac stone with deep orange red inclusions, deftly carved in low relief through a layer of mustard-orange on the principal side with a pair of chicks, both with their heads bent pecking at an incised butterfly, with a bat and lingzhi carved in low relief on one of the narrow sides, stopper. Sold for $91,500 at Bonhams, March 2011. Image Copyright Bonhams. Another popular device is a representation of the 18 Lohan, who were the personal disciples of Buddha, just one group of the many revered immortals in China. Apart from the 18 Lohan there is a constellation of other divines who are portrayed, even their innards. The eight precious organs of the Buddha are venerated – his heart, gall bladder, spleen, lungs, liver, stomach, kidneys and intestines. These are rarely depicted on snuff bottles. Animals, on the other hand appear with regularity, the most common being the dragon. […]
In England from quite early times leather vessels were used very generally. The black jack was a kind of leather pitcher or jug always lined with pitch on metal, of massive and sturdy build, corpulent and capacious. It quite dwarfed all rival pots, mugs, or pitchers of leather. Pictured right: A Charles II Silver-Mounted Leather Blackjack Jug Unmarked, Circa 1682. The silver rim with hatched lappets, the front with oval silver plaque pinned on below the spout which is inscribed The Gift of George Barteram to Abigail 1682 11 in. (28 cm.) high. Sold for £2,750 at Christies, London, March 2009. Image Copyright Christies. In the fifteenth century they were called ” jacks ” ; New College, Oxford, in 1414 pur-chased ” four leather jacks two holding a gallon each and two a pottle each, the four costing four shillings and eightpence.” The vessels were not known as black jacks till the sixteenth century, being occasionally described before then as ” Jacke of leather to drinke in.” The word jack was used for various articles—there were ” kitchen jacks” to turn the roasting spits, and leather coats were ” jacks of defence.” This defensive coat was known in England for several centuries as “the jack,” and when adopted by the French archers was called ” jaque d’Anglois ” ; the prefix ” black ” was no doubt added to the drinking jack to distinguish it from this leather jerkin, which would generally be made of buff leather and as a rule of lighter colour ; the vessels were not known as “black jacks” jacks till the sixteenth century, the full title was used in 1567 when Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, purchased a black jack for one shilling. Pictured left: A William And Mary Leather And Silver-Mounted Black Jack, Circa 1690 Of tapering form 7½ in. (18.5 cm.) high. Sold for £1,375 ($1,907) at Christies, London, January 2009. Image Copyright Christies. The black jack was a feature of the cellars, butteries, and dining halls of our ancient hospitals, colleges and grammar schools till modern times. The chief reason for its survival in such places is that the jack was essentially a vessel for the refec-tory or the baronial hail; it held a high place while the ancient mode of living prevailed, and every man of substance took his meals in his hall with his family and servants. When more luxurious fashions came in and the lord took his meals privately in parlour or dining room, the leathern pot re-mained in the servants’ hall with the excep-tion of those that were silver mounted. These latter were small as a rule and more richly treated; they were edged with silver and often lined with that metal or with pewter in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and were highly prized. There exist to-day (mostly in private collections) quite a number of these silver mounted jacks; they were more numerous than the plain ones. They no doubt owe their preserva-tion to the fact of their greater value and the ornamental treat-ment and extra beauty of work-manship bestowed upon them. Jacks were not rimmed or lined with silver from a fastidious dislike to drinking from leather, for jugs and cups of various materials, earthenware, wood, coconut vessels and even china were habitually so mounted. Pictured right: Doulton Lambeth Black Jack Leather Silver Rim Beer Pitcher Motto Jug 1880s. Sold For Us $425.00 Approximately £271.05 on ebay, April 2012. The black jack did not require a lid and was seldom made with one, but occasionally lidded ones are mentioned in old inventories. At the Guildhall Museum there is an interesting jack which has a curious lid of leather, but it is obviously an addition that was made at a remote period in the jack’s history. The lid not only covers the top but reaches nearly an inch down the sides ; it was a hinge of iron which has a long strap over the lid itself in which is a thumb-piece to enable the person holding the ack to raise the lid with the same hand. Sometimes a wooden lid was used attached to the handle by a leather strap by means of which it could be fastened down to a buckle on the spout. It is probable that ]acks with lids were used when it was necessary to fetch drink from a distance, not every village having an alehouse. Besides the wooden cups, which were so numerous in past times, cups of horn, pots of pewter and other metals, would all compete with leathern mugs, and help to render them unnecessary. By the middle of the seventeenth century many of these were in general use and the necessity for leather pots of small size would not be great ; records of them are scarce. Pictured left: Doulton Lambeth Blackjack jug “The Landlords Caution”. Made from stoneware that’s impressed with leather when still wet and then fired. It gives a very convincing leather effect that’s complete with stitching detail and grain. 7 1/2″ tall and 7″ spout to handle. The jug has the words from the poem “The Landlords Caution” “THE MALTSTER HAS SENT HIS CLERK – AND YOU MUST PAY THE SCORE – FOR IF I TRUST MY BEER – WHAT SHALL I DO FOR MORE” written about it in an unordered way. I believe the idea is that as long as the landlord hasn’t drunk too much of his own product he should be able to work out the order (as a former Landlord I can relate!). This particular jug was stamped as made for Sidney W Allen of 39 White Rock, Hastings. It also has a Doulton Lambeth stamp as well as Doulton and Slaters patent stamp. Sold for £65 on ebay, April 2012. The warden of Win-chester College in 1897 remembered that when he was a boy at school the black jacks were in daily use, the beer being brought into Hall in them and transferred to pew-ter mugs. Thomas Tusser, the author of” Five Hundred […]
Star Wars Revenge of the Sith Collectables With the sixth Star Wars ‘Revenge of the Sith’ film opening shortly – the merchandise and associated premiums have been finding their way into shops, cereal packets and elsewhere for months. The first Star Wars film ‘A New Hope’ in 1977 was the first film to really tie in with merchandise and and many of the toys and related products from then are now worth considerable sums such as the first series of Kenner figures produced from 1977-1979 included a Jawa with plastic cape which can now fetch around $1,000 if in mint condition. It will be interesting to see if any of the new action figures, toys, comics etc will be as collectable. Pictured right is a StarWarsShop.com shared exclusive Original Double-Sided Episode III Theatrical Movie Poster Hasbro are releasing a number of action figures and toys including limited editions through certain outlets. Target will offer an exclusive Star Wars: Episode III Collector’s Case 5 pack and Toys R Us have an exclusive Anakin Skywalker Starfighter. Pictured left is the Episode III Unleashed Figures 3-Pack, Assortment 1 featuring Anakin Skywalker figure, Obi-Wan Kenobi figure and General Grievous figure. Available to all are a number of action figures that come individually and in various assortments, sets and packages. Often the Limited Editions, exclusives and less popular characters have the most potential to increase in value. Pictured right is the Episode III Deluxe Figure Assortment 1 featuring 2 Anakin Skywalker with Darth Vader tunic and armor figures, 2 Obi-Wan Kenobi with Super Battle Droid figures and 2 Emperor Palpatine changes to Darth Sidious figures. Collectors Cards, Trading Cards and Pins are always popular. The Revenge of the Sith Hobby collectors card set comprises 90 gold foil-stamped. There are a number of special chase cards randomly inserted: etched foil cards, morph lenticular cards, and a number of one-of-a-kind artist sketch cards (insertion ratio of the sketch cards are 1/36 packs). Pictured left Revenge of the Sith Hobby Collectors Cards. Pins and pin trading has become popular over the last few years especially with the growth in Disney Pin Trading. A number of pins have been produced including a number of exclusives such as the Celebration III exclusive StarWarsShop.com pin depicting the famous “Vader in Flames” banner art for the Star Wars event held in Indianapolis. Pictured right Vader in Flames exclusive StarWarsShop.com pin. Disney are pro ducing a incredible collection of Star Wars pins created for their annual Star Wars weekends. These are being released at the Tatooine Traders in the Disney-MGM Studios theme park. Star Wars Weekends 2005 will take place at the Disney-MGM Studios from May 20 through June 12, 2005. Pictured left Star Wars Weekdns Logo Pin features the logo for Star Wars Weekends 2005. Mickey Mouse is putting the finishing touches on Darth Vader’s helmet. Mickey Mouse’s hand is a pin-on-pin. Randy Noble from Disney Design Group designed the logo for this year’s celebration. Premiums normally produce some interesting toys and collectibles and for Revenge of the Sith, Burger King has the promotion. The offering varies from country to country – there are six exclusive toys in the UK (include Darth Vader™, droids R2D2™ and C3PO™, Chewbacca™, the Millennium Falcon and, of course, Yoda™!), and over 30 in the US. The US toys come in several ranges including Pull Backs, Wind Ups, Water Squirters, Plush, Image Viewers and Limited Edition 2 in 1 Darth Vader toy. Pictured above right: the UK Burger King Star Wars toys There should be enough variety to cater for even the most ardent collector and with expectations that this film is the best of the latest trilogy there appears to be more interest. I’m just off to get my Lightsabre. May the Collecting be With You!
Laurel and Hardy were one of the most popular and critically acclaimed comedy double acts of the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. Pictured left: LAUREL, STAN AND OLIVER HARDY. Photograph Signed (“Stan Laurel” and “Oliver Hardy”), 8 by 10 inch silver print, of both men wearing bowler hats, signed at lower margin and additionally inscribed “Hello Charles!” tipped to mat with archival tape, framed. Sold for $671 inclusive of Buyer’s Premium at Bonhams, California, April 2011. Image Copyright Bonhams. Laurel and Hardy Autographs At the heart of every Laurel and Hardy Collection will be autographs and signed photographs. Autographs of the pair range from $150 (£100) to $450 (£300), with some signed documents going for more. Laurel and Hardy signed photographs start at $450 (£300) with sort after and exceptional images fetching significant premiums. Composed of thin Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and heavy American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957) they became well known during the late 1920s to the mid-1940s for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy and childlike friend of the pompous Hardy. They made over 100 films together, initially two-reelers (short films) before expanding into feature length films in the 1930s. Their films include Sons of the Desert (1933), the Academy Award winning short film The Music Box (1932), Babes in Toyland (1934), and Way Out West (1937). Hardy’s catchphrase “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!” is still widely recognized. Pictured left: A Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy set of shirts from “Bonnie Scotland” Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1935. Both made of gray wool, collarless with four-button front closure; Laurel’s has added striped collar detail; each have Western Costume Company labels reading “Laurel 2148 15 2” and “Hardy 2150 18 2;” each have additional ‘WCC’ stamps on inside; worn by the duo as they played characters who had their same real names; both pieces altered for later use. Included are reprinted images showing the two in costume. Sold for $4,575 inclusive of Buyer’s Premium at Bonhams, Los Angeles, June 2010. Image Copyright Bonhams. Prior to the double act both were established actors with Laurel appearing in over 50 films and Hardy in over 250 films. Although the two comedians first worked together on the film The Lucky Dog (1921), this was a chance pairing and it was not until 1926, when both separately signed contracts with the Hal Roach film studio, that they began appearing in movie shorts together. Laurel and Hardy officially became a team the following year in the silent short film Putting Pants on Philip (1927). The pair remained with the Roach studio until 1940, then appeared in eight “B” comedies for 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1941 to 1945. Pictured right:Stan Laurel’s trademark Bowler Hat, the undersized black felt bowler hat, with black grosgrain ribbon trim — worn by Stan Laurel circa 1930s – 1940s, signed and inscribed inside To Anne, Stan Laurel; accompanied by a two page autographed letter in Stan Laurel’s hand, on Laurel And Hardy Feature Productions illustrated and headed paper, 511 Pacfic Mutual Building, Los Angeles California, November 28th, 1941 to Anne, thanking her for her correspondence and Hope you recd. the photos and also the hat… Am also enclosing you a little song book of parodies that was sent to me, thought you may enjoy it and get a few laughs.; the song bookSing-A-Laff by L. Wolfe Gilbert as mentioned and an early photograph of Stan Laurel inscribed in Laurels hand To Anne From Sweet Sixteen!! — 7×4½in. (18×11.5cm.); and stamped envelope. Sold for £26,250 inclusive of Buyer’s Premium at Christies, London, November 23rd 2011. Image Copyright Christies. After finishing their movie commitments at the end of 1944, they concentrated on stage shows, embarking on a music hall tour of England, Ireland, and Scotland. In 1950 they made their last film, a French/Italian co-production called Atoll K, before retiring from the screen. In total they appeared together in 107 films. They starred in 40 short sound films, 32 short silent films and 23 full-length feature films, and made 12 guest or cameo appearances, including the recently discovered Galaxy of Stars promotional film (1936). Pictured left: Laurel and Hardy, Nothing But Trouble MGM, 1945, half-sheet, style B, condition B-. 22 x 28in. Sold for $568 inclusive of Buyer’s Premium at Bonhams Los Angeles June 2006. Image Copyright Bonhams. Image Copyright Bonhams. A common comedy routine was a tit-for-tat fight. Their silent film Big Business (1929), which includes one of these routines, was added to the Library of Congress as a national treasure in 1992. Notable Laurel traits included crying like a baby while being berated and scratching his hair when in shock. On December 1, 1954, the team made their only American television appearance, surprised by Ralph Edwards on his live NBC-TV program, This Is Your Life. Pictured right: Rare bisque headed Laurel and Hardy wind-up toys, Hertwig & Co Germany 1920’s. Well moulded bisque heads and hats with painted features, card cylinder bodies with wooden lower arms and metal feet, wearing black and white felt suits with bow ties, mechanism to body and key to rear when wound the figures move about, both 20cm (8in) tall. Sold for £3,600 inclusive of Buyer’s Premium at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, May 2008. Image Copyright Bonhams. The works of Laurel and Hardy have been re-released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 16mm and 8mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home video since the 1930s. They were voted the seventh greatest comedy act in a 2005 UK poll by fellow comedians. The duo’s signature tune, known variously as “The Cuckoo Song”, “Ku-Ku”, or “The Dance of the Cuckoos”, played on the opening credits of their films. The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is known as The Sons of the Desert, after a fraternal society in their film of the same name. Pictured left: Laurel and Hardy – A collection of character dolls modelled as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, comprising: a pair of wind-up dolls — ½in. (14cm.) high, a pair of plastic squeezie […]
Portmeirion Pottery The name Portmeirion to many people conjures up images of the beautiful Italian style village in North Wales or they find themselves reminiscing the cult 1960s television series “The Prisoner”. To collectors the name Portmeirion is innovative and decorative designs in pottery created by Susan William Ellis. Sir Clough William-Ellis created the idealic Portmeirion village in North Wales back in 1925 to encourage visitors to holiday cheaply in pleasant but unusual surroundings. His daughter Susan had a love for art and had always had made design part of her life but it was not until she began work for the Portmeirion gift shop situated in the village that her designs became her own and Portmeirion pottery started to evolve. Susan married Euan Cooper-Ellis in 1945 and together they ran the gift shop. They bought in cheap souvenirs to sell to the holiday makers but Susan became frustrated wanting to buy more saleable objects that caught the customers eye. Her father had an association with the “Grays” factory well know today for Susie Cooper’s early designs. Susan found a copper plate depicting the picture of a lady in Welsh costume and sent this to the factory, Gray’s then produced an exclusive range of souvenirs for the gift shop from Susan’s design. From then on Susan designed many items including Portmeirion Dolphin – all the earlier pieces bear the yellow ship back stamp. Unfortunately the pottery was losing money and demand from Susan was high as she now had another shop owned by her and her husband in Pond Street, London. In 1960 Susan and Euan made the decision to buy the Grays factory in order for Susan to produce more designs. The following year another pottery was purchased, Kirkhams Ltd. This enabled Susan to concentrate on actually making pottery as well as designing. Kirkhams was very run down and needed modernising, once this was finished, the Grays pottery was sold, all the staff moved to the Kirkhams site and “The Portmeirion Potteries Ltd” was born. One of Susan’s first creations “Totem” was launched in 1963 and is highly sought after by collectors today, reasonably easy to find on the secondary market it was produced by cutting abstract shapes into the moulds. This particular design resulted in putting Portmeirion on the map. Such was the demand that Portmeirion had trouble keeping up with the orders. “Cypher” had been introduced along side “Totem” which again proved an instant hit! “Jupiter” a similar design but with a pattern or small circular shaped impressions was introduced in 1964. Both Cypher and Jupiter were in the shape of the new “Sherif” range. Unfortunately Jupiter had a problem in the glaze – it marked easily when used from certain acid substances such as fruit, so this was quickly discontinued. Examples of this design are now extremely hard to find. Other potteries began to copy the “Totem” design and sell at cheaper prices, causing Susan to come up with more design ideas and to bring the “Totem” range to an end. Samarkand was also available around this time, launched in 1965 again it was extremely popular. All of the early designs were produced in the cylinder shape which is easily recognisable to collectors of Portmeirion today “Magic City” produced in 1966 was probably the most popular design of its time and is extremely sought after by collectors eager to buy pieces on the secondary market, expect to pay from £70 upwards for a coffee pot in mint condition. It depicts scenes inspired by Susan’s travels and is also part of the “Sherif” range. “Magic Garden” introduced four years later was not as successful as “Magic City” but now collectors frantically try to find examples for their collections. Aztec and Phoenix amongst others were produced in the 1960s with usually gold, platinum and copper lustre designs on a black background. Extremely attractive and eye catching these too have a similar value as “Magic City” on the secondary market. The 1970s saw the creation of Pormeirion’s most collected and successful range to date, “Botanic Garden”. This design is transfer printed and is produced in the “Drum” shape. Originally launched in 1972, more than thirty years later this design is still in production and is the main stay of the pottery. Inspiration for this range was drawn from books purchased by Susan. The illustrator of the book “ Morals of Flowers” was William Clarke, a botanical painter; his drawings resulted in the patterns for the “Botanic Garden” range. Floral designs in this range include flowers such as Venus’s Fly Trap, Purple Iris, Spanish Gum Cistus, Honeysuckle, Speedwell and many more. All avid Portmeirion collectors know there are hundreds of different designs and shapes that it is almost impossible to cover all of them, this also applies to the designs in the Botanic Garden range. Rare items such as the Yellow Crown Imperial and Manchineel Tree plates can fetch in excess of £100 on the secondary market with collectors desperate to lay their hands on them. Stephen P McKay author of “Portmeirion Pottery” published by Richard Dennis publications says “Prices are all over the place at the moment due to world wide financial uncertainties. American Botanic Collectors are paying up to £100 for rare plates and the Double Camellia and Austrian Lilies are hitting £200 when they appear. Rare coffee pots are going for £70 to £150 for Magic Garden. All the above prices are typical for E-Bay and Antique fairs, you can still get bargains at local auctions and car boot sales if you can spare the time to look. ” With over forty years under its belt and going from strength to strength Portmeirion is without doubt one of the most successful potteries still in existence today. COLLECTORS CLUB There are dedicated collectors clubs for Botanic Garden as well as the general Portmeirion pieces. Collectors of Botanic Garden are predominantly ladies who have built up their collections over the years, adding new items as they are introduced and […]