Since history began man has attempted to smoke various burning herbs in different ways, but the first appearance of the pipe, functioning on the principle of the familiar briar, is a matter for conjecture. Pictured left: An American Indian Stone Pipe With Lead Inlay To The Bowl And Stem 6In. (15Cm.) Long. Sold for £1,320 at Christies, London, The Fine Art of Smoking sale, May 2006. Image Copyright Christies. The earliest known pipes have been discovered in the neolithic barrows of the Mississippi valley, and were made of porphyritic and other hard stone, tubular in shape or consisting of a tube with a central bowl. Many of these pipes, which are over 5000 years old, are elaborately carved with representations of animals, and from that time to this day, a lot of care and artistry has gone into the making of pipes all over the world. The Maya tribes, who migrated from North America to the Yucatan peninsula and other parts of Mexico before the Christian era, have left in their stone carvings representations of priests smoking pipes of a similar design—a design not far removed from the modern American Indians’ calumet, or pipe of peace. Excavations in many parts of Europe have led to the discovery of iron and earthenware pipes, used for smoking herbs other than tobacco, which was only introduced into the ” Old World ” in the sixteenth century, while many of these finds are attributed to the first and second centuries A.D. Pictured left: A Haida Argillite Pipe – The Bowl Carved As A Head, The Stem With Bird And Figure – 6in. (15Cm.) Long. Sold for £2,640 at Christies, London, The Fine Art of Smoking sale, May 2006. Image Copyright Christies. The first Europeans to smoke tobacco pipes were sailors of the Columbus expedition and those of other navigators of the time such as Vespucci and Magellan, who, having adopted the habit from the Indians, brought home with them calumets and tobacco. The custom and ” the weed ” spread from Spain and Portugal to France— where it was introduced by the French ambassador to the Portuguese court, Jean Nicot, whose name is perpetuated in the plant’s botanical name, Nicotiana Tabacum. From France it spread to the Low Countries and thence to Britain. Sir Walter Raleigh did much to popularise the habit of smoking the pipe in England, but it is difficult to ascertain whether he actually introduced it, or whether this distinction belongs to his great contemporaries and fel- low sailors, Drake and Hawkins. It is, however, an established fact that pipe smoking was common in this country before the end of the sixteenth century and the pipe makers of London became an incorporated body by 1619. The pipe found its greatest vogue in the nineteenth century, when some of the most beautiful specimens were made and this vogue grew as the century advanced becoming quite a cult with our Victorian grandfathers. The following passage from ” The Diary of a Nobody” by George and Weedon Grossmith, published about 1880, illustrates this fact: ” Cummings unexpectedly dropped in to show me a meerschaum pipe he had won in a raffle in the City, and told me to handle it carefully or it would spoil the colouring if the hand was moist.” The materials used for making pipes were many and varied—the main reason for their selection being suitability— but there were cases when the only substances available at the time and place were used. The neolithic stone pipes have already been mentioned. While these were made of hard stone, a softer type of rock was used until quite recently, to make pipe bowls, in Palestine. This is a dark grey bituminous limestone found on the western shores of the Dead Sea and these pipe heads were used in conjunction with a long wooden stem. Soap-stone bowls were often made for the calumet which had a stem of reed or painted wood about 21 feet long, decorated with feathers. The Eskimos have fashioned pipes out of reindeer antlers, while in parts of central Europe the antlers of red and fallow deer were used for the same purpose. Pictured right: An Eskimo Walrus Ivory Pipe Incised With Fishing Scenes, Inscribed Autsis Look 16½.In. (42Cm.) Long. Sold for £5,040 at Christies, London, The Fine Art of Smoking sale, May 2006. Image Copyright Christies. Glass has been used from time to time, and the best known specimens were produced in the first half of the nineteenth century at the Bristol and Nailsea works, in all the delightful shades for which these factories were noted. These glass pipes—be they of clear glass with white or coloured symmetrical waves, or of an opaque milky-white texture with blue or red waves—were very attractive but it is doubtful if any but the smallest were ever smoked. Some of the very large ones—up to four feet long, with a bowl capable of holding a pound of tobacco — were most probably used to adorn some Georgian or early Victorian tobacconist’s window. Corn-cobs suitably dried and toasted, fitted with a short straight stem of wood or cork and a bone mouthpiece, have enjoyed long popularity in the United States. Calabash, which is a fruit of the gourd family, has been used for making bowls and was much smoked in this country during the 30 or 40 years preceding the first world war. The rim of the pipe and the end of the stem, where it adjoins the curved amber or ebonite mouthpiece, were generally protected by a silver band and the pipes can be dated from the hallmark carried by the silver. Early in the nineteenth century, a Budapest shoemaker is supposedto have discovered the process of waxing a mineral white in colour, soft, chemically a silicate of magnesia, quarried mostly in Asia Minor and known as ” meerschaum” (a German word meaning sea-froth) because of its light weight. Pictured left: Finely carved meerschaum pipes. Image Copyright Christies. This discovery meant that the material could now be used for making pipes, the wax treatment […]
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
There’s something special about tinplate fire engines. They’re intricate, they’re beautiful, and they hark back to a bygone era of firefighting. For collectors the area is easily definable and a good collection can be acquired. We include a number of examples along with their estimates or prices achieved at auction. Tinplate fire engines were first produced in the late 19th century, and they quickly became popular among children and toy collectors alike. Some of the most collectable and highly prized tinplate fire engines were made by the German and French toy companies including Marklin, Bing, Arnold, Distler and Unis. They were often colourful with excellent and transfer printing including names, firemen and fire engine details. Some models included extending ladders and detachable tin firemen. Clockwork tinplate fire engines are particularly desirable, especially in good working order. British toy makers such as Mettoy made tinplate fire engines.
Masons Ironstone China The 19th Century saw a massive growth in the British pottery industry with the production of functional, durable and decorative ceramic tableware. The durable nature of the pottery being produced and the ability to use transfer-printing, meant that customers still wanting Oriental patterns could now have the patterns on a much more dense, and stronger “china”. Pictured: A Mason’s Ironstone Part Dinner Service Late 19th Century, Impressed And Black Printed Ironstone China Marks Each piece with a figural chinoiserie vignette within a paper scroll and oyster ground punctuated with floral sprays and cartouches of precious objects. The set comprised over 100 plates, platters, dishes etc. Sold for $50,400 at Christies, New York, 2006. Image Copyright Christies. The manufacturing process could also be scaled up and the production moved to large factories, the cost of items was reduced and a new market of aspiring middle classes could now afford household china for everday use. This move supplanted the more delicate Chinese style porcelain that was common at the time. One such material was ironstone – a hard, dense and durable, slightly transparent white earthenware. The first form of ironstone was thought to have been manufactured by William Turner around 1800 at the Lane End potteries at Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. A number of potters were experimenting and it was also known as semi-porcelain, opaque porcelain, English porcelain, stone china and new stone. Pictured: A William Mason blue and white dessert-plate and three Mason’s Ironstone dishes Circa 1820, the dishes with printed and impressed MASON’S PATENT IRONSTONE CHINA marks The dessert-plate printed with the ‘Furness Abbey’ pattern, within moulded arcading and broad borders of scrolling cartouches of landscapes divided by passion-flowers and convolvulus, the dishes of leaf-shaped form with double-scroll handle, printed with the ‘Blue Pheasant’ pattern (all with riveted repairs and slight chipping, and staining to first) The first 7½ in. (19 cm.) diam., the second 9 5/8 in. (24.4 cm.) wide (4). Sold for £688 at Christies, London, 2009. Image Copyright Christies. Ironstone was first patented in 1813 by Charles James Mason, the son of Miles Mason. The Mason’s were a family of potters and had been developing a number of potting techniques at their works at Lane Delph, Fenton. The patent was No. 3724 was for a process for the “Improvement of the Manufacture of English Porcelain’, IRONSTONE PATENT CHINA”. The initial patent was for 14 years and was not renewed. Other companies such as Davenport and Hicks, Meigh & Johnson started producing similar wares. Pictured: Eight Mason’s Ironstone Jugs Circa 1825-35, Black Printed Marks Of octagonal form and graduated in size, painted with Oriental figures within shaped cartouches on an iron-red tiled ground The tallest 7½ in. (19 cm.) high (8). Sold for £688 at Christies, London, 2009. Image Copyright Christies. At the time the patent was taken out the ownership of the company was transferred to Miles Mason’s two sons and became known as G. & C. Mason or G. & C. Mason & Co. Family members include Miles Mason, his sons William Mason and Charles James Mason, and George Miles Mason.The company enjoyed enormous early success and continued to introduce new wares and designs. However, a change in fortunes saw Charles James Mason declared bankrupt and the firm close in 1848. Charles James Mason started a new factory at the Dasiy Bank Pottery but he died in 1856. At that time all the Mason patterns and moulds passed to Francis Morley. Morley and the Ashworth family formed a partnership during the period 1858-60, at the Broad Street works in Hanley. In 1862 Morley retired and passed everything to Ashworth including the Mason patterns, copper plates, moulds and trade marks. The company was acquired in 1884 by John Shaw Goddard and remained in the Goddard family until 1973 when the firm joined the Wedgwood Group. Masons Ironstone Related Masons Ironstone at Auction The Mason Family of Potter MILES MASON Miles was born in December 1752 in the village of Dent, Yorkshire. By 1769 he had moved to Chigwell where he was a neighbour of the Farrar family. On 13th August 1782 he married Ruth Farrar at St. Gabriel’s, Fenchurch Street. He was aged 30 but she was only 16 years old. After the marriage Miles became tenant-in-chief of a fine house and other properties at Chigwell Row, Essex which had previously been let to his late father-in-law by the Lord of the Manor of Barringtons. Apparently he never lived there. On 8th September 1783 Miles became a Freeman of the Glass-sellers’ Company and took the Livery on 23 September 1784. He was the founder of the Mason company and was producing porcelain of a high quality from the early 1800’s. He started by taking over the business of selling imported china which had been started by Richard Farrar, his father-in-law, in London in about 1783. Much of the porcelain sold was of the shape and design of the very popular Chinese export market porcelain. At this time a producer of such wares was called a ‘chinaman’ – a producer of china. By September 1784 he had taken over the china business of Richard Garrett. In 1793 he moved with his family from Fenchurch Street to 41 Finsbury Square and it was at this time that he was master of a City Livery Company. In 1796 Miles had moved to 25 Queenhithe near Blackfriars and it was a this time that he became a partner in three different partnerships and was involved in the manufacturing and retail sides of the pottery trade. One partnership was with Thomas Wolfe of the Islington China Manufactory, Folly Lane, Liverpool, a manufacturer of earthenware, a second with James Green of Upper Thames Street, London, a wholesale pottery-dealing company and thirdly a partnership was formed with George Wolfe so that he could make eartherware at Lane Delph. In June 1800 he dissolved the partnership with Thomas Wolfe, due to the heavy duties that were imposed by the Government in 1799 on […]
Bécherel The City of Books. One of the highlights to a recent trip to Brittany was a visit to Bécherel The City of Books also the Village of Books. Being a collector of first editions, antiquarian and children’s books it was exciting to visit the 15 or so bookshops all within a short walk of each other. Located northwest of Rennes, Bécherel officially became a Book Town in 1989 when the first Fête du Livre was held; it is now an annual event, which takes place at Easter and is complemented by a series of events throughout the year including a reading festival in October. Sadly my visit did not coincide with an event or the book market that takes place on the first Sunday of every month. The tourist information office (Maison du livre et du tourisme) has an excellent map of the village detailing the places of interest and most importantly the bookshops and their book subjects and specialities. Each shop has their own appeal and character. Most are in old shops and houses with many rooms and winding corridors. The village is full of character and every bookshop and related shops are within a couple of minutes walk, with some next door to each other. So what was I looking for as being a French town the majority of books are in French. There were small collections of English books in the shops but I was looking for Asterix, French comics and vintage French Agathie Christie books which have fantastic covers. The Librarie Abraxas and Pochoteque Abraxas has over 125,000 books including sections on literature, sci fi, manga, thrillers, children’s books, science and humanities. I also found a great selection of Asterix and French comics at Le Donjon, and a great selection of Agathie Christie and The Saint (Le Saint) books at Les Perseides (which also has a small cafe). The only problem I had was not having enough time to do fully explore every bookshop. You could happily spend a couple of days in Becherel. If you love books and are in the region Becherel The City of Books is a must.
One of the most prolific designers of the 20th/21st Century has to be French born Philippe Starck. His design achievements include an eclectic mix of everyday domestic items, lighting and furniture to more flamboyant interior design projects, making him an industrial design genius often referred to as “The Designer of Our Time.” Pictured left: Phillipe Starck’s Juicy Saliff designed for Alessi. Born in Paris on 18th January 1949, Starck’s passion for design started as a child. His father Andre Starck worked as an aeroplane designer and Philippe spent much of his childhood underneath his father’s drawing board dismantling objects and then putting them back together again in the form of complex machinery. He studied at the Ecole Nissim de Camondo School in Paris until 1968 when he set up his first business producing inflatable products. He then took the position as Art Director for Pierre Cardin in America but later returned to France and embarked on his first interior design projects by fitting out the Paris nightclubs “La Main Blueue” (1976) and Les “Bains-Douches” (1979). The company “Starck Product” was founded in 1979 and the project that was to launch Starck’s career to International success was when he was asked by President Francois Mitterand in 1982 to renovate his private apartments in the Elysee Palace. Pictured right: A set of four Victoria Ghost side chairs modern, designed by Philippe Starck for Kartell. Sold for $525 at Bonhams, May 2012. Image Copyright Bonhams. From then on Starck worked on numerous design projects that included the Café Costes, the Paris Eurostar Terminal and the Penninsula Hotel restaurant in Hong Kong. He created everything from the furniture to the design of the rooms themselves, one of his most talked about projects being the exclusive Sanderson Hotel in London where there are 150 Starck designed rooms. His creative touch is evident throughout the hotel where the design element used is “fun” and everything about this hotel screams enjoyment especially in the trendy “Long Bar” which features a row of Starck’s “eye” bar chairs. Pictured left: Dr. Skud, Fly Swatter designed by Phillipe Starck for Alessie and bearing his likeness. His design skills do not stop at interior projects and during the 1980s and 1990s he produced some innovative domestic designs for many companies, including a range of luggage for Samsonite, furniture for Kartell and lighting for Flos. From a collectors point of view it was whilst working for the Italian Design Company Alessi that Starck produced some of his most iconic work. He began workingfor Alberto Alessi in 1986, creating everything from a toothpick to a fly swatter but the most famous visually recognised product that he produced was the futuristic silver Juicy Salif in 1990. This iconic lemon squeezer was made of aluminium casting and resembles a rather strange looking spaceship. So much so, that it was used in the film Men In Black starring Will Smith as an actual space ship with aliens leaving it. Other products that have become sought after by Starck for Alessi include the Cactus Ashtray made of bakelite in 1990 and the Dr Kiss toothbrush set designed in 1998. Alessi is the perfect place to start if you want to collect Stark pieces, as it is affordable for most pockets. Prices begin for as little as £13.99 for the toothbrush to £145 for a Dede Door stop; £12 for the “Dr Kleen” toothpick to £180 for a “Max le Chinois Colander”. It also a great point for learning about Starck and his designs, you can get a feel for his products before investing more money into his higher top of the range designs, such as the furniture and lighting. Pictured right: Philippe Starck for Daum, ‘The Curiosity’, a pair of glass vases 1988 – engraved 25/34 Daum Starck height 15cm x width 55cm. Sold for £1,560 at Bonhams, London, April 2007. Image Copyright Bonhams. Although Starck’s Alessi designs are affordable and fun he is better renowned for modernist contemporary designs in furniture, and working with the Kartell Company has allowed Starck to produce some of the most innovative and creative styles to date. The Eros Swivel Armchair designed in 2001 is the epiphany of modern design with its die-cast aluminium frame and polycarbonate seat, whilst the much-celebrated Louis Ghost Chair proves that traditional antique furniture designs can be revisited and adapted perfectly to fit into our modern lives. If you decide to buy a good example of Starck’s work for Kartell be careful because designs such as the Eros chair are being copied. The only way to recognise the copies is that they are made fractionally smaller than an original Starck design and of course are being sold much cheaper. An authentic Eros would cost around £260 so try and buy from someone that is a legitimate Starck retailer and can tell you about the history of the chair. Pictured left: Flos Bedside Gun Table lamp designed by Phillipe Starck. Aside from the domestic utilities and furniture Starck also designs items for the Flos lighting company, with one of the most controversial pieces being in 2005 when he created a hard-hitting gun lamp range. Amongst the designs were a “Beretta” pistol, “AK 47 Kalashnikov” and M16 rifle which were in the form of a floor lamp. Starck’s inspiration for these lamp designs were taken from the media pictures of Saddam Hussein’s gold-plated gun, which was recovered when America and its allies attacked Iraq. Each gun is coated in gold leaf and is paired up with a black lampshade, which signifies death. Small crosses line the inner portion of the shade reminding us that the next passing could be our own! As you can image this did not bode well when launched in Milan as some people took the belief that Starck was glorifying gun crime but in fact he was creating a memorial for those killed for political progress. Whatever your opinion on this lamp, it’s a must have item for a Starck collector. Not all of Starck’s […]
Readers who were children during the 1950s may well have fond memories of a very rare type of doll – the Beauty Skin. Made by Pedigree, these lovely dolls were certainly not rare at the time. On the contrary they were very popular, especially with young children, because they were so soft and cuddly. Sadly, though, the dolls had a fault – they tended to disintegrate after a few years of play. Pedigree Beauty Skin dolls first appeared in the late 1940s, and were popular until the mid-1950s. They came in four sizes, but the smallest had a rubber head, unlike the hard plastic of the larger sizes. These rubber-headed dolls were 9” high, while the hard plastic headed versions were 14”, 16” and 20”. Although their heads were hard plastic, their bodies were made from a soft thin rubbery latex material and their limbs were of a similar substance, stuffed with kapok. They had pretty faces, often with flirty eyes, and most had moulded hair. Gradually, after lots of loving and cuddles, the latex would split or turn brittle, and the kapok would emerge, leaving a split and empty arm. Eventually, the dolls would be so damaged that they would be thrown away, which is why they are so rare today. Some people tried to stop the splits with sticking plaster, but this was a disastrous thing to do, because once stuck to the latex it could never be removed. It would turn grubby and unsightly. Sadly some owners of the dolls still resort to this method of stopping the kapok emerging, today, but it is not recommended. If you are lucky enough to own one of these dolls, but it has split, then the best thing to do is to place a soft garment on the doll – cardigan or leggings, depending on where the split is – and then handle it as little as possible. Just leave it alone, and hope that it doesn’t get worse. At the time, Pedigree recommended that talcum powder should be rubbed in to the latex, but I am wary of this treatment, unless the doll is actually sticky, as it could dry out the latex even more. Sun, warmth and the rigours of handling played havoc with that delicate skin, and modern central heating dries them out, too. (Most people in the fifties didn’t have to worry about central heating; they made do with a coal fire downstairs and cold bedrooms!) I called my first Beauty Skin baby Jeannie, and loved her very much, but eventually she was so damaged, I couldn’t play with her. So when I was asked what I would like for Christmas – I must have been about six – I asked for another soft doll, just like Jeannie. I found Isabelle on Christmas morning wearing a white satin dress, lying in a little blue-draped metal crib. I loved Isabelle dearly, and I had her for many years, even though her right arm slowly, but completely, disintegrated. I used to take her on holiday with me, and she rode in my doll’s pram. Eventually the day came when my mother decided I was ‘too big’ for dolls, and so most of my babies had to go. Isabelle had to be put into the dustbin – no-one would want a doll with a perished arm – though Mum kindly offered to do it for me, knowing how much I loved that doll. When I started collecting dolls, I searched everywhere for a Beauty Skin, and kept a lookout at all the doll fairs, but no luck. Then one day, about six years ago, my daughter and I visited our local Collectors’ Centre. Suddenly I saw her pick up a doll from a table, and turn to me in triumph. She had found me a Pedigree Beauty Skin! Apart from one tiny crack in the rubber skin on the palm of one hand, she was perfect, and was the first one I had seen since my beloved Isabelle was thrown in the dustbin all those years ago. She is slightly larger than my original Isabelle, and her face is a little different, but her fingers, her toes, the way her moulded hair is shaped into little curls around her forehead, are just as I remembered. My Beauty Skin wears her original white satin-edged cotton romper suit, and takes pride of place in my doll cabinet. Now, though, she normally has a light cotton dress and jacket placed over the top of her romper, just to ensure that when she is handled no damage can get to her skin. A couple of years later, my daughter came hurrying over to me at a doll fair, to say she had found another, smaller, Beauty Skin! This one was just 9” high, and was immaculate, with a soft head, rather than the hard plastic head of the larger-sized Beauty Skin babies. Still boxed and wearing her blue dress, bonnet and socks, she must have been ex-shop stock. Then, recently, I came across yet another large Beauty Skin. This one, although not in such perfect condition as our other doll, is, I believe, unplayed with, but poor storage has caused her to disintegrate on one thigh. However the facial colouring is wonderful, with cheeks as pink as the day they were painted. She is 16” tall, wears her original lilac and pink romper suit and lacy net socks, and comes with her box and even the delightful letter which Pedigree gave to all the new young ‘mothers’ of Beauty Skin babies. This delightful ‘hand-written’ letter reads: ‘My Dearest Mummy, I love you, I hope that you will love me too. Be careful not to let me fall, I am a Baby – after all! To keep me always fresh and sweet, Just sponge me over, top to feet, Then gently dry and powder me, And I’ll be clean as clean can be,. I’m ready Mummy Dear for fun, And go to sleep […]
Whilst travelling back from a toy fair where I saw a couple of Banana Splits toys, The Dickies version of the Banana Splits Tra La La song came on the radio. I was a massive fan of the show when I was younger so I thought I would indulge myself and cobble together a feature and on Collecting the Banana Splits and Banana Splits collectibles. The feature includes some vintage and newer Banana Splits collectibles and a price guide for the items. In 1967, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera approached Sid Krofft and Marty Krofft to design costumes for a television show which would feature animated and live-action segments, with the whole show hosted by a bubblegum rock group of anthropomorphic characters. The format of the show was loosely based on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. The Banana Splits Adventure Hour premiered on NBC on September 7, 1968. Each show represented a meeting of the “Banana Splits Club”, and the wraparounds featured the adventures of the club members, who doubled as a musical quartet, meant to be reminiscent of The Monkees. The main characters were Fleegle, a beagle (possibly crossed with a flat-coated retriever); Bingo, an orange-furred gorilla (possibly, half-orangutan); Drooper, a lion; and Snorky, called “Snork” in the theme song lyrics, an elephant. Fleegle would assume the role as leader of the Banana Splits and preside at club meetings. The characters were played by actors in voluminous fleecy costumes similar to later Sid and Marty Krofft characters such as H.R. Pufnstuf. They all spoke in English – Drooper with a Southern drawl in the manner of Michael Nesmith, Fleegle with a pronounced lisp – except for Snorky who “spoke” in honking noises. The Banana Splits’ segments included cartoons, songs, comedy skits, and live action features. Cartoons included Arabian Knights, The Three Musketeers and repeats of The Hillbilly Bears, a cartoon segment that previously appeared on The Atom Ant Show (1965–1968). The show’s live-action segments included Danger Island, a cliffhanger serial, as well as the short-lived Micro Ventures, an animated series consisting of only four episodes. For the first season, some of the live-action segments – specifically those used during the musical segments – were shot at Six Flags Over Texas, an amusement park located in Arlington, Texas. For the second season, filming took place at Coney Island amusement park in Cincinnati, Ohio. In many episodes, the Banana Splits would be seen riding on the Runaway Mine Train roller coasters, Log Flumes, Bumper Cars, Merry-Go-Rounds, and many other rides at Six Flags and Coney Island. The Sour Grapes Bunch is a group of human girl characters from the Banana Splits. One of the members of the club – Charley, usually played by Shirley Hillstrom – would bring a written note to the Splits. None of the Sour Grapes spoke in the entire series; however, they would also do a number with the Banana Splits. In the first-season episode on October 5, 1968, a song debuted entitled “Doin’ The Banana Split,” as all five girls appeared together with the Splits. The Banana Buggies and Toys Who didn’t want a Banana Splits buggy? The Banana splits buggies were customized Amphicat six-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles each decorated to resemble the character who drove them. These were seen driven by each live-action character in the opening and closing segments and occasionally in show segments. The closest most collectors will get to the Banana Buggy were the plastic 1/25 scale model kits issued by Aurora Plastics Corporation in 1969 and discontinued in 1971. These were only out for two seasons and when seen a mint in box edition will sell for over $200. A recent sale on ebay saw a excellent example sell for £220 ($281). Funko released a series of four Dorbz Ridez models in 2016 based on the series released in editions of 300 at the San Diego Comic Con (Banana Buggy with Bingo and Banana Buggy with Bingo with Snorky) and New York Comic Con (Banana Buggy with Fleegle and Banana Buggy with Bingo with Drooper) . These are now selling for between $75 and $100 each. Banana Splits and Comics Gold Key began publishing a comic version of The Banana Splits’ adventures in 1969, releasing eight issues through 1971. The series was drawn by Jack Manning and followed the Banana Splits team trying to find work or on the road between gigs. Issue number 1 in high grade VFNM CGC 9.0 will sell for about $150. In 2017 DC comics made a Banana Splits had a crossover with the Suicide Squad in Suicide Squad/Banana Splits Annual #1. “SUICIDE SPLITS”! Mistaken for metahumans, thrown in the bowels of Belle Reve, the animal rock band Banana Splits are recruited by Amanda Waller for a secret mission: to save the Suicide Squad! What follows is the weirdest team-up you never thought you’d see! How can Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky stand up to Harley, Deadshot, Katana and Croc? Banana Splits Reference Professor Plastic the banana splits banana buggy
Colour Box Holiday Time by Susan Brewer Peter Fagan, creator of those delightful Colour Box series of figures, depicted his cats, bears and other creatures in all kinds of situations – including holiday scenes. The Colour Box characters enjoyed a holiday just as much as we do – they knew there was nothing to beat sand beneath their paws, seaweed tangling their fur or saltwater damping their tails. And through the talent of sculptor Peter Fagan we saw the cats, bears, and many other creatures, having fun on the beach. Much of the excitement of a holiday is the anticipation and the packing – at least, Robert seemed to think so. The super sculpture Holiday Bear (TC 210) issued in 1988, showed the little bear perched on top of a large blue trunk, obviously bound for a holiday destination. The trunk was beautifully modelled to show the straps, fastenings, and name label, and Robert had his own red bucket and spade, ball, bag of chips and lollipop. This was one of the larger pieces in the Teddy Bear Collection, as was Bathing Beach (TC113) 1990, which depicted Christopher sitting on a towel with his picnic lunch of a banana, orange drink and a sandwich close by. Nearby a notice warned ‘No Bathing’ (and in tiny letters underneath ‘by order of P Fagan’)! A seagull perched on top of the notice, while beneath was a collection of items including a bucket, spade, pebbles, shells, length of rope and a bottle of Fagan’s Pop. Amongst the bears you might possibly encounter at the seaside were Jimmy, Martin or Bosun. Jimmy (TC618) 1991, looked a rather shy bear, who, according to his booklet was ‘champion at building sandcastles. He lived in Bournemouth near the beach, where his family ran a fish and chip shop.’ Jimmy wore smart blue and white striped bathing trunks, and one white woolly mitten. Martin (TC121) issued 1993, was a smart Able Seaman bear, who carried a canvas kitbag and wore a sailor’s hat with ‘HMS Teddy’ around the brim. He was dressed in navy shorts and a white shirt decorated with a motif of a cruise liner. Bosun (TC074) 1997 was an unclothed bear, except for his official peaked hat. Cats don’t seem so keen on the seaside, but Beach Boy (HS536) 1991, showed a black cat on the sand with a sailboat-decorated red bucket and the beginnings of a sandcastle, while in the delightful Sixpenny Cornet (HS528), also 1991, we saw a cheeky ginger and white striped cat busily licking an ice cream cone while snuggling up to a tub of Fagan’s Dairy Ice Cream complete with a large silver spoon. Picnic Puss, a Colour Box club special depicted those naughty cats stealing food from a picnic hamper, though whether it was on the beach or not, I couldn’t say! The dogs weren’t forgotten. Sea Dog (DG302) 1991, from the Personality Pups collection was a smashing sculpture of a very hairy brown and beige mutt perched on top of a red bollard. Ropes were entwined around the bollard, and the dog had an expectant look, which, according to the story booklet was because he was based on Peter’s boyhood dog who would jump on top of a bollard waiting to be fed batter from Peter’s fish and chips! Tethered to the bollard by a silver chain were two grey and black dogs, which could also be bought separately as Fatherly Love (DG205) 1991. Pennywhistle Lane collection featured a piece called Old Sea Salt (PL203) 1994 which showed Sam the pipe-smoking monkey dressed in beige trousers, dark red jacket, yellow-spotted blue scarf and jaunty blue hat standing on top of his old green sea trunk ‘full of past treasures’. Sitting on the end of the trunk was a cheeky little mouse wearing a sailor suit. The trunk was amazingly detailed, with all the brass studs, rivets, padlock and handles carefully accentuated in gold. Sam held a thick length of rope. The Hopscotch range included several tiny creatures you might find on your holiday, including a bright scarlet lobster (H106)), a beige crab (H105)), a plump orange fish (H104), and a cheeky blue clam peeking from its shell (H103), all issued in 1996. The Miniatures Collection also contained many animals and birds associated with the coast, for instance, Puffin (MC16) 1987, standing on a grey-green base. This model could also be found with a sand-yellow base. The Seal (MC49) 1989, and Seal and Pup (MC6) 1983, were both highly-detailed models, with the water, stones and rocks realistically depicted, as well as the creatures themselves, in tiny sculptures less than one-and-a-half inches high. If you were very lucky, you might just have caught a glimpse of a shimmering blue tail glinting in the sun, or perhaps noticed a friendly paw rise for a moment from the waves. Then you would have known that you had seen a Merbear (TC158) 1998, one of Colour Box’s prettiest-ever creations. Guardian of the Ocean, she cared for those who travel on her seas, as well as looking after the marine life. Many other sculptures from the Colour Box range featured holiday topics, including limited editions or club pieces such as Sail Away, All at Sea, Lifeguard and Out For a Run. Early Colour Box sculptures can often be found at collectors fairs, or on the net, and are worth collecting for their amazing detail and smile-making subjects. Colour Box & Peter Fagan Related Colour Box & Peter Fagan
Batman Begins is the latest is the Batman series of movie. “Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight’s emergence as a force for good in Gotham. In the wake of his parents’ murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful.” Pictured The US Batman Begins poster. “He returns to Gotham and unveils his alter-ego: Batman, a masked crusader who uses his strength, intellect and an array of high tech deceptions to fight the sinister forces that threaten the city.” Pictured Batman Begins 13-inch Deluxe Collector Figure – a striking depiction of Christian Bale as Batman in Batman Begins. This 13-inch figure includes an authentically detailed fabric costume, an alternate set of hands, a grappling gun, Batarangs, and a stand to display the figure. This collector figure also features a full-Color Certificate of Authenticity. Packaged in a deluxe 4-color window box. DC Direct, DC Comics’ toy and collectibles brand, unveiled its line of Batman Begins authentic movie collectibles at the 2005 American International Toy Fair. Pictured right: Batman Begins Batmobile Replica – limited edition Batmobile from Batman Begins is a magnificent recreation of the mythic automobile. This hand-painted cold-cast porcelain replica measures approximately 4.25″ high x 6.5″ wide x 10″ deep, includes a full-color Certificate of Authenticity, and is packaged in an elegant gift box with foil stamping. It is sculpted directly from the actual 3D designs for the Batmobile in Batman Begins. Please note this is a collectible, not a toy. Limited edition of 2600. The line includes several Batman Statues, a Batman Bust, a Batman 13″ deluxe figure, Ra’s Al Ghul and Scarecrow Mini-Statues, a Batmobile Replica, and a Batarang Prop Replica. Pictured left: Christian Bale as BATMAN Statue from Batman Begins – a limited edition collectible statue is a striking replica of Christian Bale as Batman from Batman Begins. This limited edition, hand-painted cold-cast porcelain statue measures approximately 14″ tall x 8″ wide x 8.5″ deep, includes a full-color Certificate of Authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box. Limited edition of 2500 The line is being introduced throughout the Summer. Pictured right: BATMAN on Rooftop Statue from Batman Begins – Batman, Guardian of Gotham City, stands watch and is ready to leap into danger at any given moment. This limited edition, hand-painted cold-cast porcelain statue measures approximately 7″ tall x 4″ wide x 4″ deep, includes a full-color Certificate of Authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box. Limited edition of 3500. The range costs from $30 to $300. Pictured left: this Batarang prop replica from Batman Begins is an authentic life-sized movie replica. This limited edition, hand-painted cold-cast porcelain replica measures approximately 2″ high x 11.5″ wide x 5.75″ deep, includes a full-color Certificate of Authenticity and is packaged in an elegant black gift box with foil stamping. Limited edition of 1,500. Other collectibles in the line include Christian Bale as Batman Bust, Christian Bales as Batman mini-statue, Dr. Crane/Scarecrow Mini-Statue and Ra’s Al Ghul Mini-Statue. Pictured right: BATMAN in Flight Statue from Batman Begins – Suspended in mid-air, the Caped Crusader cascades into the shadowy streets of Gotham city to unleash his vengeance against evildoers. This limited edition, hand-painted cold-cast porcelain statue measures approximately 11″ high x 8.5″ wide x 5.5″ deep, includes a full-color Certificate of Authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box. Limited edition of 4000 pieces.