We take a look at some of the Christmas Collectables, Christmas Collectibles and Christmas gifts available for Xmas 2018. Royal Doulton Royal Doulton has several festive offerings including their annual Christmas Figure entitled Christmas Surprise, their 2018 Father Christmas entitled Santa Christmas List and the annual petite figure Glad Tidings. Also available are two new models from the Carol Singers collection: Angels from the Realms of Glory and Here We Come A-Carolling. We especially like Santa’s Christmas List which is a colourful study reflecting all the magical charm of the festive season. The jolly Santa reads from a scroll bearing the names of the children he’s leaving gifts for under the flamboyantly decorated Christmas Tree. For more details visit Royal Doulton. Jim Shore Heartland Creek Jim Shore does create wonderful festive items and colourful items. White Woodland Santa is a new addition to the White Woodland Collections from Heartwood Creek by Jim Shore. Standing at 48cm tall, this impressive piece features Mr Claus with his arms out-stretched, holding a piece of bark in his hands. At either side of the log are small woodland creatures including a squirrel and two birds. His feet are surrounded by other creatures, with the piece depicting a white rabbit and grey raccoon. There are a number of new pieces in the White Woodland collection whose colours feature muted winter tones of ice blues, silvers and greys, creating a coherent look that will complement other items across the range while working harmoniously in any home off-set against existing festive décor. For more details visit Enesco’s Heartwood Creek by Jim Shore. Swarovski Silver Crystal The release of the Swarovski annual Christmas ornaments, stars and editions are always keenly anticipated. The 2018 Christmas editions include the SCS Christmas ornament, annual Christmas ball and a Kris Bear annual edition. The Annual Edition Ornament 2018 has been designed by Verena Castelein and is in golden crystal with 156 facets, and comes with a golden satin ribbon and a specially designed metal tag engraved with ‘SCS’ on one side and ‘2018’ on the other. The Christmas Ball edition is very nice and has been designed by Stefanie Nederegger. The Christmas Ball Ornament, Annual Edition 2018 showcases a delicate shooting star, a symbol of dreams and wishes, inside a hand-made, mouth-blown glass ball. Small hand-glued crystals add extra sparkle and make each piece truly one-of-a-kind. The 2018 Kris Bear Christmas Annual Edition shows the Kris Bear in an active pose, decorating a colourful crystal Christmas tree with a golden crystal star on top. The edition has been modelled by artist Viktoria Holzknecht. For more details visit Swarovski.com. Lladro Lladro have released three versions of the Lladro Christmas Bell and three versions of the Lladro Christmas Ball. These classic designs both feature new decoration inspired by musical instruments. In matte porcelain and decorated in three different colours. For more details visit Lladro.com. Steiff The Sweet Santa Musical Teddy Bear by Steiff is a limited edition teddy made in white mohair. It is a limited edition piece, has the white ear tag and the trademark Button in Ear – gold plated, and is being produced in an edition of only 1225 pieces. It stands 27cm tall and plays Jingle Bells . Very sweet. Visit https://www.steiff.com for more details.
Royals, Romantics And Rubiks – Dolls of The 1980s by Sue Brewer The tragic murder of John Lennon outside his New York apartment in December 1980 was a huge blow to the world of popular music. His wife, Yoko Ono, watched in horror as Mark Chapman fired the fatal shots. A few years later Madonna, destined to become a superstar, made her chart debut – her song ‘Holiday’ was a success on both sides of the Atlantic. Glam rock and Romanticism arrived, and British charts were dominated by stars such as Wham!, Boy George, Duran Duran, The Pet Shop Boys, Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Bryan Ferry. The 1984 famine in Ethiopia prompted Live Aid, a huge charity concert organised by Bob Geldorf, which was a resounding success. Prince Charles married Princess Diana at Westminster Abbey in 1981, and Britain went crazy. Shops were filled with memorabilia, thousands of books appeared to commemorate the event, and most neighbourhoods held street-parties, with the kids in fancy-dress. Diana was a highly popular figure, a fashion icon. Her choice of a full-skirted, romantic-style, silk wedding dress influenced brides for over a decade. There was another Royal wedding in 1986 when Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson – once more street parties were in full swing. Suddenly babies were big news, almost a fashion accessory. Prince William was born in 1982, Prince Harry two years later, and Princess Beatrice was born to Sarah in 1988; Princess Anne’s second child, Zara, had made her entrance in 1981, while children were also born to Princess Richard of Gloucester and to Princess Michael of Kent. The Royal family was rapidly increasing. The latest fashion was ‘New Romantics’, encouraged by people such as Vivienne Westwood who designed a swashbuckling ‘Pirates look’, and singer Adam Ant who dressed as a highwayman. We all trotted around in pixie boots and puffball skirts. However, as a complete contrast, many women favoured ‘power dressing’, as seen in the tv soap Dallas, with wide padded shoulders, dominant colours and ‘big hair.’ One of the most maligned garments of all time springs from this era – the shell suit. Originally introduced as a sportswear item, it rapidly spread as a fashion garment, and both young people and ‘golden oldies’ could be seen sporting these bright turquoise, pink and emerald two-piece track suits. This was also the time of the ‘Mullet’, an odd hairstyle with long and short sections, sported by many men including footballer Kevin Keegan and singer Limahl. Perhaps the strangest craze of all was for ‘bonce-bouncers’ – colourful balls or ornaments on springs, worn on a headband. The doll world made dramatic headlines in 1983 when Cabbage Patch Kids first entered the shops. They caused riots, with adults fighting over them and even stealing them from children. Brainchild of Xavier Roberts, the ‘one of a kind’ soft-bodied Kids were promoted as being for adoption, rather than for sale, and prospective parents had to solemnly vow to take care of them. Cabbage Patch Kids are still sold today, and continue to cause controversy between those who love them and those who loathe them. Large dolls, such as those made by the German manufacturer Zapf, were very popular, especially babies and long-haired toddlers. Barbie, the queen of the doll world, celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday in 1984, but didnâ€™t look any older. In the UK, Barbie and Sindy were enormous rivals; Pedigree’s Sindy, though introduced in the 1960s, was probably at her peak, at one point sporting a Princess Diana-influenced hairstyle. There were many royal dolls around, notably those produced by Peggy Nisbet to commemorate the Royal Wedding, in both the standard 7 inch models, and a new 18 inch size. Peggy Nisbet also issued a stunning set of vinyl dolls intended to represent the two Princes, William and Harry. These dolls were beautifully dressed, in a range of clothing inspired by the royal wardrobe, though all had the same faces. The major change in the doll world was the introduction of small ‘collectables’ dolls. Children were encouraged to accumulate sets of the dolls and their accessories, tapping into a pocket-money treasure trove. Dolls such as Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Flower Fairies and Lady Lovelylocks were all the rage, as were Care Bears, Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Star Wars figures and My Little Ponies. The toy with the most influence was Rubik’s cube, a hand-held puzzle. The craze instantly spread across the globe and hands clicked and twisted as people attempted to correctly align the coloured squares. In 1984, the Apple Macintosh personal computer was developed, and a year later came Windows – the world would never be the same again. Another invention, pioneered in 1984, was the CD which most people thought would never catch on. Nintendo, Walkmans, Prozac and Karaoke all jostled for attention, but perhaps the most influential gadget, certainly in Britain, was the Breville sandwich toaster! For a few years Briton’s gorged themselves on toasted cheese sarnies. Margaret Thatcher proved she could stand up to threats when she sent battleships to defend the Falklands against the Argentineans, the Berlin wall came down opening up the eastern bloc, and construction began on the Channel Tunnel, enabling trains to travel from Britain to Europe. The beautiful Princess Grace of Monaco was killed when her car veered over the mountainside, while at Lockerbie, in Scotland, a bomb aboard a jetliner downed the plane onto a small town, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Shopping malls sprung up everywhere; the face of Britain was changing, losing its individualness, while a trendy acronym, Yuppie – Young Upwardly Mobile Professional Person – typified a new breed of spending power and wealth. Yuppies worked hard and spent hard. In Britain, the eighties ended with a window on the world – satellite television became available for the first time. Related Dolls at WCN
The Chessell Pottery was founded in 1978 by Sheila and John Francis in the pretty village of Chessell on the Isle of Wight.
On my travels around collector’s fairs I have recently been drawn to a range of unusual looking costume jewellery. So distinctive in design it keeps leaping out at me and I cannot walk past without studying its intricate patterns and styles. So intrigued was I that after some investigation and research I found myself being sucked into the vibrant colourful world of renowned French costume jewellery designer – Lea Stein. Lea was born in Paris, France in 1931 and although very little is known of her early years it is believed that a lot of her childhood was spent in a concentration camp during WW2. Lea married Fernand Steinberger in the 1950s but it was not until the 1960s that she embarked in her own business of making creative innovative designs in costume jewellery. Fernand had discovered the process of laminating celluloid; using many paper-thin celluloid acetate sheets he created a multi-layered effect, finishing the process off with a top layer of material such as lace or even straw. Once the layered sheets had been blended they were then baked to harden and various shapes could be hand carved. The master piece could take up to as long as 6 months to perfect and then when totally satisfied it was used as a template to produce the jewellery (or component to use its official term), these components then transformed into the fantastic sculpture designs that today is so recognisable as Lea Stein. From the 60s right through to the 80s Lea produced pins, earrings, necklaces, bangles and even other objects of desire such as picture frames and mirrors. Amongst some of her earlier work are unusual buttons that again vary in design and were bought by French Couture fashion houses, but even rarer are the serigraphy pins, which were typically art deco in style, and were commonly images of ladies or girls framed like miniature paintings. Lea’s patterns and designs vary from the amusing caricature to the classic geometric deco style. Lea’s great passion for Art Deco shines through in her work with pins such as “Flapper” and one of my favourites the “Deco Cat” which I have seen sell recently for as much as £90.00. The stretch bracelets, bangles and necklaces also have a distinct deco influence with the geometric squares and colours such as green, which were typically used in jewellery during the 1920s and 1930s. One of the more common designs and the one that Lea is most famous for, is the “Fox” pin; these come in all types of colours and patterns and are easily recognisable with their looped tail and outstretched paws. This particular design can be found in layered pattern, pearlized, snakeskin and even glitter. Costing as little as £30 to £35 upwards you could easily just concentrate on collecting the foxes, as there are so many pattern variations. In the 1970’s Lea Stein bought the licence to a French Children’s Television show called “L’ile aux Enfants” – this translated into English means “Isle of Children”. She reproduced the characters onto pins, which were only made during 1975. All the characters were from the programme and include “Casimir”, “Tiffins” and the really loveable “Calimero” who is a little black bird with an eggshell sitting on his head. These are extremely hard to come by and do not come up for sale very often, but if you do find one expect to pay £70 to £100. In the early eighties the company fell into financial trouble and had to cease trading. However, this was not the end of Lea Stein, after a break of 9 years she began making earrings out of the fox head pins and cat faces left over from the factory. She hasn’t stopped there either, now from her home in France Lea is still producing and coming up with new ideas, thus keeping up with the demand from collectors. Prices for Lea Stein vary from as little as £25 upwards, depending on whom and where you buy, but it is actually the more modern pieces that fetch higher prices as less quantities are being made compared to when Lea had a factory and was able to produce on a much higher scale. The more recent designs very rarely appear on the secondary market as collectors snap them up instantly. It is not just the distinctive patterns that make Lea Stein so recognisable, the “V” shaped clasp is the trademark and is signed “Lea Stein Paris” on the back although some earlier 1960s pieces do not have the signature. This clasp creates some confusion about distinguishing the vintage pieces from the more modern but I am reliably informed the only way to tell the age is by the designs themselves. There is discussion that the clasp gives away the age of a piece by whether it has been secured by being melted into the back of the pin or whether it has been riveted. This allegedly is not true, the type of design determines how the clasp is fastened and does not identify the age of the item. Another way to distinguish between earlier and later pieces are the back of the pins themselves, some of the lying down and upright cats have nasty white backing which generally means that they are later pieces. Early vintage designs to look out for are the “Tennis Lady” or “Diver” as she is also known, this particular pin was made between 1968 and 1980 and can cost around £65 – £70. “Rolls Royce”, “French Sailor”, “Saxophone” and even rock legend “Elvis” are also highly desirable to collectors, again made in the same time bracket and costing around the same price on the secondary market. One of the more modern pieces to look out for is the front facing panther. There are only a few on the open market as Fernand and Lea recalled it due to the fact that they were not entirely happy with the finished product. Other modern designs are the bears […]
Unlike us, bears have discovered the enviable secret of eternal youth. An eighty-eight-year-old Rupert? Ridiculous! A seventy-eight-year-old Mary Plain? Unthinkable! An eighty-eight-year-old Pooh? Preposterous. And as for a fifty-year-old Paddington – you must be joking! How can a bear who creates mischief and mayhem wherever he goes – admittedly a bear whose sole aim in life is to be helpful and polite, but who is unfortunately accident prone, impulsive and always in deep trouble – be well on the way to collecting his bus pass? Bears always find an age with which they are comfortable and stick to it. So, believe it or not, Paddington really does celebrate his fiftieth birthday this year. Pictured left: Paddington Bear by Gabrielle No doubt he will be hosting a party with an iced cake cooked by Mrs Bird, buns and cocoa donated by Mr Gruber, and a ‘here’s one I made earlier’ wobbly jelly from the Blue Peter team. (For many years, Paddington was a regular in the Blue Peter studio.) Of course, there will be a huge pile of sandwiches too, but the vital question is, will they be filled with marmalade – or Marmite? Up until recently, the choice of filling would have been a forgone conclusion, but suddenly our loveable bear has developed a taste for the sticky brown stuff. Of course, he still loves marmalade very much. In fact, when Paddington was first approached by the advertising company he exclaimed, “But I always have marmalade in my sandwiches!” The agency explained, “That’s exactly why we think you would be perfect for the campaign. We want people who normally have something different in their sandwiches to try Marmite.” Pictured right: Paddington Bear with Marmalade Hidden Treasures from Arora Design – each figurine has a secret compartment containing a hidden treasure. So, rather tentatively, Paddington took a sniff, and then a nibble, and finally a big bite. He discovered that he enjoyed Marmite very much indeed, and though it could never really replace his beloved marmalade, it certainly made a jolly acceptable change. The pigeons and the ducks are not too sure, though, as can be seen in the adverts. Michael Bond is not too sure, either, and in a letter to The Times wrote, “Paddington likes his food and tries anything, but he would certainly never be weaned off marmalade”, saying that Paddington’s characteristics are “set in stone and you shouldn’t change them.” In the past he has always tried to avoid any hint of commercialising Paddington Bear, so he added darkly, “Now there’s no going back.” What actually is Marmite? Well, it’s a spread made from yeast extract, vegetable extract, salt and various spices and, as the adverts proclaim, ‘You either love it or hate it’. You certainly can’t be indifferent to that tangy, tongue numbing taste. Although Paddington has been weaned off the marmalade for a while to promote the new, squeezy Marmite, I’m sure it won’t be long before he reverts to his favourite marmalade chunks. A marmalade-free Paddington is about as unthinkable as a Paddington who has lost his duffel coat and floppy hat. When Michael Bond found a small toy teddy bear on a shelf in a London Store on Christmas Eve 1956, he decided to buy it as a present for his wife. He called the bear Paddington. Just for fun, he wrote some stories revolving around the bear, and after a few days realised he had a book on his hands. However, he admits that while he was writing he didn’t consciously set out to write a children’s book – which is good, because, as all Paddington enthusiasts know, the books are far too special to be the sole prerogative of youngsters. Eventually, the book was placed with William Collins and Sons (now HarperCollins), and illustrator Peggy Fortnum was commissioned to produce the delightful sketches which complemented the stories so well. ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ was published in 1958, and as we all know, the rest is history. Amazingly, the Paddington series of books have sold over thirty million copies world wide and have been translated into thirty languages. Pictured left: Paddington Bear by Steiff As the birthday bear’s big day approaches, as well as planning his party shopping list and putting both Marmite and marmalade at the top of it, how else will Paddington be celebrating? For starters, he will be starring in a new book, the first Michael Bond Paddington Bear book to be published for thirty years. Rumour has it that a mysterious stranger will cause Paddington to reflect where home really is – surely he won’t forsake 32 Windsor Gardens and return to darkest Peru? ‘Paddington Here and Now’ will be published in June, while in October, to commemorate the publication of that very first book, HarperCollins will issue a special anniversary edition of ‘A Bear Called Paddington’. And there’s more – in March, as part of World Book Day, a £1 read, ‘Paddington Rules the Waves’, will be amongst the titles on offer. There will be plenty of new Paddington Bear collectables and merchandise this year, too, including a new Steiff creation. As we all know, Paddington was first discovered by Mr and Mrs Brown on Paddington Station, hence his name. The optimistic little refugee was sitting hopefully on a suitcase containing his worldly goods, and Steiff have depicted him, carrying his case, in a limited edition of 1,500 pieces. This 11 inch tall Paddington wears a pale blue coat and is complete with a gold-plated button-in-ear. He is based on the FilmFair Paddington Bear from the television series, a super bonus for fans of the animated episodes. Other items include puzzles courtesy of Hausemann en Hotte/Falcon, while Robert Harrop has produced a gorgeous commemorative figurine of Paddington munching a marmalade sandwich (not a blob of Marmite in sight!). More planned Paddington releases include a commemorative coin, a pewter figurine, clothing, greetings cards, a cookery book and gift wrap, as well as a range of soft […]
Baccarat Paperweights Baccarat Crystal is a manufacturer of fine crystal glassware located in Baccarat, France. The Musée Baccarat, on the Place des États-Unis in Paris, displays many of its finest productions. Pictured: A very rare Baccarat concentric millefiori `fireworks’ paperweight circa 1848, it was made specifically to commemorate the French Revolution of 1848. This brilliant object is one of only two examples of this type known. Image Copyright: Bonhams. History 1764-1816 In 1764 King Louis XV of France gave permission to found a glassworks in the town of Baccarat in the Lorraine region in eastern France to Prince Bishop Cardinal Louis-Joseph de Laval-Montmorency (1761-1802). Production consisted of window panes, mirrors and stemware until 1816 when the first crystal oven went into operation. By that time over 3000 workers were employed at the site. 1817-1867 Baccarat received its first royal commission in 1823. This began a lengthy line of commissions for royalty and heads of state throughout the world. In 1855 Baccarat won its first gold medal at the World’s Fair in Paris. Pictured: A Baccarat spaced concentric millefiori weight and a Baccarat spray weight mid 19th century and 20th century, the second with stencilled mark. The first enclosing a central cane encircled with six others including three silhouettes of a goat, a cockerel and a dog, within an outer circlet of canes; the second with a spray of white lilies with orange stamens and green leaves on a white honeycomb-ground. Sold for £900, May 2006, Christies, London. Baccarat first began marking its work with a registered mark in 1860. The mark was a label affixed to the bot tom of the work. In the period 1846-1849 Baccarat signed some of their high quality glass paperweights with the letter B and the year date in a composite cane. A special paperweight dated 1853 was found under the cornerstone of a bomb damaged church in Baccarat when construction recommenced after World War 2. The crystal production expanded its scope throughout this period, and Baccarat built a worldwide reputation for making quality stemware, chandeliers, barware, and perfume bottles. 1867-1936 The Imperial Era ended in 1867 with the defeat of Napoléon III. Influences outside of France began to have a stronger influence on Baccarat’s work during this era, particularly imports from Japan. Strong growth continued in Asia for Baccarat. One of the strongest production areas for Baccarat was perfume bottles, and by 1907 production was over 4000 bottles per day. Pictured: A Baccarat dated carpet ground weight signed and dated on a single cane ‘b1848’ The clear glass set with assorted scattered brightly coloured millefiori canes, including animal silhouettes of a stag, a peahen, a horse, an elephant, a butterfly, a cockerel, and a monkey, set on a ground of red and white canes, some with blue star centers. Sold for $13,145, October 2004, Christies, New York. In 1936 Baccarat began marking all of its works via acid or sandblasting. 1936—Present Baccarat created an American subsidiary in 1948 in New York City. By 2007 there were stores in Chicago; Costa Mesa; Dallas; Houston; Greenwich, Connecticut; Honolulu; New York; Troy, Michigan; San Francisco; Palm Desert, California; Las Vegas; and Atlantic City. A 12th location is set to open in Atlanta in 2010. A retrospective was held in 1964 at the Louvre Museum to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the crystal works. In 1993 Baccarat began making jewelry and in 1997 the company expanded into perfume. Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
Collecting Communion Tokens and small Communion Tokens price guide. Communion tokens were round or oval in shape, and they were given to individuals who took communion in churches during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Presbyterian worship in Scotland is particularly associated with them, but they may also be found in England, the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland. The Communion tokens were used to identify those who were entitled to receive Communion. The minister would give the person a token before giving them Communion. When Communion was being given, the individual would show the token to the Communion steward. There are a number of reasons why communion tokens were used. First, communion tokens ensured that only those who were members of the church and who had been properly instructed in the faith were able to receive Communion. This was important because Communion is a sacred act in which Christians partake of the body and blood of Christ. Second, communion tokens helped to prevent Communion from being taken by those who might not appreciate its significance or who might abuse it in some way. Finally, communion tokens served as a tangible reminder of an individual’s commitment to the Christian faith. Though communion tokens fell out of use in the 18th century, they remain an important part of Protestant and Calvinist history. Communion tokens remind us of the importance of maintaining a proper understanding of Communion and of our commitment to the Christian faith. They were also used as a means of identifying Communion members who had been away from the church for a period of time. They were also given to children when they were first admitted to communion. Often, these tokens would be made of metal or other durable materials and would be worn around the neck or on a keychain. The most common materials were metal, wood, and bone. In some cases, Communion Tokens were also made of other materials such as stone or glass. They could have holes in the centre and so could be strung together. Tokens were often engraved with a Christian symbol or the initials of the person who received the Communion Token. Communion tokens were collectibles even back then and people would try to get as many different ones as possible. There are many different types of communion tokens that can be found. Some have biblical scenes or symbols on them, while others have the name of the church or the year they were made. Messages on tokens would include biblical quotes such as ‘This Do In Remembrance of Me’ and ‘Let A Man Examine Himself’. Today, they are still collected by some people as a hobby and for the most part can be acquired fairly inexpensively.
Collecting for me is about amassing items that give you pleasure. Now that may well be a collection of stamps, ceramic ornaments or even toy cars but whatever you choose they are items that either bring back nostalgic memories or you simply purchase them because you love them. For me collecting is also about our social history, all of the items that we buy did at some stage have a reason for their existence. This is why I am fascinated with collecting items from various decades. Many collectors source anything and everything from the 1930s, whilst others crave items from the 1940s and there are those fascinated by the 1950s. In fact, there are collectors for every decade who either cherry pick items or even live their lives as if it was still that particular era from the 20th Century. I prefer to cherry pick as I am still very much a modern 21st Century girl at heart. There are certain aspects from each decade that attract me with the 1960s rating very high on the list. I can usually find items that epitomise this era extremely cheaply like the vivid 1960s tray I bought for 20p at a bootsale. Top Tip: Charity Shops, Bootsales and Garage Sales are perfect places to pick up vintage items for a few pounds. Look for ceramics, glass, fashion and pictures that scream the 1960s. If they are not already sought after they will be very soon. I am also fascinated by 1960s fashion. A mixture of boutique couture such as Biba and Mary Quant, the invention of the mini skirt and an all round fashion revolution – there is much on offer for the keen eyed collector. Designer labels usually come at a cost but there other wonderful fashion items from this particular decade which can be picked up at a reasonable price. I purchased a lovely bright red mini dress on one of the internet auctions for £25 which was a real bargain for a piece of vintage clothing. In fact, vintage is all the rage at the moment and I had the pleasure of meeting Hannah Turner Vokes, managing director of the London based vintage clothes store Paper Dress when I was featured in leading fashion magazine Grazia, last year. Hannah is the ultimate vintage fashion junkie and she wore an amazing disposable paper 1960s mini dress and also brought along a 1960s paper bikini to the photoshoot. Hannah often rummages around bootsales to find her bargains and this seems to have paid off as the dress cost just £9 and the bikini which she bought off of an internet site was a steal at £7, both of which are worth considerably more especially if sold in a specialist vintage store. Top Tip: Look for unusual items like paper clothing as these are becoming harder to find and collectors crave them. Jewellery is also a favourite for me and I was lucky enough to find a Mary Quant Daisy ring from a collectors fair a few years ago for £50. I have never seen this particular design before as it has beautiful blue enamel and the daisy actually opens to reveal a perfume container underneath. So this particular item fits into collecting 1960s, costume jewellery and vanity items like ladies compacts. Handbags and shoes from the 1960s are also keenly acquired by collectors and over the years I have bought many vintage examples with one pair costing just £2. Kaleidoscopes of colours they certainly make me stand out in a crowd when I wear them. These can be picked up quite cheaply like the wonderful yellow floral shoes and matching clutch bag that I bought from a bootsale for £25. When originally made these shoes and handbag formed part of the new 1960s fashion bug of ladies matching their shoes to their bags, otherwise known as The Total Look. It is not just the fashions and accessories of the swinging sixties that get collector’s hearts racing as there was much more on offer from this vibrant decade. In 1963 the Cornish pottery Troika was established by Benny Sirota, Lesley Illsley and Jan Thomson. They made attractive, yet usable art pottery which today has stormed the collectors market with people pay thousands for one of the rare plaques or sculptural Aztec heads. There are still more affordable pieces available with coffin vases and marmalade pots selling from £80-£100 upwards. So if you are looking for something dating from the 1960s that fits well into today’s environment Troika pottery is definitely an option. Toys are also a popular area of collecting and the 1960s didn’t fail to produce. The Sindy doll was launched in 1963 and many of her outfits were created by leading fashion designers such as Sally Tuffin and Marion Foale. One of my favourite pastimes is hunting out Sindy doll outfits as each replicates the fashions of the time and as I adore fashion this is just an extended way of me indulging my passion. Fact: The boys weren’t forgotten as Action Man was launched in Britain in 1966. The 1960s had so much to offer and I have literally just touched the tip of the iceberg where collecting this decade is concerned. Revolutionary in so many ways we mustn’t forget the music – especially The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. An area really worth indulging in if you can afford to collect some of the original memorabilia. Then of course 1966 supplied us with a host of World Cup memorabilia, not forgetting of course the charismatic British spy James Bond (played by Sean Connery) who first graced the silver screen in 1962 when Dr. No was released. So rather than just concentrating on one specific topic area of collecting like books, film or sporting memorabilia – take a look at what is on offer from the various 20th Century decades. Unless of course you lived through the 1960s and are now cursing the fact that you threw away […]
The first Moomin book was published over 70 years in 1945 and the stories and character have since inspired puppet animations, TV shows, animated series, collectables, collectors items, a museum, Moomin shops, Moomin cafes and even a Moominworld theme park. For collectors of Moomin collectables and merchandise there is especial interest in the Moomin books, Moomin art, vintage Moomon items and the Moomin mug. The Moomin characters and Moominworld were the work Finnish-Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson. Her stories about the adventures of Moomin family (Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma and friends) of white and roundish trolls with large snouts have delighted generations and interest continues today. Tove Jansson was born in Helsinki in 1914 into an artistic family. She studied art from 1930 to 1938 in Stockholm, Helsinki and then Paris and her first Moomin-like character appears in the magazine Garm in 1943. Her first Moomin book was published in 1945 by Söderström & Co – The Moomins and the Great Flood. The first book was a minor success but her next two books Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll, published in 1946 and 1948 respectively, saw high sales and assured her fame. Most of the Moomin books were translated into English in the 1950s to the 1970s. The first book Moomins and the Great Flood was only translated into English in 2005 to mark its 60th Anniversary. The character Moomintroll was born out of chance when Tove, on one childhood summer day, discussed literary philosophy with her brother Per Olov Jansson by the outhouse next to their summer cottage in the archipelago. Tove drew the ugliest creature she could imagine on the outhouse wall. That drawing is the first glimpse of the Moomins, although Tove called it a Snork. Source moomin.com The modern interest in Moomins coincided with the release in 1990 by Telecable of a 104 half-hour Moomin animations names Tales From Moominvalley. The series was produced in Japan by Dennis Livson and Lars Jansson and Tales From Moominvalley was eventually sold to over 60 countries. The series was followed by full-length movie Comet in Moominland. The success in Scandinavia and principally in Japan created what has been term The Moomin Boom (muumibuumi in Finnish). The Moomin Books Tove Jansen write 9 books and 5 picture books. The original publication date is given below along with English title. 1945 The Moomins and the Great Flood (Originally: Småtrollen och den stora översvämningen) 1946 Comet in Moominland (Swedish title Kometjakten / Mumintrollet på kometjakt / Kometen kommer) 1948 Finn Family Moomintroll (Original Swedish title Trollkarlens hatt, ‘The Magician’s Hat’), 1950 The Exploits of Moominpappa (Originally: Muminpappans bravader/Muminpappans memoarer) 1952 The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My – The first Moomin picture book (Originally: Hur gick det sen?) Some Moomin books – First Edition English book covers 1954 Moominsummer Madness (Swedish title Farlig midsommar, ‘Dangerous Midsummer’) 1957 Moominland Midwinter (Swedish title Trollvinter, Finnish title Taikatalvi) 1960 Who Will Comfort Toffle? – The second Moomin picture book (Originally: Vem ska trösta knyttet?) 1962 Tales from Moominvalley (Originally: Det osynliga barnet) 1965 Moominpappa at Sea (Originally: Pappan och havet) 1970 Moominvalley in November 1977 The Dangerous Journey (Originally: Den farliga resan) 1980 Skurken i Muminhuset (English: Villain in the Moominhouse) 1993 Visor från Mumindalen (English: Songs from Moominvalley) As well as books the Moomins also appeared in comic strip form in a number of papers all over the world originally in 1947 in the children’s section of the Ny Tid newspaper, and internationally to English readers in 1954 in the London’s The Evening News. The Moomins cartoon strip reaches up to 20 million readers daily in over 40 countries. Tove Jansson drew and wrote all the strips until 1959. From 1960, Tove’s brother Lars Jansson drew the strip until 1975 when the last strip was released. The Moomin Mug – Collecting moominmugs Other than books one of main areas of interest is collecting Moomin Mugs (collecting moominmugs). Arabia have been responsible for the Moomin mug since 1990. Arabia are a Finnish ceramics company, founded in 1873 by Rörstrand, who specialize in kitchenware and tableware. The first Moomin mug was released in 1990 and began a series entitled Teema. The Mug Green is also known by the name The Green Comic Strip. The original artwork featured on the mug is from Tove Jansson’s comic strip #8 Moomin Builds a New Life (1956). Tove Slotte was the graphic designer responsible for Arabia’s Moomin products. He used the images from the strip more or less as they were, only removing the speech bubbles. In the same year Mug Blue, Mug Rose and Mug Yellow. The Mug blue is also known by the name Painting Moomins, the mug rose is also known by the name Rose Comic Strip and the fourth Moomin mug is also known by the name Mug yellow, Moominmamma. The early Arabia Moomin mugs are extremely collectable with prices for perfect example of Mug Green being over £400. The other colours also fetch prices from £100 to £300. There is an excellent series of articles on the history behind the Moomin mugs on the moomin.com blog. A visit to a Moomin shop, to their website or a look on ebay will show the wide variety of collectables, books, merchandise and household items that are available. If you have not read a Moomin book do go and find the recent special editions of the original books and immerse yourself in this wonderful fantasy world.
These days there is a definite tendency to over-use adjectives such as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘inspirational’ but when these words are applied to the achievements of Margarete Steiff, founder of the world famous Steiff company, their use is amply justified. In the nineteenth century, to be female was almost as great a stumbling block to achieving international commercial success as being disabled. Margarete was both and yet she overcame these ‘disadvantages’ to establish a business that was phenomenally successful in her own day and remains so today, 127 years after it was founded. Pictured right: Recreation of Richard Steiff’s workshop, featuring a scale replica of 55 PB, the world’s first teddy bear Born in Giengen, Germany in 1847 to a master builder and his wife, Margarete was stricken with polio before she reached her second year, leaving her paralysed in both legs and with a severely weakened right arm. It was a devastating setback that left her confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life but whilst the polio was able to damage Margarete physically, it was unable to destroy her spirit. Surrounded by a loving family, she grew up with a strong sense of confidence in her abilities and with a vision to earn her own living. She took the first step towards achieving this goal when she began dressmaking in 1866 and, eleven years later, opened her own shop selling felt garments which she had designed and made herself. As the business prospered, Margarete was able to employ a few people to help produce her garments. Pictured left: PB 28, Richard Steiff’s second jointed bear, also known to collectors as the Rod Bear The switch to toy making occurred in 1880 when Margarete used a pattern from a German magazine to create a small felt elephant which could be used as a pincushion or simply as a toy. Encouraged by the positive reaction of friends to whom she showed the elephant, Margarete started to experiment, making felt dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and pigs as well as the original elephant. The more she made, the more people wanted them, and thus Margarete Steiff GmbH was born. As her business grew, Margarete devised ways of bringing her products to the attention of an ever-increasing audience. In 1892, for example, the company produced its first catalogue which featured the maxim, ‘Only the best is good enough for our children.’ Simple and to the point, the motto is still used by the Steiff company today. Another step towards worldwide recognition came in 1897 when Margarete booked a stand for the first time at the Leipzig Toy Fair, the toy industry’s most important trade event. Unable to attend in pers on, Margarete arranged for a new employee to represent her company at this prestigious fair. The young man in question, fresh out of college having just completed his studies at the Stuttgart School of Art, was to play a seminal role in the future of Steiff. A favourite nephew of Margarete, his name was Richard Steiff and his gift to the world was the Teddy bear, arguably the best-loved toy of all time. Pictured right: First Steiff catalogue, produced in 1892; it introduced the company’s motto, ‘Only the best is good enough for our children’ Until the early twentieth century, bears had been represented in toy form as fierce and somewhat unlovable but Richard Steiff was determined to change that. He had a passion for real bears and made it his mission to create a soft toy bear that would win the hearts of children. To this end he made countless sketches of the bears he saw at Stuttgart Zoo as well as those found in travelling circuses and animal shows. At the end of the nineteenth century he designed a number of bears on wheels that could be ridden on or pulled along, and he also produced bears that stood up on their hind legs. In all his experimentation, his object was to give the toy bears life-like movement but nothing quite satisfied him. Then, in 1902, he made a significant breakthrough, creating a bear that was able to move thanks to its innovative string-joints. Called Bär 55 PB, it was destined to take the world by storm. Pictured left: Margarete Steiff holding Richard Steiff’s perfected bear First, however, the new toy had to be unveiled to the world and the venue chosen for this was the 1903 Leipzig Toy Fair. At first, the reaction to Steiff’s new, jointed bear was disappointing but that changed when an influential New York buyer, searching for something new and unusual, placed an order for 3000 of them. The arrival of Bär 55 PB in America coincided with President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt’s much publicised refusal to shoot an injured bear for sport. Public perception linked the new toy bear with the popular President and thus the ‘Teddy’ bear was born. To cope with the unprecedented demand for the bears and to accommodate the rapid expansion of the company, a state-of-the-art glass and steel factory was erected in Giengen in 1903. So revolutionary was the design of the building that it does not look dated and is still in use today. For all its success, however, Richard Steiff was not entirely satisfied with his jointed bear and he continued to experiment and develop. His aim was to perfect his design and in 1905 he achieved this by replacing the bear’s string joints with disc joints, an ingenious method that has remained in use to the present day, 100 years after its invention. This ‘perfected’ bear met with unparalleled success, requiring Steiff to produce 974,000 of them in 1907 alone. Margarete Steiff died just two years later but her company continued to flourish in the capable hands of her nephews. Their combined vision and business acumen enabled the company to grow and to weather the worst that the troubled 20th century had to offer. Today, Steiff has an unrivalled worldwide reputation for the excellence of […]