Whether you’re a fan of the books, the movies, or both, there’s no denying that Conan is one of the most iconic and popular fighting fantasy characters in history. Created by Robert E. Howard in the 1930s, Conan the Barbarian also referred to as The Cimmerian was to appear in 17 published stories by Howard before he died in 1936. The Conan book world has been expanded by a number of authors over the years and in this feature we take a brief view at the publication history of Conan, some of the authors of the books and take a look at Collecting Conan Paperbacks. Conan in Weird Tales Robert E. Howard was one of the most popular authors to be published in Weird Tales, thanks to his Conan stories. Howard began writing Conan stories in 1932 and continued until his death in 1936. In total, Howard wrote 17 Conan stories, which were published in Weird Tales between 1932 and 1939. The stories were extremely popular with readers and helped to cement Howard’s reputation as a master of sword and sorcery fiction. The first Conan story to appear was The Phoenix on the Sword and was originally published in the December 1932 edition of Weird Tales. The story is set in the fictional world of Hyboria, and follows the adventures of Conan, a barbarian warrior. In the story, Conan is hired by an evil sorcerer to kill a rival wizard. However, when Conan learns that the sorcerer plans to use him as a sacrificial victim, he turns against his employer and defeats him. The Scarlet Citadel was published the following month. The Conan stories are set in the “Hyborian Age”, a fictional time period that Howard created himself. In these stories, Conan is a barbarian from the northern kingdom of Cimmeria who becomes involved in the politics and wars of the civilizations of the Hyborian Age. One of the Editors of Weird Tales Farnsworth Wright asked Howard to write an 8,000-word essay for personal use detailing “the Hyborian Age”, the fictional setting for Conan. This essay expanded the Conan world and was used for Howard’s next story “The Tower of the Elephant”. The Tower of the Elephant follows the exploits of Conan the Cimmerian as he breaks into a mysterious tower in search of treasure. Although the story is brief, it is packed with action, suspense, and atmosphere, making it one of Howard’s most popular tales. In addition, the story showcases Howard’s talent for creating memorable characters, such as the elephant-riding Jhalkari nomads who serve as Conan’s allies. The Tower of the Elephant is a quintessential example of Howard’s Conan stories and remains one of the most beloved tales in the entire genre. Conan After Robert E. Howard Conan has endured for decades and prompted numerous writers to continue Howard’s tales after his death, including Lin Carter, L. Sprague de Camp, Robert Jordan, Björn Nyberg, Andrew J. Offutt, and others. Some of these writers completed incomplete Conan novels or rewrote Howard stories about different characters. The majority of post-Howard Conan stories are entirely original works. More than fifty novels and dozens of short stories featuring the Conan character have been written by authors other than Howard. Following Howard’s death, the copyright of the Conan stories passed through several hands. L. Sprague de Camp was eventually given charge of the fiction line, beginning with 1967’s Conan published by Lancer Books, and oversaw a paperback series collecting all of Howard’s tales (Lancer folded in 1973 and Ace Books picked up the line, reprinting the older volumes with new trade dress and continuing to release new ones). The De Camp reworkings of Robert E. Howard’s original tales were supplemented by further editing by de Camp, who also chose to write additional Conan stories to go with the originals, collaborating with Björn Nyberg and especially Lin Carter. These new works were constructed from a mix of previously completed Robert E. Howard tales with different settings and characters that were changed so as to include Conan and the Hyborian world, incomplete fragments and outlines for Conan adventures that were never written by Howard, and all-new pastiches. Lancer Publications and Ace Publications Paperbacks The Lancer Publications and later Ace Publications series of Conan books published from 1966-1977 were the first comprehensive paperback edition, which compiled the existing Howard and non-Howard stories together with new non-Howard stories in order of internal chronology, to form a complete account of Conan’s life. The Lancer Books publishing sequence initially adopted a chronological number for volumes issued later and reprints of earlier volumes, then reverted to an order of publication. Conan entered popular culture with the publication of this collection of tales. It contains all of the original Howard material, including that which he left unpublished during his lifetime as well as fragments and outlines, and was carried out under the leadership of de Camp and Carter. De Camp edited a large portion of the content, and he and Carter finished the unfinished stories. They also included new stories that they wrote themselves. Of the 35 stories in the last eight volumes, 19 were published or finished by Howard while he was still alive, 10 were reworked or finished using his manuscripts, scraps, or synopses, and six were the exclusive creation of de Camp and Carter. Other Publishers of Conan Books Bantam Publications published 6 non-Howard Conan books including Conan the Sword of Skelos by Andrew J. Offutt. Tor Publications released a new series of stories from 1982-2004 by various authors including Robert Jordan, Leonard Carpenter and Steve Perry. Tor also reissued most of the previous non-Howard volumes originally published by Bantam. The Tor editions jumped around to present random episodes from various stages in Conan’s career rather than publishing them in chronological order. Periodic chronological essays—first by L. Sprague de Camp, then by Robert Jordan—included in some of the older volumes helped readers place the episodes in the right perspective. Tor also reprinted some of the Bantam Conan books. […]
The Chessell Pottery was founded in 1978 by Sheila and John Francis in the pretty village of Chessell on the Isle of Wight.
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 […]
The first World Cup was in 1930 and if you are looking for memorabilia from then or even the subsequent World Cups up to 1966 you will find posters, autographs and programmes, but not much else. We can blame 1966 and World Cup Willie for the era of collectable memorabilia. Pictured right: World Cup Willie memorabilia – An official cloth doll, a snow storm in original box, an ashtray, a pen-knife, a horse brass, a hanging car mascot, a commemorative pin in original box, four metal badges, six plastic badges and three key rings all featuring World Cup Willie. Sold for £180 at Bonhams, London, June 2006. World Cup Willie was the first official mascot for the FIFA World Cup, being used to represent the 1966 FIFA World Cup in the United Kingdom. He was a large anthropomorphic lion who wore a Union Flag jersey with the words “WORLD CUP”. Willie was the creation of artist Reg Hoye, who was asked to design a mascot for the World Cup competition by the English Football Association. Pictured left: A 1966 World Cup Willie tankard – 1966 flag logo to side and World Cup Willie mascot, gold gilt trim to handle and bands to edges (faded), stamped with makers mark Gibson & Sons Ltd of Stoke on Trent underneath. Height approx. 112mm. Sold for £187 at Bonhams, Chester, February 2002. Reg Hoye was a well respected artist having considerable experience and had illustrated some of Enid Blyton’s childrens books. Willie was one of four designs created, one was a boy and three were based on Lions. The design finally selected was of course Willie, with his looked based on Reg Hoye’s son Leo. Pictured right: A collection of 1966 World Cup Football memorabilia – Including an original programme from 1966 World Cup final [g], Officials Union Jack design pin badge, World Cup Willie mascot toy, pennant, Football Monthly souvenir, W.D and H.O.Wills portable desk and folder, newspapers and magazines. Sold for £216 at Bonhams, Chester, October 2009. Willie was a massive success and was popular not only in the UK, but throughout the world. There was special interest in the character in Germany and Russia. Willie found himself on everything from mugs to bedspreasd, money boxes to posters and from tankards to plates. There was a huge merchandise boom based on Willie and the 1966 World Cup. Pictured left: 1966 World Cup Willie postcard hand signed by Bobby Moore A colour postcard of 1966 World Cup mascot Willie, postmarked 18 August 1966, with England Winners stamp, hand signed by Bobby Moore. Sold for £350 at Bonhams, Chester, October 2011. Another first for 1966 was the World Cup song which was aptly name ‘World Cup Willie’ and was sung by the skiffle king Lonnie Donegan. The song was re-released for the 2010 World Cup by Lonnie Donegan Jnr. Dressed in red, white and blue, he’s World Cup Willie We all love him too, World Cup Willie He’s tough as a lion and never will give up That’s why Willie is fav’rite for the Cup Willie, Willie, he’s evry’body’s fav’rite for the Cup Pictured right: A red England 1966 World Cup final International shirt, No.10, with crew-neck collar and embroidered cloth badge. The shirt was worn by Geoff Hurst in the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany. The 1966 World Cup Final England who started the 1966 competition as one of the favourites, due to the fact that the tournament was held on home soil, began their group qualifying games with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay. In the two remaining group qualifying matches England defeated Mexico and France 2-0 in both games. In the quarter-final match against Argentina, Geoff Hurst scored the only goal of an explosive match thirteen minutes from the end. England’s opponents in the semi-final were Portugal who had the wonderfully gifted Eusebio in their side. In a very entertaining match, England were worthy 2-1 winners with both goals being scored by Bobby Charlton. Pictured left: World Cup 1966 memorabilia – Eight tickets for games played in London to include Final and all England matches; two pennants; a World Cup Willie blazer badge; three F.A. News covering the World Cup; three postcards and official book by Purnell. Sold for £384 at Bonhams, London, June 2006. In the other semi-final, West Germany disposed of the U.S.S.R. national team by the same score and this set up a final match of the tournament between two of football’s oldest rivals at Wembley on 30th July 1966. Pictured right: A 1966 World Cup Winner’s Medal belonging to Alan Ball – a gold (unhallmarked) World Cup Winner’s medal, 1966, awarded to Alan Ball, the obverse inscribed F.I.F.A., the reverse inscribed World Championship, Jules Rimet Cup, in England 1966, Alan James Ball, with ring suspension. Sold for £164, 800 at Christies, London, May 2005. Before a crowd of just under 100,000, Haller scored for West Germany in the thirteenth minute, but six minutes later Geoff Hurst scored his country’s equaliser. For the best part of the next hour, neither side dominated the match but with twelve minutes remaining Geoff Hurst had an optimistic shot at goal which spun in the air for Martin Peters to knock home for what appeared to be the decisive winning goal. However, with seconds remaining, a hotly disputed free-kick from West Germany found its way across England goal and Weber knocked the ball into the net for a dramatic equaliser which took the match into extra-time. Pictured left: A collection of 1966 World Cup memorabilia – A large collection of memorabilia produced for the 1966 World Cup including stamps, World Cup Willie cloth badge, Geoff Hurst/Martin Peters hand signed picture, 8mm film of final, German album, football signed by Nobby Stiles, Gordon Banks, Ray Wilson, Alan Ball, Jack Charlton, George Cohen, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Roger Hunt, Wembley seat back and a ‘Sooper Snooper’ World Cup periscope. Sold for £216 at Bonhams, Chester, Feb 2009. After ten minutes of extra-time, England scored their third and without doubt the most controversial goal that has […]
We are not the only ones who celebrate Christmas – dolls do, too! Often, manufacturers issue their regular lines festively dressed in Christmas colours of red and green, or maybe silver, gold or white. They trim the costumes with white ‘fur’, tinsel, glitter or sparkly sequins – anything to make the doll look more Christmassy. Sometimes a Christmas special is dressed as a fairy, Santa or a character from a pantomime or fairy tale. Usually these dolls are made in limited numbers and, because they are sold for such a short period, eventually become very collectable. Teen dolls are often issued as Christmas Specials, such as the delightful Festive Sindy issued by Hasbro in 1997. She was dressed in a gold-flecked red gown with white fur trim, her hair covered by a fur-edged hood. More recently, Vivid Imaginations produced a Christmas Sindy, only available through Argos. Sindy was dressed in a short red Santa-style mini-dress, worn with a cap and cape, all edged in white fur. This doll is sure to become a future collectable. Barbie features in the ‘Happy Holidays’ collection which began in 1988, in a variety of gowns such as the full-skirted black & silver velvet ballgown worn with a dramatic cerise satin stole, dating from 1998. Her fabulous gowns use luxury fabrics in shades of green, scarlet, gold or white. The smaller dolls in the Barbie range, such as Maura, also often appear in festive mood. A couple of years ago, Maura was dressed as Winter in a pretty white and ice-blue dress scattered with snowflakes, and sporting a fetching pair of teddy earmuffs. Occasionally, dolls are issued in Christmas play sets. A few years ago the enchanting Madeline dolls, based on a character originally created by Ludwig Bemelmans in the 1930s, included a festive set in their range. Madeline is a pupil at a Parisienne school run by nuns, and dolls representing her and her friends were made by Eden in the 1990s, but have now been taken over by Learning Curve. The Madeline Christmas Gift set comprised a seven and a half inch tall doll wearing a santa-type outfit of a red dress edged with white fur and a matching hat, white lacy socks and black shoes. She had a felt Christmas tree and a tartan stocking. Learning Curve introduced large Holiday Madelines – soft cloth dolls dressed in red or green Christmas outfits. The German company, Zapf, makers of Baby Born, Annabell and Chou Chou, produce Christmas outfits for their dolls each year. Recent BabyBorn festive get-ups have included a dark red velour dress worn over Christmas-patterned tights, finished off with a jaunty, star-trimmed velour hat, a red long-sleeved dress with a matching flower-trimmed head band, and an unusual white and blue creation. A Christmas play set was also amongst the recently-discontinued Zapf Baby Born Miniworld series of dolls. This tiny baby doll, just four and a half inches tall, was dressed in a sweet red fleecy outfit and white bib embroidered with a Christmas motif. She wa s seated on a soft red beanbag with her teddy, beside a Christmas tree, and her box was designed to look like a festively-decorated nursery. Until recently, Zapf made excellent designer dolls, and amongst them was Rolanda Heimer’s Siggi, a nineteen inch tall baby with blonde hair. He was dressed in fleecy red hooded jacket with a knitted clown motif, and beige cord trousers. He came with a cd of Christmas carols. Anne Geddes ‘Baby Santa’ was issued a few years ago and is now quite difficult to find. Anne is famous for her photographs of babies dressed as animals, flowers and insects and a whole range of dolls based on the photos were made by Unimax, including rabbits, bears, butterflies and sunflowers. Baby Santa is a smiling, slightly podgy baby doll wearing a red Santa outfit. The box bears photographs of the real babies on which the doll was modelled. Woolworths often produce dolls in Christmas themed outfits, recently they were selling Christmas Holly, under their Chad Valley label, a sweet-faced sixteen inch baby dressed in a red dress, Santa hat, green bag and with adorable crocheted red shoes. Cabbage Patch Kids have featured in several Christmas issues over the years, including a 1990s Special Edition set of Holiday Babies by Mattel. Dressed in various outfits, such as a red needlecord dress trimmed with lace, a delightful white satin dress with a net overlay sprinkled with gold stars, or green corduroy shorts and a red tartan waistcoat, these are an excellent addition to a festive collection. Mattel also produced Christmas Cabbage Patch dolls in their Garden Fairies series, including some Wal-Mart exclusives. Poinsettia, Winter Holly and Winter Lily were obtainable in the UK, but the Wal-Mart versions were sold in the US, so aren’t often seen in Britain. These sweet dolls are ‘Holiday Scented’! Soft dolls by companies such as Ty and JellyCat are often found, and many stores and supermarkets sell Christmas specials, such as the cloth dolls sometimes sold by Tesco at Christmas. Ty’s Beanie-Boppers, with names such as Jolly Janie, Holiday Heidi, Merry Margaret and Christmas Carol, wear festive outfits. Carol has a green long-pile jacket over a gold-spotted red velour mini-dress trimmed with long-pile ‘fur’ and thigh-length boots. Her blonde hair is crimped and curled, and she has a Santa hat to match her dress. A similar range are the smiley eight inch character dolls from Jellycat, such as Princess Icecapade, obviously ready for the winter freeze with her ice-skates, and Holly Blooming Babe (wearing a holly-leaf skirt with a red berry belt). Toys ‘R’ Us have featured Christmas specials in their line of eleven and a half inch Jessica teen dolls. She has appeared in a long red gown with gold panels and a white fur cape, or a sophisticated white satin dress with a black bodice and stole. Vivid Imaginations have produced Holiday Bratz dolls, in both large and the ‘Baby Bratz’ versions, dressed in beautiful, frothy […]
Pomp, Pre-Fabs And Poodles – Dolls in The 1950s by Sue Brewer Just as a black and white film explodes into technicolour, this decade dawned grey, but ended in dazzling colour. This eventful ten years gave young people more power that ever before, and propelled Britons into a completely new lifestyle. Though the war had ended five years previously, many goods were in short supply and some rationing was still in force. Bomb sites scarred many areas, and thousands dwelt in ‘pre-fabs’ – prefabricated buildings designed as emergency accommodation for those who had lost their homes during the bombing. Britain needed something to cheer her up, and the Festival Of Britain was a great start. Held in 1951, on London’s Southbank alongside the Thames, and dominated by the Dome of Discovery, it featured all that was new in design. Towering above the site was the Skylon, a delicately-shaped edifice which was illuminated at night, and which entranced me as a child. Millions of people thronged the festival, which spilled over into nearby Battersea Park. One of the great attractions there was the Guinness clock, a marvellous timepiece which featured toucans and other creatures popping out of windows and doors on the quarter-hour. Ideas seen at the exhibition gradually filtered through into people’s lives – geometrical designs were in vogue, bright colours, and, conversely, black and white patterns. The most famous 1950s ceramics’ range is probably ‘Homemaker’, which featured black and white drawings of coffee tables, cutlery, settees and lamps. Homemaker, designed by Enid Seeney, was made by Ridgway and sold in Woolworths stores throughout the country in the mid-fifties. Black pottery ‘African’ hands and figurines were in vogue, as was formica, spindly-legged furniture, coloured ‘atom’ knobs on small fixtures, ballet scenes on crockery, open-plan living, and poodles on everything! In 1953, patriotism was truly to the fore – Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey. Union Jacks fluttered from lamp posts, commemorative mugs were give to school children, and street parties were held throughout the country. Young and old sat down to enjoy cakes, sandwiches and jellies, and to raise a toast to her Majesty in tea or lemonade. People crowded the front rooms of those fortunate enough to own television sets to watch the beautiful young Queen ride in a fairytale coach along the Mall from the palace, and to see the Archbishop of Canterbury place the crown upon her head in Westminster Abbey. For one lady, Peggy Nisbet, the Coronation proved a career change when she was inspired to dress small dolls which were sold through the prestigious Harrods store. Little could she have known that those small dolls would be the start of a huge concern, which would go on to produce millions of Peggy Nisbet costume dolls over the next three decades. Naturally, other manufacturers jumped aboard the bandwagon, most notably Pedigree Toys, who issued an 14 inch hard plastic doll called Little Princess. Th is doll had blonde, curly hair, just like the toddler Princess Anne, and her outfit was designed by Norman Hartnell, the man responsible for the Coronation gown. Pedigree also issued a ‘Bonnie Charlie’ doll, presumably modelled on Prince Charles, and a slender, teen-type called Elizabeth. All these dolls are very much sought-after today by collectors. Hard plastic was extensively used in the world of doll manufacturing for much of the 1950s. Developed during the war, it was enthusiastically embraced by toy makers, being light, colourful and cheap to produce. It rapidly replaced the older-style composition dolls, and many beauties were made during this time. Towards the end of the decade, however, an even more revolutionary product, soft vinyl, was introduced. Vinyl enabled the hair to be rooted directly into the head, and didn’t crack when it was dropped. Soon vinyl replaced the hard plastic, though for a time, dolls often sported vinyl heads on hard plastic bodies as the new machinery was expensive to install. Barbie, the most successful doll of all time, made her debut in America in 1959, created by Ruth Handler. This sophisticated curvy teen in her black and white striped bathing costume, was a sensation, though she was scarcely known in Britain until the 1970s. Girls in the United Kingdom were less mature than their American counterparts, and although teen dolls were gradually arriving, they were softer-featured and tended to wear the everyday fashions of the time – flared skirts, blouses, smart coats and dainty hats. Even in their early teens, girls still read ‘Girl’ comic, filled with colourful comic strip adventures featuring nurses, schoolgirls or ballet dancers – children were unsophisticated in those days. Palitoy issued a tie-in ‘Girl’ doll, who wore a white dress patterned with the logo of the comic. Her knickers and hair-ribbon bore the same motif while her belt had a plastic ‘Girl’ head as a buckle. At the beginning of the decade, teen girls dressed like their mothers, often wearing twin-sets and pearls, but as the fifties progressed, they rebelled. Permed hair gave way to ponytails, and skirts were full, often with layers of net or ‘paper nylon’ petticoats beneath. ‘Pedal-pusher’ trousers, which ended at mid-calf. were in vogue for a while, as were ‘sloppy Joe’ sweaters, but, on the whole, girls still had a very feminine look – the love-affair with blue denim was not, as yet, widespread. Music-wise, Rock ‘n’ Roll was in – Bill Haley and Elvis Presley were listened to on large 78 rpm records which broke when they were dropped. However, Britain had its own teen stars too, especially Tommy Steele who appeared on the ‘6.5 Special’ tv programme every Saturday, rocking to the music. Teddy Boys loved Rock ‘n’ Roll, and wore narrow drainpipe trousers, long jackets and winklepicker shoes, combing their hair into a quiff. Skiffle groups, who performed on guitars, washboards and broom handles affixed to tea-chests, were also extremely popular. As the decade progressed, television grew to play a large part in people’s lives; programmes were followed so avidly that […]
Today is 21st October 2015 (well it is if you are reading when first published) and for Back to the Future fans it is a special day – it is the day Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown travelled to in Back to the Future 2 in 1989. 2015 also mark the 30th Anniversary of the original Back to the Future release, so we thought we would indulge ourselves and write a feature on Back to the Future Collectibles and Merchandise. We are going Back to, no we are Collecting Back to the Future! Pictured: Back to the Future (Universal, 1985) One Sheet (27″ X 41″) movie poster. This version sold at Heritage Auctions for $501.90 in February 2015. Back to the Future Part II (Universal, 1989) Advance One Sheet movie poster (27″ X 41″) which sold at Heritage Auctions for $195.50 in February 2006. Back to the Future Part III (Universal, 1990) One Sheet movie poster (27″ X 40″) which sold at Heritage Auctions for $143.40 in June 2015. The Back to the Future Movie Franchise The original film was directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, produced by Gale and Neil Canton. The cast included Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson. The film follows teenager Marty McFly (Fox) as he travels accidentally back in time to a Hill Valley of 1955 in a De Lorean time machine built by the eccentric scientist Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown. Pictured: One of the iconic De Lorean cars from the Back to the Future films. This version was sold by Profiles in History at their Icons of Hollywood auction in December 2011 for $541,200. There is some debate as to how many De Loreans were used in the films but seven seems to be agreed upon by several sources. Only a few have survived and at the time this was the only one in private hands. Most of us cannot afford a real De Lorean, yet alone one used in filming. Luckily there have been a number of small models over the years. Corgi produced a very popular 1:36th scale model which included a Doc Brown figure. In mint condition in box these can now sell for £50-£60. In 2001 Corgi produced a Limited Edition of 100 “Back To The Future” – Delorean – Finished In Silver to commemorate the launch of their TV & Film Collection. This model now sells for nearly £200. During his brief time he meets his future parents in high school, becomes his mother’s romantic interest and changes the course of history. Marty with the help of Doc Brown must repair the damage and find a way to return to 1985. The film was released on July 3, 1985, grossing over $300 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1985. The film marked the beginning of a franchise, with two sequels, Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990). Back to the Future Action Figures There are now more toys and collectibles available for the collectors than there has even been. Surprisingly there do es not seem to be any action figures produced for the films at the time. Please let us know if you have any information. The Back to the Future license has been taken up by a number of companies and brands including Funko, POP!, Hot Toys, ReAction, MiniMates etc. Back to the Movie Props and Replicas Owning an original Back to the Future movie prop is the holy grail for any collector. Prop replicas are also an affordable way to enter this market. Online and specialist auction houses have made access to these sort of items much easier. Below are a few items from the ScreenUsed and BacktotheFuture.com 30th Anniversary auction. Replicas of the items below are also available. Back to the Future Collectibles, Toys & Memorabilia Related backtothefuture.com ScreenUsed.com
Evenings are longer now, and traditionally this is the time of year when witches shake the dust from their broomsticks to take off into the skies, black cats polish their whiskers and wizards settle down with their spell books and a goblet of something tasty made from newts. Harry Potter is big business, and as well as dvds, keyrings, mugs and sticker books there are some stunning dolls made in his likeness, and those of Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and the rest of the Hogwarts’ inhabitants. Ever since Harry first appeared – ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, was released in 2001 – dolls have been made as tie-ins with the films, and it has been fascinating to watch these dolls develop, reflecting the growing up of the children in the films. So far, the films which have appeared are ‘Philosopher’s Stone’, ‘Chamber of Secrets’, ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’, ‘Goblet of Fire’, ‘Order of the Phoenix’ and the latest ‘Half-Blood Prince’, and as each hits the cinemas, so a new range of toys and dolls reaches the shops. Not all of the dolls are intended just for children, either! When Robert Tonner, a prestigious American designer, announced in 2005 that he intended to issue a line of Harry Potter dolls, collectors were intrigued. The first doll in the series, ‘Harry Potter at Hogwarts’ featured Harry in his school outfit of grey sweater and flannel trousers with a black robe, and was breathtaking; this was a perfect Harry! Most of the dolls in the series stand around 17 inches tall, and feature 17 points of articulation, which means they are eminently poseable. They have hand-painted faces and the modelling is excellent. Since that initial release, other Tonner versions of Harry have appeared, such as Harry in his Quidditch outfit and Harry ready for the Yule Ball. The Quidditch Harry features him dressed in a custom knit sweater over racing trousers and shin guards. His red and yellow house robe bears the Gryffindor crest. A magnificent Firebolt broomstick is available separately. The Yule Ball version is a rather sinister Harry, in a long black robe over a formal shirt, trousers, waistcoat and bow tie. A model of Hedwig, his owl, can be purchased to add a finishing touch by perching it on Harry’s arm. The Ron and Hermione dolls are equally stunning, especially the Yule Ball versions. Ron at the Yule Ball wears his vintage tapestry robe – the subject of much mirth in the book – over a frilled formal shirt, trousers and velvet bow tie. His ginger hair is set off well by the autumnal shades of his robe. Hermione is beautiful in her long ball gown in graduated shades of purple chiffon ruffles, and with her upswept hair styled in ringlets around her face. The company also sells casual outfits which the three friends can wear for weekend outings. Now Tonner has added more characters, such as Draco Malfoy, Cho Chang, Professor Snape and Voldemort. Even Dobby, Kreacher, Crookshanks, Fawkes and the Sorting Hat are included in the Tonner creations, which means that keen collectors can act out the stories through their dolls if they want, or arrange them in scenes from the books or films on a shelf. Perhaps the most handsome of the dolls is the fair-haired Draco Malfoy, which conveys not only a sense of smouldering evil, but also of smouldering good looks. Draco has also been created as a ‘special’ in his Quidditch outfit. The delightful Cho Chang is charming in her school uniform, while the elegant Yule ball version features her in an embroidered kimono-style dress. Of course, Tonner aren’t the only company to have made Harry Potter dolls; amongst others are Gotz, Mattel, Vivid Imaginations and Gund. Gund created a series of plush dolls a few years ago, skilfully modelled with flocked-felt faces. They also produced a range of all-fabric dolls. Mattel too made soft-bodied dolls featuring Harry and his friends. These Mattel dolls, which were some of the earliest Harry Potter commemorative dolls, were 12 inches high and featured thick yarn hair. Each doll came with an appropriate charm – Harry had an owl, Ron a dragon, whilst Hermione had a hat. Hagrid, the burly half-giant, has been made as plush toy by both Gund and Vivid Imaginations Various smaller dolls have appeared over the last decade. Mattel have been responsible for several ranges, amongst them the ‘Wizard Sweets’ series, which featured 8 inch high dolls packed in sweet shop illustrated boxes and included various sweet-themed items. They also produced moulded figures in assorted sizes, incorporating some of the characters not normally issued as dolls, such as Dumbledore and Ginny Weasley, and even a model of the Hogwarts Express, all ready to leave from platform 9¾ . Gund, too, produce unusual characters – they make an excellent ‘Fluffy’ (three headed dog), baby Norbert (dragon), Hedwig (owl) and Mrs Norris (Kneazle), all created from soft plush or fabric. They even make a golden snitch with pearly fabric wings, ready for a game of Quidditch. In 2002 the German Gotz company released a set of three excellent characters – Harry, Ron and Hermione. Each doll was 18 inches high, and the modelling was impressive. Their costumes were very detailed and excellently constructed and the character faces were slightly quirky These dolls were limited editions, but surprisingly, although they were so well-made (and expensive, around £100), they don’t sell for much on the secondary market at present. I would expect these to be ‘sleeper dolls’, which will suddenly rise in value. Character dolls, especially the top-of the range kinds, such as those featured here by Gotz and Robert Tonner, are usually a good investment for the collector.The world of entertainment is volatile, and so personalities tend to come and go. Soon, there will be no new Harry Potter films, and manufacturers will turn to different films for inspiration. Then the Harry Potter dolls, especially those which have been kept mint in box, will come into their own. DID YOU KNOW? […]
Imagine sitting down to enjoy a nice drink and whilst taking a sip you look down you are faced with a small frog in your mug. A nice surprise or maybe not! This was the idea behind the Frog Mug which were first produced around 1750 but became very popular during the first quarter of the 19th Century. One theory of how the frog mug came to be made was that a potter who had nearly completed some mugs, had left them to cool overnight. On his return he found a frog sitting at the bottom of one of them. He was so surprised and amused he decided to make a mug with a frog inside based on the idea. They proved so popular the frog mug was created. Most frog mugs feature a frog on the side or on the bottom, and occasionally on the rim. Some frogs have open mouth so when the drink was poured it would also go through the frog’s mouth. There are some examples of larger vessels having multiple frogs and even lizards as well. The earliest frog mugs date to around 1750 and are largely associated with the Sunderland potteries including Brunton & Company (afterwards Moore & C0) who were noted with early examples. One of the most noted potteries for the production of the frog mug was Dixon and Co. Although Sunderland and the north-east were the leading area for the frog mugs, they were also made in the Stafford potteries and the Leeds potteries. The frog mugs created in Sunderland pimarily feature the famous Sunderland lustreware with its pink lustre decorated with black transfer prints often with mottos, phrases and sayings. More popular designs include portrayals of the Wearmouth bridge, Ironbridge and the Crimea. As many of these mugs were used by sailors many had a strong nautical theme and featured sailing ships, the Sailor’s Farewell and the Sailor’s Return. The majority of antique frog mugs made in Sunderland can be bought from around £60 to £200. The main factors affecting price are rarer transfers & motifs and condition. The price of other examples is variable, with great variations in price – from £40 to £1,000. Example pieces and prices have been given in this feature. The frog mug is a quirky, attractive item with great historic interest, and collections can still be created for a modest investment.
There are many different strands for James Bond collectors to collect and this feature looks at collecting James Bond 007 Jigsaw Puzzles. We also include a price guide on some of the puzzles that have been sold at auction. Arrow Games produced a series of great jigsaw puzzles in the 1960s to tie in with the film franchise. As far as we can see there were four in the series. The set includes classic scenes from Goldfinger (Aston Martin ejector seat), From Russia with Love (Helicopter chase), Thunderball (Sean Connery wearing jet pack and scuba diving scene). Each jigsaw puzzle was 375 pieces. Arrow James Bond Jigsaw Puzzle Price Guide We have seen quite a range of price for the vintage Arrow James Bond 007 jigsaw puzzles. Complete puzzles in very good or better boxes: £50-£70 / $70-$100 each. Near complete puzzles in very good boxes: £25-£35 / $35/$55 each. Very good or better boxes (no puzzles): £15-£35 / $25-$55 each. Over the years James Bond puzzles have been created by a number of toy companies including Milton Bradley, HG Toys and Hestair to name a few. More recently Wentworth Wooden Puzzles have created a series of limited edition wooden jigsaw puzzles based on the films. At the time of writing four have been produced including Thunderball, Moonraker, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Dr No. The Dr No edition was an exclusive for 007store.com, and features French poster artwork by Boris Grinsson. The puzzles included 250 pieces with some shaped pieces to reflect images from the film. Jigsaw Related Collecting Wooden Jigsaws