With the forthcoming TCM Hollywood Cool auction at Bonhams and the sale of items associated with Happy Days and The Fonz (one of the most merchandised characters of the 1970s), we thought we would take a look at some of collectibles released over the years based on the Happy Days series and characters. Happy Days was an American sitcom television series portraying an idealistic vision of life in the 1950s and early 1960s Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Happy Days was created by by Garry Marshall and was one of the most successful of the 1970s running on the ABC network from January 15 1974 to July 19 1984. A total of 255 half-hour episodes were made spanning 11 seasons. Initially focused on the character Richie Cunningham played by Ron Howard, his family and friends and all their experiences it was a moderate ratings success but began to falter during its second season. The show took a change of direction and began emphasizing comedy and after spotlighting the previously minor character of Fonzie, a “cool” biker and high school dropout the show never looked back and became the number-one program in television in 1976–1977. The show was a hit internationally especially in the UK. The main cast included: Henry Winkler (Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli), Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham), Marion Ross (Marion Cunningham), Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham), Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham), Anson Williams (Warren ‘Potsie’ Weber), Donny Most (Ralph Malph) and Chachi (Scott Baio). The Fonz – Fonzie became one of the most merchandised characters of the 1970s Arthur Fonzarelli, a.k.a. The Fonz or Fonzie – Initially a minor character, he was a hugely popular breakout character and was made a series regular. Fonzarelli’s “Fonzie” nickname and comeback phrase, “Sit on it,” were created by the show’s producer, Bob Brunner. Known for being especially cool and for his catchphrases “(H)eyyyy!” and “Whoa!” His coolness gave him special powers, such as making machinery (such as Arnold’s jukebox and other vending machines, electric lights, and car engines) function by pounding on them with his fist, or getting the attention of girls by snapping his fingers. His parents abandoned him as a child and his grandmother raised him from the age of four. (Source: Wikipedia) The Mego Happy Days carded 8″ action figures also included Richie, Potsy and Ralph. Mego also released Fonzie’s Jalopy so the gang were able to drive around. Tuscany Studios created a chalkware The Fonz figure. We are not too sure on the likeness but it is a very rare and unusual item to have. More Happy Days Collectibles Funko released five Funko Pop! models in June 2021 which included: 1124 Fonzie, 1125 Richie, 1126 Arnold, 1127 Joanie and 1128 Chachi. Did you know? Happy Days spawned a number of spin-off TV series including Laverne & Shirley, Joanie Loves Chachi and Mork & Mindy. Related Mork and Mindy Collectibles
Two birds flying high, A Chinese vessel, sailing by. A bridge with three men, sometimes four, A willow tree, hanging o’er. A Chinese temple, there it stands, Built upon the river sands. An apple tree, with apples on, A crooked fence to end my song. As one of the most renowned and fascinating of romantic fables, with its Shakespearean overtones of doomed love and tragedy, the Willow Pattern story is universally familiar. This timeless tale of star-crossed lovers appeals to the imagination whilst the intricate and decorative Willow Pattern itself has been hugely popular for centuries. This instantly recognisable pattern is a classic Chinese landscape design, the fundamentals of which include a weeping willow, pagodas, a crooked fence, a tree bearing fruit, three or four figures on a bridge, a boat and a pair of lovebirds forever kissing. Combining these elements, the long-established and poignant saga is revealed. In a bygone age a wealthy and powerful Mandarin of the Chinese Empire lived with his lovely daughter Knoon-se in a grand palace surrounded by ornate, exotic flowers and trees. Chang, a low born but intelligent and personable young man, was employed as secretary to the Mandarin and fell hopelessly in love with the exquisite and captivating Knoon-se. Reciprocating his affections, Knoon-se met with Chang each evening beneath a weeping willow tree by the river. The Mandarin learned of their trysts and, infuriated that his adored daughter had fallen in love with a commoner, dismissed Chang, banning him from the estate, while Knoon-se was imprisoned in a pavilion overlooking the river. He surrounded the palace grounds with a crooked fence and, against her wishes, arranged for Knoon-se to marry the warrior Duke Ta-jin. With no company apart from servants, Knoon-se befriended and fed many birds and, knowing that her wedding would take place once the fruit tree outside her window was in bloom, she stared desolately into the river, contemplating her isolation and despairing of her future without Chang. The devoted Chang, unaware of Knoon-se’s approaching nuptials, also cared for and spoke with birds while dreaming of ways to contact his lost love. [Here, versions of the legend differ; as some say that] Chang sent a message to his beloved by fixing a sail to a shell and floating it down the river bearing a love poem, “As this boat sails to thee, so my thoughts tend”, which Knoon-se scooped from the river with her parasol. Her spirits lifted as she read his words and knew that Chang would come for her. During the hours of darkness she replied unseen, adding a burning incense stick to the shell and warning Chang to “Gather thy blossom, ‘ere it be stolen”. Knoon-se watched the tiny light until it disappeared downstream and prayed for rescue. [Other versions claim that the lovesick couple communicated using their feathered friends as go-betweens.] The tree was heavy with bud and near to blossom as the Duke Ta-jin arrived amid great fanfare, accompanied by a huge retinue of servants. He presented his betrothed Knoon-se with a casket of r are and priceless jewels, but she could think of none other than Chang and gazed at her unwanted future husband with a heart of stone, her eyes dull with despair. Nights of celebration and sumptuous banquets followed. Chang entered the palace grounds disguised as a servant and glimpsed the Mandarin and Duke through a window, both sated and asleep. Seizing the moment, he crept to the riverside apartment where Knoon-se languished alone. The lovers embraced with tears of joy and, pausing only to grab the casket of jewels, fled across the bridge to a boat that Chang had moored nearby in readiness. Alas, a slight noise alerted the Mandarin and he gave chase. [At the height of this daring adventure, the Willow Pattern depicts Knoon-se on the bridge holding the Staff of Virginity, followed by Chang bearing the box of jewels with the Mandarin in hot pursuit, brandishing a whip. When the fourth figure is shown in the Willow Pattern this represents the Duke, desperate to recapture his fleeing bride-to-be and her lover.] Knoon-se and Chang sailed to a faraway land where they sold the jewels to purchase a small pagoda and lived in bliss, sharing the life they had yearned for through many seasons. [The Willow Pattern shows their distant pagoda surrounded by lush foliage.] In a fit of vengeful spite, the Mandarin captured and caged all the birds in his gardens, as birdsong was anathema to his ears. Relentlessly he and the Duke sent spies and warriors on long and unsuccessful quests to find the couple. Ultimately the brooding Mandarin, obsessed by his lost daughter and thwarted at every turn, chanced upon a possible solution. He released all the birds and ordered his men to follow them as they flew away. The devoted birds, who had never forgotten Knoon-se or Chang, unwittingly led the evil army straight to their far off dwelling. At the dead of night, murderous men surrounded the pagoda, setting it alight as Knoon-se and Chang slept. Tragically, the lovers perished in the flames. Revenge and bitterness had seemingly prevailed as the fire raged and engulfed all. Cosmic winds howled as the ever-watchful gods took pity on the doomed lovers and blessed their undying devotion by granting them immortality. From the charred ruins of their home, the souls of Knoon-se and Chang soared into the sky as turtledoves and kissed again; beyond fear, beyond danger, forever free and symbolising eternal love. The Legend of the Willow Pattern – as we know it – may have little substance as an ancient Chinese fable. An expert in Chinese History at Murdoch University in Western Australia suggests that the essence and outcome of our familiar version is at odds with imperial Chinese ethics and social order of the past. Differences of perception between East and West are illustrated here; as a similar Chinese allegory would be a cautionary tale of stupidity and deception – because Knoon-se disobeyed her […]
I don’t really class myself as a Designer Diva, however, I do always seem to pick the most expensive item in the shop or fall in love with the out of reach prices for items in magazines. So the easiest way for me to work around this little problem is to buy items that have a good designer name behind them yet are more affordable for my pocket and in turn have the potential to become highly collectable. I suppose it all started some years ago in a department store. I often craved high end clothes and accessories and often returned home disappointed but one day I discovered Christian Dior limited edition make up compacts. More than affordable with a price tag of £30-£45 they ticked all the right collecting boxes as only a limited number are produced and each is an unusual design. Now, I frantically try and buy each one as it hits the stores, sometimes this is difficult as they sell out quickly but after some ringing around I can generally find one in a different store. Top Tip: Make friends with the representative on the Christian Dior make up counter as they know when the compacts are being released and can advise you what day you need to be in the store. Once I had discovered that leading designer names also produced more affordable items there was no stopping me. I now ensure I find out what is being released and when, so that I stand a chance of buying them. Obviously sometimes I loose out and have to pay over the odds for items on internet auctions. A prime example of this is the red ladies Mulberry handbags produced for the high street store Gap. Usually a Mulberry bag would set you back hundreds of pounds, yet this high end designer created a couple of limited edition ones in red jersey fabric for the store. Retailing at £95 women desperately clambered to own one and now they sell in the region of £200 on internet auctions with the newest released in 2008 being the ‘Bayswater.’ Unfortunately I missed the boat on these when they were released and haven’t been lucky enough to get my hands on one yet but I plan to the minute I have the funds.Another example of affordable designer bags was in 2007 when Anya Hindmarch released her ‘I’m Not a Plastic Bag’ for just £5. Seen on the arms of many a celebrity originally they were re-selling for as much as £400 although now a realistic price is £90-£100. I did queue from 5am outside a supermarket to get one and am really pleased I made the effort as this canvas bag is a already highly sought after and is set to increase in value. Top Tip: Join all the fashion websites newsletters as these let you know ahead of time what they are releasing – giving you the edge on what is coming out to buy. If trawling the internet and reading all the glossy fashion magazines isn’t your idea of sourcing items then don’t despair as you might be lucky enough to have a TK Maxx store in your local hi gh street. The shelves and rails hold a treasure trove of designer items at a fraction of the original retail price. I have had many bargains over the years from ceramics to glass and clothing to handbags. My most prized buy being a genuine Emilio Pucci handbag. I couldn’t believe my eyes when my friend and fellow writer, Vicky Hooper and I were cutting through the store a couple of summers ago. There on the shelf were loads of different Pucci print handbags. I grabbed the one I loved and happily handed over the £99 asking price as this bag would have cost me £300 plus if bought from a Pucci boutique or one of the concessions in the top London department stores. Top Tip: Always rummage through the China and glass in TK Maxx. I have purchased Murano and Ettore Sottsass glass vases, Marimekko china and little collectable ornaments by Jim Shore for a fraction of the price they should sell for. Another item which I own bought from TK Maxx is a glass Versace bottle stopper. Although Versace are better known for their clothing lines they have also produced ceramic tableware as well as glasses, ashtrays and other decorative items. Most carry the Versace logo of the Medusa head and this wonderful bottle stopper emphasises the head fantastically well. A snip at £15, if I had bought this in Italy or from one of the Versace outlets it would have cost me around £75. Many of you know I also have a bit of a shoe fetish but sadly my funds don’t always stretch to a new pair so when I stumbled across the Manolo Blahnik shoe horn I couldn’t resist it. Released a couple of years ago as a limited edition in Habitat stores across the country this stainless steel shoe horn had to be purchased. It resembles an elegant stiletto heeled shoe and cost just £35. It satisfied my appetite for buying a pair of designer Blahnik shoes yet also has become highly desirable with both collectors and those passionate about fashion.Collecting affordable designer is one of my most favourite passions. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to know that I have managed to obtain something that has huge collectable potential but also didn’t cost the earth. In fact some of these items are likely to increase much faster than conventional collectables as the demand outstrips the supply.So just make sure that next time you are out in your local high street you pay attention to the designer names and take a closer look at what is on offer. I guarantee that if you track down an affordable designer offering it will more than satisfy your collecting tastebuds. Other Things to Consider 1. Designer and Celebrity Perfumes, the more innovative the […]
Netsuke date back to the 17th Century, and became extremely popular in Europe towards the end of the 19th Century. This coincided with the Japanese adopting the suit and its pockets and with oriental artefacts being very much in vogue with buyers in western Europe. A huge supply of redundant netsuke came into Europe and were sold in many places as novelty items very cheaply. For the collector today there are many styles, and types, some by well known designers and the range in price can be incredible: from a few $/£ to £140,000 paid for a netsuke horse carved by Tomotada. Netsuke served both functional and aesthetic purposes. The tradtional Japanese dress, the kimono had no pockets. The robes were hung together by a broad sash (obi), so items that were needed to be carried were held on a cord tucked under the sash. The hanging objects (sagemono) were secured with carved toggles (netsuke). A sliding bead (ojime) was strung on the cord between the netsuke and the sagemono to tighten or loosen the opening of the sagemono. The best known accessory was the inro, a small box used by the wealthy for carrying medicines and seals. Netsuke were also used to secure purses, and were widely used to hold the tobacco pouches that became almost universal with the introduction of smoking in Japan. The quality of Netsuke was variable. As everyday objects many were carved quickly with left over materials. Netsuke could be made using a variety of materials mainly wood, and ivory (also shell, bone, horn, even metal and precious stones). Wealthier people would have finer netsuke, and it could be possible to tell the status of an individual by the quality of their netsuke. The workmanship is some is outstanding and despite their small size 1 to 2 inches, there can be considerable detail. There are several types of netsuke including: manju, round or square button like boxes; and kagamibuta, comprising a metal lid and a bowl; and katabori. The range of subjects included all manner of animals, birds, the heores and villains from folklore, the immortals and mythical animals of Japanese legend, the grotesque and the amusing. The variety and variability of netsuke is a reason for their continued popularity today. Knowledgeable collectors look for compactness, a design that appears good from any angle, and the cord holes must not interfere with the piece and may often form part of it. With the decline of the kimono there was less demand in Japan for netsuke, but they continued to be produced for export. Some skilled designers continued to produce excellent pieces which are much sort after. Production continued into the 20th Century with a revival in the art as interest incr eases. In recent years a number of poor netsuke have been produced and a number of fakes of original pieces have also been manufactured. These pieces are often produced using ivory obtained from illegally poached elephants and other animals. Resin replicas are also being produced. Many are sold as such but collectors should be careful. Forms of Netsuke kataborinetsuke (形彫根付) or “sculpture netsuke” – this is the most familiar style, a compact three-dimensional figure carved in the round, usually around one to three inches high anaborinetsuke (穴彫根付) or “hollowed netsuke” – subset of katabori which is hollowed-out and carved within; the most common are scenes in clams sashinetsuke (差根付) – this is an elongated form of katabori, literally “stab” netsuke, similar in length to the sticks and gourds used as improvised netsuke before carved pieces were produced, about six inches long obi-hasami – another elongated netsuke with curved top and bottom. It sits behind the obi with the curved ends visible above and below the obi. mennetsuke (面根付) or “mask netsuke” – the largest category after katabori, these were often imitations of full size noh masks, and share characteristics in common with both katabori and manju/kagamibuta manjunetsuke (饅頭根付) or “manju netsuke”- a thick, flat, round type of netsuke, with carving usually done in relief, sometimes made of two ivory halves. Shaped like a manju. ryusanetsuke (柳左根付）- shaped like a manju, but carved like lace, so that light shines completely through kagamibutanetsuke (鏡蓋根付) or “mirror lid netsuke” – shaped like a manju, but with a metal disc serving as lid to a shallow bowl, usually of ivory. The metal is often highly decorated with a wide variety of metallurgical techniques. karakurinetsuke (からくり根付) or “trick/mechanism netsuke” – any netsuke that does something, ones with moving parts or hidden surprisesForms of Netsuke text – 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. Books on Netsuke
The opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California in 1955 opened the door to worldwide recognition of Hagen-Renaker’s craftsmanship. By the Fall of 1955, the first of the Hagen-Renaker “Disney” pieces were released. Walt Disney is quoted as saying, “they made the finest three-dimensional reproductions of the drawings he ever saw”. In the ensuing years, until 1965 or 1966, the “Disney series” was expanded to include most of the leading characters from “ Lady and the Tramp”, ,“Alice in Wonderland”, “Cinderella”, “Bambi”, “Dumbo”, “Pinocchio”, “Snow White”, and “ Mickey Mouse and Friends”. In 1982 a second series of Hagen-Renaker “Disney” pieces were introduced based upon “Fantasia”. Fantasia just happens to be one of John Renaker’s favorites. These were the last of the figurines that Hagen- Renaker did specifically for Disney, although for years, their standard Miniatures were featured in the Emporium and other shops at Disneyland. The Hagen-Renaker “Disney” pieces were both miniatures, i.e., 1” to 2”, or a larger series, 3” to 6” in size. Today all pieces are prized by collectors of Disney and command prices several hundreds of dollars over their original cost. The Disney experience carried over in the evolution of the Hagen-Renaker line. Many new miniatures, expressing the whimsical nature of animated cartoons such as Disney’s, began to find their way into the line. Circus sets, bug bands, and animals dancing, just to name a few. And if look closely at the line today, you’ll notice a marked resemblance to “Thumper” in Brother Rabbit, and both of their small deer, lying or standing, definitely remind you of “Bambi”. Care has been taken, however, not to violate any licensing of copyright with any of the Hagen-Renaker line, but once you like something it’s hard to completely erase it from your creative vision. Hagen-Renaker Related Hagen-Renaker Information
Muffin the Mule was a puppet character on the British children’s television show For the Children that first aired on the BBC in 1946. The show featured a wooden puppet mule who would interact and dance along with human characters. Although the show was very popular with children, it also had an appeal for adults. The humour and wit of the show made it entertaining for all ages. Over the years, Muffin the Mule has become an iconic figure in British culture. He is often referenced in popular culture and has been featured in commercials, movies, and books. For many people, Muffin the Mule is a reminder of their childhood and a symbol of British culture. We take a brief look how Muffin the Mule was created and look at some of the Muffin the Mule collectables and Muffin the Mule merchandise over the years in this Collecting Muffin the Mule feature. The original Muffin the Mule puppet was created in 1933 by puppet maker Fred Tickner for puppeteers Jan Bussell and Ann Hogarth. Although we know him as Muffin, the puppet was originally unnamed. The puppet was part of a puppet circus made for the Hogarth Puppet Theatre. The couple had met while they were both working as puppeteers in London. They married in 1932 and decided to open their own puppet theatre. The original Muffin the Mule puppet was made from papier-mâché and had a wooden head. It was operated by two strings, one attached to each side of the head. Muffin was used for a short while but as Jan Bussell and Ann Hogarth moved on to more experimental and dramatic puppetry he was put away, re-appearing some 12 years later 1946. Bussell and Hogarth were working with presenter Annette Mills (sister of actor John Mills). Annette Mills named the puppet mule “Muffin”, and it first appeared on television in an edition of For the Children broadcast on 20 October 1946, where she performed as a singer, pianist and story teller. She wrote the songs and the music, including Muffin’s popular signature theme song “We Want Muffin! (Muffin The Mule)”, some of which appeared Muffin the Mule songbooks, as well as making records. Ann Hogarth wrote the scripts for the series. The show ran on the BBC until 1955 when Annette Mills died. During the show Muffin the Mule used to clip-clop and dance around on top of a piano which was being played by Annette Mills. Annette and Muffin would interact and the show appealed to not only children but to adults as well. Other characters were later added to the show including Prudence the Kitten (who went on to have her own show), Mr Peregrine the Penguin, Sally the Sea-Lion, Louise the Lamb, Oswald the Ostrich, and Morris and Doris the field mice. As Muffin the Mule’s popularity grew a range of merchandising, toys and comics were created mainly on Muffin but a few products were created featuring other characters. Lesney created a die-cast movable puppet which according the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh was “the first toy to be marketed under licence as a result of a successful TV appearances”. Other items include Toy Television Sets, a Muffin the Mule Pelham Puppet, games, Metal figures by Argosy Toys, licensed pottery, tins and much more.
Thunderbirds first screened on the ITV Network in 1965, and 2015 sees the series celebrate its 50th annversary. The series was created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, and filmed by their production company AP Films (APF) and distributed by ITC Entertainment. The first Thunderbirds collectables and books appeared in 1966 and we take a look at some of the highlights from the last 50 years, and their values and produce a small Thunderbirds collectables price guide. Pictured: Thunderbirds Annuals from 1966 and 1971. The first Thunderbirds annual appeared in 1966 with editions in 1967-1970 and 1971 & 1972. There have also been annuals in the 1990s and more recently with the Thunderbirds film and new TV series. In excellent condition early annuals are valued at £25-£35 each. Condition is everything, in lesser conditions annuals can be just a few pounds each.<a target=”_blank” href=”https://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=9&pub=5574679543&toolid=10001&campid=5335953011&customid=thunderbirds&icep_uq=thunderbirds+annual&icep_sellerId=&icep_ex_kw=&icep_sortBy=12&icep_catId=&icep_minPrice=&icep_maxPrice=&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229508&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”>View Thunderbird Annuals on ebay</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”https://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?ff3=9&pub=5574679543&toolid=10001&campid=5335953011&customid=thunderbirds&uq=thunderbirds+annual&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER]”>. One of the most popular characters is Lady Penelope actually appeared first in the TV21 annual of 1965. Thunderbirds is set in the mid-2060s and followed the exploits of International Rescue (IR), a life-saving organisation equipped with technologically-advanced land, sea, air and space rescue craft; these are headed by a fleet of five vehicles named the Thunderbirds and launched from IR’s secret base in the Pacific Ocean. The main characters are ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy, the founder of IR, and his five adult sons – Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan, who pilot the Thunderbird ships. Other main characters included Lady Penelope and Brains. Pictured: A Dinky No.100 “Thunderbirds” – Lady Penelope’s FAB1 – pink, clear roof slides, gold interior with “Lady Penelope & Parker” figures, cast detailed hubs – comes with missiles and harpoons in bag – overall condition appears to be generally Near Mint, still a superb example in a Near Mint bubble pack. Sold for £360 at Vectis, August 2015. Image Copyright Vectis. As with all die-cast models condition is everything and this is a very good example. There have been several versions over the years of this classic and Corgi are releasing a 50th Anniversary version – click for more details. It was the fourth Supermarionation puppet TV series to be produced by APF. Previous shows included Four Feather Falls, Supercar, Fireball XL5 and Stingray. Supermarionation used a form of electronic marionette puppetry combined with scale model special effects sequences. The Thunderbird Ships Thunderbird 1: a hypersonic rocket plane used for fast response and accident zone reconnaissance. Piloted by primary rescue co-ordinator Scott Tracy. Thunderbird 2: a supersonic carrier aircraft that transports rescue vehicles and equipment to accident zones in detachable capsules known as “Pods”. Piloted by Virgil. Thunderbird 3: a single-stage-to-orbit spacecraft. Piloted alternately by Alan and John, with Scott as co-pilot. Thunderbird 4: a utility submersible. Piloted by Gordon and normally launched from Thunderbird 2. Thunderbird 5: a space station that relays distress calls from around the world. Manned alternately by “Space Monitors” John and Alan. JR21 (named after managing director Jack Rosenthal) which later became Century 21 produced a range of toys featuring all the vehicles (Thunderbirds 1-5 and Lady Penelope’s FAB 1) in the show and some with variations. These JR21 and Century 21 toys have become collectables with models in boxes in very good condition fetching up to £300. Robert Harrop have been producing Supermarionation and Thunderbirds models for a number of years and their reproductions have won many fans and plaudits. Robert Harrop started producing figures in 1986 with their initial range of Doggie People. They have made models of all the main characters, associated characters, models and scenes and have designed a range to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Below are a selection of the 50th anniversary models. Tracy Island – The Greatest Toy Ever In 1992, Tracy Island became a phenomenon in the UK, after Thunderbirds was re-run on BBC2 and generated massive interest in Thunderbird related toys. The Tracy Island playset was top of many Christmas lists but large demand resulted in a shortage that left many parents and children upset. Pictured: 1992 Matchbox Tracy Island. These now sell boxed from £40-£100. The story was reported in the national news and is cited as the archetypal mistake to be avoided by the toy industry in general during the Christmas shopping season. Blue Peter responded to the stock shortage by demonstrating how to build a home-made version. Another release of the series in 2000 also sparked a peak in interest and a new Tracy Island playset from Vivid Imaginations went on to become the best-selling toy of 2000. Blue Peter once again had an island building creation. Thunderbirds on TV and in the movies Thunderbirds original series 1965 Thunderbirds Are Go film 1966 Thunderbird 6 film 1968 Thunderbirds film 2004 Thunderbirds Are Go tv series 2015 Other Thunderbirds Collectables and Ephemera There have been many Thunderbirds advertising tie-ins, books, ephemera, models, puppets, coins and more produced over the years – too numerous too mention in a brief article. Below are a few we like here at WCN. Thunderbirds Collectables and Toys related links Thunderbirds Vintage Toys has some great information and many wonderful images of rare and unusual Thunderbirds merchandise – click to visit. Stingray Collectables and Stingray Toys Price Guide
A collection of ornamental scarf pins provides a very interesting subject for collectors in which examples are not too difficult to obtain. The scarf-pin was fashionable from the days of cravats to the early part of our own century, but perhaps the most interesting period from the collector’s point of view is that of the nineteenth century. Pictured right: William Essex Scarf pin c 1850 – Mounted portraits of the young Queen Victoria made popular jewels. In 1841 Victoria herself gave a bracelet with her portrait to Princess Marie d’Orléans on her marriage to the Queen’s cousin Prince Alexander of Württemberg. Image Copyright V&A Collections. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London Although the word scarf-pin usually conjures up a vision of a vertical long pin with an ornamental head, yet for the purposes of collecting, the seventeenth century cravat brooches can also be included. Some of these are long, oval-shaped brooches of gold and contain a topaz or other stone. And because they were so widely used, they are not difficult to obtain. This type of brooch persisted, especially in more remote places, until the end of the eighteenth century. Yet even at that time and earlier, sporting gentlemen used a vertical long pin to fasten their neckwear. These silver pins were of various types, though the most popular displayed a small head of a fox, dog or horse. Pictured left: Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Scarf pin c 1795 – Scarf pin mounted with an oval blue jasper plaque with a white relief of two young princes of Russia, Alexander and Constantine. Mounted in a gold hoop. Image Copyright V&A Collections. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London The scarf-pin had its place in more fashionable attire too. Josiah Wedgwood, the famous potter of the eighteenth century, made many cameos. And some of the smaller of these were gold mounted as scarf-pins. The Wedgwood cameos were beautifully cut and the designs were taken from classic art. It has been said that : ” The love of detailed miniature work led Wedgwood to devote much time to the production of fine cameos, so many of which represent classic subjects, and in the excellence of their workmanship rivalled almost the ancient cutters of gems and cameos from which they were taken.” Wedgwood’s cameo scarf-pins are difficult to obtain now and the collector has to be careful not to confuse them with the Victorian cameos which were of a later. date and inferior quality. In Victorian times, scarf-pins had heads made in almost every conceivable way including glass, cameos, solid metal heads in the shape of an animal or figure. But the best were undoubtedly the animal miniatures which achieved so much well-deserved popularity. Even before 1860, Edwards was decorating jewellery with portraits of dogs painted from life. Pictured right: William Essex (British, 1784-1869) – A white Bulldog signed and dated ‘W.ESSEX/1862’ (on reverse) enamel diameter 5/8in. (1.5cm.) mounted as a scarf pin, with Head of a brown and white Bulldog; A white Terrier, after ‘Impudence’ by Landseer, by the same hand, both signed and dated on the reverse, both mounted as scarf pins. Sold at Bonhams, New York Feb 2014 for US$ 1,625 (£947). Image Copyright Bonhams. But the artists most famous for scarf-pin miniatures were William Essex and his former pupil, William Bishop Ford. In 1839, Essex, already an exhibitor at the Royal Academy, became miniature painter to Queen Victoria. A scarf-pin with an oval head bearing a miniature of the Queen is in the Victoria and Albert Museum (pictured above right). For the Great Exhibition of 1851, Essex prepared a series of animal paintings and these were so acclaimed that he decided to specialise in this type of work. Jewellers became anxious for him to make miniatures of the animals, especially dogs, for them. And because he worked from real dogs his portraits and miniatures were always so life-like. The art of enamelling on metal -dates from early times. The process of covering metal with .enamel has been known for many years, but the basis of all enamels is the application of fusible colour less silicote or gloss in pattern, mixed with metallic oxides. The prepared surface has to be fired until the enamel adheres firmly to the metal. The processes vary, but the firing or fusing is the same. Pictured left: William Essex (British, 1784-1869) – A Fox’s mask signed and dated ‘W Essex 1861’ (on the reverse) enamel mounted as a scarf pin with Head of Terrier, after ‘Impudence’ by Landseer, by the same hand, signed and dated; Head of a white Bulldog by another hand, both mounted as scarf pins. Sold at Bonhams, New York Feb 2014 for US$ 1,500 (£874). Image Copyright Bonhams. Essex was responsible for improving the art of enamelling. He wrote a guide on the subject which is still used for reference purposes. The enamels of scarfpins are only of a quarter of an inch to an inch in thickness and are best when painted on a white background covering a thin layer of gold. William Essex carried out most of his work in this way. After the death of his son, he passed on his methods to his former pupil, William Bishop Ford. And for a time the two were both engaged on miniatures of animals. But each signed his own work, and as the back of the scarf-pins are not enclosed, the name and date on any pin head can usually be seen. The beautifully enamelled dog miniatures were generally fixed in a plain circular 18-carat gold mount, though some scarf-pins have a narrow beaded edge. Essex died in 1869, but his portraits of dogs and his methods survived. And William B. Ford continued to carry out the making of miniature scarf-pins. William Bishop Ford was born in 1832 in Whitfield Road, of Tottenham Court Road, London. He attended the Somerset House of Design and won several prizes. Then just over a hundred years ago, in 1855, he was commissioned to do some paintings on porcelain at Minton works for the Paris Industrial Exhibition. Not very long afterwards […]
The architect Josef Hoffmann, the painter and graphic designer Koloman Moser, and patron Fritz Waerndorfer founded the Wiener Werkstätte, or Vienna Workshop, in 1903. It was a successful association in Vienna, Austria, that brought together architects, artists, designers, and artisans working in the fields of ceramics, fashion, silver, furniture, and the graphic arts. The Wiener Werkstätte was known for their wide variety of styles in glassware and we take a look at some of the designers and their glass designs. The glass designers of the Wiener Werkstätte produced beautiful pieces that were both decorative and functional. Some of the most popular styles included enameled glass, opaque glass, and cut glass. The Workshop also produced a wide variety of stemware, including wine glasses, champagne flutes, and cocktail glasses. Their glassware was highly sought after by collectors and is still considered to be some of the finest examples of Art Nouveau glassware ever created. Some of the most famous glass designers of the Workshop were Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Otto Prutscher and Dagobert Peche. Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956) was a co-founder of the Wiener Werkstätte and is credited with creating many of its most iconic designs, including the Hoffmann vase. He was known for his unique and innovative use of color in his glass pieces including amethyst, as well as his distinctive geometric patterns.Hoffman’s glass creations, many of which were panel-cut and emulated the shape of early 19th-century Biedermeir glass, were centred on decorative form up until the 1920s. He designs included a range of cameo glass which was typically Viennese, with vertical lines and stylised bell-flowers and geometric shapes. One of his most famous designs is the simple Amethyst Vase, which was made in glass and features a stunning amethyst color.Josef Hoffmann Bowl Moser Karlsbad for the Wiener Werkstätte c1910 Koloman Moser (1868-1918) was also a co-founder of the Workshop and was responsible for designing many of its early catalogs and promotional materials. He is best known for his colorful and intricate glass pieces, which often featured floral motifs. The designs were executed by Bakalowitz and by Loetz. Moser’s work was quite radical and many designs were acid-cut on overlay and embellished with enamelling. Moser was also known for adding ball feet to some of his work. Austrian Otto Prutscher (1880-1949) was a key member of the Wiener Werkstätte more famous for his jewllery and silver, but he was also a renowned glass designer. He was heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau movement, and his glass designs are often intricate and ornate, with curving lines and natural forms. Many of his pieces feature etched or cut-glass designs, and are often decorated with gold or silver leaf. His glass table lamps are extremely rare and valuable and his glasses are especially sort after. Prutscher designed and created a suite of glasses in a range of colours including red, black, green and yellow. The stems of these glass were overly long and often featured a trademark chequered motif. The bowl of the glass was often as large as the base. Single glasses have sold for £5000 / 6000 Euros. Many of Prutscher’s designs were made by the Bohemian glass factory Meyr’s Neffe. Dagobert Peche (1887-1923) was a member of the Wiener Werkstätte from 1915 until his death in 1923. He specialized in glass design, and his work is characterized by its simplicity and elegance, often with freely-placed graphic motifs. His pieces were often made in collaboration with the ceramicist Josef Hoffmann, and the two artists frequently exhibited their work together. In addition to his work for the Wiener Werkstätte. Peche also designed glassware for companies such as Lobmeyr and Moser. It is not unusual for different decorators to work on designed pieces. It is known that Dagobert Peche decorated many of Josef Hoffmann’s designs. Pieces by actual Wiener Werkstätte glass designers are very desirable and valuable. If it is not certain a designer created a piece it may be attributed to them. Other notable Wiener Werkstätte designers include Maria Kirschner, Eduard Josef Wimmer-Wisgrill and Karl Pohl.
Crackers About Christmas by Tracy Martin No festive dinning table would be complete without one of our greatest British traditions – Christmas crackers. Each year we all gather around and politely ask the person sitting next to us if they would pull a cracker. Then out floats the corny jokes, the even more tacky gifts and of course the unflattering coloured paper hats. Whether this is a tradition you love or loathe collecting unused Christmas crackers is an explosive collectors market which would never have existed if confectioner Tom Smith hadn’t discovered a sugar coated sweet. Tom Smith – The Bon-Bons Tom Smith discovered the ‘bon-bon’ (sugared almond) sweet whilst on a trip to Paris in the 1840s. Wrapped in twists of coloured paper he realised this sweet would sell well in London as up until that point most were sold loose in paper bags. Proved right the bon-bon was a renowned success but only over the Christmas period with the problem being sales virtually stopped once the festive season had come to an end. In order to encourage orders all year round Tom added a small love moto which he placed within the paper. Once again sales were most successful around Christmas so with this in mind Tom decided to develop his seasonal sweet wrapping and cash in. A flash of inspiration came one day after he had thrown a log onto his burning fire as a big crackle exploded from the log which made Tom jump. This sound was the necessary spark that he had been looking for in order to enhance his ‘bon bon’ and make it more desirable to the buyers. The only problem being that Tom had to find a way to recreate the bang which would add excitement to this sweet. An Explosive Success After two years Tom finally discovered that if a strip of saltpetre, something that is familiar in today’s crackers, was pasted to two pieces of thin card at each end was pulled the friction created a spark and then a crack. He had to do much experimenting though because sometimes they burst into flames, thus ensuring Tom had a few burnt fingers. By 1860 Tom Smith had finally perfected his cracks resulting in his ‘Bangs of Expectation’ being born. Keeping the sweet and the moto inside but adding this noise gave his new confectionary a little more excitement which proved popular with the children and amusing for the adults. The buyers couldn’t get enough of this new novelty sweet and he became inundated with orders. Tom then began to refine his concept. He kept the moto but no longer placed sweets inside the paper, instead he added surprise gifts. Tom then renamed his new innovative novelties as Cosaques because the noise made was similar to the sound of the Cossack’s cracking whips as they rode through Paris during the French and Prussian wars. The Cosaques or as we know them today -crackers, were such a phenomenal success that Tom took the idea overseas. This wasn’t such a good move as one Eastern manufacturer stole his idea, copied it and shipped a consignment of crackers to Britain just before Christmas. Tom was horrified but wouldn’t be beaten so he set about designing eight different varieties of cracker, working day and night with his staff they were ready in time for Christmas and were distributed right across the country. After this there was no looking back as Tom was now the biggest manufacturer of Christmas crackers. Cracker Collecting When it comes to the serious business of collecting Christmas crackers there are a few key things that collectors look for. The design on the cracker and the box imagery is important, also what novelties can be found inside define much of the rareabilty and of course the obvious point that people only want boxed ones that haven’t been pulled. As with collecting anything condition is also important and the better the condition – i.e. not too much fading to the crackers or box, no tears and still with their surprises inside – the more money can be commanded. Early Crackers Throughout the Victorian period there were many themes to the boxes of crackers with Japanoserie being one of the most prolific. Inspired by the popular operas of the time such as Madame Butterfly and The Mikado these cracker boxes were decorated with images of Japanese Geisha girls and inside the surprises were miniature versions of Japanese pottery. These Japanese inspired crackers continued right thought to the outbreak of the First World War and Tom Smith crackers often featured Oriental themes. Topical events were also often used such as the ‘Votes for Women; Suffragettes. There were two different boxed sets produced – the ‘anti’ packs which made fun of the women and the ‘pro’ packs which joined allegiance with the women as they were made in the purple, green and white house colours of the Suffragette movement. However, even if a few boxes of these crackers survived they would be near impossible to find as both collectors of Christmas crackers and those that collect Suffragette memorabilia would be fighting to own them. The ‘Bank of Love’ crackers released by Tom Smith in 1884 was a popular choice with young people holding parties as the crackers box depicted a bank where you find love. So if the party hosts or guests were looking for a potential wife or husband these crackers was the perfect ice breaker. The same design was also reissued as the ‘Toy Bazaar’ and ‘Lowther Arcade.’ The early 20th Century brought a whole host of fresh ideas for cracker box imagery and the crackers themselves. On 22nd November 1922 the archaeologist and Egyptologist, Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings. On 16th February 1923 he opened the tomb and first saw the sarcophagus of this Egyptian King. This discovery fuelled the public’s interest in Egyptology and Tutankhamen ephemera were available everywhere – including on boxes […]