For Bruce Bairnsfather article click here
For Bruce Bairnsfather article click here
Zookies are super, large, colourful character-type creatures are great fun to collect. During the 1950s, a number of companies began manufacturing ranges of animals, hoping that people would go on to collect several in a set. Wade introduced their exceedingly popular Whimsies – delicate, realistically-modelled porcelain miniature animals and birds – and a company called J. H. Weatherby & Sons Ltd. in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, decided to do the complete opposite, producing a series of sturdy comical animals which they called Zookies. An advertising leaflet from 1957 read, ` People who buy one, buy another and another and buy them for their friends too!` According to records, forty-four different Zookie models were designed, though it`s possible that some of the later ones never made it into production. The average height of a Zookie is four inches, but because of the nature of the modelling – they are stocky, chunky creatures – they appear much larger. Some of them seem to resemble popular Disney characters of the time, while others have comical faces and look just as though they’ve stepped from the pages of a child’s book. Most are colourful, and they all have a high gloss finish, similar to Wade products. It seems that some of the range must have been more popular than others because the tiger, rabbit, elephant, koala and sad dog are much easier to find than, for instance, the pony, pelican or tortoise. The pieces are easy to identify as the majority are marked `Weatherby, England` on the base. Sometimes the word `Hanley` is there, too. Weatherby and Sons Ltd. (who often used the name Falcon Ware), was an old-established company. Founded in Stoke-on-Trent in 1891, they began by manufacturing tableware, toilet sets and vases, later supplying china to the hotel and catering trade. It wasn`t until after the second world war that the company decided to move in to the giftware line. They produced such items as `Chuckleheads` (cups and saucers shaped like animals), `Beasties` (dinosaurs), commemorative items, dwarf figurines and tableware (including a range of small trays) often decorated with 1960s favourite images such as gonks, Butlins and daleks. A range of realistic animal ornaments were also made. The company was not connected with the Falcon Works, Longton, makers of Sylvac. Because of the bulk of the pieces, the creatures tend to look larger than they really are – the giraffe seems tall, yet is only five-and-a-half inches high. He has been modelled in a seated position, with a benevolent expression on his face, and is bright yellow with brown markings. The tiger cub is similarly coloured – he is one of the most commonly-found models, and has an open, laughing mouth. Surprisingly, the zebra also follows the orange and brown colour scheme, rejecting his usual black and white garb for a more-colourful coat. The seal, with unusual black heart-shaped eyes, is probably the longest piece at six-and-three-quarter inches – slightly longer than the sinister green crocodile, who is opening his mouth in a `welcoming grin`. Most substantial of the Zookies is the standing baby elephant, even though his actual height is only four-and-a-half inches. This large-eared creature with his raised, curled t runk, happy face and long-lashed eyes is very similar to Disney`s Dumbo. A seated elephant was also made but is much harder to find. Dogs were the most popular pets during the 1950s, which probably accounts for the variety of canine Zookies – there are seven different models, including one which is the spitting image of Disney`s Tramp, while the sad brown spaniel greatly resembles his girl-friend, Lady. Then there is a happy mutt with sticking up ears, a solemn boxer, a dignified poodle and two mournful dachshunds. Occasionally you might come across the grey and white cat with a ball of wool, but that is quite rare, as is the large blue/grey mule. Other rare Zookies include the tortoise, frog, kangaroo, rabbit holding a flower, ass and monkey. One of the most easily found is the laughing rabbit (some people call him a dog but he definitely has bunny teeth!) wearing either a red or a green jacket with one large button. There seems to be slightly more red jackets than green, but both are common. Another frequently found piece is the koala, though surprisingly he usually sells for double the price of the rabbit, possibly because he is popular with teddy bear collectors. The koala isn`t quite so characterised as the other Zookies, but is very cute and is nutmeg brown. His eyes are smaller than most of the other creatures in the range, and he has the typical, flat koala nose. Another delightful animal is the lamb, who seems to be about to leap. His white and grey fleece has been cleverly moulded to give a nubbly appearance. Usually, the lamb faces to the left but apparently it is possible to find one facing the opposite way. The horse is very spirited with braced legs, large eyes, long tail held high and ears pricked. He has a glossy chestnut coat and a black bridle. Other animals include a fat brown smiling hippo, a delightful camel with splayed legs, a skunk with a raised tail and his paws over his nose, a sideways-glancing monkey and a deer seated in a Bambi-esque pose. Birds aren`t neglected in the Zookie series. A handsome toucan, perching on a branch, has black and white plumage, a red head and long, curved, yellow beak. The two ducks are really comical, and are in complete contrast, as one is long and thin with an open beak and small feet, the other is short and fat with a closed beak and big feet. They are both bright green, the thin one having a red head. According to the Falcon Ware book, the thin duck was available in two sizes. The rather rare pelican is grey, with a yellow bib and beak. He is seated, while the dignified penguin adopts a typical upright stance. It`s strange […]
Many collectors have a soft spot for Lee Middleton Dolls from the Lee Middleton Company; beautiful babies without the ugly wrinkles and creases which many manufactures feel obliged to mar their creations. I began collecting them comparatively recently, with my first acquisition dating only to 2001, but in fact the company has been active for twenty-five years. Pictured right: First Generation It all began in 1978 when the founder, Lee Middleton, from Ohio, wanted dolls resembling her own children, and she decided to make them herself. She sculpted those first dolls on her kitchen table. Very soon, relatives and friends asked Lee to sculpt dolls of their children, too. Lee’s talent was obvious, and before long she had formed a company, finding herself in charge of a cottage industry. She received her first nomination for a DOTY (Doll of the Year) Award in 1985. Larger premises were needed, eventually leading to the opening of a manufacturing facility in Belpre, Ohio, in 1989, and soon the company were producing more baby dolls a year than any other manufacturer in America. In fact the Mayor of Belpre declared the city to be “The Baby Doll Capital of the World.” Lee Middleton changed the way collectors felt about vinyl dolls; before, most designers had insisted on working with porcelain, but Lee’s dolls helped show that vinyl could be just as collectable. Her dolls went from strength to strength. Then, in 1997, tragedy struck – Lee died from a heart attack. Naturally, her employees were devastated. However, out of the heartbreak came an unexpected twist with the discovery of talented Canadian doll artist, Reva Schick, who would not only carry on the Lee Middleton tradition of creating exquisite dolls, but would take the company to new heights. Pictured left: Pride and Joy Lee Middleton had believed that her artistic talent was a gift from God, and Reva Schick holds the same belief, continuing the charming custom of including a tiny Bible in each doll box. In 1998, she was nominated for a DOTY award, and since then, has received almost forty prestigious awards and nominations. Yet in spite of all her sculpting, Reva still finds time to go on national doll signing tours and attend conventions, meeting thousands of fans. The dolls appeal to celebrities, too, who are just as tempted by the sweet faces – Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore are both enthusiasts. The dolls from the Middleton Doll Company are life-size and weighted. Every year new dolls in various skin tones, eye colours, hair colours and sizes are introduced, made from a soft to touch vinyl, which feels very authentic. Their facial f eatures are realistic, and the babies have often been mistaken for real babies, with stories of police chastising women for holding their ‘babies’ on their laps instead of putting them in a restraint, or of leaving them unattended in cars. Pictured right: Tulip The quality of the Lee Middleton Dolls is excellent, and this extends to the clothing where only the finest materials are used. Beautiful lace, silky dresses, embroidered flowers, crocheted caps and patent shoes, as well as more trendy cords, anoraks, modern prints and even ethnic traditional dress ensure there is a baby to suit every taste. In 2004, Lee Middleton Original Dolls expanded its line to include ‘Breath of Life Babies’. This collection of incredibly lifelike preemie-sized dolls features a new skin-like vinyl called ‘New Baby Skin’ and rooted ‘Baby Fine’ hair. More than half of the first collection of Breath of Life Babies sold out before even being featured in stores. Interestingly, unlike most other companies, the dolls are not given conventional names; instead they are given a short description such as ‘Young At Heart’, ‘Holiday Wishes’, ‘Spring In Paris’, ‘Love Makes the World Go Round’ or ‘Uniquely Yours’. This allows the purchaser to bestow a name of her own choosing onto the doll, and also means that the name does not sway the choice. (For instance, if you were bullied by a Linda at school, or disliked a person called Mavis, you are not so likely to buy a doll if it bears those names!) Pictured left: Love Makes the World Go Round The various face sculpts also have titles; ‘Sweet Lips’, ‘Munchkin’, ‘Small Wonder’, ‘Lil’ Darlin’’, ‘Little Sunshine’, ‘Cutie Pie’ and ‘Beautiful Baby’ – there are dozens of them, and it’s amazing how, just by varying skin tone, eye colour or hair, the face can appear totally different. Some collectors aim to collect an example of every doll issued which features their favourite face. A few years ago the company set up ‘The Newborn Nursery’ at their store in Belpre, Ohio, and it proved so successful that department stores throughout America now contain these nurseries. Designed to look like a real hospital nursery, the Newborn Nursery lets children go through a fun baby doll adoption process before bringing their new bundles of joy home. When children choose to ‘adopt’ a Middleton Company baby, they can go along to a centre where sales associates wearing nursing uniforms teach the girls how to properly care for their dolls and give the new dolls health ‘check-ups’. They are handed ‘adoption papers’ before the baby is presented to the new little mummy. These nurseries have proved so popular that summer club events are organised where girls and their baby dolls gather to play. Recently, the company opened a museum to show the history and development of the Lee Middleton doll. It’s a must for collectors visiting Ohio, and can be found near the retail store. The tour begins with a replica kitchen table, illustrating how Lee Middleton began her sculpting, and traces her humble beginnings in rural south-eastern Ohio. Dolls on display include rare and interesting doll collections on loan from long-time collectors. Many creations by Reva Schick are exhibited, including one of her earliest works, a fascinating baby created with bread dough and made at her kitchen table! Pictured left: Happy Birthday Teddy Over the […]
The wonderful Beswick Butterfly Plaques are quite rare and were produced from 1957 to 1963 and were all designed by Albert Hallam. We take a look at these colourful creations with a price guide of sales at auction. There are thought to be nine designs and were made in large, medium and small sizes. Each Beswick Butterfly Plaque had a model number from 1487 to 1495. The model name and number is on the reverse of each butterfly plaque. The wire antennae on the butterflies are quite fragile so complete examples in perfect condition can fetch a premium. List of Butterfly plaques with their model number: 1487 Purple Emperor Butterfly 1488 Red Admiral Butterfly 1489 Peacock Butterfly 1490 Clouded Yellow Butterfly 1491 Tortoiseshell Butterfly 1492 Swallow-tail Butterfly 1493 Small Copper Butterfly 1494 Purple Hairstreak Butterfly 1495 Small Heath Butterfly Beswick Butterfly Plaques Price Guide The collection of butterfly models by Albert Hallam are a rarity among Beswick and most modern collectables in that the prices are stable and rising. The prices for most butterflies are more than during the 1990s when many collectables peaked. Typical prices at auction are shown under each butterfly pictured. A great series and one that looks to be a long term investment.
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
With Ghostbusters celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, and a new Ghostbusters film being released in 2016, there is renewed interest in this classic film and we look at some of the collectables and merchandise being released for the event. HotWheels Elite GHOSTBUSTERS ECTO-1 30th Anniversary Edition The Ecto-1 is the legendary vehicle that the Ghostbusters used to travel throughout the city busting ghosts. The vehicle used for the Ecto-1 was a 1959 Cadillac professional ambulance, built by the Miller-Meteor company and converted by Universal Studios. “GhostBusters” is the famous 1984 American comedy film about three eccentric New York City parapsychologists-turned-ghost exterminators. MattyCollector Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Figures Pack 1: Ray Stantz™ and Winston Zeddemore™ Pack 2: Peter Venkman™ and Egon Spengler™ LEGO Ghostbusters™ Ecto-1 Celebrate 30 years of ghost-busting action with the iconic Ghostbusters™ Ecto-1 car! Selected by LEGO® Ideas members (formerly known as CUUSOO), this fun and iconic vehicle from the blockbuster ‘80s movie is fully loaded with all the paranormal detection equipment needed to track down those ghastly ghosts. It also features cool Ghostbusters™ logo decoration, removable roof, tracking computer and seats for 3 minifigures. This unique set also includes a fascinating booklet containing building instructions, selected images and behind-the-scenes details about the classic Ghostbusters™ movie. So if there’s something strange in your neighborhood, strap on your proton pack and get ready to help Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore bust some ghosts! 4 minifigures with proton packs included. Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Commemorative Print Collection A number of fantastic prints have been created by artists such as Dan Mumford, Scott C, Anthony Petrie, Rich Kelly, Tara McPherson and others visist https://www.ghostbusters.com/ to view all the wonderful 30th Anniversary prints Ghostbusters: Stay Puft Edition Super Deluxe Vinyl The Traveler has come! Legacy Recordings celebrates the 30th anniversary of the classic comedy Ghostbusters in the biggest, fluffiest way. The Stay Puft Super Deluxe Edition Vinyl is a limited edition collectible vinyl package in honor of the terrifying but tasty Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. This package contains the No. 1 hit single “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. and the fan-favorite “Ghostbusters” rap by Run-DMC for the film’s hit sequel featured on a white 12” single in a deluxe collectable package.
The Grimwades Royal Winton Chanticleer series first appeared at the British Industries Fair in February 1936. The range of realistically moulded cockerels and hen, in warm colours, were a popular addition to the breakfast table and was produced for many years. Grimwades described the range as ‘distinctive novelties’ on their advertising leaflets. Chanticleer is French for cockerel and items from the Chanticleer series are sometimes marked on base with Chanticleer while others are marked Rooster. A few examples and smaller pieces such as cruets are unmarked. The range included various teapots, hot water jug, sugar and cream, milk jug, marmalade with cover, sugar sifter, cheese cover and stand, 3 and 4 piece cruet and condiment sets, 3 and 5 bar toast racks, jam, covered butter, mint boat and stand, and dessert plate. Except for the toast rack, the Chanticleer items produced were in the shape of the bird set on a grassy green base. They were also available in different colourways, with the hand painting adding variations to the pieces. The teapot, for example, can be found in streaked and speckled shades of a golden brown, with the tail and lower body feathers highlighted in soft green. Alternatively, a rich, dark blue combination was used with bands of scarlet emphasising the tail feathers. These tail feathers curve down to create the handle of the tea pot, with the spout being formed by the open beak of the bird. Sugar shakers were either golden brown or a pale yellow lightly streaked with red, the wings being a light grey and the breast cream. As mentioned the toast racks differed from the rest of the range by not being designed to be on a grassy mound. The toast racks were main in green and yellow and featured a cockerel decorating either end. Two toast racks were produced: a 3 bar toast rack and 4 bar toast rack. The cruet and condiment sets included: a 3 piece set featuring salt and pepper pots on a base and show the cockerel standing with his head held high, while the hen stares into space; whilst the 4 piece condiment set features salt, pepper and covered mustard pot on a base and has the cockerel in the same proud pose, accompanied by two hens, one as before, the other shown head down, pecking for food. The male bird always sports a large scarlet comb and scarlet wattle, while the hen has only the merest suggestion of a comb. The base resembles a grassy field, the carrying handle depicting a fence. The images below show some of the variations in colour. Grimwades Royal Winton Chanticleer Series Price Guide / Value Guide Prices for pieces with no defects and good colour. We have seen great variations in prices especially in online shops. The prices below Chanticleer Teapot £40-£80 / $60-$120 3 Piece cruet set £40-£80 / $60-$120 4 Piece cruet set £50-£80 / $75-$120
‘Fairyland’ may not exist but the idea of an idyllic place inhabited by fairies, goblins and elves certainly is one that appeals to most children and even some adults. While Wedgwood Fairyland lustre ware may not be as unattainable, it is an unusual design and is sought after by collectors all over the world. Pictured right: A Wedgwood Fairyland lustre vase – decorated with the ‘Candlemas’ pattern, of gently tapering ovoid form, richly gilt and painted in colours with vertical bands of climbing elves and panels of fairies in a fantastical landscape, printed factory mark and painted number ‘Z5157/A’, 20cm high. Manufactured by the Wedgwood factory from 1915 to 1929 after original designs by Daisy Makeig-Jones (1881-1945), the ‘Fairyland’ line proved to be popular in the United States as well as in the UK. Credited with helping improve Wedgwood’s struggling profits, Makeig-Jones’ novel designs were far more than ‘pretty patterns’. Daisy Makeig-Jones prided herself on creating stories and hidden worlds with fantastical themes, using rich jewel-like colours and imaginative details. With expressive titles such as ‘Fairy Gondola’, ‘Butterfly Women’ and ‘Leap-frogging Elves’, her work appealed to the public possibly as they offered a form of escapism during the difficult post-war years. Wedgwood stopped the ‘Fairyland’ lustre ware line in 1929 due to an apparent lack of interest. Today the enthusiasm for Makeig-Jones’ work is as strong as it ever was, possibly even more so than when the designs were first introduced in the 1920s. Interest in the artist’s work has been further enhanced by various Art Deco exhibitions featuring examples of her work including one at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in September, 1990; an exhibition of ‘Wedgwood Fairyland and Other Lustres’ at the Long Beach Museum of Art, in September, 2001; and an exhibition comprising solely of her work from the Collection of Maurice Kawashima at the San Diego Museum of Art in 2005. Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre Price Guide A selection of realised prices form auction houses and auctions Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre For Sale Wedgwood Related Wedgwood Collecting Feature NOTICE – This site is not affiliated with Wedgwood TM. The purpose of these pages is to provide information to collectors of Wedgwood.
For years, drinking tea has been an immensely satisfying ritual, especially for those who pride themselves in being a tea connoisseur. For tea lovers, tea is more than a simple drink after a meal. It is a customary way of communicating culture and style which is why it has expanded in popularity – and many have begun accumulating their own personal supply. So, with that in mind, read on to find our why tea collecting has gained such universal appeal. The background of tea In 1606, the first delivery of tea was shipped from China to Europe. People were fascinated by the aroma and taste that it quickly became a fashionable drink among the wealthy. Of course, a fashionable drink must be enjoyed in style, so teapots, teacups and other beautiful accessories quickly flooded the European market. Our previous article titled, English Teapots – Their Origin and Variety showcases exquisite examples from the eighteenth century. How to start collecting While there is no right or wrong way to collect tea, everyone can certainly start by tasting a variety of tea flavours to discover which ones they enjoy the most. The palatability and perception of the different flavours is a personalised experience, and the same goes for which ones to collect. Collections usually start off with gifts, and then later, as your experience grows and your palate becomes more familiar with flavours that are more palatable to your taste, your collection will grow with flavours of your choosing. Popularity of tea Tea is the most popular drink around the world, especially in Europe and here in the United Kingdom. Gala Bingo’s research on tea in the UK found that 31% of tea drinkers drank five or more cups of tea each day. This is a welcoming stat, especially with recent scientific research showing the many added health benefits of drinking tea. In one article, Today points out that tea may promote a healthy lifestyle, lower blood pressure, and live longer – so, it is no wonder that tea continues to increase in its global appeal. Varieties of tea Nowadays, there are many kinds of tea, and here are some of the most popular varieties: White Tea– Delicate in flavour, very subtle and elegant on the palate. Black Tea- Intense and bold in flavour, and typically malty on the tongue. Green Tea– Moderate in flavour, nutty, vegetal, and usually herbaceous. Oolong Tea– A very intense flavour with a bold roast and variety of notes ranging from milky to sweet and creamy on the palate. Earl Grey Black Tea– Beautiful blend of notes from mellow green teas to refreshing hints of orange and invigorating lime. Lemon Green Envelope Tea– A full range of exquisite aromas with a refreshing lemon hint and zesty green undertones. Storing tea Storing tea requires special care to preserve its unique aroma and freshness. If you don’t, they may dry out and you will end up missing out on the exquisite pleasure each bag potentially offers. Here are some tips on storing your precious tea: Keep them in a dry place– Moisture will destroy tea and cause them to develop mould. Keep them at a consistent temperature– Exposing tea to fluctuating temperatures can cause them to lose quality and flavour. Keep them separate– Teas absorb the flavours of its surrounding, whether it be other teas or BBQ crisps. So it is very important to keep them separate from other food. Tea will always have its global appeal due to its endless health benefits, cultural influences, and social value. And it is certainly never too late to taste this decadence and start your own personal collection.
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 […]
GI Joe celebrated his 50th birthday in 2014 having been released in 1964. The GI Joe line action figures, produced by the Hasbro toy company has become one of the best selling and most collected toys of all time, spawning comics, tv series, films, books and a wealth of related merchandise. The Most Expensive Toy Ever (so far) The 1964 Original Hasbro prototype G. I. Joe (pictured right) is the most expensive toy ever sold selling for $200,000 in 2003. Heritage Auctions sold the then 40-year old, handcrafted prototype GI JOE to Baltimore business executive Stephen A. Geppi on behalf of one of the famous toy’s designers, Don Levine. The GI Joe prototype even made it into the Guiness Book of Records: “The most valuable toy soldier in the world is the first handcrafted 1963 G.I. Joe prototype which was sold on August 7, 2003 on behalf of its creator Don Levine to Baltimore businessman Stephen A. Geppi for $200,000 (£124,309) by Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers of Dallas, Texas, USA.” The initial product offering represented four of the branches of the U.S. armed forces with the Action Soldier (U.S. Army), Action Sailor (U.S. Navy), Action Pilot (USAF), Action Marine (USMC) and later on, the Action Nurse. The term G.I. stands for Government Issued and became a generic term for U.S. soldiers (predating the action figures), especially ground forces. The development of GI Joe led to the coining of the term “action figure”. GI Joe’s appeal to children have made it somewhat of an American icon among toys. The G.I. Joe trademark has been used by Hasbro to title two different toy lines. The original 12-inch line that began in 1964 centered on realistic action figures. In the United Kingdom, this line was licensed to Palitoy and known as Action Man. In 1982, the line was relaunched in a 3¾-inch scale complete with vehicles, playsets, and a complex background story involving an ongoing struggle between the G.I. Joe Team and the evil Cobra which seeks to take over the Free World through terrorism. As the American line evolved into the Real American Hero series, Action Man also changed, by using the same molds and being renamed as Action Force. Although the members of the GI Joe team are not superheroes, they all had expertise in areas such as martial arts, weapons and explosives. The conventional marketing wisdom of the early 1960s was that boys would not play with dolls, thus the word “doll” was never used by Hasbro or anyone involved in the development or marketing of G.I. Joe. “Action figure” was the only acceptable term, and has since become the generic description for any poseable doll intended for boys. “America’s movable fighting man” is a registered trademark of Hasbro, and was prominently displayed on every boxed figure package. The Hasbro prototypes were originally named “Rocky” (marine/soldier) “Skip” (sailor) and “Ace” (pilot), before the more universal name G.I. Joe was adopted. One of the prototypes would later sell in a Heritage auction in 2003 for $200,001. Aside from the obvious trademarking on the right buttock, other aspects of the figure were copyrighted features that allowed Hasbro to successfully pursue cases against producers of cheap imitations, since the human figure itself cannot be copyrighted or trademarked. The scar on the right cheek was one; another, unintentional at first, was the placement of the right thumbnail on the underside of the thumb. Early trademarking, with “G.I. Joe™”, was used through some point in 1965; the markings changed once G.I. Joe was a registered trademark; “G.I. Joe®” now appears on the first line. Subsequently, the stamped trademarking was altered after the patent was granted (in late 1966), and assigned a number; 3,277,602. Figures with this marking would have entered the retail market during 1967.