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collectables

Wooden Toys

The most collectable wooden toys are those made in Germany, particularly in the Erzgebirge region, from about 1830 until the Second World War. European wooden toys differ from most American ones in that European toys are fully carved or turned and then painted directly on the wood. American wooden toys usually have lithographed paper applied […]  Continue Reading »

Cast-iron Toys

Toys, and particularly “banks” (novelty money boxes), made of cast iron are almost exclusively American. Banks became popular shortly after the Civil War to hoard coins saved in response to low value of paper money printed during the War.  In 1870, John Hall patented one of first mechanical (rather than “still”) banks. His Excelsior Bank […]  Continue Reading »

Toy Soldiers

About 1760, Johann Hilpert, a master pewterer in Nuremburg, saw commercial possibilities in the small, flat toy figures that he was making for his children from the excess pewter left over when manufacturing kitchenware.  Initially, he made animals and theatrical and farming figures but real success came when he made a series of soldiers to […]  Continue Reading »

Die-cast Toys

In the early 1930s, the Chicago printing company, Dowst, developed a technology for casting lead alloys for typesetting. As a sideline, Dowst produced some small, inexpensive die castings of toy cars which were sold as Tootsie Toys.  In 1933, the British company Meccano, which was had been making making Meccano sets since 1901 and Hornby […]  Continue Reading »

Tin Toys

Tin toys (actually tin-plated steel) were first made early in the 18th century but it was not until factory production became possible in the 1880s that they became common. Until about 1890, all tin toys were handpainted. After that date, some made using preprinted parts. After the First World War, preprinted parts were used for […]  Continue Reading »

Japanese Tin Toys

Immediately after the Second World War, Japanese toy makers began to manufacture battery powered tin plate toys. American and European toy makers had used batteries to operate lights, buzzers and horns but it was the Japanese who replaced clockwork and friction mechanism with electric motors to power toy vehicles and automata. These toys were made […]  Continue Reading »

Model Trains

Toy trains have been made since the 1830s; the earliest examples being made from lead and wood. From the 1870s, German manufacturers were producing expensive tin toy trains. By the 1890s, the German company Marklin was producing complete railway systems. Marklin is credited with standardizing most of the gauges in 1891. In Britain, toy trains […]  Continue Reading »

Construction Sets

In Liverpool, England, in 1901, Frank Hornby patented a toy called Mechanics Made Easy. The toy consisted of a set of fifteen different tinplate pieces perforated with holes so that they could be fastened together with nuts and bolts to make models. Over the next few years, new pieces and different sets were introduced. In […]  Continue Reading »

Board Games

Printed board games originated in the 18th century. Originally they were simply printed on paper. Later, this was linen-backed and, later still, reinforced with card. The earliest games were map-based but, by the late 19th century, most board games were based on social or geographical themes and had a strong moral theme. One of these […]  Continue Reading »

Teddy Bears

The first stuffed toy to be called a “teddy bear” was introduced in 1903 by Morris Michtom who created a stuffed bear to commemorate an incident in which President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt had refused to shoot a young bear during a hunting trip. Michtom’s teddy bears were enormously popular and formed the basis for the […]  Continue Reading »

Wooden Dolls

Simple, skittle shaped wooden dolls, with the head and torso carved from a single piece of wood, were made in England in the 17th century. Any that have survived in good condition are rare and valuable. Large numbers of wooden dolls were made in Austria and Germany from the 17th to the 20th century. The […]  Continue Reading »

Cloth (Rag) Dolls

Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, printed cloth sheets for home sewing into dolls were popular. Of factory-made rag dolls, the most famous are washable dolls with painted faces made in Germany from 1910 by Kathe Kruse. Margarete Steiff, of teddy bear fame, also produced a range of felt dolls, including Golliwogs, which have […]  Continue Reading »

Papier Mache Dolls

Dolls with moulded papier mache heads were popular from about 1810 to 1870. The most important area of production was Germany although papier mache dolls were also made in America, especially in Philadelphia. The earliest German papier mache dolls are known as “slit heads” because of a gap in the crown into which  the hair […]  Continue Reading »

China Dolls

China dolls have heads and limbs of glazed porcelain; the bodies may be wood, cloth or kid. They were mainly made in Germany from about 1800 to 1850 when bisque largely replaced porcelain.   China dolls available now(Clicking on an item of interest will open a new window)  Continue Reading »

Bisque Dolls

Bisque is unglazed porcelain, fired twice with tinting before the second firing. The resultant bisque dolls are much more lifelike than china dolls. The most collectable bisque dolls were made in France, particularly late 19th century French fashion dolls, or “Parisiennes”, which were elaborately dressed in the fashion of the day. The other major area […]  Continue Reading »

Celluloid (Kewpie) Dolls

Celluloid was developed as a lightweight alternative to bisque in 1902. Jointed celluloid dolls first appeared in 1905 and dolls with sleeping eyes were first produced in 1914.. The impish Kewpie doll, based on an American cartoon by Rose O’Neill, appeared in 1912. Within a year several companies were making the dolls under licence. Bisque […]  Continue Reading »

Plastic (Barbie) Dolls

Bild Lilli Plastic dolls first appeared in the late 1940s. The most popular dolls in the second half of the 20th century have been teenage fashion dolls: Bild Lilli from Germany appeared in 1958, Barbie in America in 1959 and Sindy in England in 1962. The German Lilli doll, on which Barbie was based, was […]  Continue Reading »

Disney Collectables – Walt Disney

Born in 1901, Walt Disney served briefly with the Red Cross in the closing stages of the First World War. After the War, he found a job with an advertising company. Walt was soon made redundant and, with a fellow ex-employee, Ub Iwerks, established his own business, the Laugh-O-Gram Company, making a series of silent […]  Continue Reading »

Coca-cola Collectables

Coca-Cola was created in 1866 by “Dr” John S. Pemberton, a quack from Atlanta, Georgia. His drink consisted of a syrup mixed with water or soda water. It was claimed to be a “brain tonic” and to relieve headaches. The syrup, which was 99% sugar, contained fifteen ingredients including coca leaves, cola nuts, caramel, phosphoric […]  Continue Reading »

Disney Cartoon Characters

First Appearances of Disney’s Cartoon Characters   On the Screen In Print Mickey Mouse “Plane Crazy” (1928) “Lost on a Desert Island” (1930) Minnie Mouse “Steamboat Willie” (1928) “Lost on a Desert Island” (1930) Goofy “Mickey’s Review” (1932) Newspaper daily comics (1933) Pluto “The Chain Gang” (1930) “Pluto the Pup” (1931) Donald Duck The Wise […]  Continue Reading »

Disney Collectables

In September 1929, less than a year after Steamboat Willie, the first successful Mickey Mouse cartoon, was released, the first Mickey Mouse Club was formed by the Fox Dome Theatre in Ocean Park, California. Disney quickly saw the potential of such a Club and supplied theatre managers with starter packs containing a manual, song sheets, […]  Continue Reading »

Disney Animation Cels

The premium Disney collectable is the animation cel. “Cel” (short for celluloid) is film industry jargon for the celluloid on which each frame of a cartoon was painted (in the days before computer animation). Disney cels were sold as works of art by the Courvoisier Galleries as early as 1938. They were sold at Disneyland […]  Continue Reading »

Disney Posters

 By the late 1920s, when Disney’s cartoons first appeared, theatre owners were provided with a full array of promotional material for new movies. “Legitimate” collectable movie posters are those which were part of this material which was made as for theatres and not intended for sale to the public. This material was on loan to […]  Continue Reading »

Disney Comics

The first Disney comics appeared in 1930 when Walt began writing, and Ub Iwers drawing, a Mickey Mouse strip for the daily newspapers. The first comic books containing these strips were published in 1935 as Mickey Mouse Magazine. Disney’s characters sometimes appeared in a series of comic books called Four Color which contained a variety […]  Continue Reading »

Disney Toys

The first successful Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, was released in 1928. Walt Disney quickly began seeking merchandising opportunities for his cartoon characters, The original Mickey Mouse Club began in 1929 and, in 1930 Disney contracted a leading doll manufacturer, the George Borgfeldt Company, to produce Mickey and Minnie Mouse toys. Borgfeldt had been distributing […]  Continue Reading »

Disney Figurines

Figurines of Disney characters have been manufactured since the early 1930s. Early figurines are usually of Mickey and Minnie Mouse an, a little late, Donald Duck. Many of these have been of poor quality but the ceramic figures from two periods are of particular interest to collectors. In the late 1950s, Disney licensed a variety […]  Continue Reading »

Disney Buttons & Pins

In September 1929, less than a year after Steamboat Willie, the first successful Mickey Mouse cartoon, was released, the first Mickey Mouse Club was formed by the Fox Dome Theatre in Ocean Park, California. Disney quickly saw the potential of such a Club and supplied theatre managers with starter packs containing a manual, song sheets, […]  Continue Reading »

Disney Watches

The first Mickey Mouse watch was designed by August Shallak and manufactured by the Waterbury Clock Company under its Ingersoll brand for sale at the 1933 Progress World’s Fair in Chicago. There were two models – a children’s wristwatch which sold for $3.75 (later reduced to $2.95) and a pocket watch which sold for $1.50. […]  Continue Reading »

Kitchen Utensils

The invention of the cooking range in 1780 changed the nature of cooking pots and pans. Prior to that, cooking was done over an open fire as it had been for thousands of years. Over the fire was a spit for roasting, a round-bottomed cauldron for stewing hung over the fire and a flat-bottomed “kettle” […]  Continue Reading »

Corkscrews

At the end of the 17th century, vintners discovered that wine matured better if it was taken from the cask and stored in a glass bottle sealed with a cork. Ever since a great deal of ingenuity has gone into devising the best way of removing the cork. The earliest surviving corkscrews date from the […]  Continue Reading »

Laundry Equipment

Many implements used in the laundry before the electric washing machine are becoming rare and collectable. These include the washing dolly, which was a long stick with base resembling a wooden stool and a crossbar at the other end. The dolly was held by the crossbar and thrust up and down to agitate the washing. […]  Continue Reading »

Early Mannequins

Mannequins have been used since ancient times. The earliest known dressmaker model was found when Tutankhamun’s tomb (dating from 1350 BC) was opened. An armless, legless, wooden torso, made exactly to the pharaoh’s measurements, stood next to the chest that held the ruler’s clothing. Mannequins and fashion dolls remained popular among the rich and powerful […]  Continue Reading »

Pre-War Mannequins

Before the First World War, mannequins followed the Victorian fashion for large busts and impossibly thin waists. They were often made of papier maché which was much lighter than wax but became distorted if it got wet. With the First World War, fashions changed completely becoming less formal and more practical as many women went […]  Continue Reading »

Post-War Mannequins

During the Second World War, clothing became less ornate to save material for the war effort. Even mannequins did their bit by becoming slimmer and shorter than they had been. The shortage of materials during the War also led to the development of substitute materials, such as plastics and fibreglass. The first plastic mannequins were […]  Continue Reading »

Militaria

The term “militaria” is used for military collectables excluding weapons. Firearms and edged weapons are, of course, collectible in their own right. Types of collectible militaria include uniforms, headdress, badges and medals. Relatively few uniforms from before the 20th century have survived; not only were they usually subject to extremely hard ware but they tend […]  Continue Reading »

Edged Weapons (European)

The first bronze swords were made about 2,000 BC. Two types of bronze swords were made: a cutting sword with a broad leaf-shaped blade and a thrusting sword with a longer, narrow blade. The Assyrians are believed to have introduced the sword as a weapon of war. Iron swords were used by the Greeks from […]  Continue Reading »

Olympic Games Collectables

Summer Olympics   1896 Athens 1900 Paris 1904 St Louis 1908 London 1912 Stockholm 1920 Antwerp 1924 Paris 1928 Stockholm 1932 Los Angeles 1936 Berlin 1948 London 1952 Helsinki 1956 Melbourne 1960 Rome 1964 Tokyo 1968 Mexico City 1972 Munich 1976 Montreal 1980 Moscow 1984 Los Angeles 1988 Soeul 1992 Barcelona 1996 Atlanta 2000 Sydney […]  Continue Reading »

Olympic Games Pins

Before 1908, only athletes and officials wore pins and these for for identification, rather than as souvenirs. From 1908 to 1920, there were very few pins. Some of these were exchanged between athlete from different countries. Pins became more common from the 1924 Paris Games. By the 1932 Games, they were readily available and, in […]  Continue Reading »

Football (Soccer) Collectables

Various games resembling modern football have been played at least since Roman times and probably long before in various countries around the world. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century in England that serious attempts were made to standardise the rules. Ball games, sometimes involving hundreds of players with goals kilometres apart had been played […]  Continue Reading »

Football (International Soccer) Collectables

Click here for the main Football article.  British Football British football collectables available now(Clicking on an item of interest will open a new window)   European Football European football collectables available now(Clicking on an item of interest will open a new window)   South American Football South American football collectables available now(Clicking on an item […]  Continue Reading »

Rugby League Collectables

Rugby League was an offshoot from Rugby Union by players who felt that they should be paid in the same way as players in the British Football (soccer) Association. The Rugby League was formed in 1895. Initially, the rules of Rugby League were the same as those for Rugby Union but, almost immediately, the administrators […]  Continue Reading »

Rugby Union Collectables

Various games resembling modern football have been played at least since Roman times and probably long before in various countries around the world. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century in England that serious attempts were made to standardise the rules. Ball games, sometimes involving hundreds of players with goals kilometres apart had been played […]  Continue Reading »

Australian Rules Football Collectables

Various games resembling modern football have been played at least since Roman times and probably long before in various countries around the world. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century in England that serious attempts were made to standardise the rules. Ball games, sometimes involving hundreds of players with goals kilometres apart had been played […]  Continue Reading »

Cricket Collectables

Cricket probably began with the Celts in south-eastern England. The curious numbering system used in cricket, based on eleven (eleven players in a side, a 22 yard pitch and so on), was used in northern France and parts of England. The first known use of the word cricket (“criquet”) occurs in the “Archives de France” […]  Continue Reading »

Tennis Collectables

Tennis originated in the monasteries of France in the 10th and 11th centuries. Many of the terms used in tennis stem from these French origins. The original game (“real tennis”) was played in a huge indoor court with angled walls and galleries at various points. Lawn tennis was developed as an outdoor version of real […]  Continue Reading »

Golf Collectables

The game of golf was devised in Scotland in the 14th or 15th century. In 1457, the Scottish Parliament banned golf and football for fear that they would interfere with archery practice. Mary Queen of Scots was educated in France and introduced the game there. The young men who attended her on the golf course […]  Continue Reading »

Collectable Bottles

Up to the middle of the 19th century, liquids had been sold in stoneware bottles. Generally, these bottles were plain in colour with the manufacturer’s name and contents incised into them. By the end of the 19th century, most were decorated with underglaze or transfer printing. In the middle of the 19th century public concern […]  Continue Reading »

Indian Daggers

Traditionally, in India the dagger indicated the background and status of the wearer. Maharajas vied with each other, commissioning the finest craftsmen to make the most beautiful and valuable weapons, decorated with precious metals and rare jewels. At the same time, plain steel daggers were used by ordinary men in the battlefield. There were many […]  Continue Reading »

Japanese Swords

Ancient Japanese swords were straight and two-edged. During the 9th century, the “modern” style of sword, which has a single-edged curved blade, was developed. From this time on, sword making flourished in south-west Japan. During the 11th and 12th centuries, widespread civil war created a great demand for swords. The samurai warrior caste arose during […]  Continue Reading »