Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tobacciana - Smoking Collectibles - Vintage Accessories

Tobacciana - Smoking Collectibles - Vintage Accessories

Variety of Ashtrays, Cigar Labels, Cigarette Case, Matchbooks & Cigarette Holder
Tobacco became popular in Europe in the 1600s when traders brought back plants from the Americas. At first tobacco was used in traditional pipes, but later it came into use as snuff, and rolled into cigarettes. Today tobacco use is frowned upon as an unhealthy habit, but many of the accessories have become sought after collectibles.

Ashtrays are cross-over collectibles. Those who collect Art Pottery, Advertising Items, Glass or Crystal, Novelty or Holiday Souvenirs will have ashtrays in their collections.

Vintage Melamine Naughty Novelty Ashtray

Melamine resin, a durable thermosetting plastic, became popular in the United States in the late 1930s with the advent of dishwashers. This c1940s "naughty" ashtray is embossed with an incongruous couple who are out on the town, with the caption "Oh! Ah!". A great novelty collectible.

Benedictine Advertising Ashtray

A figural glass ashtray, shaped like a bottle of B and B, a liqueur from France, made by Ivorex c1940s.

Tonala Mexico Art Pottery Turtle Ashtray

 A figural Tonala Mexico Art Pottery Turtle shaped ashtray, hand decorated.

Storage boxes, dispensers, and portable cigarette holder cases come in a wide variety of styles, materials, shapes and sizes. Popular during the 1920s right through the 1980s whether entertaining at home, or carrying your necessities while out for the evening, you had to have somewhere elegant or handy to keep your smoking essentials.

Japanese Wood Inlay Cigarette Box
Lovely mid-century Japanese marquetry wood inlay Pagoda House cigarette cabinet. 

When entertaining in the home, many kept a cabinet or dispenser holding cigarettes for their guests to help themselves.

4 Doors that open on box

Each side of the box has a door which opens with special inserts attached, each able to hold 5 cigarettes.

Cigarette Box holds 20

Banbi Musical Cigarette Case
A cigarette case to carry in your purse or pocket by Banbi Eagle KPK Brand in its original box. There is a musical wind-up movement inside and the outside is decorated with rhinestones and a tiny personalized engraved panel. c1950s.

Wind-up musical movement inside

Matched Compact & Cigarette Case

For the discerning woman, a matched set; face powder compact and a cigarette case. Made from brass with a padded vinyl painted decorative outer lid c1940s.

GWR Railway Hotels Matchbox Holder

Besides providing ashtrays in hotels, bars and restaurants, matches were offered and matchbox stands were once a common sight in luxury locations.

This matchbox pedestal stand is silver plated and engraved with Great Western Railway Hotels (England), hallmarked by Elkington Plate. GWR was the first railway in the world to build hotels at its stops.  GWR became part of British Rail in 1947.

The stand is hallmarked with a date symbol of 1929.

Matchbook Safe or Match Holder

Safe opens to insert book

A souvenir of New York City's RCA Building, a matchbook safe or match holder. Made from celluloid c1930s and just large enough to hold one matchbook. A great Art Deco period piece of Tobacciana.

Fitz & Floyd Ceramic Match Holder

Striker on the base

A whimsical ceramic match holder by Fitz & Floyd with the striker panel on the base, signed ©FF. 

Matchbook covers are collectible. Some prefer them intact with unstruck matches and others carefully remove the matches so the books can be displayed. Please remember that matches with their sulphur tips intact cannot be sent through the postal system.

Thompson Models Pin Up Girlie Match Covers 1955 Matched Set of 5

This set is a 1955 issue of Thompson Models Pin Up Girls, often referred to as Girlie Covers. All advertise the same Valley Inn in PA USA. Ideally, collectors like the striker strip unscratched/unstruck.

Matchbook Cover
A matchbook cover advertising Christian's Food & Grog Hut. A cross-over collectible matchbook for those who also collect Tiki items. 

Matchbook Cover

A matchbook cover advertising Winston Brand Cigarettes.

Dunhill Portugal Pipe Ashtray

Pipe collectors may add figural pipe ashtrays to their collections. This one is by Dunhill, made in Portugal and signed on the base. 

Dunhill stamp on base
Collectors also like to display their pipe collections and stands can hold singles or multiples.

Peerage UK Brass Pipe Stand

Solid brass single pipe stand, signed Peerage England.

Peerage England signature
Peerage England also produces horse brasses and other brassware.

Porcelain Germany Pipe Bowl

A hand painted vintage porcelain pipe bowl, made in Germany. This device would be connected to a stem for smoking.

Cigarette and cigar lighters are a collectible genre all on their own. Styles include pocket lighters and table lighters. Please remember filled lighters cannot travel via the postal system. They must be empty.

Alpco Japan Lighters
Collection of 3 colourful textured leather-wrapped brass Alpco Japan mid-century cigarette lighters.

Kreisler USA Table Lighter

A table lighter by Kreisler USA, mid-century copper slide cover with engraved Atomic Stars.

Novelty Globe Lighter

Made in Korea, a mid-century novelty World Globe Table Lighter.

Some of the items shown here are available at Mandicrafts.

Happy Hunting!

Bear Hugs

Thrifting With The Boys (TWTB)

ADDENDUM: As copied from current USPS site on shipping unstruck matches with sulphur tips attached: Basically, they can be sent via Domestic (within USA) via SURFACE mail only:

10.14.3 Matches

Matches are classified as flammable solids. Strike-anywhere matches are prohibited in international and domestic mail. Safety matches (book, card, or strike-on-box) are prohibited in international mail, and in domestic mail via air transportation, but are permitted in domestic mail via surface transportation if:
a. They do not ignite spontaneously under conditions normally incident to transportation or when subjected for 8 consecutive hours to a temperature of 200°F (93°C).
c. They are tightly packed in a securely sealed primary receptacle to prevent any shifting or movement that could cause accidental ignition by rubbing against adjoining items. The primary receptacle(s) is placed securely within an outer shipping container made of fiberboard, wood, or other equivalent material. Multiple primary receptacles may be placed in a single outer shipping container. The address side of the mailpiece must be marked “Surface Only” or “Surface Mail Only” and “Book Matches,” “Strike-on-Card Matches,” or “Card Matches,” as appropriate. A shipping paper is not required.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Collectible Teddy Bears - What is an Artist Bear?

In the World of Arctophily (Bear Collecting) What on Earth is an "Artist Bear"?

Everyone knows what a Teddy Bear is; a few people are vaguely aware that some folks collect teddies; but what exactly is an "Artist Bear"?  Unless you are immersed in the world of Arctophily or are an Arctophile (Bear Collector) yourself, you may not know how far Teddy collecting has progressed since it first became a "recognized" hobby in the late 1960s.

Peter Bull, an English actor, is recognized as the catalyst behind the arctophily movement. He authored "Bear With Me" in 1969 and "A Hug of Teddy Bears" in 1984, the year of his death. In 1979 he was invited by The House of Nisbet in Britain to collaborate on the creation of a Bully Bear line.

Bully Bear by House of Nisbet UK
The resurgence of Teddy mania in the 1980s was fueled by the appearance of "Aloysius", a vintage teddy owned by Peter Bull, in the British television series Brideshead Revisited".

Artist Bear / Bear Artist:  A bear created from scratch by one person; from the design, the pattern then drawn on the fur/plush material, cut out, sewn, stuffed and assembled. Extra care is taken with the face which is "the soul" of the Teddy Bear.  Basically, producing an original work or soft sculpture art. 

Bear artistry began on the West Coast of the USA in the early 1970s, spread to the UK in the 1980s and now many countries are renowned for the work of their bear artists throughout the world.

Benny by Hearts O' Fur New Brunswick Canada
This is Benny, a bear created by Nancy and Tom of Hearts O' Fur a cottage industry studio shop located in New Brunswick Canada.  Made from recycled fur coats rescued from Thrift Shops or commissioned by owners, Nancy cuts out and stitches the parts adding a lucky penny to the paw pad, Tom joints and stuffs the bears adding a furry heart, and Nancy creates the faces.

Hang Tag for Benny
An embroidered label is stitched to one paw pad and a card hang tag is added with the bear's handwritten name and number referenced.

Artist Bears are not found in typical shops. There are very few actual "brick & mortar" shops that carry these types of bears. Most are only found in specialized Teddy Bear Shows that are held throughout the world or on line. 

My Dream Bear 1994 by Johanna Haida Germany
Artist Bear by Johanna Haida of Sonneberg Germany, My Dream Bear born 1994 with Birth Certificate hang tag and embroidered seam tag. 

Birth Certificate Tag

Inside Tag Details

Johanna Haida also designed bears for the renowned traditional teddy bear company Hermann Spielwaren Germany.

Tracking down information on vintage artist bears and their original 1980s and 1990s Bear Artists can prove difficult. In those days there was no internet or websites (commercial internet as we know it began in the mid 1990s). Some artists went on to design for the bigger retail plush companies and many of their works are documented in Teddy reference books on the market.

One such story was artist Robert Raikes who was known for his wooden faced teddy bears.  He was an accomplished sculptor and artist working out of his Mt Shasta California Studio.

Applause Robert Raikes Jamie Bear
The first teddy produced by Applause (division of Wallace Berrie) designed by Robert Raikes was Jamie in 1985. Robert Raikes was known for his carved cypress wood teddy faces. This collaboration lasted into the early 1990s upon which time he took back control of his bear creations under his own company name and production.

Hang Tag on Jamie Applause Raikes Bear
Applause Seam Tag
Applause Seam Tag

One result of researching a 1980s artist over many months, concluded with very satisfying results. I had acquired 3 lovely artist teddy bears from a local Antique Show. All were jointed and all had their original seam tags which simply stated Hand Made by Shirley Kitchener Ontario Canada.

Shirley Bear Kitchener ON
Seam Tag Shirley Kitchener
When I attended a local Antique Show sometime afterwards, I spoke to a lady who had a Teddy Bear booth and she provided me with a last name that she thought may be the artist of my bears. I searched "Voelker" on line and came up with a teddy bear making supply business in Ontario. I emailed the site and had a wonderful reply from Karen who turned out to be Shirley's daughter who had taken over the supply business her mother had begun. She confirmed that her mother Shirley Voelker had made the bears back in the 1980s and had started the on line supply business because she had had such a difficult time finding the raw materials to make bears herself. Her mother is now 85 and still living in Kitchener and was pleased to know her bears were still "out there" and being appreciated by collectors. 

Shirley Voelker 1980s Artist Bears
I acquired a beautiful pale pink mohair Artist Bear named Emily in 2008 for my own hug (collection) and finally made the decision to offer her for adoption a few years later so another could enjoy her company. 

Emily Artist Bear by Bouffa Bears 1987 Limited Edition 7/100
I listed Emily for sale and on Christmas eve I had a buyer. The buyer contacted me to tell me she was the original Artist of Emily! She had made 100 of these bears in a limited edition on the 2nd floor of a farmhouse in Reed City Michigan in 1987 and had never kept one for herself. It was Amy Jo Williams, nee Boufford who had hand made bears under the name Bouffa Bears up until 1988 when she had to close her business due to the pricing of the mohair vs return on her creations. She had moved on to Ohio and began a career in veterinarian medicine but never forgot her bears. Emily was going home to "mom"!

Bear Artists frequently use decorative printed or embroidered labels as trademarks and the artist's signature and edition number often appear on the label or directly on the foot pad of the bear. An artist bear will sometimes be OOAK (one of a kind).

Pouzeli Artist Bear Quebec Canada

Hang Tag Pouzeli
Pouzeli Howick Quebec Canada Artist Plush Teddy Bear. Tag signed Sparkle the Fairy of Light, real heart in his chest.

Mummer's Artist Teddy Bear

Mummer's Bear Seam Tag
Artist Bear by Arlene Hayashida with seam tag in neck. Mummer's or Mardi Gras Teddy Bear made of plush and fully jointed. Holding puppet.

Hang Tag Edition 5 of 5

Celtic Teddy Artist Bear

 Celtic Teddy Bear handmade in Cornwall UK named George, limited edition 5 of 5.

Out-of-the-Woods Teddy Ontario Canada

Out-of-the-Woods Teddy Tag 1992
Out-of-the-Woods Teddy Bear by Susan Sanderson 1992 named Podge.

Bears by Sue Kruse 1982 

Limited Edition Artist Bear by Bears by Sue Kruse 1982, No 005 made from Wool Plush. 

Label Sue Kruse Bear 005

Hand dated 4/82 seam label. Hand numbered 005.

Vintage home made bears, while not officially recognized as "Artist Bears" are also collectible in their own right. During and right after WWII, especially in Europe, there were very few stuffed animal toys available due to factories being repurposed for use for the War effort and many home made bears were created using burlap, military woolen blankets, and other fabrics of opportunity that were available at the time, including knitted animals. Patterns were created to help out the home front. Some large companies had their start creating teddies during the war time rationing period, using unique materials.

Keep your eye out for Vintage Teddy Bears and other animals that could be either Artist Bears or home made creations that may be from the War generation or considered folk art.

Many of the bears featured here are available for adoption at Mandicrafts

Bear Hugs