McCallum, My Lucky Royal Doulton Find – What Is Yours?

The McCallum Character JugAs a very keen Royal Doulton character jug collector, I have spent too many hours to mention reading everything and anything to do with the subject.   And like every other addicted collector, spend many, many, many hours checking various on-line auctions, local auction houses, charity shops, on-line classifieds, fairs – everywhere and anywhere in fact, in search of that ‘little gem’  to add to my collection.

I am tempted to start the story of how I came to own the Royal Doulton McCallum character jug with the famous ‘picture the scene’, because it really was one of those moments in my collecting life.

Working for myself allows me the luxury of dividing my day up into segments so I can focus equally on all the various things I need to get done on any given day.  So once the emails have been checked and responded to, I move onto my ‘search segment’, which in a nutshell is me looking at various on-line sites that sell vintage Royal Doulton pieces.  It was while doing one of these searches that I came across an item advertised as ‘Royal Doulton Jug “Them Callum”, with a very strange looking thumbnail image alongside the text.  I was instantly intrigued and decided to have a closer look at the other images posted, the closer I looked the more noise the penny made as it dropped.  Unless my eyes were deceiving me, this was the very rare large McCallum character jug made by Royal Doulton for D. & J. McCallum Distillers of Edinburgh, Scotland, that I had read about in Jocelyn Lukins’s, Collecting Royal Doulton Character & Toby Jugs.  

To quote from the book:

 ‘1000 – 1500 copies in Kingsware Glaze c. 1910.  A white version by Royal Doulton exists made from a slightly different mould…’

So I had established that this was indeed the white version of Royal Doulton’s McCallum and although the condition of the jug was not perfect, it was still a very rare item of porcelain that had very likely spent many of it’s 100 years surviving the less than careful sober wear and tear that goes along with being a water jug standing on the bar of the local pub.  Even with the damage, the very low starting bid on the jug lead me to believe that the seller wasn’t aware of just how rare this jug is.  The auction had a week to run and I noticed the jug had had no bids yet, which is not that unusual, some bidders like to wait until an item is about to close to place their bids and so a mad flourish of bids at the close of an auction is often par for the course with on-line auctions.  I of course was much too excited to hold back, I immediately typed in my opening bid and set my limit, checking in daily and often hourly to see if I had been outbid and also on how many people had viewed the jug.  Hoping that it hadn’t caught the attention of any of the serious collectors with much bigger budgets than I have – needless to say, it was a very long week!  But at the end of it all, I was the only bidder and was lucky enough to purchase the much sought after white version McCallum by Royal Doulton at the starting bid amount that was well within even my measly budget.  To say I was thrilled when the auction eventually closed would without a shadow of a doubt be the understatement of the century!!!!!

Although the only jug in my collection with damage and also the plainest least decorated, the McCallum stands out in terms of its age and rarity.  And personally I have to admit that I have no intention of restoring the McCallum to its straight out of the Doulton factory perfection as I believe its imperfections are part of its story and that for now this McCallum story ends with me makes the jug perfect to me.

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Johnny Appleseed – My Royal Doulton Character Jug Of The Month – June 2013

Johnny Appleseed

Royal Doulton Character Jug – Johnny Appleseed – D6372
Designed by Harry Fenton
Issued from 1953 – 1969


The Legend Of Johnny Appleseed from Wikipedia:

Johnny Appleseed was born John Chapman in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1774.  He was was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, including the northern counties of present day West Virginia. He became an American folk hero while still alive, due to his kindhearted, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples. He was also a missionary for The New Church (Swedenborgian).

The popular image is of Johnny Appleseed randomly spreading apple seeds everywhere he went. In fact, he planted nurseries rather than orchards, erected fences around them to protect them from livestock, left the nurseries in the care of a neighbour who sold trees on shares, and returned every year or two to tend the nursery. Although apples grown from seed are rarely sweet or tasty, apple orchards with sour apples were popular among the settlers because apples were mostly used for producing hard cider and apple jack.  In some periods of the settlement of the Midwest, settlers were required by law to plant orchards of apples and pears in order to uphold the right to the claimed land.  So Johnny Appleseed planted orchards that made for popular real estate on the frontier.  His first nursery was planted on the bank of Brokenstraw Creek, South of Warren, Pennsylvania. Next, he seems to have moved to Venango County along the shore of French Creek, but many of these nurseries were located in the Mohican area of north-central Ohio. This area included the towns of Mansfield, Lucas, Perrysville, and Loudonville.


Royal Doulton Biscuit Barrels


Biscuit barrels were manufactured in a grand scale at both Lambeth and Burslem.  Renowned artists, such as Frank Butler, and Hannah Barlow, and her sister, Florence, worked on the biscuit barrels.  Hannah Barlow worked on incised cattle, sheep, horses or goats heightened with staining.  While Florence Barlow focused on pate-sure-pate painting, whereby layers of pigment are enhanced with the use of brush strokes; often used for the depiction of birds.  Frank Butler applied beading and incised foliage scrolling to panels and later adopted an Art Nouveau style.

Earthenware biscuit barrels were made in all shapes and sizes at the Burslem factory and in using various techniques. Twin handled (known as ‘Margot’ to the trade) series ware biscuit barrels depicting Dickens characters.  Even biscuit caskets made to resemble chests of drawers and depicting nursery rhymes commissioned by Huntley & Palmer (after 1903) were manufactured by Royal Doulton.

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What is My Royal Doulton Figurine Worth?

royal doulton - votes for women “What is my Royal Doulton figurine worth?”  To answer that question we need to be aware that there are at least three standards of value.  The first standard and easiest to understand, is the “Book Standard”.  When valuing Royal Doulton figurines, the book standard refers primarily to the Charlton Catalogue.  While other guides are available, the Charlton Catalogue provides precise information along with a visual guide as to what the figurine should actually look like.  Available at all good book stores, the Charlton Catalogue lists each HN figurine by number, along size, artist and having a full description along with the quoted value dollar amount.  While the book is a great reference, actual sales of the figurines rarely make the dollar amount quoted in the book.  Usually people will quote the value listed in the book, but will ask for less than that amount.  The second type of value is the “Secondary Market”.  This refers to sales of previously owned pieces.  The sale could come from an individual, a retail, antique, or collectible shop, or from private auction, eBay or other on-line auction sites.  The amounts realized at these sales are a much more accurate expression of value, but will vary greatly depending upon which avenue was used to sell them.  Retail stores and antique and collectible shops sales will generally be higher than on-line or private auctions.  Other factors that will determine sale price are condition, design and rarity.  Many people point to eBay to ascertain value, however here too pricing is dependent upon many factors.  Factors that will influence pricing will include the number of like items for sale at the same time, (availability), age of the figurine, (backstamp), and how many people were looking for that particular figurine at that precise time it was being offered, (demand).  The last standard of value to be noted is the Sentimental Value.  Hard to put an actual dollar and cent amount to this because it can include factors like the figurine is identical to the one my Mother had on her dressing table, or the figurine is named after my Gran, or because your Sister or relative always loved that figurine.  If this is the value you have, then my advice is that you pay whatever you feel it is worth and don’t bother to consider what other people think or purchase at.

Finally, we need to consider what makes one figurine more valuable than another, and again there are many factors to consider.  The main factors are Age, (when the figurine was actually produced), Size, (height and width of the figurine), Amount of design, (How difficult was the figure to make and how intricate the detail), Artist, (Some moulders were more prolific than others), Rarity, (How many pieces are available and/or how long the figurines were produced), and of course Demand, (How much does the public want the particular figure).  The stand-out case is that of Old Balloon Seller HN1315.  This figurine has been made since 1929 and is more than likely the best known Royal Doulton figure, yet even with so many pieces available, this piece maintains its value.

At the end of the day it boils down to the following:

If you are seeking a piece for your collection or for long term value, then select a popular, limited edition piece at the maximum you can afford, and it will grow in value.  If you are looking to add a piece because it has sentimental value, then set a price you can afford and purchase the piece without care to what others are paying.  If you are looking to sell your Royal Doulton figurine, then take the highest quality pictures you can, combine it with an informative description, be sure to include a clear picture of the backstamp, and list for a reasonable amount.

John Falstaff (2)

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The First Royal Doulton Character Jug Modelled On An Actual Person – John Peel

John Peel was the first person to be immortalised in the form of a Royal Doulton character jug.  Designed by Harry Fenton, issued in 4 sizes from 1936 to 1960.

John Peel was a famous huntsman who for 40 years hunted with a pack of hounds on the fells of Cumbria in North-East England, as the slopes were too steep for horses, the hunt was often carried out on foot.  John Peel enjoyed a drink and each kill was celebrated by the hunting party at the nearest hostelry.

John Peel 1

 There was also a song written by John Graves about the famous huntsman:

‘D’ye ken John Peel with his coat so grey?

D’ye ken John Peel at the break of day?

D’ye ken John Peel when he’s far, far away

With his hounds and his horn in the morning?’

John Peel 2

 It is also believed that this is how the Police earned the nickname ‘The Peelers’

It seems that based on the song, John Peel’s coat was grey so it’s a bit of a mystery as to why Harry Fenton chose to portray him in a red coat . . .

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