Pied Piper – My Royal Doulton Character Jug For September 2013

Pied Piper Prototype

The Pied Piper was one of the very first Royal Doulton character jugs I purchased on an on-line auction, the main attraction for me was firstly his character filled face and secondly the pipe and rats handle.  I mean just look at that face, granted, I’m not sure that I would have followed him into the great unknown as a child, but as an adult, I find his character filled face very intriguing.

This Royal Doulton character jug was designed by Geoff Blower and was issued in 3 sizes:

– D6403   Large   1954 – 1981

– D6462   Small   1957 – 1981

– D6514   Mini   1960 – 1981

The original prototype was modelled with only 1 rat on the handle and in a different colourway, as above, but was adapted to the more familiar version featured below:

Pied Piper 1

A poem by Robert Browning, The Pied Piper Of Hamelin is based on an old legend from a town in Brunswick.  The town is crawling with rats, and the mayor and city elders decide to enlist the services of a stranger to rid them of the vermin for a fee of one thousand guilders.  The stranger earns his fee by playing his pipe so beautifully that the rats follow the music and drown in the River Weser.  The piper’s fee however goes unpaid, so the strange piper plays again, but this time all the children of the town are enchanted by his beautiful music and they follow him never to be seen again.

Pied Piper 2

For more on Royal Doulton please visit royaldoultonguide.com


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.

For more on Royal Doulton please visit http://www.royaldoultonguide.com

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)

For more on Royal Doulton visit royaldoultonguide.com

How To Date Royal Doulton Dickens Figures


Miniature figurines of Charles Dickens characters were produced by Royal Doulton between 1922 and 1983 and during this time there have been variations in ceramic bodies, size and backstamps.  In 1922 sixteen miniature bone china Dickens figures were introduced to the HN collection, based Leslie Harradine’s earlier stoneware models.  In 1932 these were renumbered as miniatures M41-M56 and in 1939 the collection grew to eighteen figures as the Bumble M76 and Cap ‘n Cuttle M77 figures were introduced.  These pre-ware figures carry the old ‘Doulton’ or ‘Doulton England’ earlier backstamp.

The collection was briefly withdrawn in 1949 and then re-introduced in a slightly larger size with a deeper base and no identification numbers.  The collection also grew to 24, as six more characters were introduced.  The Royal Doulton ‘Lion and Crown’ bone china backstamp was used on all figures of this period.  When the ‘bone china’ is blocked out of the backstamp, it means the figure was made of English Translucent China, which was first introduced in 1959.

In 1968, saw the figures once again increasing in size when the clay body was changed from china to earthenware.  All 24 figures were produced in earthenware and were withdrawn between 1981 and 1983.  In 1994 Pascoe and Company commissioned a limited edition figure of Charles Dickens himself, making a final total of 25 figures in the collection.

The table below will help with dating your Royal Doulton Dickens figures and if you have any other questions please visit http://www.royaldoultonguide.com

Alfred Jingle  M 52  1922-1981  Pickwick Papers
 Artful Dodger  M 55  1922-1983  Oliver Twist
 Bill Sykes  M 54  1922-1981  Oliver Twist
 Bumble  M 76 1939-1982  Oliver Twist
 Buz Fuz  M 53 1922-1983  Pickwick Papers
 Cap’n Cuttle  M 77  1939-1982  Dombey & Sons
 David Copperfield  M 88  1949-1983  David Copperfield
 Dick Swiveller  M 90  1949-1983  The Old Curiosity Shop
 Fagin  M 49  1922-1983   Oliver Twist
 Fat Boy  M 44  1922-1983  Pickwick Papers
 Little Nell M 51  1922-1983  The Old Curiosity Shop
 Mr Micawber M 42  1922-1983  David Copperfield
 Mr Pickwick  M 41  1922-1983  Pickwick Papers
 Mrs Bardell  M 86  1949-1982  Pickwick Papers
 Oliver Twist  M 89  1949-1983   Oliver Twist
 Pecksniff   M 43   1922-1982  Martin Chuzzelwitt
 Sairey Gamp  M 46  1922-1983  Martin Chuzzelwitt
 Sam Weller  M 48  1922-1981  Pickwick Papers
 Scrooge  M 87  1949-1982  A Christmas Carol
 Stiggins  M 50  1922-1981  Pickwick Papers
 Tiny Tim  M 56  1922-1981  A Christmas Carol
 Tony Weller  M 47  1922-1981  Pickwick Papers
 Trotty Veck  M 91  1949-1982  The Chimes
Uriah Heep  M 45  1922-1983  David Copperfield