Coca-Cola

Over Easter, we entertained many family and friends, so as an establishment we must have drunk gallons of Coca-Cola. My preferred tipple is full fat, but I drink the sugar free caffeine free option. When young Pemberton first started mixing leaves and nuts I bet he never dreamt of a caffeine free version.

The phenomenon known as Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by said pharmacist John Pemberton as a simple experiment of curiosity and started life sold by the glass in the Jacobs Pharmacy in Atlanta where he worked. The name comes from the ingredients originally used to make the drink; coca leaves and kola nuts. Frank Robinson, the Pemberton’s bookkeeper was actually the one who created both the name and the very distinctive Coca-Cola logo, which was in fact simply his own handwriting. He was also responsible for publicising the drink as a medicinal ‘pick me up’. Coca leaves, which were also used to make the drug cocaine, were eventually replaced in the early 1920s by caffeine.

Coca-Cola was first officially advertised in a magazine in 1902 and other merchandise quickly followed such as glasses and trays. The Coca-Cola image changed slightly during the 1920s and 1930s, alongside the ingredients, to become more family-inclusive, focusing on group enjoyment. The most well-known product of this, of course, is the famous Santa Claus images. The Winter Wonderland Santa Claus was developed by Swedish artist, Haddon Sundblom in the early 1930s to match the patented red of the Coca-Cola cans and is still an image synonymous with the Coca-Cola we love today.

The value of most Coca-Cola advertising is calculated the same as most collectables; rarity and condition are generally most important and realise the highest prices. Items from the late 1880s and 1890s, before official advertising from the company, are difficult to find these days making them highly sought after as are unusual items such as artwork with images of men, instead of the traditional smiling ladies.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Dolls

Having had four children, three of whom were little girls, our house has seen its fair share of dolls and dolls prams. Distant memories of patrolling the neighbourhood on Christmas morning guiding children, prams, babies and bikes comes to mind. That was a very long time ago yet even then those dolls could talk, eat, cry and wet their nappies.

Looking back over the years doll development has actually been quite slow. The first walking doll was made as early as the 1820s while talking dolls took longer to perfect. Early examples produced sound due to the action of turning the doll’s arms or indeed the whole body with this exertion of pressure producing sound. Later from the 1880s, the pulling of a string became very common. However, these early talkers merely squeaked and it wasn’t until Edison’s invention of the miniaturised phonograph that the dolls finally spoke or sang. Dolls made in the 1890s containing the original tiny wax cylinder phonograph in their torsos are very rare today.

During this time, many new automata functions were being patented, not just the phonograph; one patent of particular interest was that of the ‘Mama Doll’ produced by Madame Hendren, the trademark of Averill Manufacturing Company. The ‘Mama Doll’ was a soft-bodied doll with composition head and composition lower arms and hands. What made her so unique was her voice box; when her body was tilted she cried out ‘Ma-ma’, hence the name. She is typically marked “Genuine Madame Hendren Doll”. These dolls became incredibly popular in America in the early 1920s, stealing the market from the previously desirable German bisque doll.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Clarice Cliff

My wife and I, as is our occasional want, recently spent a weekend in a lovely Yorkshire town, in a “highly rated” Yorkshire hotel. My wife and I love Yorkshire towns and we specially love “highly rated” hotels, not this one though. Fortunately space here is limited so just enough to disagree with “highly” and to say that the purpose of the visit was to assist a dear friend and to value her late father’s Clarice Cliff collection for probate.

Clarice Cliff designs were brightly coloured, geometric patterns that had never been seen before with her first range; ‘Bizarre Ware’ launching in 1928. She painted many of the wares herself but her popularity and success saw the necessity for a team of painters to be trained up by her. This team of women is often referred to as the ‘Bizarre Girls’. As time went on, and their skills in depicting Cliff’s designs increased, they were given a certain amount of free reign and this can be seen in wares where the designs are slightly altered from the original. Examples like this are keenly collected.

Popular patterns include ‘Poplar’, ‘Crocus’ and ‘Coral Firs’, although collectability is defined also by shape, rarity and colour. The colour orange is common while purple is generally rarer. Sugar sifters or honey pots, for example, may be the focus of a collection with the conical sugar sifter launched in 1931 being one of the most iconic designs of Cliff’s career. Alternatively plates, which are relatively cheaper to acquire and show off Cliff’s designs particularly well, may act as a basis for a beginner collector.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

The MGA Motor Car

It is no secret among family, friends and colleagues that I am a lover of the motor car. I love every aspect of ownership, from buying and selling, discussing and driving, to cleaning and polishing. What is there not to like, the motor car is a wonderful invention.

I love modern cars but I also love classics and one of my favourite marques is the MG. Over my years of car ownership I have purchased and polished two MGB GTs and two convertibles. The beauty of the MG marque is the enormous following it boasts and the incredible ease with which spare parts and repairs can be accessed.

Now the MGB in my eyes is a beautiful vehicle, but the MGA is probably one of the prettiest cars the world has ever seen (not including the Jaguar E-Type of course). Here at the Sheffield Auction Gallery we have, amongst our many other specialist departments, a classic car department and it was lucky enough to secure the sale of a gorgeous MGA for last weeks auction.

Coming from a deceased estate the car was built in Abingdon in 1960 and exported to California where it enjoyed a wonderful sunshine life. Missing its country of origin in the early 1990s it returned to this country and was lovingly stripped down and converted to right hand drive.

The MGA is a car which was built from 1955 to 1962. By the time the curtain fell on it’s production over 100,000 cars had been built and sold. The hammer fell on ours at £15,500.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website