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Planning Retirement Online

Family Treasures - Edition 19
                                    July 2005

Miller's Price Guide 

Purchase Miller's Price Guide 2004/2005

Family Treasures 19

Jill Churchill, who writes on antiques and collectables for YOURS magazine, continues her series.      




We in later life remember very well the wooden puppet, Muffin the Mule. There may even be a sadly neglected Muffin, his coloured string tangled and his paintwork chipped, somewhere in the back of the toy cupboard. Ah, if only you’d treated him kindly and saved the box he came in, with the magic name ‘Pelham’ on it - a ‘good’ Muffin can fetch about ?150. But even your less-good might be ?50-?90 to a collector.


Amazon book - The complete book of puppetry  


The happy times of Pelham Puppets, named after founder Bob Pelham, spanned the late 1940s to the early 1990s, despite a factory fire that destroyed much stock in 1961. (If you or your parents were clever enough to buy an early Big Ears he could be worth ?150.)



Open the box

Dating a Pelham is broadly done by the box: brown boxes go from 1947 to around the1950s; solid yellow boxes followed to about the mid 60s, then came yellow boxes with transparent fronts. Still later, Pelhams (post-1986, when the firm officially closed but in fact struggled on for a while under new owners) have dark blue boxes or yellow/red striped ones.

Ultimately, it’s the rarity of the model rather than the age that often counts most. Though comparatively recent, Robin Hood, Maid Marion and Friar Tuck could be real finds, worth ?70-120. The same goes for Humpty Dumpty, or a 1980s Pierrot (both ?50-?60).

Old puppets never die

Much more likely to be lurking in a toybox are ever-popular Pinocchio (?25) or Pinky and Perky (about ?45 each); or a Womble (?25) or fairy tale characters such as Hansel and Gretel (?25 each).
Hot tip from Oxford-based dealer Alvin of Alvin Vintage Toys (tel 01865 772409): ‘Now that the programme has been revived for TV, all the Thunderbirds cast, quoted a few years ago at ?35-?50 each, should double in value, with Lady Penelope and Brains attracting top prices.’

Meanwhile, all together now: “We want Muffin ...”



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