Eric Knowles Eric Knowles, Antiquarian

TV Memorabilia

Thunderbirds are go if the £15000 paid at auction for Lady Penelope by an obviously wealthy collector is anything to go by. Dear old Parker was also up for offers and found a new owner prepared to pay £38000 for his driving skills. Such is the power of television and film although both Marionettes were sold prior to the release of the 'Thunderbirds' feature film.

I recently took part in the BBC's 'Next Generation' Roadshow and I can tell you that there is no shortage of Thunderbirds memorabilia. What became obvious talking to the collectors is that the most desirable items belong to the first run of the series in the 1960's. As always, the collectable has to be in near mint condition especially the Corgi diecast models where the original box is essential.

Television really came of age during the 1950s and toy makers were not slow in coming up with the goods. Although children's programmes accounted for little more than an hour the new media provided lots of favourites. Puppets featured predominantly in the guise of Mr Turnip, Larry the Lamb, Andy Pandy, Sooty and not forgetting Sweep. Pelham Puppets of Marlborough were quick off the mark to provide characters such as 'Hank' the cowboy and the singing pigs Pinky and Perkey. Although prices today vary most Pelham Puppets sell for between £30 and £80 in their original boxes, the earliest boxes are brown.

The output of TV memorabilia throughout the 1960s was nothing short of phenomenal and was by no means limited to children's programmes. Alongside Thunderbirds Corgi toys launched a whole series of display boxed cars from series such as 'The Avengers' (£180) ,'The Saint' (£150) and 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' (£90) Prices are approximate and depend on condition. The one Corgi car that most boys just had to have back then was James Bond's Gold Aston Martin complete with ejector seat. Price today £150 mint and boxed.

The 1960s also gave us the now cult figure of Dr Who and his arch enemies the Daleks. You can expect to part with between £140 and £180 for a battery operated Dalek and, yes, its box.

During the 1970s 80s and 90s the power of television resulted in all manner of spin offs from a huge variety of popular TV programmes.

The Muppets gave us themselves plus a boardgame, that sells for about £40, The Wombles also came in puppet form and weigh in at about £25 each.

70s TV Cops such as Starsky and Hutch and Kojak were given the Corgi treatment and all manner of merchandising, £10 gets you a Kojak detective game.

Other champions of law and order including Charlies Angels, Wonderwoman and Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man all found their way into both toy and Bookshops.

In the 60s, 70s and 80s Blue Peter and Magpie TV annuals became a regular feature in Christmas stockings. Clean examples sell for between £5 to £15.

Looking at the television of today the collector of tomorrow is spoilt for choice especially if he or she are fans of Thundercats, The Simpsons or Wallace and Gromit.

TV memorabilia is all about nostalgia for many and in some instances passion. I recently met a Batman enthusiast whose collection numbered 5,000 items.

The Magic Roundabout has its fair share of followers which is good news for Dave Charles who asks about his Pelham 'Dougal'.

I was interested to learn you've had him from new and the 60's. His pristine condition and original box give him a value of £50.

Incidentally I have yet to meet someone with square eyes.


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