It’s a busy and exciting end to October for us at Retro Ronnie, with two fairs in quick succession. This coming Sunday we’re back in Cirencester’s Bingham Hall for our fourth visit of the year, and it looks all set to be a bumper occasion, with every table booked up weeks ago. Then, seven days later, we launch our brand new collectors’ fair at the very prestigious Marlborough College in Wiltshire.

Last week’s issue of the ATG included a generous third-of-a-page feature on the new fair, and focused sharply on the vinyl aspect. Thankfully, with Ronnie himself dusting off a few platters, there should be plenty there for those tempted to make the journey for an LP or two!

Among the alumni of the College are Chris de Burgh and runner-up in The Voice 2012 Bo Bruce, although records by OM Nick Drake, who died from an overdose in 1974, command the highest prices. A good condition first-pressing of his 1969 album Five Leaves Left regularly sells for over £650!

We’re delighted to be at the College. Founded in 1843 on the site of a former coaching inn on the Bath Road, Marlborough College ranks as one of the top five public schools in the country. We’ll be located in the Norwood Hall, overlooking the central Court. Anyone planning on joining us, please note that parking is situated off the A4 near the College’s Memorial Hall.

More Comic Capers!

Last month we mentioned the popularity of early copies of The Dandy, but they can’t quite match the appeal of Marvel’s finest. The enduring popularity of the American titles never ceases to amaze, and with the film franchise seemingly endless, that’s a situation that can only increase in the years ahead.

Back in the 1960 your author amassed a huge collection of genuine US titles, mostly Superman, Batman and Thor, so was interested to see that the original artwork for the cover of a 1968 edition of The Mighty Thor, #159, sold at Charterhouse Auctions in Dorset on June 24th for a whopping £36,000.

This was the ink and white paint paste-up artwork created by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta, with yellowing bromide film, to which colour was added post-production – the end result is illustrated here on the left. You can pick up a genuine printed copy of this particular issue for around a tenner, but earlier issues, like the ones I collected, sometimes fetch £400. Shame my sister threw them all away!

The Best of Britains

Once in a while an opportunity crops up to obtain some rare and early figures, and just such an occasion arose earlier this month with the sale by Old Toy Soldier Auctions in Pittsburgh, USA, of the single-owner collection of Long Island resident Bill Jackey.

This was Part 1 of what will be a major release of early lead figures from a very significant collection, mainly originating from the workshops of William Britain who, in 1893, invented the process of hollow casting in lead. Jackey’s personal army topped out at over 10,000 figures and included some of the rarest ever produced, so it is no surprise to discover that several fetched eye-watering sums.

One of the top prices went on a first edition set of #72 Life Guards Past & Present from circa 1897. Considered the premier Britains set, this example was tied in to an exceptionally rare Queen’s Diamond Jubilee box, and set a hammer record of $13,000 – roughly £10,500 at today’s rates. Hot on their heels was a #39 Royal Horse Artillery 1st Version, notable for its rear-seated gunners, circa 1896. In original black and gold box and considered the finest known example, it was knocked down for $12,000.

At the more affordable end of the range, a 12-piece example of Britains #125 Royal Horse Artillery, circa 1904 and unboxed, although with two horses missing front legs but otherwise in good condition, fetched $325.

In the land of Submarines, Beyond the Sea of Green

You can’t have missed the announcement a couple of weeks back that Lego is to ‘launch’ a model of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, complete with mini-figures of John, Paul, George and Ringo. The 550-piece set creates a vivid model of the famous Yellow Submarine, in homage to the 1968 musical fantasy film inspired by The Beatles song of the same name. The set also includes an additional mini-figure of the blue-faced Jeremy Hillary Boob, the character voiced in the film by Dick Emery and subject of the song “Nowhere Man”.

“The Yellow Submarine is bright, fun, and colourful, which also made it a good subject to translate into Lego form,” suggested designer Justin Ramsden. The set will be available from “all good toy shops” from November 1st, priced £49.99. A good investment? Possibly, but only if you can resist temptation and leave the cellophane wrapping intact!

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