Old auction catalogs reveal figures ranging from the mundane to the magnificent, and they serve as reminders of the vast array of figures that the potters manufactured....and as reminders of the potential for really interesting collection additions. Some, despite their rarity, would fall within most collecting budgets. This sweet little figure impressed FRUIT GIRL was part of the esteemed Fitt Reed Collection that sold about eighteen years ago. Many like her were surely made, but I have yet to see another.
Below is a figure group I photographed at a major auction many, many years ago. It appeals to those who want "cute" figures on their shelves, and I am sure it sold very, very well.
But, in the instance of these two little pachyderms, the dealer had loftier ambitions. With the aid of a restorer, he/she created a figure group the likes of which the Potteries had never seen! As a base for this concoction, the restorer used the base from a Sherratt Flight and Return. Below you see a very nice example of such a group, with the base painted pink rather than blue.
Which would you rather have: the humble little FRUIT GIRL at the top of this post of the "cute" and no-doubt-costly elephant group?
So how does a collector sleep at night? The answer is simple. If you want figures of fine quality--big or small, modestly priced or costly, rare or ordinary--shop with a trustworthy dealer. You will rest easy knowing your purchase was not be akin to shredding your money.