Thursday, 22 April 2010
Can you believe it? A Belisha Beacon Duck!!!!
This is one of my favourite things... I have wanted one since I first saw an example at Christie's 10 or 15 years ago. The owner brought one to the valuation counter, apparantly they were given away as a prize at schools to promote these new lights. At the time we thought that he was only worth perhaps £100-150 and the vendor did not want to sell at that level because Christie's charges only worked properly, when items were worth over £200.
I felt I had to get a photo of him, so I asked the owner and they let me take it to our photo studio and quickly take a picture. Ever since I have hunted high and low for one.
About 3 monthes ago this one appeared on eBay and thankfully it was in a catagory where followers of this type of toy don't look. So I was delighted to win him at a very low price (I love eBay for this).
The duck is mohair and has felt feet and beak; also felt discs behind his boot button eyes. He is probably by Chiltern or Chad Valley, but has no labels. Do you know who made him?
From Wikipedia -
A Belisha beacon is an orange globe lamp atop a tall black and white pole, marking pedestrian crossings of roads in the United Kingdom, Ireland and in other countries historically influenced by Britain. It was named for Leslie Hore-Belisha (1895-1957), the Minister of Transport who in 1934 added beacons to pedestrial crossings, marked by large metal studs in the road surface. These crossings were later painted in black and white stripes, thus are known as zebra crossings. The rule of thumb is that pedestrians have the right of way (over wheeled traffic) only on such crossings.
I would suggest that this duck must date from around 1934.
He now has become one of my star items in the collection.