What are your dog anitiques, art, and collectibles worth?
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Margaret S. Johnson and Helen Lossing Johnson — illustrated Children’s dog Books
This daughter-and-mother team made an amazing lifetime contribution to the canine illustrated children’s collectible book genre. Mother Helen co-authored some of the titles, and daughter Margaret Johnson wrote and illustrated all titles, a number of which were stories of various Hound breeds, including: (Afghan Hound) Tim, A Dog of the Mountains (1940); Jamie, A Basset Hound (1959); (Beagle) Carlo, The Hound Who Thought He Was a Calf (1941); (Greyhound) Sir Lancelot and Scamp (1945); Derry the (Irish) Wolfhound (1943); Rolf, An Elkhound of Norway (1941); and Gavin, A Scottish Deerhound (1960). These were generally adventure stories, all with happy endings. Margaret Johnson’s charcoal/pencil drawings were exceptional, with all characteristics and fine points of each breed clearly illustrated. Drawings were always printed in black and shades of gray. Dust jackets had black plus shades of one other additional color. The jackets add greatly to the value, but the books are still collectible and desirable without. Many of the original drawings have been available for sale by a California dog show vendor in the last five years.
Additional Hound-Themed Illustrated Children’s Books and Novels
Afghan Hound: Prince What-A-Mess (1979) by Frank Muir and Denis Norden, a series of children’s books about a frazzled Afghan Hound. You Can’t Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum (1998) by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman, illustrated by (her sister) Robin Preiss Glasser, an Afghan Hound depicted chasing the balloon throughout. The Wayfinder (2000) by Darcy Pattison, a wonderful science fiction story including a telepathic “Tazi” (Afghan) Hound, pictured on glossy dust jacket cover.
Basenji: Goodbye My Lady (1954) by James Street. This book later made into a movie.
Basset Hound: Boswell’s Life of Boswell (1958), written and illustrated by Evelyn Leavens, beautiful pencil drawings illustrate the story of a typical (and hilarious) Basset Hound. This book is truly a must have for any Basset lover!
Bloodhound: Red, A Trailing Bloodhound (1951) by Col. S. P. Meek, a well-known author of many adventure stories like this one. Most of his many titles were canine related.
Borzoi: The Wolfhound (1996) by Kristine Franklin and beautifully illustrated with
detailed paintings by Kris Waldherr, a story of the breed in Russia.
Dachshund: The Ugly Dachshund (1938) by G.B. Stern, illustrated by Marguerite Kirmse. The misadventures of a Great Dane raised with Dachshunds, who thought he was also a Dachshund. Later made into a Disney movie in 1966 with Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette. Doctor, The Puppy Who Learned (1944) by Helen Hoke and illustrated by Diana Thorne. Delightfully illustrated misadventures of a red Smooth Dachshund puppy. Pretzel (1944) by Margaret Rey, illustrated by H.A. Rey, the first of a series of books about an adorable Dachshund named Pretzel. Rusty, The Little Red Dachshund (1957) by Dorothy L’Hommedieu, illustrated by Marguerite Kirmse, one of a number of collaborations (but the only Hound story) by these two great artists. The Dachshunds of Mama Island (1963) by Florence Mayberry, illustrated by Janina Domanska. The story of a young girl and her nine playmate Dachshunds as they frolic on a small island off the coast of Alaska.
Greyhound: Greyhound Fanny (1916) by Martha Morley Stewart. An interesting tale about a Greyhound named Fanny, born in a kennel owned by a wealthy gentleman and descended from English racing stock. The Greyhound (1964) by Helen Griffiths and illustrated by Victor G. Ambrus.
Scottish Deerhound: The Mightiest Heart (1998) by Lynn Cullen, illustrated by Laurel Long. A bittersweet story.
Whippet: Dusty for Speed! (1947) by Frances Fullerton Neilson and Winthrop Neilson, illustrated by Hans Kreis. The story of a racing dog.
Cast resin figurines have long been prized and admired by collectors. Technology is ever improving in this field, and the quality of detail, which was already high, is literally as fine as the individual “hair of the dog!” The exquisite hand painting of authentic coloration and modeling has set the bar extremely high, and those companies at the forefront of this industry include: Bollingate (out of production), all breeds in exquisite detail, hand painted, on base and wood plinth. Cathexis (out of production), many breeds produced — sighthounds in particular with Whippets a specialty by breeder and artist Sandi Rolfe. Dannyquest (cold cast bronze) — all breeds. Doggy People by Robert Harrop — dogs dressed as people and in many cases in costumes native to their country of origin. Dogs Galore — many breeds produced, not in static or foursquare poses; of particular interest are a large sitting Greyhound bitch, a large sitting Irish Wolfhound puppy and a small sitting Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen puppy figurine. Leonardo, Northlights, Sherratt & Simpson, among others are still in production. Pieces from any of these companies are definitely worthy of a “search.”
Anri is a well-known Italian wood-carving company probably best known for hand-carved nativities. One of their famed artisans, Helmut Diller, also created a number of masterfully carved dog figurines, including a reclining Borzoi on a base. This piece measures 7.75” wide by 6” deep by 5” high, and is carved from one piece of wood and is polychrome painted. Great detail to the muscle, breed-specific conformation, the dog’s coat, head planes, feathering on legs and even its toes. Created some time after 1952. There is at least one other Borzoi figurine that was also made, running in full stride, though that piece is a great deal more simplified than this stunning example.
The “Imagical World of Bossons,” was created by William Henry Bossons (W.H. Bossons), and later advanced to worldwide prominence by his son W. Ray Bossons (W. R. Bossons). The senior Bossons opened the business early in 1946, officially named W. H. Bossons, Limited of Congleton, England. where they operated out of historic old mill buildings. W. Ray Bossons designed the first “Character Wall Masks” (“heads” as collectors call them) starting in 1958. Popularity of these Bossons creations spread over the world as exports and were sent to many countries. In addition to the Series B (5 1⁄2-inch heads) were larger models in the Series A (up to 11 inches), the wildlife collection, and many dogs and cats. The very first productions were high relief plaster and all Bossons were hand painted, and this became the hallmark of original Bossons works of art. Hound “Dogs of Distinction” include the double bust of an Afghan Hound and Arab with Turban, a Saluki and Arab with Turban, an Afghan Hound and a Basset Hound head. These can be hard to find in good condition, because with age the plaster became quite fragile and they then chipped easily. They are brightly painted and desirable in the collectible market, displaying particularly well in shadow boxes.
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