Monday 22 August 2011

Collectors Edition 2002 - 2004

Collectors Edition 2002 - DWC139 “I Ate’nt Dead"

Introduced July 2002 - Retired August 2003. This piece was sculpted by Richard Banks and depicts Granny Weatherwax in her borrowing state. Granny is a talented borrower of the bodies of other animals and birds (and even insects) and has been known to go borrowing for days at a time. Unfortunately, while her mind is off borrowing her body is left looking slightly lifeless on her bed. After giving people a few frights Granny made a placard with the legend 'I ATE’NT DEAD' which she places on her chest whilst out borrowing. The quote is from Carpe Jugulum.

‘Nanny had warned her about it but, even so, it was unnerving to turn up at Granny’s cottage and find stiff as a stick and holding, in fingers that were almost blue, a card with the words: I ATE’NT DEAD. It just meant when she was out in the world somewhere, seeing life through the eyes of a badger or a pigeon, riding as an unheeded passenger in its mind.’

Incidentally there is a typo on the tent card for this piece which I just spotted as I was copying the quote off it!!! The piece retailed for £41 but I have been unable to obtain numbers sold. However this piece doesn’t come up much either, collectors who buy these pieces must want to keep hold of them! This is a nice piece with Granny lying on a bed with a lovely colourful bedspread, although its an odd one to display, it can be laid flat or stood up against a wall! (pretty much like a normal bed!)

Collectors Edition 2003 - DWC157 Verence as a Fool

Introduced in July 2003 - Retired 2004

This piece was sculpted by Joe Pattison and is a another lovely collectors piece. In Wyrd Sisters Verence I is the King of Lancre who is murdered at the start of the book. His infant son and heir Tomjon was smuggled away by the witches before the same fate could befall him and raised by a travelling group of actors. Verence II is the half brother of Tomjon. It is accepted that Verence I had an old fashioned approach to ladies in his kingdom and that he is the father of both Tomjon and Verence II. However the witches are convinced that Verence II father managed to woo the queen, this is supported by the fact that he left town hurriedly just after Tomjons birth. Prior to being revealed as the King of Lancre Verence II was the court fool. The quote relates to the fact that he later marries Magrat Garlick

‘“I seen you’ve got a follower,” said Nanny. “Sorry?” said Magrat. “The young fellow with the bells,” said Nanny, “And the face like a spaniel what’s just been kicked.”’

This piece shows Verence II in full red and yellow jester costume complete with his bladder on a stick! Joe has managed to make him look quite thoughtful and far away. This also sold in quite low numbers which is a shame as its such a colourful and expressive little piece. This piece is a particular favourite of mine and I was surprised to find the numbers sold. There are no official figures released due to the closure of clarecraft but just before the piece was retired it was reported that only 289 figures had been sold. Given the large number of pieces normally sold this would make Verence a very rare piece indeed. He retailed at £29.95.

This is the final piece released for sale
Collectors Edition 2004 - DWC159 The Ankh-Morpork Handshake

Introduced July 2004 - Retired August 2005? In 1992 or 1993 Leigh Pamment sculpted a pair of Assassins. This piece was never numbered or released as when the figurine was made up for Terry to approve he didn’t feel it was right. The original piece depicted 2 Assassins (clad in black naturally) skulking through the streets of Ankh Morpork. One had crept up behind the other and was preparing to hit him on the head! However 1 of the Assassins was carrying a hand grenade and carrying a pistol on his belt. As neither of these items had yet appeared in the Discworld canon Terry wasn’t happy with the piece and it was shelved. Trish was convinced she had once seen a photo of the piece but there was no master of the piece to be found. However given the fact that Clarecraft never throw anything away there was a chance that the mould was in the bunker. The bunker was too much of a challenge until Trish found the photo which gave the rough dimensions of the piece. The bunker was searched and eventually a possible mould was located. It was cast and revealed the figurine Trish had described. It was a lovely fun piece and a shame to not use it. The piece was tweaked slightly, the characters were changed from Assassins and one was carrying a candle whilst the other was still clearly intent on hitting him over the head!!! This piece retailed at £51.50 and again, numbers sold are not known. This piece has reached quite far in excess of £100.

This is the original piece by Leigh from the newsletter May 2004

In 2005 Clarecraft held the Monstrous Regiment event. At previous events it had been possible to buy the upcoming members only piece for that year. I attended the event and immediately went to hunt out the members only piece. I spoke to Clarecraft staff who told me that the piece was not ready yet but would be released in due course. I found this very odd as this was very unlike Clarecraft but I didn’t question it. Unfortunately the decision had already been made that Clarecraft was to close and the announcement was made a month later. This closure and the subsequent lack of information available for people new to Terry, Clarecraft or Discworld items in general is of course what led to this blog.


Collectors Editions 1998 - 2001

Collectors pieces.

Clarecraft made a special piece each year that was only available to members of the Collectors Guild. The theory was you went into your local stockist, presented your Guild membership card and obtained your piece.   After a couple of years Clarecraft realised that shops were selling these pieces to people without the required membership.  I got my Death and Gaspode from a stockist who didn’t ask about my membership!  Clearly when there’s money involved they aren’t going to refuse a sale so Clarecraft eventually made the membership pieces direct sale only.I have a copy of the order form for the 2002/2003 piece, ‘I ATE’NT DEAD’ (I didn’t realise until I came to clear out my clarecraft stuff for this blog quite how much I kept, it is vaguely frightening!!).  This order form sought to get around the previously mentioned problem of shops selling the pieces to people without cards.  Shops were now only to be given a limited number of pieces to sell and to reorder more would have to show proof that those pieces had gone to collectors. If your shop had sold out you had to complete the from, get the shop to sign it and then they could send the completed form off to get the piece on order for you to pick up from the shop.  It does seem a rigmarole but it goes to show how far Clarecraft would go to protect the interests of the members of the Guild,  They didn’t want the pieces just being sold at will as that would eventually devalue the items for the Collectors.  Clarecraft also went to great lengths with the pewter trademarks when it became apparent that far eastern copies of pieces were being sold in the UK, again this was done to protect the interests of their collectors. The initial pieces just had normal numbers but from 2001 a C was included in the number to denote collectors editions. In this year they also started releasing and retiring the pieces in August rather than February.  In the years there was an event the pieces were released for sale at the event.  

All Clarecraft pieces have a tent card with a quote on it relevant to the piece.  I will include some of these quotes where I can as sometimes it gives an insight into how the piece came about.  Certain quotes just create pictures in the mind that cant be ignored.

Collectors Edition 1998 - DW77 Susan Sto Helit
Introduced February 1998 - Retired February 1999
This piece was sculpted by Joe Pattison and depicts Susan Sto Helit sitting next to some lifetimers.  Susan is the daughter of Deaths adopted daughter Isobel and his apprentice Mort, therefore making her Deaths granddaughter.  The piece is inspired by and uses a quote from Soul Music. In the book Susan has to take over Deaths role briefly.  The quote shows the main concerns for a young woman stepping into the shoes of Death at short notice.  ‘For the first time in the history of the universe, a Death wondered what to wear...It was clear that black was the only option, but she settled on something practical and without frills...”Well, maybe a bit of lace,” she said.  “And ….perhaps a bit more...bodice.”.  
This was the first collectors edition and 1066 pieces were sold.  This piece retailed at £32.95 and has reached prices of up to £150.

Collectors Edition 1999 - DW102 Angua as a Wolf
Introduced February 1999 - Retired February 2000
This piece was sculpted by Dave Meredith and Richard Banks.  This piece depicts (as the name suggests) Angua in her Wolf guise.  Angua is the Werewolf member of the City Watch. The quote comes from Men at Arms where she joins the Watch as part of an equality drive.  Although in this case most people assume she is recruited due to the fact she is a woman rather than the other W!  The quote is “My word, what a splendid bitch, he said.  ‘A Ramtop wolfhound if I’m any judge.’  He stroked Angya in a vague friendly way.’.  
1327 of these were sold and retailed at £24.95.
This piece shows Angua complete with her badge on a collar around her neck.  This badge led to one of the more famous Clarecraft Cock Ups!  In February 1999 two watch members were produced, Angua as a Wolf and Captain Carrot (DW100, not the original DW09 Corporal Carrot, he got promoted dontcha know!).  In line with the Captain Vimes piece DW54 each character was given a badge numbered 177.  For 5 months between February and June both Angua and Carrot were produced with the badge number 177.  It was eventually pointed out that 177 is Vimes own personal badge number and therefore shouldn’t be on the other characters.  The numbers were hastily changed and Carrot was given number 191 and Angua 247.  Later pieces were given the correct number with the wrong number editions being sold to members of the Guild.   The very first piece I ever bought was a Carrot with the wrong badge number (unfortunately now known as ‘Shins’, see ‘Bitten by the Pratchett Bug’!) but I do have an Angua with both the correct and incorrect badge numbers, more through good luck than good judgement, it must be said.  This piece usually attains around £50-£60 with the correct badge number and up to £75 without.  

Pic showing wrong badge number 
Correct badge number 247

Collectors Edition  2000 - DW115 Quoth and Death of Rats
Introduced February 2000 Retired February 2001
Quoth and the Death of Rats was sculpted by Joe Pattison.  This piece came about from one of my favourite passages in a Discworld book.  It comes from Hogfather, the first Pratchett book I fell in love with and involves Quoth, one of my favourite characters.  Quoth the raven used to belong to a wizard.  He lived in the highly magical tower of art and as such developed high intelligence.  Quoth insists that he doesn’t do the ‘N’ word.  As a fan of Poe this tickled me!  Quoth has since attached himself to the Death of Rats and he translates what the Death of Rats says for Susan.  The quote for this piece is ‘“why have you stolen that piece of red paper from a little girls present?” said Susan.  “I’ve got plans said the raven darkly... The raven turned to the Death of Rats.  ‘Any idea where I can get some string?”.  
Quoths attempts at using the red paper to make himself look like a robin stem from his observation that robins ‘stroppy little evil buggers, fight like demons’ only have to go ‘bob bob bobbing along’ and they cannot move for breadcrumbs whereas Quoth with his higher intelligence cant find someone to give him any entrails (he has an obsession with anything vaguely eyeball shaped which has led to misunderstandings involving pickled eggs and walnuts amongst other things).
Clarecraft used to send out catalogues but this year the catalogue was not reprinted so no photograph of this piece was published except for the preview in the newsletter.  As a result of this the numbers sold were low at 688.  The retail price was £32.50 and has reached £70.  These don’t tend to appear very often though.

Collectors Edition 2001 - DWC134 Death and Gaspode
Introduced July 2001 - Retired August 2002
This piece was sculpted by Joe Pattison and depicts Death petting Gaspode as described in Moving Pictures.  “It was pitch dark under the rubble.....Then there was a faint noise.  Just like bone on stone...(Gaspode) pulled himself upright, the hairs rising along his back, and growled, ‘Another step and I’ll have your leg off and bury it,’ he said.  A skeletal hand reached out and tickled him behind the ears.”  
This evokes a sweet scene (as sweet as a scene involving a 7 foot skeleton can be).  Gaspode is fairly lovable in his own way.  A stray (although he wont admit it) who spent too much time sleeping near the high energy magic dumps and gained the ability to talk.  Gaspode is quite put upon but makes friends with Carrot and Angua and does have a little bit of hero in there somewhere (although the other parts that make him up are a complete mystery).  He is a walking encyclopaedia of diseases (including one that normally only occurs in pregnant sheep!)  Although this is as beautifully made as any of Clarecrafts pieces it is not a favourite.  I have all the death figurines as he is one of my favourite characters in the books but this one doesn’t seem to do him justice somehow.  This piece retailed for £41.00 and has very recently sold for in excess of £80.

Saturday 20 August 2011

From 'Big' to tiny - Pewter Miniatures! (and the Clarecraft Discworld Chess Sets)

I was intending to make the next entry about the Collectors Editions but I got sidetracked so this is the result. I am halfway through the Collectors Editions post though so it should be the next one!
One of the perks of being a member of the Collectors Guild was that when you first joined you got a pewter miniature.  Practically every piece in the Discworld range had a matching pewter miniature.  Towards the end Clarecraft were even making pewter miniatures of the large pieces such as Great A' Tuin and Ninereeds (see the large pieces post!).  These obviously sold for considerably more than the usual miniatures.  Miniatures can be identified by the fact that their numbers start DM or DMP.  The miniatures came in polished and unpolished versions.  Frequently the only type available from retailers were the polished versions as these frankly looked more attractive.  The unpolished ones were mainly sold via Clarecraft themselves and are apparently easier to paint if that is your bag (I have recently been given some of the new Micro Art Studios miniatures, if anyone has any tips for putting together and painting these little blighters an email would be much appreciated because I haven’t got a scooby, despite having a couple of friends in school who were heavily into Warhammer!!!).  

It never occurred to me to actually collect the pewter miniatures, I really preferred to save my limited funds for the standard figurines although I must admit, if my collection was in miniature I would be able to display them all!  I got my original one when I joined the Guild (Granny Weatherwax if anyone is interested!) and then I didn't bother.  They are however cheap and easy gifts for the type of person who latches on to the fact that you like Discworld and uses it to avoid having any imagination in relation to presents! (This is also the reason that I have at least 3 copies of every calendar!)  I jest of course (although not about the calendars!!).  I acquired some pewters when a very kind person decided to go mental on eBay and pick up as many as they could!  I have a fair collection (pictured) and every so often if I see one that takes my fancy and it stays at the right price I pick them up.  Its nice to be able to treat myself to something completely guilt free.,  A kind of adult pocket money purchase if you will. The pictures are of my pewters, one is of the polished ones and one of the unpolished.

The standard sized miniatures retailed at £3.50.  Lias Bluestone came with drums so retailed for £7.00 and the large ones such as Ninereeds sold for £19.99.  In terms of resale value it really varies and depends upon how much someone wants it on the day.  As with all the other pieces some pewters were more popular than others and this can also effect value.


Polished (apologies for how to hold a crocodile, I forgot it was there!)

Clarecraft eventually produced a pewter chess set (DWCP).  This featured polished and unpolished miniatures with Death and Granny Weatherwax as King and Queen, Magrat and Nanny Ogg as Bishops, Rincewind and Rincewind Running as Knights, Greebo standing and Greebo on his haunches as the Rooks and the Luggage as Pawns.  This could be bought as a set but was obviously fairly expensive or it could be bought on a piece by piece basis.  Clarecraft had previously produced a chess set in resin (DWC).  Cream resin and brown resin with the same figures as the pewter version.  To complement the two sets, two chess boards were also produced.  A brown one to complement the resin set (DWCB01) and a blue one for the pewter set (DWCB01W).  They were octagonal in shape. The original resin chess set retailed for £149.99 and the pewter £199.99. Neither of these come up very often but usually attain slightly more than retail, again depending on how much people want them! The boards also don’t come up very often. They retailed for £59.99 each.

 I did manage to obtain a resin set relatively cheaply in a closing down sale (the box was pretty buggered though!) but I always coveted a pewter chess set.  Sadly I never managed to get one before Clarecraft closed and I have discovered that there is a very small period of time between being young enough to have extra to spend on frivolities and being so old that you have much more important things to spend money on!!!  Still, I live in hope. 
 My chess set is currently set up on the top shelf of a cupboard behind lots of other figurines so I’m afraid that is where it is going to stay!  I have got pictures of both sets with the relevant boards however.  I said at the start that I wouldn’t trawl the net for pictures and I haven’t, these pictures are taken from merchandising material that I have collected over the years.  It is a very crude way of doing it but not all of my own pieces are easily accessible due to living in the worlds smallest house.  Wherever possible I will take pictures of my own pieces but I think the chess sets are quite interesting and don’t tend to come up very often (especially the boards).

As an aside on chess pieces, the resin chess set was not the first time that a chess set had been proposed.  Very early on in the Clarecraft/Discworld story a chess set had been discussed and Leigh Pamment had actually begun work on some trial pieces.  Unfortunately Leigh passed away and the resin chess set that was eventually produced was a combination of his work and that of Joe Pattison.  Those were the days when moulds were made of all trial pieces and old moulds ended up in the bunker (where other treasures have also been located).  In 2003 the bunker was cleared out and in addition to a large piece by Leigh (more on that when we get to Collectors Editions) there were 2 tiny chess pieces.  One piece was a beautifully detailed little house which although lovely paled in comparison to the other which was a tiny Librarian.  The piece was chess piece sized so it was difficult to come up with ideas about how it could reasonably be used.  It is a lovely little piece, the expression on the Librarians face and the fact he is sat clutching a book just seem to bring him alive.  Its such a shame he didn’t make it into the original chess set.  He was produced and once painted was a truly special little piece.  He was available for a short period of time directly from Clarecraft.  It has always been a big regret that I didn’t manage to get hold of one but it was always one of those things that I just kept putting off!  I haven’t seen any of these come up yet.  This is an amazing little piece that really shows how good Clarecraft and their designers were.  I have taken a picture of both the Librarian piece and the house piece cast in brown resin and not painted.  These pictures were taken from the May 2003 Discworld Collectors Guild Newsletter.  I have also got a picture of the painted piece and the bronze finish piece that could be ordered, these pictures came from the August 2004 Newsletter.  The price is not listed but as I recall it was around the £15 mark.  I have included the pictures as it’s possible many people do not know about these pieces and pictures of them will be a little harder to find than most of the stuff I generally waffle on about!
Oct 2018 update. I finally possess a little librarian.

The original resin cast

The little house

The pieces ready for sale

I have made all the pictures a lot bigger than normal so that the detail can clearly be seen, it would be a shame to put up pictures that were too small to see properly!

Cor, this has turned out to be a bit of a monster one too!  I decided to tackle the miniatures as it’s late at night and I was having trouble finishing the Collectors Editions section!!!!

Oct 2018 update
I finally have photos of my resin chess set. I know not everyone will have seen one close up but the pieces are so beautifully detailed. 

Saturday 13 August 2011

'Big' Pieces

Right, I thought in this section I would tackle ‘big’ pieces.  Those Clarecraft pieces that were very expensive originally and tend to be quite large.  There aren’t that many of these but they do tend to be quite spectacular (and fragile!!! So any piccies I take of mine will be very carefully done)

The most iconic large piece that Clarecraft did (and in my opinion the most beautiful) is the Limited Edition Discworld DW70 (not to be confused with the original, much smaller Discworld, DW15).  This piece was designed by Leigh Pamment and was originally intended to be a Limited Edition of 500.  Leigh died in November 1996 and the piece was finished except for the seas and mountains on the top.  These were completed by Leighs uncle John.  This piece was released as a Limited Edition of 1000 in February 1997 and was sold out by June 1999.  The RRP of this piece was £235 but it has sold for as much as £750.  Mine was a bit of a bargain at £175.  Some stockists local to me were in unlikely locations and struggled to shift some of their pieces.  My edition of this piece was bought for me by my dad and it is the most treasured piece I own.  I have considered selling other pieces but this is one that I will never ever part with and is on display in pride of place.


Death on Binky DW24  is another large piece.  This is the earliest of the large pieces.  The quote for the piece comes from The Colour Of Magic "SHALL WE GO asked Death.  He was on a white horse, a horse of flesh and blood but red of eye and fiery of nostril, and he stretched out a bony hand and took his soul out of the air..."  I love the descriptions of how Death came to have Binky.  He had tried skeletal horses and fiery steeds but for various practical reasons they don't work!!  I did have a bunny that I called Binky and was pleasantly surprised to find that binky is the name for the little running hops that bunnies do!  Death is shown holding out his scythe which has led to large numbers of figurines losing the arm!  The arm and scythe are detachable from the figurine so if yours pops out don’t panic, it is designed to do this so it can be transported more safely.  However it is very delicate and can easily be damaged.   It was possible to buy replacement arms and scythes from Clarecraft and I believe these are now available from Mark Ayling or Joe Pattison, both of whom also offer a figurine repair service.  Death on Binky had a retail price of £99.99 back in 2000.  It has made up to around £250 but usually goes for anywhere between £100-£200.  The piccie of Death on Binky was taken at quite a distance, I am too short to reach it and even if I could I am extremely clumsy so would certainly break it!  Not worth the risk when anyone who finds this page will no doubt have seen it before!

Death on a Motorcycle DW44  another piece with a delicate scythe and a bugger to dust!! As its so dark it shows up the dust wonderfully!  Hopefully I will have removed enough of the dust for the piccies!  The detailing on the back of Deaths jacket has ‘Born to Rune’ picked out in little studs.  It was such a nice detail I had to include it and is an example of why I love Clarecraft so much.  This piece had an RRP of £199.75 in 2000.  It is a lovely piece, very big and quite detailed when compared to Death on Binky.  I prefer Death on Binky as I think that the horse is done so beautifully, there is real movement in the piece.  I was surprised to find the price difference between the two.  Death on a Motorcycle comes up a lot less often then Death on Binky however so it is reasonable to assume that less were sold (and more people are keeping hold of them!).  These again do vary wildly but £150 upwards is reasonable.

Ninereeds the dragon is a very large piece, he is depicted with Twoflower and Rincewind on his back.  This piece looked nice in blue and red so instead of choosing, Clarecraft decided to make it in both colours!!  Unfortunately at a price of £250 each it was a little out of reach for most people to be able to get 2.  I could not resist and did end up buying one of each.  These were Limited Edition pieces of 500 each (a relatively small Edition) DW141(R) & DW141(B).  Clarecraft had discovered glitter paints and an iridescent paint and used them to full effect on these pieces.  The chest parts of the dragon are covered in glitter and it is used in smaller amounts elsewhere on the piece.  It makes them quite unusual and they are astonishingly detailed.  From the translucence of the wings to the tiny detail of little houses and trees far below it is just amazing.  These have never really made big prices and generally sell for very close to the original price.

I really do hate mentioning prices on here, especially as my primary source is eBay.  I hate the idea that someone might really love a particular piece but feel disappointed when they see the prices it has reached.  I have not kept track of eBay as much as I used to so I am generally going off old figures.  As I said before, prices paid are no guide to worth.  Its what the figure means to you.  I have some figures that will probably only rarely get near the prices I paid for them.  I also got some real bargains.  But every time, the price I paid was what I felt the piece was worth to me and I’ve never regretted a penny spent!  Prices do fluctuate wildly with pieces going in and out of fashion so please don’t let my putting prices on here ever put you off a figure you love! 

Apologies for the poor layout of these pages.  It seems unnecessarily difficult to try and get the pictures and the words where I want them so in the end I just make do with what I get!