Monday 22 August 2011

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.

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