Tuesday 20 September 2011

More Bookends

Rincewind, Luggage and Cat Bookend - September 1994 - February 2002

This is actually about 2 pieces.  In January 1992 Leigh sculpted a figure of Rincewind caught by the Luggage, DW25.  The quote is from the Colour of Magic ‘It was when he tried to move that he found his robe was caught on some obstruction.  By craning his neck he found that the edge of it was being firmly gripped by the Luggage’s lid.’.  
It’s a very attractive piece and was available both painted and in the ‘bronze’ finish.  Originally Clarecraft felt that a lot of people may be put off by the price of the painted pieces.  In order to make some early pieces more affordable they were made available in painted finish and in a ‘bronze’ or ‘pewter’ finish.  It seemed that people did prefer to save up for the painted items though and some of these figures in the bronze and pewter finishes are the rarest of all with sometimes only 1 or 2 sold.  Clarecraft eventually stopped offering pieces in these finishes however for larger pieces such as the Bridge Over the River Ankh there was a ‘wooden’ finish available and these were more popular.  The price for the painted finish was £25.25 (rising to £27.50 on retirement) and £17.65 in the bronze finish.  When Clarecraft was taken over in March 1993 it was found that DW25 was selling at a loss.  It was decided to retire the figure in December 1993.  1038 were sold and the top price ever made was £460.  It has sold for considerably less however.  
Clarecraft thought that the piece was too nice to ‘waste’ and they decided to make it into a bookend and re release it.  This led to DW41, Rincewind, Luggage and Cat Bookend.  This piece came with the same quote as the original.  By releasing the figure as a bookend Clarecraft were able to raise the price to bring it into profitability and give people ‘added value’ for their extra money.  This piece was introduced in September 1994 and retired in February 2002.  Only 615 were sold, probably because the original RRP was £90.  Personally Rincewind is not one of my favourite characters and I’m not all that keen on the first 2 books in the Discworld Canon.  Consequently I do not have too many Rincewind figures.  I do really like my DW25 though (another job lot bargain!).  It is a nice simple figure and quite comical.  I do not have a DW41 and I’m not sure of top price paid as they come up very rarely.

Ruby and Detritus DW27 & DW28 - January 1992 - August 1992

In January 1992 a pair of bookends featuring Ruby and Detritus was released.  There is no quote with these pieces.  They were sculpted by Leigh ad were released without being seen or approved by Terry.  He saw them in a shop in August 1992 and really didn’t like them so they were deleted immediately.  Less than 50 of each piece was sold.  They retailed for £25.26.  I find these pieces particularly ugly and although I always like to have rare items, as I really don’t like these pieces I am unlikely to ever buy them.  The pieces are very ‘grey’.  Detritus is depicted as a drooling idiot clutching a bunch of flowers and Ruby is standing coyly by.  They do not seem to bear any relation to the characters and it seems as though they were sculpted without ever reading the books.  The top prices have varied but usually remain high.  The highest was £720 for Ruby and £800 for Detritus but they rarely if ever go for less than £300 a piece.  They do come up fairly often for such rare pieces.  
These bookends are not to be confused with the later, Terry approved bookends that were released as Event pieces at the 2001 Event (DWE14 & DWE15) and then later for general sale as DW131 & DW132.  These pieces were covered in the Event pieces section.  They are very handsome with both characters depicted in evening dress.  I did have a pair of these that my father bought for me, unfortunately Detritus met with a tragic accident and lost his head so I only have my Ruby left.  The Event pieces were a Limited Edition of 100 painted by Clarecraft and unlimited PYO.  The general release pieces were introduced after the Event in August 2001.  They were retired in November 2003 as they were heavy pieces which made it hard on the painters.  They also didn’t sell very well with just 193 Ruby and 185 Detritus sold.  They had a retail price of £49.95.

Draco Nobilis DW109 & DW110 - February 2000 - November 2002
These bookends were introduced in February 2000.  Sculpted by Dave Meredith they depict events from Guards Guards.  In the book the city of Ankh-Morpork is threatened by a Draco Nobilis, a large traditional dragon summoned by the Elucidated Brethron of the Ebon Night for the nefarious purposes of their leader.  It is left to the Watch to tackle the dragon, save the city and rescue the girl (Lady Sybil is introduced in this book and is rescued by Vimes after nearly becoming lunch for the dragon who requires ladies of a certain virtue!).  Lady Sybil is a renowned expert on dragons approached by Sam Vimes for assistance.  She gives the Watch a small swamp dragon (Draco Vulgaris) whom they name Errol.  In the event Errol assists the Watch in taming the Nobilis after it transpires she is a female.  The left bookend, DW109 shows Carrot at the head of the dragon.  The dragon is beautfully sculpted and painted.  In the book Carrot, true to form, attempts to arrest the dragon and is depicted reading the dragon its rights, the notepad in Carrots hand even  has scribbles on it.  The right hand bookend DW110 shows Errol at the tail of the dragon.  The large dragon is red and Errol is green.  The quote for the Errol side is ‘Lets be honest: the chances of a dragon the size of Errol beating something that big are a million to one.’.
The pieces were retired in November 2002 as the Carrot bookend in particular was so heavy that it was causing considerable pain to the painters.  Around 600 of each piece were sold.  The Carrot side retailed for £49.95 and the Errol end for £29.95.  Both pieces have very recently reached £90 each.

Deaths Study DW149 & Deaths Bathroom DW150 - Febraury 2003 - Closure

These bookends were sculpted by Joe Pattison, they bring to life the beautifully described house in Deaths Domain.  The quote is ‘You didn’t expect the rubber duck.  It was yellow.  You didn’t expect the soap.  It was suitably bone white, but looked as if it had never been used before.  Beside it was a bar of orange soap which certainly had been used - it was hardly more than a sliver.  It smelled a lot like the vicious stuff used at school.’  This quote is from Soul Music, the first Pratchett book I ever read.  Deaths Study depicts Death sat behind a desk in his study gazing thoughtfully into space.  His desk even includes a small stress toy, something he will have seen somewhere and attempted to replicate without any understanding of its purpose.  DW150 is Deaths Bathroom and is faithful to the quote entirely.  The only thing missing is the vicious smell of the orange soap!! The duck and the soaps are there, the solid towel is also there, something else that Death saw but didn’t entirely understand, not realising it had to be soft and pliable.  This piece is so detailed and pretty, the finish on the bath and toilet cistern is nice and there is even a little plug and chain in the bottom of the bath.  The study retailed at £44.99 and the bathroom at £49.99. These are such attractive pieces, the bathroom in particular. Its colourful and fun and depicts exactly why this particular Death is so endearing. These pieces have reached approximately £90 apiece.

Lancre bridge DWE11 & DWE12
These pieces have already been discussed in the Event pieces section.  This set of bookends was another set for an event, the 1999 event.  Available in 100 painted sets and unlimited PYO they are beautiful but very prone to breakages.   

Saturday 10 September 2011

Caveat Emptor

I follow eBay quite closely and see lots and lots of items posted all the time, sometimes by people who know what they have, sometimes by people who are unaware of what they have and sometimes by outright charlatans who tell whopping lies to make it sound like a) they know more than they do and b) that they have a piece which is something its not.

Usually these don't tend to bother me.  If an item is listed a 'rare', I don't pay any attention, 'rare' is relative.  There is usually nothing deliberately misleading about these listings, the seller just doesn't know what they are talking about.  However over the last couple of weeks I have been coming across a few listings all by the same person.  It appears that this person has a Clarecraft Discworld Chess Set.  It is the resin one I posted about the other week.  These pieces are small and although they are highly detailed, unless seen as a set they are not particularly attractive.  There is nothing wrong with these pieces being sold separately, some people cannot afford £150 for the whole things and the opportunity to buy the odd piece for £3.50 (plus a scandalous £2.50 postage!!) might be a good offer.  However, this guy isn't selling the chess pieces separately.  Oh no, he is selling (and I DO quote) 'Limited Edition, First Edition (!!??!!) pieces!.  This got on my nerves slightly, I must admit, but again I thought, well people taking a risk on £3.50, not the end of the world and if the buyer likes the piece then its all good.  However, this morning when I checked eBay I found that this charlatan is now listing a Granny Weatherwax cream chess piece.  He gives the dimensions so if a buyer checks they will find the piece is small but he has taken a photo of the item with a Clarecraft box.  The chess pieces never came in normal sized boxes. He has also taken the photograph with the piece a long way in front of the box so it looks like the piece fits the box which is blatantly false.  He also states the this is another Limited Edition, First Edition piece and as it is boxed it is even more rare.  This is an absolute untruth.  The chess pieces were never boxed separately.  The chess pieces are not Limited Edition pieces.  There are only  a few Clarecraft Limited Edition Discworld pieces and they ALL come with certificates of authenticity listing the edition number.  There is no such thing as a Clarecraft First Edition.  If pieces were revised and changed then the items became Mark 1, Mark 2, etc not editions.  This seems to me to be going a bit beyond gilding the lily into the realm of total untruths and deliberately misleading new collectors, and to me that is not on.  I don't want new collectors put off by mercenaries like this.  He has this item listed at £14.99!!! Steer well clear of this snake oil salesman.

If, incidentally you do see something on eBay and are a bit unsure of exactly what it is, feel free to contact me and I can identify things for you.  I can't tell you how much you should pay for any item, that is up to you.  I have paid over the odds for many items simply because I liked them but I can certainly give you more information on the piece then will probably be on the listing.

Thursday 8 September 2011


This is another mammoth post split into several sections. I never guessed how many bookends Clarecraft made until I came to write about them all!!!

DW11 Rincewind Bookend  - February 1991 - Closure

This was part of the first set of bookends, (the other half being DW12 Death Bookend).  The quote for this piece is from The Colour of Magic ‘As a student Rincewind had never achieved high marks in precognition, but now unused circuits of his brain were throbbing and the future might as well have been engraved in bright colours on his eyeballs.’.  
The piece shows Rincewind peering round a wall with a sign to The Mended Drum in the background.
This was one of those pieces that was remodelled several times resulting in several variations.  It was originally introduced in Febraury 1991, but the piece caused problems with fettling and moulding due to the fact that the figure of Rincewind didn’t touch the background wall.  Its distinguishing features are that both hands can be seen and the head and hat do not touch the wall.  Rincewind was sculpted by Bernard Pearson and the base by Leigh.  This was only made until the end of 1991.  The very early version will have the original Clarecraft square trademark saying ‘Copyright 1990’.  About 700 pieces of this version were made.
The second version was made from the end of 1991 until March 1993.  This version had been remodelled to aid production issues.  The figure is less angular and more bland.  He leans against the wall with his hat point folded down on his back. He has one hand on the front of the wall and the other cannot be seen.  One foot can be seen coming out from beneath his robe. His hat brim is also more ‘floppy’ than other versions.  Leigh sculpted this version in an effort to resolve the manufacturing issues of the first one.  This version is marked Clarecraft Designs Ltd 1991 on the back.  About 500 of these were sold.
It was decided that the second version was too bland and although it made things easier it didn’t really have the fun of the previous piece.  Therefore the original version was reintroduced but instead of the block trademark it has the Discworld Logo on it.  This one was made from March 1993 to July 1995 and about 1500 of these were made.
The final version was remodelled by Leigh, this was a compromise between the spirit and fun of the original and the improvements in production in the second.  This time there was no gap at all between the figure and the wall.  Only one hand can be seen.  The hat was pointy again and no foot can be seen.  The hat brim and face are against the wall in this figure.  This figure was available till Clarecraft closed so no official figures have been released on this particular version however, by February 2002, more than 3 years before Clarecraft shut, 8012 had been sold, with only about 2700 of these being the first 3 versions.  The first piece retailed at £35.75 and increased with subsequent pieces until by 2002 it was £45.10.  A version 4, the most common one recently sold for almost £70.  I got a Version 1 in a job lot of 5 figures I paid £100 for.  The box also included a couple of other rare pieces.  The Rincewind Bookend had slight damage to the hat brim though.  I was lucky enough to receive Mark 4 versions of both this and the Death Bookend (see below) as a gift.

DW12 - Death Bookend - February 1991 - Closure

Made to go with the Rincewind Bookend above, the quote is from The Colour of Magic ‘Death, although of course completely eyeless, watched Rincewind disappearing with what would, had His face possessed any mobility at all, have been a frown.  Death, although exceptionally busy at all times, decided that now he had a hobby.’.
This bookend also went through various revisions leading to 4 distinct versions.  
The first version was introduced in February 1991 and was sculpted by Leigh.  The Death figure is a lovely exciting figure and although Death would supposedly be expressionless there is a clear impression of curiosity. His head is cocked to one side as though in puzzlement.  This piece was fragile however, Death is standing right away from the wall, with one hand across where his stomach would be!  The signpost to the Shades behind him is pointed, all the other versions have blunt signs.  This version was produced until January 1992 and 784 were made.
The piece was completely overhauled in mid 1991.  The hood of Deaths’ robe is further back from his face, resulting in an odd looking character, different from all the other Clarecraft Deaths.  The sign at the back has become blunted, Death is standing more straight on, looking quite chunky in the midsection!! This version was introduced in February 1992 and sold until February 1993 and 614 were made.  
In March 1993 another version was introduced as the second version was perceived to be too bland and flat and it certainly didn’t have the charm of the original piece.  The hood and face of the figure were changed, making the hood come forward more like the usual Death figures.  The rest of the figure stayed the same however.  This version lasted until July 1995 and about 1700 were made.
The final version was introduced in July 1995 and remained available until the closure of Clarecraft.  Mark 4 was a good compromise, the figure was nice and detailed and almost as charming as the original but combined with better mould life and less fragility.  On this version Deaths hand is back across his stomach with his index finger extended, his other hand is curled into a fist.  In common with the 3 later versions there are no gaps between Death and the wall.  The cowl is more over his face and looks a lot like the original.  A scythe was also added leaning against the sign  in the background in order to add strength and reduce breakages.  This version was available until the closure of Clarecraft.  
The original retail price was £35.75, by 2002 the price was £45.00.  By February 2002, 8918 of these figures had been sold meaning there are about 5820 Mark 4’s out there.
I have a Mark 1 and a Mark 4.  A relative who lives on the other side of the country bought me my Mark 1 on ebay.  It turned out that the person selling it worked in the same office as myself, saving on postage!!

Mark 1 Death and Rincewind Bookends

Luggage Bookend DW13 - February 1991 - Closure

The luggage bookend  depicts the Luggage crashing through a wall and has some lovely detail with the bricks that have fallen and gaps in the wall.  Unfortunately although I have this piece I don’t have the tent card as it came in a job lot so i don’t know the quote.
Update!!! Thankfully,as can be seen from the comment at the bottom of here, Peter was able to provide the quote! It idsfrom The Light Fantastic.  "...The luggage extended its little legs, braced itself and ran full tilt at the nearest wall. Clay bricks and dusty mortar exploded around it. Cohen peered through the hole. There was a small storeroom on the other side. The luggage stood in the middle of the floor, radiating extreme bafflement".  
I also don’t know how much this retailed at or how many were sold.  The piece has sold recently for £50-£60.

Librarian Bookend DW14 - February 1991 - February 2002

The Librarian bookend went with the Luggage bookend.  This was introduced in February 1991 and retired in February 2002.  The quote for this piece is from The Light Fantastic ‘The Librarian’s mental catalogue was ticking over perfectly.  He stopped by a soaring stack of musty books and swung himself up into the darkness.  There was the sound of rustling paper and a cloud of dust floated down to Trymon.  Then the Librarian was back, a slim volume in his hands.’.  The piece depicts the Librarian selecting a book from some shelves.  This is a lovely colourful piece.  It was sculpted by Leigh and sold 3436 pieces.  This piece was retired as unfortunately it was one of those pieces that Clarecraft were making a loss on.  A large price rise would have been necessary to bring it into profitability so it was retired instead.  The piece retailed for £56.80 throughout its availability.  This piece doesn’t come up very often so top prices are hard to come by.

Luggage and Librarian Bookends