Tuesday 4 October 2011

Death Part 1

I was at a bit of a loss of what to tackle next.  It feels like I have tackled all the nice tidy little sets of pieces and it seems such a big task.  I decided to just try and tackle groups of figures for as far as I could.  

In that spirit then I present …... The Death Set :D.  I do have a certain affection for the Discworld Death and I do seem to have a lot of pieces featuring him, but oh me oh my, I had no idea how many pieces Clarecraft made of him.  Either someone at Clarecraft also had a lot of affection for him or he just appears in situations that are so easy to visualise the pieces just suggest themselves!  This set also includes related characters.  If I include them all under the Death set then it means I don’t have to do a special set for each character.  Major characters related to Death include the Death of Rats, Quoth and Susan.  I will add others as and when they occur to me.  This again promises to be a monster post so I will be dividing it up where appropriate.  I was thinking that then I could move on to others sets of major characters such as the witches, wizards and the City Watch.  That should keep me going for a few weeks and I can always divert and do a bit on artwork or Bernard Pearson pieces.  This post lead to a lot of fun whilst trying to get my boyfriend to get the figurines out of the high cupboard where they are stored.  Comments along the lines of ‘no, not that one, the one next to it, the little skeletal rat in the black robe, thats it.  Now grab the skeleton doing the tango with the little old lady and then the one with the skeleton dressed as Father Christmas’.  I do hope the neighbours couldn’t hear!!!

I’ll start with pieces that have already been covered elsewhere:

Death Head DWE8 and Death as Beau Nidle DWE88 have both been covered in the Event Pieces Section.

Death Bookend DW12 and Death’s Study and Bathroom Bookends DW149 & DW150 are all covered in the Bookend Section.

Death on Binky DW24 and Death on a Motorcycle DW44 are both covered in the Big Pieces Section.

Death and Gaspode DWC134 is covered in the Collectors Editions Section.

And so onto the rest!!!!

Death at a Party DW05

This is a lovely comedic piece depicting Death, complete with scythe stood clutching a wine glass covered in party string :).  It was sculpted by Leigh.  I love the detail of the little mask at the bottom. The quote is from The Light Fantastic “It held a long scythe in one hand and one couldn’t help noticing that what should have been fingers were simply white bone.  The other skeletal hand held small cubes of cheese and pineapple on a stick.”.

This was one of the very first pieces produced and the earlier ones were produced prior to Clarecraft buying a pewter machine.  Therefore figures without pewter trademarks will have the original resin scythes whereas the later figurines will have pewter trademarks and scythes.  The resin scythes were very breakable though and later replacement scythes were made of pewter.   

This was introduced in February 1992 and was available until Clarecraft closed.  As these were still being produced at closure I have no numbers sold.  The original RRP was £21.99.

Death Swinging Scythe DW05a
This piece shows Death crouching as he swings his scythe, it is full of movement.  His scythe is at the back of his head and once again this is a removable scythe to cut down on breakages.
The quote is from Mort. “He stood and levelled the scythe at the fat and noisome candle that burned on the edge of the bench and then, with two deft sweeps, cut the flame into 3 bright slivers.”.

Again this is an early piece but this piece was retired before the pewter machine came on the scene so all these pieces should have resin scythes unless there is a replacement scythe.  This was one of the very early pieces so there will be some old trademarks and stickers out there.  

There are 2 versions to this piece.  One has a rounded cowl and one has a pointed cowl.  This was an oddity that was discovered late on by Trish and revealed in the February 2004 newsletter.  The photograph in the Collectors Guide is an old photograph taken before Trish took over the factory.  This shows a piece with a rounded cowl that lies close to Deaths skull.  Most of the actual pieces have a pointed cowl that sits slightly off the skull.  It is thought that the rounded cowl version was only made for a very short time in 1992, Trish believes possibly even as a prototype.  I didn’t notice any difference in the pictures to my actual piece because when I checked my piece I found that I had a round cowl version!  This was another one of the pieces I picked up in a job lot many years ago.  Most of the other pieces in the lot were also very early pieces so it seems I got lucky.  There is no sticker on the base of my figure and I knew it was an early piece as the felt on the bottom doesn’t reach right to the edges.  There is a very small circular indentation on the base of the piece with LP in it, indicating the sculptor (Leigh) and a scratched in trademark stating Clarecraft Designs.  I have taken pictures to try and show these but they are quite tiny!!

There was also an issue with the shape of Deaths robe in the early pieces. There was a production note from February 1995 stating that it was difficult to paint under the robe.  The action to be taken was to remodel the cloak and raise it at the back.  Up until February 1995 about 2500 of the pieces had been sold.  Unfortunately I only have the original version with the lower cloak so I cannot compare it to the later piece.  If anyone wants to take some piccies of their Death Swinging Scythe and send them to me for comparison I may have more chance of identifying exactly what the differences were.  I have never seen another rounded cowl version appear on ebay and I have no idea how many rounded cowls were produced.  This is not a well known oddity like the Cloakless Vetinari or wrong badge number Carrot so fewer collectors are aware.  I have been checking any of these pieces that end up on ebay since i found out about this in 2004 though and have never seen another rounded cowl appear.   If you check your figurine and find it has a rounded cowl let me know.  If you could take close up pictures of the base felt, the trademark and the robe it would also help.

This piece was introduced in February 1992 and retired in November 1998.  9174 were sold.  The original RRP was £20.45 and it retired at £21.99.  I have no idea how many rounded cowls were produced so have no idea of value for that particular version but the top price reached for this piece generally is £100 but £40-£50 is more usual.


  1. I have a rounded cowl version I think it was bought in early 90s

  2. I have a rounded cowl version too & a granny weatherwax aloft with beige tights & 3 other early pieces I have found in my loft. I had no idea how collectible these now are, until i was looking into selling them!

  3. This ebay listing has some good pictures of DW05a, including the base. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Discworld-Clarecraft-DW05A-Death-Swinging-Sycthe-very-rare-Round-Cowl-Version/333765630936?hash=item4db5fb5bd8:g:UMgAAOSws5Zfh5pO