Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Best of 2007 Pt. 1

It's getting more challenging to pick the best because Oz collectibles have been getting better and better every year. I had to ask Karen Owens and Jim Whitcomb for their opinions. Karen has been an Oz retailer for many years and Jim is a long time collector with a genuine love of Oz. Not surprisingly they both gave it up for the green girl. She's getting more attention than ever and her cohorts are starting to make more appearances. I think in the coming years we'll be seeing more "minor" Oz characters pushed to the forefront.

Made in editions of 350 pieces, the 10" Coquettes of Elphaba and Glinda sold out very quickly. The dolls were introduced at IDEX in January and many retailers who waited a month later for Toy Fair missed out. No stranger to Broadway, the Alexander Doll Company has been producing dolls based on theatre personalities since 1952. Last year Alexander tackled the newest sensation from the Great White Way, Wicked. The first two dolls from the collection were featured on the cover of the July 2007 issue of Doll Reader. Elphaba's olive skinned beauty has been difficult to capture properly on film. Both dolls are 10 times more gorgeous when seen in person. Elphaba's Act II dress and Glinda's bubble gown are meticulously reproductions of Susan Hilferty's Tony winning costume designs.

Yes, I'm a little biased because I love Looney Tunes and Hallmark. These little guys just scream fun. I am pleased to say the Looney Halloween ornaments sold out faster than the Disney ones.

My other pick is Toto's Great Escape. To the delight of Oz fans we're starting to see more & more flying monkeys independent of the Wicked Witch. This ornament was very limited but luckily it wasn't as hard to find as first thought. As the 70th anniversary quickly approaches, Hallmark is one place to keep an eye on.

Disney and Oz, another great combination! The Mickey's Magical Time in Oz figurine and display set was designed by Disney artists for the Hamilton Collection. The figurines are interchangeable and measure from 2 1/2" to 4 1/4" tall. The display stands at 6 1/2" tall.

Hawthorne Village gave us two long awaited pieces last year. The Wizard of Oz Collectible Sculpture is a double sided miniature capturing Dorothy's arrival in Oz and her tearful departure on the reverse. The scenes light up and include 10 figurines that can be moved around. It measures 12 1/2" wide by 7 1/2"tall.

My favorite of the two is the 'Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch Castle'. You can relive the capture of Dorothy & Toto by the flying monkeys as the Wicked Witch circles overhead proclaiming "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!" There have been a couple of Wicked Witch castle pieces produced, but this is the best one in my opinion. The sculpture also lights up and is made of hand painted resin. It measures 9" wide by 12 1/2" tall.

Some of my very favorite Oz pieces by far are by Jim Shore. He has won numerous awards from the collectibles community for his amazing stone resin work. He draws inspiration from various decorative techniques including rosmaling, applique', and quilting and had integrated these sources of inspiration into his Wonderful Wizard of Oz Collection very successfully. The pieces measure 6 3/4" - 8 1/2" tall. The displayer is 9" tall by 13" long and reads 'Follow the Road Paved with Yellow Bricks'. Warner Brothers really needs to grant license to Jim Shore. He does wonders with the Disney characters and there's no doubt he can do the same for MGMs.

Since their Oz series started, Lenox has been delivering excellence consistently. I suspect their new Wizard figurine is an early contender for my best of 2008. No Wicked Witch lover will want to be without 2007's An Evil Spell is Cast. It plays 'We're Off to See the Wizard' and stands at 10" tall. All of Lenox's figurines are china with 24K gold accents.