Sunday 18 November 2012

1938 Canadian Quarter

Recently, the numismatics department uncovered a small trove of pre-1960 Canadian quarters. Out of dozens of specimens this coin was the oldest found in the trove, and is dated 1938. As such, the obverse side of the coin is graced with a portrait of King George VI, and the reverse side of the coin the iconic Caribou. The numismatics department estimates the coin is in (VG-8) Very Good condition, i.e. very worn, but with all major design elements clear, if faint.
The beauty of the Canadian 25-cent piece from this era, aside from the visual aesthetics, is the fact that they are composed of 80% silver. Since the weight of a quarter is 5.83 grams, 80% of that is 4.66 grams of pure silver. And, with a gram of silver at $1.04 CDN, the quarter, with its face value of only 25 cents, is worth $4.85 CDN in silver content alone. Added to that is the vintage of the coin, which, at 74 years of age and in this condition, adds at least 50% to its value.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Shipwreck Beetlejuice Action Figure

This action figure is from the Beetlejuice series, produced by Kenner from 1989-1990, and based on the movie of the same name. A 1988 American comedy/horror/fantasy film directed by Tim Burton, the plot of Beetlejuice revolves around a recently deceased young couple who become ghosts haunting their former home and an obnoxious, devious "bio-exorcist" named Betelgeuse from the underworld who tries to scare away the new human inhabitants. This example, Shipwreck Beetlejuice, is still in its unopened original packaging. Unlike some figures from this line, Shipwreck Beetlejuice did not have a removable head. Instead, if you were to squeeze his legs together, his arms would fly up and tentacles would leap from his head!
Kenner Products was a toy company founded in 1947 by three brothers, Albert, Phillip, and Joseph L. Steiner, in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, and was named after the street where the original corporate offices were located. Kenner introduced popular toys such as the Easy-Bake Oven in 1963, and the Spirograph drawing toy in 1966. After Kenner acquired the license to produce Star Wars toys when the Mego Corporation rejected it in 1976, Kenner popularized the 3.75 inch action figure that became an industry standard. One of their most highly acclaimed lines was the Super Powers Collection, produced from 1984 to 1986, and based on superheroes of DC Comics. Another popular action figure lines in the late 1980s was Kenner's The Real Ghostbusters, based on the 1986-1991 animated series adaptation of the 1984 feature film.

Thursday 8 November 2012

The Tragedy of Grease-pencil

There are often 'collectible' books hidden among the stacks in used book stores, flea markets and estate sales. Sometimes, unfortunately, the seller has used grease-pencil to scrawl the price of the book across its cover, a horrible, disfiguring act. Not only reducing the overall condition of the book, the grease-pencil ends up defacing what can often be beautiful cover art. Although it can be argued that a true collectible book should never be restored under any circumstances, a mass market paperback of the type that is still very affordable would not be significantly degraded by a quick cleaning! But grease-pencil has always been a formidable adversary.
So when a stash of old Doc Savage novels, those published by Bantam throughout the sixties, seventies, and eighties was unearthed at an old going-out-of-business book store, the grease-pencil disfiguration had to be addressed! As an example, I present a copy of "Devil on the Moon", defaced with a scarring "495". To combat this, the Bibliophilia department used a paper towel moistened with a drop of olive oil and gently rubbed it onto the grease-pencil mark. Almost instantly the grease-pencil began to dissolve! Then, with a spare paper towel, the olive oil was dabbed off, taking most of the grease-pencil with it! Although not recommended for all types of paper, this technique worked wonders on the card stock cover of a paperback!