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Toy dogs go under the hammer

A collection of toy dogs and associated items are set to go under the hammer in one of the most important auctions in the history of British toy making.

Dean's auctionThe Directors of Dean’s Rag Book Company Ltd are preparing to part with over 200 items dating as far back as 1903 when the company was first founded by Henry Samuel Dean.

Dean’s Rag Book Co is famous for its collectible dolls and teddy bears; however, the toy-making giants of the 1900s were also responsible for the production of lots of historically significant toy dogs, which appeared everywhere in the form of posters, postcards, character items and a kennel of realistic dogs - so realistic, in fact, that they ‘almost require a dog license.’

Bow wow bookAccomplished military painter Stanley Berkeley provided the artwork for Dean’s dogs. He was also behind the original illustration for the company’s logo which features two dogs fighting over an ‘indestructible’ rag book.

On Wednesday 20th August 2008 toy-mad members of the public will be presented with the opportunity to own a piece of British toy-making history. There will be an array of Dean’s dogs on offer at the Vectis Auction, as well as a collection of dolls, teddy bears, royal memorabilia, catalogues and rag books.

Included in the auction will be items associated with one particularly successful toy released in the 1920s: Dismal Desmond. This gloomy Dalmatian was unhappy at being left alone in the world after the death of his owner, Miss Daisy Doodah. His character proved so popular that he became the mascot for the Wimbledon Ladies Championship and the English Cricket Team during The Ashes in 1926.

Dean's auctionTwo different sizes of a Pointer-type dog called ‘Thirsty’, due to his large tongue, are also included in this sale, alongside a paper maché shop keeper’s model of the Dean’s logo from 1936. This important example initially belonged to Richard Ellett, one of the most important and influential people in the Dean’s story; it was then passed to Mike Crane who worked for Dean’s, finally ending up with the current Directors, the Millers.

Dean’s was also responsible for producing classic advertising campaigns including the ICI Dulux Old English Sheepdog, launched in the 1980s and the timeless Andrex puppy, made in the 1970s.

Dean's auctionAnd, finally, for dog show exhibitors, there will be a wonderful press clippings book from the period 1924-26, with a marvellous picture of the Metropolitan & Essex Canine Society Champion Dog Show hled at Alexandra Palace up for grabs.