Our antiques expert, Allan Blackburn, takes a look at one of the most successful of all childhood creations...
This week the schools have broken up and it’s all about the children. So, I thought for the next few weeks we’d take a look at children’s collectables. This week we start with the most enduring of all children’s characters: Noddy.
Never has there been a children’s character so loved and yet so controversial. Since they first appeared in 1949, the Noddy books have been under fire for promoting homosexuality and have also been accused of racism.
These adult criticisms didn’t stop Noddy selling over 120 million copies and becoming an international icon. Many of us must admit to having a fondness for this Noddy and the cheery “parp-parp!” of his red and yellow taxi.
Noddy was born when Enid Blyton ,then aged 52, was asked to write a series of books aimed at younger children. Already a successful, famous and wealthy writer of 121 published pieces, she worked quickly with Dutch illustrator Harmsen van der Beek, and in 1949 the very first Noddy book appeared. Beek died in 1953 and another artist, Robert Tyndall, took over.
Since then Noddy has appeared in pantomimes (the first being in 1954) and television programmes, and has been the subject of hundreds of annuals, picture books and pieces of merchandise.
Noddy is collectable because he was part of most of our lives and the product of one of the 20th century’s most popular writers. Early Beek-illustrated books, in particular first editions, can reach four figure sums. The same goes for original Beek illustrations, with a signed ink and watercolour of Big Ears carrying Noddy from the sea from the 1953 “Noddy At The Seaside” book fetching a hat-bell ringing £3,220 at Sotheby’s.
For those who aren’t prepared to pay thousands for a part of their childhood, smaller items like eggcups, badges and other branded items are still affordable. Keep an eye out for ceramics, very popular with collectors, as Wade figures from the fifties and sixties can now be worth around £250. Childhood experts may have condemned Noddy for decades but his charm prevails. He is as popular today as he has ever been, and as Enid herself said: “Criticism from the over-12s doesn’t count!”
We have lots of Noddy collectables at the centre that won’t break the bank. These large cuddly Noddy toys are priced between £5 and £12.