How to collect... advice for beginners from an expert

03 September 2009
imports_CCGB_therare20pencepiecew_84224.gif The rare 20 pence piece with no date
Read our secrets about what to collect with advice on all aspects - from winners to duds! ...
How to collect... advice for beginners from an expert Images


What to collect – Vicky recommends...

Collecting Steiff keyrings. This is a brilliant, cost-effective way of finally owning that Steiff teddy bear you’ve always dreamed about. Steiff’s range of keyrings starts at just £9.95 and is available from Steiff stockists around the country.

They include dozens of animals including bears, cats, farm animals and wild animals, which are all beautifully made. Steiff also produces a more prestigious range of mohair keyrings, and the miniature bears in particular are exceptionally well made.

Again, there are lots of wonderful animals in this range, with prices being a little more, at around £28. It may seem a lot for a keyring but they could be used for special keys, such as for a jewellery box or a safe, or even be clipped to a wardrobe or dressing table handle.

They also make excellent companions when attached to your handbag! I think these miniature animals are stunning, and when collecting starts taking over your house, it’s always nice to find something small.

Quality is the key to collecting, and I think these little Steiff pieces are first class. Look out for the miniature gift bags that some stores give away with them, to keep the keyrings and bags in pristine condition for future value.

Collecting cat figurines – bargain buys 

As regular readers will know, I am cat mad, and at a recent boot fair I added to my ever-expanding collection of kitty collectables. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it and didn’t care how much it cost.

The piece was of a bed piled high with cats, which is just what my bed looks like on a regular basis. After my cat had kittens which I couldn’t part with, my cat population has grown, but unfortunately my bed hasn’t.

My long-suffering other half often has to sleep on the edge of the bed and will grumble in the night, ‘Can you turn the cats off now please?’ as the purring is so loud
that he can‘t get to sleep!

Robert Harrop Orinoco imageThe lady I bought the tableau from said she used to have the same problem and was pleased that the figure was going to a cat-filled home. I paid just £2 for it and I absolutely adore it. Made by Enesco in the late ’90s, the design is by the American artist Donna Little. Donna’s work is more widely known across the pond, with cats, rabbits, mice and frogs being her speciality.

It is not a hugely valuable piece – I expect I would get £15-£20 for it if I decided to sell. would be the ideal place to sell it, as it would reach the American buyers that it requires.

Another great buy was a Robert Harrop Womble (pictured). I picked Orinoco up for just £1.50 and he is in mint condition and even has his box. Robert Harrop introduced the Wombles in 1999 and produced 14 figures along with a collection plaque.

The popular characters Madame Cholet and Great Uncle Bulgaria were included, along with Wellington and Tobermory. Robert Harrop ceased production of the Wombles in 2000, so pieces are hard to come by today.

Content continues after advertisements

Orinoco is a popular character, but prices for this piece are currently only around £10-£15 on the secondary market. However, pieces like this are worth hanging on to for a while, especially as they were only produced for one year.

Names like Robert Harrop and the Wombles combined equal a fabulous collectable, but with times as they are, prices just aren’t what they should be. I will put Orinoco on top of my wardrobe for a while and get him down in a few years’ time when I’m convinced he will make me an excellent profit.

A collectable for the future– buy before it booms…

The Noddy series by Royal Worcester. These figures, which were still current before Royal Worcester was bought by Portmeirion, are wonderful to collect for the future.

Almost everyone loves Enid Blyton’s Noddy characters, with Big Ears, Mr Plod and Tessie Bear being particular favourites. Royal Worcester has captured the characters perfectly and the colours are wonderfully vibrant as if they’ve just stepped off the page.

It is unknown if Portmeirion will continue production of the Noddy series at present, so now is the time to buy. Just like Wade’s figures from the 1950s, in years to come these Worcester examples could also be fetching hundreds of pounds. Keep them in mint condition and hold on to their original boxes and you could be on to a winner.

Latest collecting news

Next time you see a 20 pence piece, make sure it has a date on it before you spend it. If it hasn’t got a date, you could have something worth up to £50 – or more! The coins were produced in error by the Royal Mint at Llantrisant, near Cardiff, and it is thought that between 50,000 and 200,000 have been put into circulation.

The date on the new 20p was moved from the ‘tails’ to the ‘heads’ side when the country’s coins were re-designed last year. However, the coins with the missing date were created when the new ‘tails’ side was paired with the old ‘heads’ accidentally, which meant no date appeared at all.

A Royal Mint spokesperson said: “The Royal Mint can confirm that a small number of new design 20 pence coins have been incorrectly struck using the obverse from the previous design, resulting in these coins having no date.
It is the first time in 300 years that a British coin has entered circulation without a date so they are going to be extremely popular with collectors around the world. The Royal Mint spokesperson added: “The issue has now been resolved and the Royal Mint would like to reassure members of the public that these coins are
legal tender.”

Legal tender they might be, but it would be most unwise to use them for their face value. Coin experts are predicting that in a few years’ time they might fetch anything up to £200! So go and find your purse right now and check your small change, as it could be worth more than you think!