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What's It Worth?

Bulldog With a Historic Bite

October 14, 2000|KATHY BRYANT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

WHAT IS IT?

A 5-inch-high ceramic Royal Doulton bulldog wearing a derby hat draped in a Union Jack.

WHAT'S THE LEGEND?

San Clemente resident Dixie Ford Sundberg's father gave this to her. "I believe it was purchased during World War II and it seems to be reminiscent of Winston Churchill. I would love to know its value, though it is not for sale," she says.

WHAT'S ITS HISTORY?

Depicting British figures such as Churchill was first popularized in the 1880s and 1890s by James Hadley for Royal Worcester. After he died, Charles Noke (1858-1941), who had trained under Hadley at Worcester, joined Doulton in 1889 and introduced figures similar to Hadley's.

Noke was responsible for designing popular characters from Dickens' novels. This proved to be very lucrative because collectors bought characters in sets.

WHY IS IT POPULAR TODAY?

These figures and others like them are collectible because they're mementos of European trips and are quirky and amusing.

Especially popular are the Toby mugs by Doulton and their Bunnykin series.

WHAT'S IT WORTH TODAY?

Dorie Wheatcroft, owner of Crofton Antiques in Costa Mesa, says this figure is worth about $1,700.

"We specialize in Royal Doulton figures and I've never seen one like this. In researching it, I found it was issued in 1941 and that the designer was Charles Noke. If this figure had been 7 inches high, it would have been worth $3,500. A smaller, 3-inch one, retails for $1,250."

As with all collectibles, the value is determined by age, color, detail and condition.

WHERE CAN LEARN MORE?

Wheatcroft recommends the book "Royal Doulton Animals: The Charlton Standard Catalog," ($24.95, Charlton International Inc.). Royal Doulton also has a Web site at http://www.royal-doulton.co.uk. Internet auction sites such as Yahoo and eBay have many examples of Royal Doulton figures, ranging from $5 to $6,000.

* To have an item considered for this column, send information, a photograph of it and a phone number to: What's It Worth?, Home Design, Los Angeles Times Orange County edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

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