WWI Wilkinson Toby Jugs, ca. 1917
My grandfather sort of disappeared one weekend and he went to Ottawa and he came home with these. And we really never knew too much about it. We didn't know what he paid for them or anything like that. And then when he passed away in 1981, we found a letter that he had written to Staffordshire in England. And in the letter, he told them that they had come from a member of Parliament or something in Canada that had passed away and they were in his estate.
Hmm. Well, what you have here is a set of Toby jugs. Toby jugs originated in the late 18th century and they were usually satirical or comical depictions of famous literary, political, social characters. And it's something that has continued all the way to the present. And these are depictions of the various political and military leaders of the Allied forces of World War I. Each one of them shows various characteristics of their country, of their military forces, and we'll use this one here as an example. This is Foch, and he actually is French. On the marks on the bottom, we can see that it was made by the Wilkinson Company, which is one of the Staffordshire companies. We've got the name of the retailer in London where they were bought when they were new and the signature of the designer. They are very well designed and very well made. They're all hand-painted, incredibly detailed, and that adds to the value now. There's a lot of sloppy, ugly, poorly made Toby jugs, but these are so well made and so interesting and so colorful that it adds tremendously to the value. These don't come up very much in the United States, but they do come up occasionally in England. There's a few that do have some minor condition problems, which of course hurts the value a little bit. For instance, this one here, we can look... we can see that the handle at one point has been broken off and put back on and repainted. And that, of course, will affect the value somewhat. Actually, I estimate that your set is worth somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000, which is really a nice amount.
Wish my grandfather was here to know how well he'd done.
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