Monday, November 14, 2016


More Little Golden Books found in a thrift shop! This popular series of children's books, started by Simon and Schuster in 1942, are well known for their great illustrations, quality and affordability. and  Many of the Little Golden Books have become bestsellers, with editions dealing with nature and science, Bible stories, nursery rhymes, and fairy tales and derived from TV shows and movie tie-ins like Sesame Street,  Disney, Looney Tunes, Barbie, Cheyenne, Wagon Train, Rin Tin Tin, Captain Kangaroo, and even Donny and Marie Osmond Show. Collecting Little Golden Books has not  caught on in the Philippines, owing to the unfamiliar subjects of the books, but for someone like me who grew up exposed to American TV shows, the books hold a special nostalgic appeal.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


A very rare 1962 McHale's Navy board game recently surfaced in a local thrift shop in Kamuning, and I lost no time in reserving it. In the U.S., even with missing parts, this rarely seen board game would be worth about $30 or more. The board game is based on the TV comedy sitcom of the same title, starring Ernest Borgnine (as Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale) and Tim Conway (as Ensign Charles Parker) , that aired from 1962-1966 on ABC TV Network, 
The boardgame, made by Transogram  allows a player to take turns drawing a card from the supply deck and move one space. If a player announces he has a pair or more, he is entitled to Bonus Moves. You may bluff announcing a pair, three of a kind or four of a kind. The other players may challenge and if the bluffer has the cards he make make the bonus moves and the challenger moves back 4 spaces.
If the player is bluffing and doesn't have the cards, he moves back 4 spaces. In addition there are instruction cards that move all ships ahead and penalty instruction cards that move the player backwards. In addition there is a cardboard torpedo which can be fired to move ahead. The winner is the first player to cross the finish line.

Friday, September 30, 2016


One of my favorite Western stars was Gene Autry (b.1907/d.1998), the cowboy performer who first sang the popular Xmas carol,"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer". In fact, turned many Christmas songs into hits, including "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", his own composition "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Frosty the Snowman". I have "Rudolph" among my old records somewhere.
 Autry appeared in over 93 films from the 30s thru the 50s,  and in his own  "The Gene Autry Show" TV series. He personified the straight-shooting hero—honest, brave, and true, and became a role model for many American kids.
He also had a huge hit with a weekly show on CBS Radio, Gene Autry's Melody Ranch. His horse, Champion, also had a CBS-TV and Mutual radio series, T"he Adventures of Champion." As always, his shows generated merchandise that kids went crazy for--from coloring books, Little Golden Books, paper dolls, toy guns, character watches, children's and play guitars. 
Gene Autry was never famous in the Philippines, but somehow, Autry items found their way here, like these assorted books which made good reading for young cowboys (and a nice collection for the Western collector).

Sunday, September 18, 2016


I've always been a feline fan, so when I saw this vintage squeeze toy, I knew I had to bring it home at once! It was made by Edward Mobley Co. Arrow Rubber Plastic Corp. in 1960, and is known as Sleepy Eyed Squeaky Cat.
This rubber cat is over 9 inches long, and has a close-open eye mechanism similar to those outfitted on dolls. The blue-eyed cat also has a head that can be twisted and posed.
The Arrow Rubber and Plastic Corp. was a custom molding company that made standard body assemblies for toys and dolls, e.g., arms, legs, and bodies in the 1950s and 1960s. They also manufactured toys licensed by Edward Mobley. J.L. Prescott Co. purchased the Arrow Rubber and Plastic Corp. in 1968, changing its name to Arrow Molded Products, a division of J.L. Prescott Company.
They also manufactured toys licensed by Edward Mobley. J.L. Prescott Co. purchased the Arrow Rubber and Plastic Corp. in 1968, changing its name to Arrow Molded Products, a division of J.L. Prescott Company.

Monday, September 12, 2016

372. Politics is a Game: 1965 MACAPAGAL-ROXAS CHECKER BOARD

An artifact from the national elections of 1965 is this lawanit checkerboard game, given away by the Liberal Party--headed by the re-electionist President Diosdado p. Macapagal and his VP bet, Gerry Roxas, father of presidential wannabe, Mar Roxas. This well-worn political memorabilia also features the party's senatorial slate--Ramon Bagatsing, Cesar Climaco, Ramon Diaz, Sergio Osmena Jr., Alejandro Roces, Jovito Salonga, and Lucas Paredes, The party was no match to the up and coming former Senate president Ferdinand Marcos and team mate Fernando Lopez, who trounced them convincingly at the polls. Only 2 of the LP best got senatorial seats too. Marcos would stay in power for over 2 decades and for his opponents--it was back to the gameboard!

Sunday, September 4, 2016


For quick pick-ups, pick up a couple of Cokes in a nifty 6-bottle aluminum carrier from the 50s. Found in an local online ad, the Coke bottle carrier has a stamped  "Drink Coca Cola" graphics on the body with a wooden handle.
This is a rarely-seen U.S. made version as the most common carriers available are all-aluminum with a wire handle. Vintage aqua Coke bottles are shown snuggly fitted into this portable midcentury Coca Cola relic-- a great memento of those times when all it took was a Coke to refresh you best!

Monday, August 29, 2016


Buttons up!
A handful of pinbacks and buttons mostly with nationalistic and poltical themes--TOP: A Philippine seal enamel button (1960s), a Red Cross button (1920s), a LABAN sign pin (1980s), Teves for Senator pinback (Lorenzo Teves, elected as senator in 1967, appointed governor of Negros Oriental in 1978), and "Iboto Natin si Mercado" (unidentified political candidate, 1960s.).

Sunday, August 14, 2016

369. FREE BOOKS!! McDonald's, Maggi and Esso Collecti-Books

Wonderful premiums for children all! From McDonald's comes a Ronald McDonald Coloring Book with a few coloring pages, fro the 1980s. Maggi Rich Mami Noodles also came out with its own activity book of Nursery Rhymes with games and dot-to-dot pages (I saved this while working for Nestle; in fact, I illustrated a few pages). And lastly, a 1960s Esso Coloring Book featuring the "Tiger in your tank" mascot, with a promo to match! These should make kids busy and keep them quiet...until the next boredom attack!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

368. Advertique: '60s PEPSI 'The Big One" STORE SIGN

A well-preserved piece of Filipiniana merchandising for the other softdrink icon--Pepsi Cola. In the mid 60s, Pepsi came out with a bigger size bottle and came up with the solgan--The Big One--to describe it. A barong-clad Filipino holding a Pepsi bottle became the trade character of the campaign, always shown alongside the red-white-and-blue Pepsi logo. For just 12 centavos, one could enjoy the big taste of Pepsi--"Big size. Big value. Big refreshment"--so went the advertising.
The image and the slogan were widely used in print ads and merchandising materials, like this sari-sari store sign flange in good-to-fair condition. The frame of the the painted tin sign is still intact, and it dates from 1966. Of course, modern exterior store signs are now made of framed tarpaulin or canvass. Though lighter, they are less durable than this Pepsi tin sign that has managed to retain its vibrant colors after half-a-century.  And still to this day, everyone continues to enjoy "The Big One'--Pepsi Cola!

Thursday, May 19, 2016


An old and small glass-fronted counter cabinet makes an excellent display to my miniatures, figurines, and small collectibles--bottle, bisque dolls, advertising premiums, coin banks, cake toppers. Whenever I go home with small, but precious finds, I dunk everything in here. Space-saving and neat!!Now where did I put my car keys??

Sunday, April 17, 2016

366. I'm A-Coming For You!!!: TALKING BEANY MATTEL DOLL,1961

Remember Beany and the sea-sick sea serpent, Cecil?  The unlikely duo was an animated cartoon series created by Bob Clampett for the ABC Television, based on the TV puppet show Time for Beany, produced for Paramount Pictures in 1949. The cartoon series first appeared in Matty's Funday Funnies in 1959, and peaked in popularity in the 60s as The Beany and Cecil Show.
Many toys were inspired by this hit cartoon--including the best-selling Beany and Cecil puppets. This Mattel-made talking doll of Beany is another fine example, showing minimal wear and nice intact seams. Made in 1961, Beany still talks, although he says his name in jibberish. His trademark beanycopter propeller is there, although broken. This awesome doll was purchased on ebay--with 2 bonus plastic tumblers of Beany and Cecil thrown in!!

Monday, April 11, 2016


S.S.President McKinley was a president liner operated by the Dollar Steamship Lines that served the world--from Boston in the U.S., Asia and Europe--under Commander Robert E.Carey U.S.N.R.. The passenger ship also served Manila, and to to go from the Philippines to the U.S. in the 1930, a passenger had to board the ship in the capital city, then proceed to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kobe, Yokohama, Honolulu, Seattle, then to San Francisco. To get to the East Coast, the ship had to proceed down to Balboa,through the Panama Canal, then Havana and finally to New York or Boston.
The long and arduous trip was somehow made pleasant with a delicious all-day menu that featured an array of breakfast items--fresh Philippine mangos and rice included.
A souvenir inkwell was presented to passengers--made from real Philippine shells. The figure of the sailing steamship is hand-painted on a mother-of-pearl shell backdrop, while the inkbottle rests on a sandy base, with more shells--small tritons and clams. Found in an estate sale, these 1930s  transport collectibles are nostalgic mementos of the great era of shipping---when the most adventurous way to see the world was to get on board a ship, and sail the seas!!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

364. Dish and That: MINIATURE TOY DISHES

Another pretty set of Made-in-Japan children's toy tableware--consisting of cups, saucers, creamer, and plates. Nicely hand-painted with floral motifs, these loose pieces are individually marked with "JAPAN". The custom of manufacturing small bowls, mugs and plates began in Europe--mainly  in England, France and Germany, after 1760. Items were smaller in size than their adult counterparts, though there was no one standard size.In the U.S., toy dishes manufacturing peaked from the 1920s-40s.Japanese companies also produced fine children's dishes around this time--and these examples are from that period. After World War II, inexpensive Japanese imports flooded the market, made of other materials like tin and plastic. Once for playing, wee-size antique  children's dishes have become sought-after collectibles, with one set of miniature china going for about $1,000 in a U.S. auction!!!

Monday, March 28, 2016

363. Ghost of our Childhood Past: TALKING CASPER

 "Casper, the friendly ghost...the friendliest ghost you know.."
Remember the Harvey Famous Cartoon's friendliest ghost, Casper? He was one of my favorite TV cartoon characters and Saturday mornings aren't just complete without him. To think he was a dead person!! Conceived in the 1930s, by cartoonist Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo, he was designed to become one of the most famous properties from Famous Studios.  Soon, comics of him were being published by Alfred Harvey, founder and publisher of Harvey Comics who eventually purchased the rights to the character. New cartoons were created for The New Casper Cartoon Show in 1963,  These cartoons remain important today because of the messages they imparted: the values of friendship, compassion, and acceptance of others.
The popularity of Casper generated many collectible merchandise---from toys, coloring books, gameboards to this adorable 15" Casper Doll,  a 1963 Original by Mattel. It's a pull-string talking Casper who says 10 different things: "My Name is Casper". "Ooooooh. Let's play ghost." "I like you." "I'm a friendly ghost. Don't be afraid of me". "I'm not afraid. I'm cold. Can I stay with you?" "Will you play with". me?. 

Casper was resurrected as a movie in 1995, with live action and voice characters, starring Devon Sawa as Casper in human form. I have seen the movie of course, but it's the Harvey 'toon that I miss. Thank God, Casper  has come back to haunt me in the form of this talking doll--found in a local thrift shop. The voice is a bit garbled, the body shoddy and worn, but he is still loveable after all these years. Unlike grownups, old ghosts never die, they just become friendlier with age!!! !!

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Remember the American boy band, New Kids on the Block (NKOTB)? Donnie, Danny, Jonathan, Jordan and Joey sent teenyboppers screaming whenever they took to the stage, did their dance grooves as they belted out their hit songs that included Step-by-Step, Please Don't Go Girl, Baby I Believe In You, Hangin' Tough and This One's For Children. By the1990s, they were one of the most popular acts in music, even beating out Madonna and Prince. Their merchandising machine churned out books, comics, buttons, lunch boxes--and this set of NKOTB dolls manufactured by Hasbro. But by 1995, rocked with allegations of lip synching and diverging interests, the group started to break-up until they disbanded. These 2 dolls (Jordan and Danny) --found in a used toy shop--are mementos of their heyday--when they were at the top of their game ast international hitmakers. I am missing the 3 other boys though.  Things are looking up for NKOTB fans when, in 2008, they had reunion concerts, and by 2013, the group was on tour again, in a new attempt to try to regain their popularity--Step-by-Step!

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Recently seen at an estate sale---assorted domestic ware--mostly vintage thermos, water dispensers, kettles and enamel ware,from the 50s and 60s.
Of interest are these two insulated water jugs. The example below even has a faucet spout and has a porcelain inner core, lined with cork. The aluminum caps date the 2 from the 50s.
A water kettle is another great example of utilitarian enamelware that were made cheaply and mass-produced since the mid 1800s. This midcentury kettle shows signs of use but is in stable condition, despite years of oven-use. I wonder how many cups of hot water for coffee or tea has been boiled in this kitchenware!
I wasn't really interested in such wares but this goes to show the range of items now being sold as collectible--to be used again, perhaps, by some vintage-minded fellow, in his vintage kitchen of his vintage home!

Friday, March 4, 2016


A wonderful grouping of display figurines and European-made doll miniatures offered for sale by a dealer-collector. I was tempted to get a few, but promised to come back to wipe them all. I was particularly drawn to the little jointed dolls made of bisque, with mohair wigs that could be posed and play with, despite the delicacy of the material. Some were imperfect, with broken limbs, all nicely painted.

Dolls of these kinds are rare in the Philippines because they were rather expensive, way beyond ordinary means of families. The figurines are also of the same material, depicting family scenes and character figures like a fishing boy, grandpa on a chair and dancing ladies. Now, if only i could find a nice little cabinet to house hem all in. That's for another hunt!!

Monday, February 22, 2016


I had no idea what this Monkees memento was---I have seen Monkees comic books, vinyl boxes, Monkeemobile cars---but a Monkees wallet? It certainly was my first time to see one--and it was being offered by a collectibles shop on facebook! I googled for more information, and sure enough, my search led me to an auction site with a similar example. Turns out that this is a very rare 1966 wallet made by Mattel  (c) Raybert Productions Inc. It measures 3.5 x 4.25 inches, folded. The purse has a ball chain attached to a zipper. It has plastic sleeves for photos, slots for a comb and emory board and an insert for a small mirror, and even plastic change counter to hold loose coins.
The wallet is wildly illustrated with the caricatures of the 4 Monkees, with facsimile signatures--Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones--surfing and playing their instruments. The Monkees Guitar logo appears at the top.The TV-manufactured band rose to prominence thru their hit series, "The Monkees", which found fame from 1965-1971. A pristine example offered by Hake's Americana Auctions was sold for $261 in 2005. This does not even come close to how much I paid for this wallet--true, it was missing the clasp (I had a replacement done at a shoe repair shop), but the graphics are complete and the rest of the parts intact. This rare Monkees collectible is proof that you can still find the proverbial needle in the haystack, so now I have become--what else-- a Daydream Believer!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

358. Boxed: THE BEATLES

The Holy Grail of lunchbox collecting has got to be this original Beatles Lunchbox that dates back from 1965by Aladdin Industries. It has great embossed panels which feature the faces and facsimile signature of the Liverpool lads, Paul McCartney,John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. Lunchboxes in pristine condition can go for as much as $1,000!! Without the thermo, the box can still command more than $300!
Beatles Lunchboxes, even at those stratospheric prices, are easily snapped up by both boxers and Beatles memorabilia collectors. Locally, it is next to impossible to find these pop culture boxes--I have only seen 2 of them for sale here, with one rusty example carrying a Php20,000 price tag at a collectible show.
This lunchbox in fine condition, was purchased for just a fraction of that price from a local thrift  shop that specializes in used U.S. flea market goods. The items are shipped on a regular basis in several balikbayan boxes, and are promoted thru its facebook page--which was how I came to know of this rare lunchbox.
It now sits on a shelf along with my Osmonds and Bee Gees lunchboxes (I'm still missing the Monkees), my collecting tribute to the bands and their music I grew up with. John and Geroge may have passed on, but this Beatles box--with their four young happy faces--is a constant reminder of the force of the fab Four, and how they rocked and rolled our world.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

357. Igorot Art: MAN ON A CARABAO

There was a time that it was fashionable for every home to have a woodcarved souvenir from the northern highlands. Baguio in the 1930s had many homegrown shops that sold carved figures of wood, created by skilled, yet self-taught Igorot natives.
The best-sellers were the ubiquitous giant spoon and fork that hanged on dining room walls. Then, there were also the ethnic tribal busts, always carved in pair--an Igorot and an Igorota--hewn from medium and heavy wood. The spear-wielding full body carving of an Igorot headhunter holding the head of his dismembered victim, was also a favorite piece.This 1950s figure, showing a man astride a carabao,  is less commonly seen. It almost looks like a lowland Filipiniana piece, until one sees the rider dressed in loin-cloth, clearly a mountain man from Igorotlandia.
It is a meticulously crafted piece--from the facial detailing of the man with his saucer-bowl haircut, to the carabao's furry hide, accomplished  by scratching the body with thousands of shallow knife marks. Mid-century decorative pieces such as this have started appearing in antique stores, as more traditional ethnic carvings such become scarcer. They are still plentiful and cheap--but look for the ones made of heavy wood and with characteristic minute detailing. Commercial figural vintage Igorot carvings are the new "bulols"!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

356. Let's Do the Horsey-Horsey! MOBO HORSE

Giddyap!! Here is a pressed-metal horse I got online--it's called a Mobo Horse, which sought to replace the more popular wooden rocking horses. These ride-on horses were inexpensively produced by a factory in Kent, England, from the 1940s through the '60s. The bestseller was a Mobo Bronco made by D. Sebel & Co., which began as a metalworking firm in the 1920s,
As the child astride the horse pushed down and then released the flat metal "stirrup" pedals, the horse bounced up and down, and wheels hidden under the hooves propelled it forward. In the 1950s, a steering mechanism was added, and by pushing down on just one pedal, the horse could be turned in that direction. This Mobo is the steerable version, and measures 30 inches tall.This example has been repainted but has all its parts almost intact (missing harness).

So, put on your riding boots...and join me on the first part of the journesy--in my horse with a name--MOBO!

Monday, January 25, 2016


Now here's an interesting tin calendar I got in Bangkok, while I was working there. It is actually a relatively recent calendar from the 1995, but with a vintage feel--courtesy of the period picture of the lady who, I believe was Miss Thailand of 1954--Khun Sucheela Sinsomboon, (thanks, my dear Thai friend, K. Oraya Imchuen for the ID!). 
A quick online search yielded an actual photo of the beautifu; Sucheela. Does she know she is being used to endorse a modern shop? Or maybe she is the shopowner's relative. We will never know.
Likewise, the shop from where this calendar came from has been also identified--Seng Sieang Li--a gold jewellery store. Twenty one years after I got this, I wonder if the shop is still around. Or if MissSucheela is still around after all these years. That's for another friend in Bangkok to find outfor me!

Monday, January 18, 2016

354. MISS UNIVERSE BEAUTIES IN MANILA: A Souvenir Program--with Autographs!

Eat your heart out, beauty pageant aficionados!
Look what I got? A 1964 souvenir program of the Miss Universe Beauties on Parade show at the Araneta Coliseum! With many photos of teh world beauties...autographed! Yes, 1963 was the year that Miss Philippines reached the finals of Miss Universe--with Lalaine Bennett finishing 4th after Argentinian winner, Norma Nolan. Part of their world tour included a stop in the Philippines, where Miss Universe and her retinue were presented in a lavish spectacle of beauty,music and dance.
The lovely Norma Nolan is the first and only Argentinian beauty to be crowned Miss Universe, and she is featured prominently in the first pages of the magazine. A photo page has her written dedication to a fan, with her autographed name.
Miss Philippines Lalaine Bennett , 3rd Runner Up, also has a page dedicated to her, along with Miss Korea, who placed 5th in the 1963 Miss Universe Pageant. Both have dedications inscribed with their signatures.
Other world beauties include Miss Germany and Miss Denmark--who was also a runner-up in Nolan's court. American state beauties also came over to participate in a rare gathering of feminine pulchritude from the world over. Collecting pageant memorablia has become a big thing in pageant-crazy Philippines, more so with the latest victory of Pia Wurztbach as 2016 Miss Universe,so maybe it's wise to stash those newspapers and magazines proclaiming the news of her victory, as they will be collectibles of the future. As our country's 2nd Miss Universe said--"Being Miss Universe is transitory, but being a Filipina is permanent!".  So hold on to those ephemera, before they fade away!