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!