July 2021

 

Welcome to our July 2021 Newsletter

 

Organ Grinder and Monkey - new release

 

We are very excited to share with you our latest Town and Around release - Organ Grinder with Monkey.

A common sight (and sound) on 19th century street corners, the organ grinder made his way through the town each day, playing a limited repertoire of popular songs: each one was programmed into the street organ meaning that the song was cranked out of it, rather than played.

The most beautiful street organs were made in Italy, and Italian organ manufacturers sprang up in other parts of Europe and the US as Italians emigrated. By 1880 it is reported that up to one in 20 Italian men in New York were organ grinders, working to support their families.

David has carefully sculpted this figure based on a print of an Italian organ grinder, and designed the paint colours in keeping with what would have been the style at the time. As well as the figure, the organ itself has called for particular sculpting skill and balance to ensure its weight is correctly placed. Lisa's fine painting talent has ensured that the Tyrolean mountains of the organ grinder's homeland are depicted on the front organ panels in incredible detail.

What about the monkey? Organ grinders commonly kept a tame capuchin monkey to provide entertainment, carry out tricks, and collect coins from passersby. Our tiny little monkey is small enough to climb up and sit on the organ - a prime position.

TA72 Organ Grinder and Monkey

We have fielded a few requests from collectors to provide them with small samples of paint so that they can touch up minor imperfections due to figures being dropped or damaged, or Imperial pieces they have purchased on the secondary market that have arrived in a state of ill-repair.

We are reluctant to do this, for two reasons - the practical reason and the principled reason.

The practical reason is that especially with old sets, it will be nearly impossible to match the paint colour. This is because changes in paint suppliers (and the colours produced by those suppliers) and the likelihood that older sets will have faded as a result of exposure to UV light mean that an exact colour match is only a remote possibility.

The principled reason is that we take the view that Imperial figures are beautiful little pieces of art and should not be altered in any way, including being touched up, by anyone other than the original artist. From a collector's perspective, if we were to purchase a piece on the secondary market only to discover that the previous owner had touched up some paintwork, we would be likely to consider that a "flaw", ie, worse than normal wear and tear, which should be disclosed by the seller and would then be reflected in the price.

For those reasons, there are only very limited circumstances in which we would consider sending out paint samples to collectors. We are of course very happy to receive damaged items for restoration, regardless of where and when you purchased it - at our cost, if the items have been damaged during shipping from us.

On the subject of shipping, we are pleased to report that we have entered into an arrangement with a new courier provider which offers lower prices and similar delivery timeframes for both domestic and international parcels.

Over the next few months we will be working to integrate our new pricing into our website so that we can provide more accurate shipping estimates at the time of order. We are staying with our approach of charging the actual shipping costs based on the weight and size of the products when they are made and boxed up - so the final price will be confirmed when the shipment is ready to be sent.

A collector has recently let us know about a parcel that arrived at its destination with shipping damage so please do let us know if you experience any shipping issues.

We are also looking into the merits of registering under the new IOSS tax collection scheme for sending product into the EU. Our consignment values are typically over the €150 threshold so the new EU import scheme will not affect many of our orders (as IOSS deals with sub €150 shipments), but we are considering the overall convenience for our customers in Europe.

For those collectors in the UK, we hope to see a Free Trade Agreement between NZ and the UK reached before the end of the year which should give those collectors some pricing relief on duties.

Keep an eye out for a brand new military release next month - we are excited about it and we think you will be too!