The Imagical World of Bossons®
The Detail. Hours of Labor.
Each a unique individual work of Art. Who'da ever thought......
I'll do my best to give you an education, please keep in mind my learning never stops.
My background? Just an average alohajon, started collecting Bossons
about '84-85 Lifeboatman if I recall,
read a few books, know alittle about alot of Bossons,
don't claim to be a eXpert.
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International Bossons Collectors Society (IBCS) at:
Established for over 20 years,
the IBCS provides a common bond for Bossons Collectors
around the world.
The Society publishes an eight-page, full-color quarterly newsletter called
the “Bossons Briefs” in which members are kept up-to-date
on new finds in the "Imagical World of Bossons",
read articles submitted by other avid collectors, receive information
concerning the promotion of our annual meetings,
view photos of how other members display their collections
and a bartering/advertising section
The IBCS also organizes
an annual meeting for Bossons collectors to meet and talk Bossons!
Since it’s inception, the IBCS can boast of a total membership
exceeding 3500 members from twenty-two countries.
The present active membership is approximately 380 collectors,
each with one uniting thread - the love of Bossons artwork.
Norman Derocher is the present Director of the IBCS
and he welcomes your correspondence.
There are a number of different 'catagories' of Bossons: Wall Masks, Wall Characters and Figurines, Plaques & Plaquettes, Pottery, Pottery Figures, Wall Pockets, Lamps, Shelf ornaments, Mirrors and Bookends.....I'll mostly be focusing on the Wall Characters and Figurines, still this guide can be used in general. Bossons evolved to be a kind of umbrella company for several different names like Osborne-Ivorex, Briar Rose and often the Bossons name will be attached to Legends and Naturecraft, which only adds to the power of the Bossons name. From humble beginnings pre-1958 (Snake Charmer) to the close of the company in December 1996 (Squire? Evzon?), there have come some awesome sculpting, all copyrite ®. Be aware of Fakes! Carved in clay, brass master moulds, months even years of time and effort to create these unique works of art. Made of a gypsum plaster fortified with a plasticizer to add flow and hardness (super-secret-sauce), poured into moulds and handpainted.
They cannot be Legally reproduced.
The first thing I will touch on is helping you identify an authentic Bossons®. Don't confuse a Bossons with a Legend, a Naturecraft or get stuck with a counterfeit. Yes there are differences, from a design format to good & not-so-good re-painting to the just plain re-tooled copycat.
There are a number of Bossons listed for sale on eBay at any one time, from 100 to sometimes 400-500, ranging in cost from 99 cents to thousands of dollars. Some were in production for 20+ years and are being labeled 'Rare', while some are gems in the rough listed by sellers not knowing what they have!! Yee-haw!!! There is one thing that sets a real Bossons apart, and thats an informed Bossons Collector. With that said lets move on.
This can get longwinded. Good education takes some time.
I have posted a nuts&bolts version under the heading Fake Bossons if you want the straight dirt.
There are several links on the www. you can use to track more info, use a search engine, usually the first 10-20 hits will get you all the info you'll need to do some background research. Better yet, below I have recommended a few premiere sites. Use them. Look and compare pictures as a guide to tell if the item you are considering a bid on is a real Bossons®. There will be some slight differences to every Bossons, remember these are all hand painted, making every one of them unique in its own way. I'm talking Old School stuff. Craftsmanship.
An Authentic Bossons® will have a Copyright® stamp embedded into the back of the piece, and, usually, the name.
This is done while the plaster is soft, not with an ink stamp. It is embedded into the plaster.
There may be markings from a modeller or artist stamp etched into the back, this would have been done freehand and looks like chicken scratch. This usually contains some info about when the piece was made, date etc.. Look for the stamped copyright, ask for it if its not pictured in the auction. Here are four styles of Bossons imprints. Notice the difference in typeset used. The 'Made In England' stamps are mostly on the older Pottery items and some of the earlier first series, thats about the only place you will find it. Bossons Characters do not say this, so dont confuse yourself with a Legend.
Keeping in mind counterfeits. Bossons had a unique modeling program, a patented process, starting with a good idea, expert modellers, finely detailed moulds and excellent paintresses. Yes, paintresess! No men allowed, not even trusted to package them. Oh there were men employed at Bossons, mixing & pouring, mixing & pouring, you know....man stuff. While your looking at the back, look at the whole of it and not just the copyright. Notice the back is silvered. Its painted silver from Bossons. Airbrushed then and there at birth. Take a closer look at the edges. Some people touch up the small nicks and run the paint over the silver back telling you there has been touch up paint or restoration. Keep in mind also, not all are silver. Some are black, like Clipper Capt & Blackbeard. Some are two toned like Romany and Drummer and Gypsy Girl and Mandolin Player....look for that copyright.
Next, look at the picture of your item. Does it look real? One thing that will set a Bossons® apart from others is how realistic the whole image is. The clothing, the face, laugh line wrinkles around the eyes, the pores of the skin. The nuance of detail. This is quality folks! If the colors don't look right there must be a reason. Poor-fuzzy picture quality? Or maybe it has been repainted. Reference www.bossons.info . These is your guide! Use it. Simply put, a few hours of your time now will pay you immediate dividends later.
Bossons DO NOT have flat backs with wire loops and no copyright stamp. Period. Lets pause for a moment as this can be alittle misleading cause there are some flat back Bossons. Snake Charmer for example. Smuggler, Sea Captain, Blackbeard, Mr.Wang, etc, all have flat backs. But no wire loops. www DonsBossons.com is a great place to find detailed pictures of the different ways Bossons choose to hang. So does www bossons.info - right side of the page under General Information, at the bottom find 'Backs of Bossons'. Another clue you ask? There is no Copyright® stamp.
Look at this picture of Harry Wheatcroft.
The top two pictures are a fake Bossons. Notice the faded paint scheme and the flat back with the wire loop.
Flat back with wire loop - its a copycat.
The bottom two are authentic Harry Wheatcroft.
Notice the realistic color to the paint scheme, hollowed back and the Copyright stamp.
Harry can fetch a selling price between not sold to 1500 bucks.
Besides dropping & smashing to pieces, soaking it overnight in water or using it for sidewalk art, the fastest way to depreciate a Bossons would be to have a crummy 'restoration' job.
Bossons were painted by Artists. Look for unusual spots.
Lighter-darker-white-shiney-smudges, anything that would not represent 'normal'. Have you heard of digital blur? Masking? Photoshop? If something doesn't look quite right, ask the seller for another, better picture perhaps under different light. Hey, its your money. Most sellers would be happy to comply, they have something to sell. Responsive sellers sell. No response, no sale. Some only have the old 35mm film that takes days (an hr?) to get another pic, be patient. Its costing them. I once met a seller who only had a scanner and couldn't figure how to get the thing to work, call a neighbor geek for help. I got the picture, they got the sale! Hey, its my money. I went on vacation with my family, took my new digital camera my babe bought me, took a thousand pictures, after about a week everyone was tired of the picture taking. I mean really tired. But I got some pictures that are keepers. Beautiful memories. Christmas and postcard quality, & some I may use for leverage, someday. My point being its the digital age, out of the many pics, I got some good ones, so don't cheap me sellers.
Check the seller. Darn I wish there were more that eBay would do to protect the buyers, like make a Bossons catagory, on the other hand there are some buyers that can really be a bug. That being said, look at the feedback rating of the seller, how long and what is the rating. Seller has a recent negative? Check it out. Some sellers have 100's-1000's of sells, with perfect scores. One negative last week is no reason to pass up a deal. Look at the feedback.
Alright. Look thru eBay for other Bossons that match your query. Lets focus on Pierre. Type into the eBay search bar just the word, Bossons. This will get you between 100-500 whatever hits. You can search all Bossons from just that word. Now lets say you just want Pierre. Add the name Pierre after the name Bossons. That should narrow your search for names with Pierre in the title. These are the ones to mark to your watch page. Tag them all. Yes there will be more than the one Pierre, sometimes there won't be any. If you want to be sure search only Bossons and look thru them all. You have an option to compare abunch of them on one page, do so and compare all the pictures, this is where you will see what I mean about each one being unique.
Look at these Pierre.
Laid out next to each other, this picture was taken at the same time, all four are one picture.
Check this out:
You want to judge the overall color scheme of the skin.
Clothing and other features benefit a good face, but what do they add to a piece with a splotchy face. Remember the burger commercial with the little old lady- Wheres the Beef? dang I liked that.
What makes a Bossons look so cool is the realism of the faces. There's the Beef.
Here is another lil' tidbit....while looking at the back side, take a notice where the placement of the hook is. Reason? Because some are not centered.
Look at these two Clipper Captains, crummy pictures I know but still....the one pictured at left has a green string so pay attention to the location of the hanger
Left is centered properly.
Right is offset, centered improperly.
This will make your Bosson dependent on props, stick pins or velcro to hang straight. This does not take away from the quality finish to the face side its just a hanging boggle!
Its hard to call where center would be from a lump of chalk so here are a few clues.
1-judge the center compared to other alike listed Bossons.
2-laws of gravity prevail so look at the pic and see that the hanger is not located off to one side.
Bossons with inset hangers allow alittle adjustment side to side. The first series hangers, those with the exposed staple offer alittle side to side also. Its funny watching a sidewinder dog walking the street, even sadder getting hold of a Bossons that needs to be prop't up with a bunch of stickpins or velcro! And you paid how much for that? geez. Ask the seller for a pic of the back.
Narrow down your selection and go from there.
This next section gets a little iffy with eBay cause they say there are no allowances for outside links to other web sites, so I'll try until I get reprimanded. There are several sites you can use to compare the real-deal Bossons to Bossons on ebay. All this will be helpful if you just do a little research before you buy. Takes about 1hr. max.
Compare your selected Bossons at www.bossons.info Look at the pictures.
A note: the Bossonsdatabase seems to be down as per the past year or so. Too bad, it was an excellent site. In the mean time try looking at Flicker.com type Bossons in the search box. Also, Facebook seems to have an expanding catalog of misc pictures. Google has a ton of images and not all are real the Real McCoy's so buyer beware. Same with Facebook. At the present time use www.Bossons.info
At Donsbossons.com get a good education and then some top-o-the-line Bossons, you'll get what you pay for.
The Girls from Oz have a nice web site from Down Under.
Contact the IBCS at www.Bossons.org for more help.
If you want the best Bossons available I just gave you four premium links.
1-Search eBay, Seek & Find.
2-Tag them what you are hunting for. All the Pierre's for example.
3-Compare pictures & Ask Questions of the seller.
5-Narrow & Choose.
Ok, so you have a Bossons or two in mind. Most auctions run approx. 6 days give or take. That would give you time to get a better pic from the seller if needed, or at the least, have had a response back. Allow a day or two for a response, but not to near the auction deadline. Don't rush a decision cause the auction closes in 4-3-2-1.... There will be another. I dig it when a seller gets back at me quickly even if I have to wait for a pic. Narrow this down to which piece you think better about. Make your choice and Happy Bidding. There is no price list for Bossons, some everyday pieces go for high dollar, other times don't. What do you want to pay for. Look at the other listings, compare the quality and see what the market pays, it will fluctuate, sometimes a lot.
Another note. For Pete's sake stay out of the war-zone. If there are a number of bids from the same bidder(s) taking shots at each other ur gonna get caught in the crossfire. Take a look at the rarity guides at the b.info and d-base sites. These are super helpful to size up the value of an auction piece. Rarity speaks for itself.
There's only one you. But there will be other Bossons.
Some things that will drive the activity of the auction. Demand. Rarity. PUID.
Demand. Syrian was produced for years (36!) so there are lots of 'em. Yet Syrian has one of the best, detailed and weather wrinkle faces and a really good looking Syrian is just plain cool. One day you can have him for 99 cents. Next week 99.95. Some just gotta have it. My eyes are burning!
Rarity. Rosa. Paul Kruger. Bengali. Espana. Mikado & Geisha. Scandelli! Carnival Anne & Joe. Pony Girl. Mr.Wang. Depending on how the seller sets up the page with all the fluff on how perfect the piece is, always keep in mind - Bossons are not being made anymore. What you are or maybe buying may-will be a used item, chipped or slightly damaged. Mint In the Box (or MIB). There are other names like Mint, Pristine, Excellent, Very Good Condition (VGC) yeah-yeah... from perfect to free to a good home! Know what you are buying. Free is cool till you see the postage, MIB you may bid the stars and still find flaws. I sure would like the money from a Rembrandt, I think Bossons look better. Again, Bossons are handpainted by human Artists. They are meant to be enjoyed from few feet away. If you happen upon an MIB, keep all the goodies that come with, keep the box from getting crushed and damaged, all the tags and paper. It may come back to pay should you decide to sell. Or give to that someone special. That always nice.
PUID (Pent Up Insatiable Desire). There are many a funny tale to tell watching some 'rare' yet mass produced piece get bid to a stink high price only to see an MIB next week, at one third the price. WhaTheHeck. Ha ~ the herd mentality. Be patient. Breathe. Think! (medulla oblongata). Don't for cryin' out loud get into a bid war cause ya just gotta have it. Several moons ago there came a Bengali, hadn't seen one in awhile. Sold for thousands. Then another. Then another but this time down to $1200. And of the three, probably the best looking of the bunch. Curious aren't you. Yumm.... brainfood. Medulla Oblongata - the somewhat pyramidal last part of the vertebrate brain developed from the posterior portion of the hindbrain and continuous posteriorly with the spinal cord, enclosing the fourth ventricle, and containing nuclei associated with most of the cranial nerves, major fiber tracts and decussations that link spinal with higher centers, and various centers mediating the control of involuntary vital functions (as respiration) 'the medulla oblongata is the most vital part of the brain because it contains centers controlling breathing and heart functioning'. Thank you Dictionary.com
Did the seller put a counter on the page to count the page hits...ahh wait...wowaa, that may be a trade secret so I better think about this first. Hmmm. Ok, I'll spill my guts. Look at the page hits. The more hits on that auction, with few existing bids, chances are the heavy hitters will show up at the end to blow your buzz. Especially if you are dealing with an MIB or a truly rarer item. Collectors bid to own the piece lock-stock and barrel. Get your funds out. If you need to ask what it costs.... Don't get into a bid war.
Ok you should have enough info now. The Bossons Company ceased production in 1996 so Bossons are now being counterfeited, copied and even remoulded. I own several fake copies, on purpose uknow... They are good for comparison sake, some are decent fakes. From a mile away! Some are done real well and look neat. Fancy. But you can spot the flaws. Some are blatant ugly fakes, and some are real Bossons with crummy paint. Do your research, scan the mentioned web sites, look at the pictures and compare-compare-compare. Hey, its your money.
Would you be just as happy with a mint piece compared to a Mint In the Box MIB. Do you just gotta have the Original from the Bossons factory box? Well ya can!! Kinda.
If not, look for the bargains, some come with tags. I will give a short blurb about ratings, my opinion of course. I keep it real simple. Some mint and excellent rated pieces are better that the MIBs. How can this be? Like real estate, compare-compare-compare. Look at the picture of Pierre above. It will come down to your personal preference. Hours and beers have been consumed debating one over the other. What does MIB mean to U cause U will pay for that box. Compare. I'll take an excellent looking MINT piece with superb Facial Appearance over an inferior MIB, and, for less most times. Sometimes even a slightly chipped piece will win the day. Look at the natural color, texture, and appearance of the skin, especially of the face. Look for Consistency. Sometimes one cheek is rosier than the other. Bossons were painted by very talented artists. Some had bad hair days. There are those that have that perfect looking face with a paint scuff or dinky chip to a shirt or hat. Would you take it? That scuff can be blended and the chip repaired good as new. Would that still be mint?
Ok. Ratings. This isn't rocket science folks so lets Keep It Simple Shallwe?
Before I try to explain how to grade, I should say I'm not a certified grader. Not even just a regular grader. Heck I'm not a grader period. There done. Now open your dictionary and read the definition of the word MINT. We aren't talking plants here, or coinage. The KISS method for mint is -ORIGINAL-. Like You! Original. Even chipped could be called mint. Its comes down to a play on words. Like swamp land in Florida.
The bottom line using the kiss method;
2) MINT = Same as MIB w/out the box. 100% face side is factory finish. Sometimes displayed. Never touched up. Backside silver may have a wall pop (see Got Gasket? below). Tag maybe.
3) RESTORED = Some are superb. Others aren't. Regardless, its not mint. Yet I may put this ahead of Mint depending on the rarity, and the extent of the restoration.
4) EXCELLENT = Face & skin side Mint. Minor paint rubs. Backside has pops. Deals galore to be found in this range. Be aware you may end paying the same as if a MIB.
5)VERY GOOD = Face side minor wear. Backside scraped fer sure and wall pops. May have been displayed for years. Look at the picture you can see what it is. Still good for the $. If your into restoration, or a hobby painter this is your area.
And thats as low as I go. Anything else is, ahhh... Sidewalk chalk.
Since there is no set standard for grading Bossons, allow me my opinion on how to spot a good Bossons. Professionl grading exists and there are services available but what with postage and handling would it be worth the cost to send in a twenty dollar piece to have it appraised at, well, twenty dollars? Ok that being said you would want to look at obvious things like overall paint scheme, are the colors fresh, does the flesh tone look real. Keep in mind it is not only the fine detail that sets Bossons apart, also the excellent paint finish. If you had five Pierres all painted at the same time by the same artist, would they all be identical? Close, but no cigars. My first Bossons was Life-boatman. There were 3 to choose from, one on display two in boxes. I asked to see all three at the same time. Glad I did cause I got the best of the three. The extra baby-blue eyes and the added depth of color to the skin pores made that piece 'special'. Yes there are little teeny tiny difference to every Bossons.
Look for consistency in the flow of the paint scheme.
Okie-dokie, lets chatter about packing and shipping and getting that Bossons®, either from the seller or from you to the buyer in the same condition you have it now. Packaging is not difficult to get a handle on, it simply takes a seller, who, by the way, probably already has your money, it simply takes a seller with enough consideration. Simple as that. Like finding the Holy Grail.
There are some sellers that will pack like a mother does a child in the winter.
Still others bound and determined to save a few cents on the postage and one way or another......
I get more in depth on this subject check here Proper packing
Hey! Have you
Remember Nat King Cole?
"Its a Wonderful World"
and Imagical too!
GOD Bless America
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