Rare British comic-inspired toy figure rarities set to go under the hammer at Special Auctions Services

An incredible collection of character toys, including British comics and newspaper strip characters is coming to auction at Newbury-based Special Auction Services, starting on Tuesday 20th June.

The Mike Williams Collection, which, it’s estimated, will raise £25,000, comprises over ninety iconic children’s characters from television, film, nursery rhymes, newspaper comic strips and comics – as well as Dan Dare books and books by prolific authors, including Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter, dating from 1900-1950s.

Late 1920s Pixyland-Kew Bruin Boys Tiger Tim figure
Late 1920s Pixyland-Kew Bruin Boys Tiger Tim figure
Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, Alice - a Ponda Jig-saw The Mad Tea Party, in original box; Raphael Tuck Alice in Wonderland with ‘Come to Life’ panorama; Mabel Lucie Attwell Alice in Wonderland; a Journey Alice dexterity puzzle and two other books; Peter Pan - Pepys Card Game, in original box, Juvenile Production Peter Pan & Wendy and Hodder & Stoughton Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens; Hutchinson L Frank Baum Wizard of Oz and Kenneth Grahame’s First Whisper of The Wind in the Willows
Various Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan-related books
Tiger Tim and the Bruin Boys toys and memorabilia
Tiger Tim and the Bruin Boys toys and memorabilia

The collection was amassed over 25 years, Newbury Today reporting Mike, who was also an accomplished guitarist, and his wife, Dorca, spent many of their British holidays scouring antiques fairs in pursuit of rare and sought-after pieces.

In later life, as his health began to fail, he took to eBay to further add to his collection, his partner also getting caught by the collecting bug.

“On every holiday our first port of call was the nearby antiques centre. Collecting was his life and it became our way of life,” Dorca told the paper, describing their house as “like walking into a toy museum” as Mike’s collection was displayed throughout, which stirred many happy childhood memories for visitors to the house.

“As his health faded, his passion for collecting still remained steadfast. Each piece in the collection meant so much to Mike and rather than them being kept in the loft he wanted passionate collectors like himself to have the opportunity to enjoy the pieces that will mean as much to them as they did to him.”

Mike’s favourite, and one of his last purchases, was the character Old Bill, produced by prominent British cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather in 1914, which is expected to fetch £200 – £300, a characters that appeared in The Bystander during World War One.

A J K Farnell Bruce Bairnsfather’s 1st World War Old Bill
A J K Farnell Bruce Bairnsfather’s 1st World War Old Bill

There are plenty of newspaper and comic strip favourites, including Pip, Squeak and Wilfred and Tiger Tim from the Daily Mirror, Teddy Tail and The Nipper from the Daily Mail and Rupert the Bear from the Daily Express.

A rare Britains hollow-cast lead Mickey Mouse circa 1939, hand-painted with detachable head —2 1/2in. (6.5cm.) high; and a similar Goofy the dog (both poor to fair, Mickey’s head spike replaced)
Rare Britains hollow-cast lead Mickey Mouse and Goofy, circa 1939
A rare J K Farnell Beatrix Potter’s Jemima Puddle-Duck
A rare J K Farnell Beatrix Potter’s Jemima Puddle-Duck
Daily Mail’s Flook pulped paper candy containers
Daily Mail’s Flook pulped paper candy containers

“This sale is a showcase of Mike’s knowledge and collecting ability,” says Toy and teddy bear specialist Daniel Agnew. “He carefully chose makes and characters who have stood the test of time and which will undoubtedly generate huge interest amongst collectors.”

Book and toy collector, and musician, Mike Williams
Book and toy collector, and musician, Mike Williams

Born in 1942, Mike Williams was an only child, who he used to call his family unit ‘The Three Musketeers’. His father moved the family down to New Milton when Mike was a little boy. He had been very ill and the warmer cleaner air was thought to be beneficial. At the age of around 17, his father financed on HP an electric guitar which Mike self taught himself to play. Together with a friend, Larry MacDonald, he formed various bands over the years, the last, Shadowlands, the most successful, with The BBC Radio Solent DJ Richard Cartridge as their front man and lead singer. Mike continued playing until arthritis cruelly crippled his hands.

Mike had always collected something in adult life: stamps, coins in particular anything to do with the Isle of Man. He then became an avid collector of books and annuals, and lead figures, especially Knights and civilian figures, especially those that represented a way of life long gone.

He then started collecting character soft toys. Flip the Frog, Brumus and Ivy, Bonzo, Pip, Squeak and Wilfred, Disney, Noddy, Hank and Silver King, BBC children’s Listen and Watch with Mother characters are among the many  characters in his vast collection.

“It became a way of life for us both going around antique centres and toy fairs for many years,” says his wife, Dorca. “As his health deteriorated he relied on eBay and had a marvellous knack of finding very special rare items. Collecting was part of Mike’s DNA, alongside being a rock and roll guitarist of great talent.”

In addition to the Mike Williams Collection, the auction also includes a huge range of other items of interest, including art, Barbie and Sindy dolls, other figures, photographs, dolls house furniture and other memorabilia.

  • Crescent hollow-cast lead Frank Hampson’s Dan Dare set 1950s
  • Dan Dare toys and books
  • Various Dan Dare toys
  • Eagle comic memorabilia
  • Space themed books, Birn Brothers Into Space with Ace Brave pop-up book, G.T. Ltd Outer Space comic, 1954-55 Lion Annuals, The Adventure of Captainn Space Kingley and others; and Waddington’s Blast-Off!

• Special Auction Services – Dolls & Teddy Bears Auction (including the Mike Williams Collection) 20th June 2023 – 22nd June 2023 SAS Newbury, Plenty Close, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5RL | Web: specialauctionservices.com

• Catalogues coming soon, available to purchase for £15.00 UK or £25.00 International | Contact the auctioneers on 01635 580 595 or email mail@specialauctionservices.com to purchase your copy | Viewing from 9.00 am – 5.00 pm Thursday 15th, Friday 16th, Saturday 17th (9.00am – 4.00 pm) and Monday 19th. Call 01635 580 595 or email mail@specialauctionservices.com to make an appointment

The full list of characters, all believed British, unless stated, on offer are:

Pip Squeak and Wilfred toy figures, a painted carved wooden set —4in. (10cm.) high; a moulded glass Squeak (missing paste eye); a composition Aunty and Pip; and a hollow-cast German lead terrier, penguin and rabbit
Pip Squeak and Wilfred toy figures
Three Simpkin Marshall Ltd Pip Squeak & Wilfred jig-saw puzzles, comprising Seaside, Hiking and skipping examples, wooden pieces, in original boxes —20in. (25cm.) length of boxes (some wear and staining to boxes, seem to be complete as each comes with a photograph of the completed jigsaw, but not checked)
Pip Squeak and Wilfred jigsaws


  • Mary had a Little Lamb – from a 19th century nursery rhyme, first written down by Sarah Josepha Hale in 1830
  • Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland – 1865
  • Charles H Ross and Emilie de Tessier’s Ally Sloper – published for Judy magazine, 1867, one of Britain’s earliest comic strip characters
  • Florence K Upton’s Golliwogg – published 1895
  • Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit – published 1902
  • Julius Stafford Baker for Daily Mirror’s “Bruin Boys” including Tiger Tim – created1904
  • Clarence E Mulford Hopalong Cassidy – first published 1904
  • Beatrix Potter’s Jemima Puddle-Duck – published 1908
  • Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows – 1908
  • Caesar, King Edward VII’s Wire Fox Terrier – who gained public attention in 1910
  • Chloe Preston Peek-A-Boos – circa 1910
  • Bruce Bairnsfather’s “Old Bill” – published 1914 in The Bystander
  • Charles Folkard for Daily Mail’s “Teddy Tail” – created 1915
  • Johnny Gruelle’s Raggedy Ann and Andy – circa 1915
  • Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp – created 1915
  • Harold Lloyd’s Harold – created 1917
  • Bertram Lamb for Daily Mirror, “Pip, Squeak and Wilfred” – created 1919
  • Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer’s Felix the Cat – created in 1919
  • Will Owen for Bisto gravy The Bisto Kids – created 1919
  • Thomas Maybank’s Oojah the Elephant – created 1919
  • J.F. Horrabin’s Japhet & Happy – created 1919
  • Mary Tourtel for Daily Express’s Rupert the Bear – created 1920
  • Mabel Lucie Attwell comic children and Pixies – from 1921
  • George Studdy’s Bonzo the Dog – created 1922
  • A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepherd’s Winnie-the-Pooh – first appearance under this name in 1924
  • Dean’s Rag Book, Betty Oxo, created 1925
  • Dean’s Rag Book, Dismal Desmond, by Ian Hassall or Richard Ellot – created before 1926
  • Dean’s Rag Book Gallopin’ Gus (adopted by Miss Betty Nuthall) – created 1927
  • Norah Wellings Bones the Dog – introduced in 1927
  • Stanley Holloway’s Sam Small – created 1928
  • Dean’s Rag Book, Tatters the Hospital Pup, designed by Richard Ellett – designed 1928
  • George Studdy’s Ooloo the Cat – created 1929
  • Dean’s Rag Book Co Dicky Dack dachshund – created 1929
  • Dart’s “Tich”

“Tich” was a comic strip written by Frank Dowling and illustrated by “Dart.” The original “Dart” was a man named Martin, although it is uncertain if this was a surname or a last name. “Tich” ran in the Daily Mirror from 21st November, 1931, to 25th November 1933. The second “Dart”, was drawn by Garth co-creator Stephen Phillip Dowling (1904 – 1986)

  • Dean’s Rag Book Co, Ma and Pa Coney the Radio Rabbits – created 1932
  • Walt Disney and Wilfred Jackson’s Goofy the dog – created 1932
  • Dusty the dog from the Sunday Dispatch newspaper – probably 1930s
  • Brian White for Daily Mail’s The Nipper – created 1933
  • Belisha Beacon Duck, introduced by Leslie Hore-Belisha – created 1934
  • Katherine Tozer’s Mumfie the Elephant – published 1935
  • Will Hay’s Dr Alec Smart (teacher) from film Boys will be Boys – created 1935
  • King George VI – coronated in 1936
  • Lupino Lane’s character Snibson in the West End musical hit Me and My Girl – 1937-1940
  • Clarence Lawson-Wood’s Gran’pop – created 1937
  • DC Thomson, Dandy – created 1937
  • DC Thomson, Beano – created 1938
  • Ken Reid’s Fudge the Elf – first appeared 1938
  • Arthur Askey, The Little Man with a Big Heart – believed to made 1945
  • Annette Mills for BBC Children’s programme Muffin the Mule – created in 1949
  • Enid Blyton’s Noddy – published 1949
  • Brumas and Ivy polar bears in London Zoo – Brumas the cub was born in 1949
  • Wally Fawkes Daily Mail’s “Flook” – created 1949
  • Freda Lingstrom and Maria Bird BBC Children Television’s Andy Pandy – created 1950
  • Frank Hampson’s Dan Dare, from Eagle – created 1950
  • Annette Mills for BBC Children’s programs Prudence Kitten – created 1950
  • Francis Coudrill for Whirligig’s Hank the Cowboy – created early 1950s
  • Joy Laurey for Whirligig’s Mr Turnip – created early 1950s
  • Freda Lingstrom for BBC Children’s Television Flower Pot Men Bill and Ben – created 1952
  • Toffee Bear from BBC Radio Listen with Mother – 1950s
  • BBC children’s Watch with Mother Rag, Tag and Bobtail – 1953-54 Freda Lingstrom and Louise Cochrane
  • BBC children’s television Billy Bean & His Funny Machine based on Chuck Luchsinger’s American children’s show “Jolly Gene & His Fun Machine” in 1953 – 1954-56
  • Harry Corbett’s Sooty the bear – created 1955, although his stage history as a bear hand puppet dates back to 1948, but it was 1955 he had soot covered black ears to help him stand out on television and a new name.
  • Richard Greene The Adventures of Robin Hood – 1955
  • Thomas Dam’s Troll doll – created 1959
  • Tingha and Tucker Koala ITV children’s television – 1962-1970
British Walt Disney 1930s Mickey Mouse books
British Walt Disney 1930s Mickey Mouse books

Figures believed to have been created in the United States are in (brackets). Others listed are believed British licensed

  • Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks’ Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (United States)- created 1927
  • Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks’ Mickey Mouse (United States) – created in 1928
  • Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks’ Minnie Mouse (United States) – created in 1928
  • E.C. Segar’s Popeye the Sailor Man (United States) – created 1929
  • Walt Disney and Norm Ferguson’s Pluto the Dog (United States) – created 1930
  • Ub Iwerks’ Flip the Frog (United States) – created 1930
  • Carl Thomas Anderson for The Saturday Evening Post Henry (United States)- created 1932
  • E.C. Segar’s Eugene ‘Lucky’ Jeep (United States) – after 1933
  • Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony The Three Little Pigs – created 1933
  • Dick Lundy and Walt Disney Donald Duck (United States) – created 1934
  • Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – released 1937
  • Walt Disney’s Pinocchio – released 1940
  • Hanna Barbera’s Tom and Jerry – created 1940
  • Bill Parker’s Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Junior – created 1940 to 1942
  • Walt Disney’s Dumbo – released 1941
  • Ivanhoe MGM film – released 1952
  • Walt Disney’s Peter Pan – released 1953
  • Knights of the Round Table MGM film – released 1953
  • Walt Disney’s Rob Roy – released in 1953
  • The Adventures of Quentin Durward MGM film – released 1955
  • Hanna Barbera Huckleberry Hound – 1958
  • Hanna Barbera Yogi Bear – 1958
  • Hanna Barbera Mr Jink the cat- 1958


  • Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar the Elephant (France) – published 1931


  • Puss in Boots – an Italian version Costantino Fortunato by Giovanni Francesco Straparola circa 1551
  • Maria Perego, Federico Caldura and Guido Stagnaro Topo Gigio – created 1958

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