Since I have been collecting this question has come up a number of times and this is, does a ventriloquist figure lose value with a replacement body.
As everyone knows I am a purist when it comes to my ventriloquist figures and that is because I dealt in general antiques for so many years. The purist wants everything to be original. The more original the better. I just can’t stress that statement enough but you really must apply this to context in which it is involved.
If you only collect ventriloquist figures, and do not perform, then the originality is most important. I want my figures to have all original parts. Correct head with the body built by the same maker and the hands also from the same maker. That is the collector talking. ORIGINAL!!!
If you perform then this is not going to make a difference. So if you have a head from one figure and a body from another who is going to know except YOU. The effect is the same for sure. You have a complete figure sitting on your knee or stand, His mouth moves and the banter between the figure and performer takes place. Makes absolutely no difference who the body .or the head was made by.
Now when you retire after 100 years of performing and the family finds your pal in the trunk in the attic they heirs decide to sell. Here is where things change. If the figure is all original point for point it could be worth mega money but if it has all different parts put together, then that is exactly what you have PARTS. I know there are some that just don’t see it this way but believe me it is true. I can say so because of my years as an antique dealer and now as a true ventriloquist figure collector. Try if you can to keep yours original but if not hey who cares about your heirs!! LOL
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Ventriloquist Central is the brainchild of Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst. Dan is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Steve is a ventriloquist as well as builder of ventriloquist figures. He also has a background in sales, marketing, building websites and computers. Because they both love the art of ventriloquism, the website Ventriloquist Central was born. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2013 by Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst
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I would add to your statement “try to keep yours original” to not even write your name on it. Well, aside from provenance because Marshall did not always write inside the head “made for…” so and so, and so maybe putting owner’s name on it is permissible, at least if not in indelible ink, still one thing leads to another. Next think you know owner decides to change the look of the figure, with carving tools and paints. On one I even painted the muslin legs with oils, in my college days of abstract expressionism as an art major, which made the figure very bright but very heavy, so I ruined the body, or at least the legs on the body. That figure was traded to W.S. Berger who got rid of him I believe on a sell or trade. Frankly, I ruined every Frank Marshall figure I ever owned, not worth anything to heirs, collectors, or anybody else.