Paying the price is the way to build a collection no matter what the item happens to be. Collecting any item has some that are worth a lot and some that just are not worth a lot.
When it comes to ventriloquist figures this is also true and I know because I certainly have paid the price to acquire many of the figures in the collection. But that being said in the vent figure collecting there is something that really confounds me. I will explain.
Frank Marshall figures command the high prices. We all know that but what is the reason for that? I have been thinking about this at great length. I think the reason is because he was the maker to most of the most famous ventriloquial names. Bergen, Winchell & Nelson and a hole host of other famous and not so famous ventriloquists. He really made a name for himself in the vent world so everyone wanted his figures.
That being said there were other makers during the so called golden era, 1930 to 1960.that also sold figures to many well known ventriloquists. Ken Spencer made some very fine figures but they certainly don’t command exceedingly high prices. Or how about Revello Pettee? How many of his figures have you seen for sale lately, but the price if you did find one is not going to be outrageous. Even figures made by the Macks, who taught Frank, just don’t bring is the fabulous kings ransom.
I guess Frank really knew how to promote himself and his work and because of that his figures are the ones everyone loves and wants or could it just be because he created such great characters??
I will continue to ponder.
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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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Just like in other art forms, we pay high to those we consider masters–those who made innovations, those who pushed the art to greater heights. Picasso may not be the greatest painter technically, but he innovated and his name created a huge impact. Same goes to Andy Warhol. That could also be the reasosn why Frank Marshall figures are highly collectible. Marshall innovated, e.g. (please correct me if I’m wrong) the ball and socket concept, the wide eye cut so the eyes can be seen by audience at the side, the unique eyebrow movement, the orange skin tone, etc. He created the “vent dummy look” that became familiar to us. Aside from the fact that many of the best vents used his figures, which made him also famous.
I have wondered to what degree that the demand for a Marshall figure has caused prices to soar. Before the inception of VentriloquistCentral, did supply and demand allow for a price that wasn’t as extreme? Just wondering since VentriloquistCentral has such a large following now, was it quite different before and would it have been quite different now? Just a thought.
Tony even before the advent of Ventriloquist Central the prices on Marshall’s figures were very high. I remember quite distinctly, long before Ventriloquist Central was even a thought, not purchasing a Marshall because the price was beyond what I could spend. I have always regretted not buying that Marshall. So no it wasn’t VC that caused this.