Restoration Of A Ventriloquist Figure











I have been asked over and over again about restoration of antique ventriloquist figures. I have spoken about this many times on previous blogs. For me, any ventriloquist figure that it is in original condition and still looks pretty decent is worth keeping as is.

Sometimes when a ventriloquist figure is in very very poor condition such as paint is and chipped all over the place, or you have strings that are broken, or you have other factors like the leather under a neck is ripped and torn well then the figure has to be restored.

I find that it’s very hard for me to take a figure that has 90% or better of the original paint and repaint it. To me that just kills the value of the figure. I know I have talked about the valuation of figures and state of originality for them but I just thought I would reiterate what I have previously said.

The condition of a ventriloquist figure is most important especially if it’s an antique figure if it has its original paint. And if the paint on the figure has been chipped away all over and really makes it look like it’s come out of the grave so to speak, well then you have to repaint the whole face.

For me as a true collector they have to stay in original condition. that’s so important that I can not state it enough. True valuation of an antique ventriloquist figures is in the originality not the fact that it has been redone to look original.

Today, even in the collector car world the original cars are now prized. I was watching the Mecum Auto Auction and the announcers were talking about the fantastic original 1966 Mustang Fastback and the fact that it was an all original car. Nothing had been changed.

It still had the original tires. paint, chrome, interior, engine and was in superb condition. The bidding went wild and the car sold for more than a fully restored Mustang of the same vintage. As the announcer said it can only be original ONCE.

So if you see a ventriloquist figure for sale someplace, and the condition is less than 60% well then you can take it and restore because its value as a collectible has been compromised by it’s condition.

If you are buying the figure to use as a regular character in your program and then of course you will want to redo it to complement your characters looks and make him look appealing to your audience. That is most acceptable.

What are your thoughts?



Dan Willinger 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. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to:

Copyright 2012 by Dan Willinger

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One Response to Restoration Of A Ventriloquist Figure

  1. Helga says:

    I agree. I have a little boy who was sold to me quite beaten up. He’s gorgeous! His mouth is loose, but I’m didn’t want him to use for entertainment, I just wanted him. However, I am looking into filling cracks in his head and face with some kind of filler as I do not want to paint or change him in any way. The fabric on these particular little boys is prone to disintegrate at the legs and the straw was coming out of them. I made him long fleece socks which make him far easier to handle without ruining him. I do want to fill his head and face a bit, but don’t want to use anything that will make things worse. Any ideas? Also, I’ve had conflicting views that he is either an old Charlie McCarthy (not original) or a Dapper Dan. He’s now called Danny Boy and that won’t change now, but would like to know who he was before.

    Any help would be appreciated. Glad to have found your site. Thank you.

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