Thoughts on Collecting Ventriloquist Figures

Almost every builder of figures sold everything separately such as bodies, hands or heads. If you look in the 1931 Marshall catalogue on page 12 Frank offers, heads and hands for sale.

Click here to see Frank’s Catalogue (scroll down to Frank Marshall)

Other makers such as Pinxy, Spencer, Finis, and Coats also sold parts. This was a business for these builders so sales of parts was important for them to be able to increase business. Granted they most certainly wanted to sell complete figures to get the highest amount of income but these sales of parts were a must.

Consequently from time to time you will find a figure that has a head by one maker and a body by another and maybe even the hands are from a third maker. This is even true today. I have seen many figures for sale on ebay made up of parts. This is not bad but I myself view a “parts put together figure” as just that… parts.

This brings me to the old topic of value. I know some do not agree, but for the most value, all the parts must be original and any replacements of other makers parts de-value the figure.

I once purchased a great Marshall that the head was on a Foy Brown body. It was a complete figure but not worth NEAR what it would have been worth if the head was on Frank’s original body. With cloths on it looks fine but it just isn’t all original.

If you ask someone selling to show you pictures of the body unclothed and they do not comply you can rest assure that the body is not from the same maker. I just had this happen this week with a figure on ebay.

I asked for pictures of the hands (which you could not see) and for pictures of the body unclothed but the seller decided not to respond to me. They did respond when I asked what the head was made of so the non response is a clear showing that they are hiding something. Always make sure you know what you are buying.

All this being said, I do purchase parts and put them aside so that I am able at a later date to complete a figure and make him all original to the same maker.




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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