Pam Toy Post: In a first of several loot from France posts, behold this very odd item I purchased from the fine fellows at Antics Toys and Dolls in Lyon. I found the shop online before my trip and, since I was there on business not pleasure, I considered it a great stroke of luck that I had a rare few free hours in Lyon which allowed me to race over and check it out. The gentlemen there spoke no English (and I no French) and at first they seemed to have no idea what to do with me as a customer with a strong interest in Felix le chat and perhaps a Mickey. Their prices ran high and I dismissed several items which seemed over-priced, especially after Euro to dollar conversion. However, I purchased a small, lovely jointed bear (future post) and left the store.
I wandered down the street, noting with frustration that several antique shops were closed despite the fact that it was 3:30 on a Thursday which would seem to be a time when things would be open. I found a small shop that was, according to the owner, opening next week – although it seemed, for all intents and purposes, to be open. He sold me a lovely rose gold ring with a tiny diamond chip, which he dated around 1903. I would have added ten years to that date but can’t say I am an expert. Then I walked back in the direction I came from and when I walked past the aforementioned toy store something near the window on a shelf caught my eye – Felix! Back in I went and another owner seemed to have appeared in the meanwhile and he, having lived in Stamford, Connecticut for a year or more, spoke some English. Felix was fetched from the window shelf and, strangely, he turned out to be a pepper shaker – no salt shaker sadly, but even alone, a worthy and unusual item. A bargain was struck (after they showed me photos on their phones of the antique cars they own, I showed them photos of my Felix toys on my phone, and we discussed religion in broken English for some reason) and home to NYC Felix has come.
I have never seen this particular model. I would have maybe even thought he was homemade from other parts except for his rather professional poivre sticker, as shown, on the back. Early in my collecting I assumed that early Felix items might be largely French and German. I was surprised to find out that they are almost predominantly British. This item may indeed be the only French item I am aware of in my collection.
Meanwhile, next I wandered down the street to find Antiquites Marilyn and my purchase there which I will outline in tomorrow, Sunday’s, post.