December 18, 2015

FIGURE OF THE WEEK #97 Santa Claus by Johillco

Santa Claus
A rare pre-war Christmas novelty of a traditional looking Santa in red robes leaning on his stick. This jolly fellow was made in England by Johillco and is a hollowcast lead figure standing at 60mmAs the big day gets closer its only logical to kiss up to the big guy by featuring in our Art of the Toy Soldier collection! 

John Hill & Company or Johillco was a British toy company specialising in the manufacture of hollowcast metal and later plastic toy soldiers becoming second to W. Britain in popularity. No one knows where the name of John Hill came from.

In their book The Art of the Toy Soldier, Henery Kurtz and Burt Ehrlich note that due to the cheapness of the figures and the individuality of their poses, Johillco figures were found more in working-class homes than the expensive Britains that came in boxes of rigid identical poses. The authors also noted the company probably used a variety of sculptors leading to various grades of quality of Johillco figures, that the authors call "the good, the bad, and the ugly. Johillco was slow to realise the effect of production in plastic. From 1956 they began making plastic figures in their hollowcast moulds under the name of Hilco but the company ceased in the early 1960s.

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