It’s Behind You! Extremely rare Einco Panto Dog with Provenance

Jo McDonald

Jo McDonald

2019-01-23 14:42:21

In the Vectis Sale on Tuesday 29th January is a brown and white spaniel dog who on first appearance seems like an ordinary mohair toy, but who is of significant historical importance.

He was made by the British company of Einco, who were the forerunner for the Chiltern Toy Company. Einco stands for Eisenmann & Company, set up by German born Joseph Eisenmann who settled in England in the early part of the twentieth century. Initially importing toys and fancy goods from his native Germany, Joseph was joined by his son-in-law Leon Rees and they went into production under the ‘Chiltern’ trademark. After the death of Joseph, Leon concentrated more on the manufacturing side and with a new partner Harry Stone moved away from the Germanic ‘Eisenmann’ to use a more traditional brand of Chiltern. This would be one of the last toys under the older branding as it is thought to have been phased out by 1924. The Einco name continued to be used in Germany on bisque dolls for several decades but in essence the company had nothing to do with Rees and Stone, only a shared history.

Many British toy companies produced items for ‘Off-sale’ front-of-house merchandise to be sold at theatre performances. Sourcing and retail of ‘off-sale’ items were done by companies such as ‘The Littlers’ who commissioned several promotional items from British toy manufacturers such as Chad Valley who designed a Cinderella doll, Merrythought’s who released a Cora Goffin (Principal Boy) doll and Deans Rag Book who created Lupino Lane and Jack and Jill dolls for similar purposes.

Einco toys are desirable as the production of them was for a limited period but additionally they have a whimsical and comical character which greatly adds to their appeal. Lot no 4633 is a rare Einco Mike Dog, sold at the Alhambra Theatre (Glasgow) Pantomime in 1921. He retains his disc tags to his chest announcing “"Reg No 5957? "MIKE" My Eyes Turn", other tag states "Wylie-Tate Production" with hand written notation "2nd Feb 1921 Alhambra", the reverse of this card states "WITH LOVE FROM CLARICE MAYNE". 

In years gone by stars were made famous by being in a panto production, one such actress was Clarice Mayne, famous for 
singing in music halls and her performances in many productions. She first appeared in 1908 at the Oxford Music Hall and was famed for her long legs and deportment which earned her the reputation of being of one of the finest principal boys ever to grace
a stage. She appeared as ‘Clarice Mayne and That’, the latter being her husband James W Tate, who also penned several songs
for her.

As well as performing Tate was one half of the famous Wylie-Tate Production Company who from 1916 to 1931 dominated the world of pantomime, each year staging several highly successful productions at Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and London.

In the winter of 1920 -1921, one of the five pantos’ out on that year was ‘Puss in Boots’ at the Alhambra Theatre in Glasgow and stared Clarice Mayne as the principal boy. Going to the pantomime was an expensive treat at this time and merchandise sales were  in their infancy.

For this show Einco were contacted to produce a spaniel type dog in mohair with amber and white glass eyes that turn and a sewn black nose, and was given the name ‘Mike’. Maybe as a nod to his Scottish roots he wears a natty silk tartan ribbon around his neck. To find such an Einco piece with the provenance attached is like finding the proverbial ‘hens teeth’ added to this the superb condition of the dog is it THE lot to watch in the sale.

He is to be sold as part of the Joan Donachie Collection at Vectis Auctions in early 2019 with a pre-sale estimate of £400 - £600.

For more information contact or call +44 (0) 1642 750616. For the full sale click here.

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