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The Blow Mold Expert

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The Blow Mold Expert last won the day on January 5

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  • My favorite Christmas story
    Little Drummer Boy
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    Blow Molds and Animatronics
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  1. Can't get a better deal than that! The Empire snowman is one of my all-time favorite designs.
  2. I heard a video say its something like 1700 blow molds. I'm sure that includes all the little GP bells and sugarplums around the roof and over the driveway, and there's a lot of duplicates, but it is incredibly impressive nonetheless. I believe in terms of sheer number of pieces it's the largest blow mold display I've come across, with some incredibly rare stuff too, like that deer head.
  3. Don't mention it, glad to be of help! You're right with that being the first gen Empire logo used from the 60s to mid 80s. The snowman should say 1967, not 1961 as the modern blow molding process used to make it wouldn't have been common practice yet and I believe the snowman came out in 1967. The numbers on older Empire products are hard to read.
  4. Has anyone ever seen this? This display is really something, it spans three properties and is an entire topic in itself, but this reindeer head at 7:27 caught my eye. It doesn't appear to be the art style of GP or be made of the materials favored by Crystal Valley. You occasionally see a one-off tabletop blow mold made by a toy manufacturer or something along those lines and discover a previously unheard of company, but that almost never happens on the municipal blow mold scale, as people with the resources to make these things usually did so full time and are fairly well known.
  5. I don't find that Drainage is too difficult to ID simply because a lot of their designs are so unique. Farley on the other hand is a totally different story, especially considering their entire catalog (aside from the originally Union gingerbread people) was old TPI stuff. To make matters worse, both TPI and Farley were Canadian so both say made in Canada. Being in Canada, the majority of my stuff is TPI or Farley because it's dime a dozen up here, so I have both the TPI and Farley versions of several pieces. Side by side (similar to Cado) the Farley stuff is of obviously lesser quality. Sometimes they omitted the TPI stamp, other times they left it in place, and sometimes they left it in the mold but stamped out a circle around it in the bottom of the piece.
  6. Very interesting. My records dont show Empire manufacturing that set in those colors until the mid 80s, and even then the colors were much more vibrant. These are very obviously older. The biggest mystery here is the baby Jesus. All the instances I've found of Empire manufacturing him have included a molded manger that looked like it was made of straw with a spot in the middle for him to lie in. The biggest help here is going to be that nice catalog # on that box - No.1372. That's going to make this much easier to date. I've helped as much as my records on my mobile device will allow me, but I'll fire up the old PC and check my CD ROM of old manufacturer catalogs for the catalog #. In the meantime, check out this site http://www.blow-molded.com/Empire___Nativity_Sets.html and look at Empire's nativity archive. The only 2 small sets on there were one manufactured from the 70s to 80s in one color scheme, and then again from the 80s to 90s in colors more similar to your set. This set would predate the first one, meaning Empire was actually offering a small nativity as early as the 60s. As soon as I have time, I'll check my files. Good luck!
  7. Nice discovery, I will say that with the new companies (Cado, Gemmy, Pan Asian, etc.) It's getting difficult to archive/keep up with what's being released. From a collector standpoint, Pan Asian having contracts with both Walmart and Home Depot (who have both ordered them to make similar blow molds that however cannot be the same due to contractual agreements) can get pretty confusing. Then you have something like this, where a company makes something specifically for an online retailer and only a handful of people buy them, and things really get confusing, especially since all Cado stuff is still stamped Union (because technically it is.)
  8. Those particular figures were manufactured by Beco in the early 60s. At the time Beco had 2 sizes of Nativity sets, a smaller set (what you have) and a larger one. Both were available in either color or plain white to resemble marble statues. Beco introduced the first true "blow molds" made out of the modern materials for the 1962 Christmas season, 2 caroler Children and a Santa. Prior to this three dimensional figures such as these would have been molded out of a thick hard latex plastic and too expensive for the public, mainly being sold to department stores and cities. Additionally, blow molds for home use from before 1962 were usually wall mounted or tabletop and made of a thin, brittle, plastic called cellulite. The earliest reference I can find to this particular nativity set is in a 1963. Woolworth's advertisement in an Oregon newspaper. It is possible that Beco originally released it a year earlier in 1962 along with the first blow molds, but I can't find anything to confirm that. Either way, it is tied with its full-size counterpart as the very first blow mold Nativity set (at least made using the official blow molding process/materials.) It may not be the rarest thing out there, but its up there! You got something special, and more importantly a family story to go along with it that's priceless.
  9. I've gotten to the point now where I'm needing to rotate what I put out every year, simply because I'm out of lawn space. I can't really go any closer to the road because of the sidewalk plow, and fear that if I add more on the rest of the lawn it will look too cluttered, so I'm rotating things out every year. For example, I had a (mostly) different set of figures sitting on the wall last year, some of which I used elsewhere, some of which I kept inside. I also used a different Disney set last year. The only new scene entirely this year is the Empire/Alderbrook snowman trio towards the back, as it's the only spot I could find left to add a new scene. I think that's one of my favourite things I've done, its such a nostalgic scene that's reminiscent of the old catalogs. I managed to get every bulb working for christmas with the exception of an angel on the roof that actually blew down early in the morning on Christmas eve, so I didn't have time to put it back up, (the blow mold was okay though!) It was opposite the sleigh team on the other side of the house peak, between the window on the left and the corner of the house. I also was disappointed with my lack of incandescent light strands this year. My multicolour strand I usually put around the gingerbread house wouldn't work no matter what I did or replaced this year, which is disappointing considering they weren't even 4 years old. I don't mind the LEDs I've chosen as I feel the colors go well with each other, the house, and the blow molds, but they don't have that glow that you can only get from the old school stuff. Let me know what you think of the display! 20201224_201456.mp4
  10. Anybody seen this before? It popped up on Ebay a few days ago. Mold Craft and Heller always stamped their stuff and Sculptoris stuff usually had Wiken's name on it somewhere. That leaves ALFCO and Silvestri (unless there's a sixth molded-rubber era company out there anybody has heard of) as potential manufacturers. ALFCO didn't stamp some of their later stuff like their sleigh team, and I've never seen a marked Silvestri piece. If I had to guess, I'd say the mismatched art style looks similar to what little Silvestri stuff I've seen. I also looked into the possibility it could be spliced from two separate blow molds, such as a mold craft body with a Silvestri head, but nothing matches up and it looks completely original. Any ideas?
  11. Crazy how much the price has gone up for stuff like that in the middle ground of rarity. Poloron and Beco were always pricey, but things like that and the Santas Best Disney characters you could get for 30 or 40 bucks a while back.
  12. The buyer is gonna have a heart attack when this thing shows up in a shoebox
  13. Unfortunately, the piece on the bottom where the original stands connected is notoriously frail across all companies and designs. Rather than building a stand to connect there in some way, your best bet would be to somehow build a 2 in 1 stand/light fixture to go in the hole for the bulb, or do what I did which is tie heavy duty fabric red ribbon around each deer and screw the ribbon into a pole.
  14. Im curious where you got that door cover! I've been looking for one for years because of how many catalogs that one was in and didn't think there were any left around. How fragile is the plastic or vinyl it's made of?
  15. Im curious about the angel. Is it a tree topper or is it bigger?
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