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Money: Treasure hunters.

TV antiques expert JAMES BREESE joins the Sunday Mirror to give readers tips on how to make the most of the world of antiques and collectables.QI HAVE always enjoyed Rupert the Bear. I would like to give my grandson my first Rupert book from 1936 (about 10 inches high and hardback) and 4 Beswick figures, all boxed. Any info? - Mrs P Howard, Basingstoke

ARUPERT and his trusty pals were the perfect antidote to the hardships of wartime Britain. Most toys appeared during the 1960s and sought-after items include enamel badges made for the Police Federation, a set of Dutch postcards from the 30s and the Pedigree Bears from the early 1970s. There is a broad variety of other items to hunt down: board games, clothes, puppets and puzzles. There were 10 mistake copies of the 1973 Rupert Annual made.

Rupert has a brown face on the cover, and white one inside. If you have a brown-faced '73 it is worth at least pounds 16,500 at auction.

The figures were made later in the early 1980s. There are several characters to collect. As yours are boxed, they could be worth pounds 900. Keep them safe for him for a few more years.

QMY family have owned a French mechanical singing bird for nearly 140 years. It rests on a perch in a gilded cage and is about 20 inches high. Would it interest a collector? - Mr Goldberg, Kensington, London

AITEMS like this are known as Automata and include dancing dolls and walking pigs. They are very delicate amusement items which would have been wound and played to the delight of upper middle class Victorian socialites. Singing birds also featured in "bocages" - enchanting scenes, covered by a dome, where the birds would flit between branches, using tiny wires. Like most examples of singing birds, your cage is probably unstamped, though quite likely to be an original made in France, between 1800 and 1850 by either Lambert, Bontem or Roullet & Decamp. It should be insured for up to pounds 2400.

QMY daughter, while playing in the garden, uncovered two coins. They depict a man's head and are marked III DEI.G 1772 CAROLUS on the front and have a motif on the back topped by a crown. Was this really buried treasure? - H Payne, Newcastle Upon Tyne

ACOLLECTORS these days are more interested in a coin's condition rather than its rarity, and a mint, unused item can be worth a small fortune.Your daughter's discoveries are Spanish Pieces of Eight, made in Seville. and worth up to pounds 275 each.SEND YOUR QUESTIONS TO: James Breese, Treasure Hunters, Features, Sunday Mirror, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP or email:
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Breese, James
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 15, 2000
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