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SM Money: Treasure hunters.

TV antiques expert JAMES BREESE gives you his tips on how to make the most of the world of antiques and collectables.

Q I HAVE a Muffin The Mule toy based on the TV series of the 1950s. Could you tell me if it is worth keeping? - Mrs D.Swift, Bournemouth, Dorset

A MUFFIN The Mule started life in 1946 and was presented by Annette Mills. Your toy is probably a Muffin Junior finger puppet. About 50,000 were made from a die-cast alloy called Mazac with washers for joints. The fairly poor quality was because of the Korean War which led to a shortage of materials for toys. He was made by the British company MOKO which was linked to Matchbox between 1952 and 1955. Collectors are likely to be in their late 40s and 50s so there's a limited market. But if boxed and in good condition he could fetch up to pounds 180 at auction. If your Muffin is around 8.5cm high, he is the much rarer Sacul model and worth over pounds 320.

Q I HAVE a money box featuring a portly gentlemen sitting on a chair. When a coin is put on his palm, he places it in his pocket and nods his head cheerfully! Why the odd action and could he also be worth saving? - Mr D. Douglas, Chipping Sodbury, Avon.

A MOST early examples of money boxes were made of cast iron, usually with a charming mechanical action. They first appeared in numbers in the mid 19th Century, though it was the 1920s when they became more popular. Inexpensive tinplate then led to mass-production. Stevens and Harper are the two best-known makers of money boxes. Tanmmany is another sought- after brand. They made your fine item in 1880, modelled on a corrupt American politician. It was a scandal at the time and this moneybox was a spoof on it. He is worth up to pounds 340 in top condition, and around pounds 200 if chipped. The Holy Grail of money boxes is the Skipping Girl made in the United States in 1870. She is worth between pounds 9,000 to pounds 11,500.

Q IS there any interest (and money), in old TV sets. I have had a Marconi model 702, with a mirror to reflect the picture, for over 60 years. It is about a metre high and has a central grille for the speaker - Mr Lewis, Hammersmith, West London

A COLLECTING vintage TV sets has only taken off recently, but pre-war models are fetching big money. Your vintage machine is a true dinosaur, yet it was very expensive in its day (around pounds 92). It wouldn't work now as image revolution standards changed in the 60s. However, it could be worth around pounds 2,800.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Breese, James
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 10, 2000
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