Fakes and Replica's
Ever since the creation of Pelham Puppets, they have been plagued with the problem of fakes. Because the puppets were mostly handmade and body parts including heads were sometimes used in many different puppets, it can be easy to "alter" an original puppet to look like another or even create one out of wooden parts to look like an original so it is important to know what it is you are looking at.
So what is a Fake?
Fakes or Replicas are puppets that were not created in the Pelham Factory. Whether it be a collector who uses Pelham Puppet parts to cobble together a new puppet or a company that mass produces a line of puppets that look like Pelham Puppets, if it wasn't made at the Pelham factory it isn't a Pelham Puppet.
In 1961 cheap copies of Bob's puppets started to pop up all over Europe. In some cases they were made of Porcelain and wood. They were poorly constructed and very cheaply produced. A lot of these fakes were made overseas in Japan. Because Bob was ever the kind businessman, he replaced these knock-offs with genuine Pelhams when children sent them into the shop to be repaired. This cost Bob a lot of money and damaged his company's name somewhat. Legal matters had to be taken and eventually the knock-offs stopped being imported.
Over the many years rare or one of a kind Pelhams show up either at auction, at the flea markets or on ebay. It is true that Bob did make one of a kind or limited number runs of certain puppets for individual clients, so challenging the authenticity of an unusual puppet can be tough. Using this site can be helpful, but when in doubt ASK QUESTIONS.
- Where did you get it?
- Who did you buy it from?
- What is this puppets story?
Its amazing how a few weeks after a photo of something rare appears on a site such as this, does a puppet turn up in some one's collection along with a fantastic story of how it was found.
"If it sounds to good to be true, its most likely not true"
When buying watch out for the words "Made from original Pelham Parts", "Made using the original moulds", "Made with permission", "Should have been made by Pelham" and "Made in the style of a Pelham Puppet", these are all simply replicas or fakes.
In the enclosed gallery are pictures of some fakes that were made in Japan during the company's run.
*It should be noted that the new Pelham Puppets that David Leech has created and is now selling through his web site and in local retail shops, are indeed officially licenced Pelham Puppets, however the distinction is that they are not from the original Pelham Company. During the last years of Pelham puppets, several lines of puppets were created by several companies who purchased the Pelham Puppet company and name, including a Czech company that produced a line of puppets in the style common in Czechoslovakia (with a wire rod to the head and a few strings for hands and feet). These however are not truly accepted as part of the original Pelham line.
If you desire more information on David's new line of Pelham puppets you can go to www.pelhampuppets.uk.com.