You Don’t Have to Be Irish To Love These Fantastic Leprechaun Finds!
Top of the morning to you… or evening, if you’re reading this after 5pm! Despite American’s passion for all things red, white, and blue, many of us will be “wearing the green” on March 17th – better known as St. Patrick’s Day! This Irish holiday, which is now observed worldwide, celebrates Irish culture and heritage. It is named for Saint Patrick, the most important patron saint of Ireland. Leprechauns are also often playfully associated with all things Irish. Over time, they have evolved into charming St. Patrick’s Day ambassadors, appearing on St. Patrick’s Day greeting cards and invitations, in event advertising, on television, and “in the flesh” at St. Patrick’s Day parties and gatherings. Given their popularity, especially around this time of the year, let’s look at some of the most interesting leprechaun themed collectibles that have changed hands at auction in the last few months, according to Worthpoint’s Worthopedia. Do any of these fantastic finds have you seeing green?
Guinness Beer Leprechaun Advertising Figure
One popular and collectible Guinness leprechaun is made from rubber, wears a red hat and pants and green trousers, has a fuzzy beard and eyebrows, and sits on a wooden stool. This little guy from the 1960’s sold for $99 in December, 2017.
Many St. Patrick’s Day celebrants consider Guinness beer an integral component of their festivities. And it’s easy to understand why – this famous brewery, started in 1759 in Dublin – produces one of the most iconic, best branded, and most popular beers worldwide. Although the company’s official logo is a harp, they often use other images in their advertising, including leprechauns. One popular and collectible Guinness leprechaun is made from rubber, wears a red hat and pants and green trousers, has a fuzzy beard and eyebrows, and sits on a wooden stool. Naturally, he holds a bottle of Guinness in one hand and a harp in the other.
Jim Beam Leprechaun Decanter
In December 2017, one of these Jim Beam leprechaun decanters from 1991 with its original box sold for $24.88.
Another popular St. Patrick’s Day beverage is Irish coffee, a delightful drink made from hot coffee, fresh cream, brown sugar, and Irish whiskey. The combination of these wonderful ingredients is literally intoxicating! Jim Beam is a well-known manufacturer of bourbon whiskey; the company is located in Clermont, KY and is named in honor of James B. Beam, who brought the company back to life post-Prohibition. As part of its Holiday Collector series of decanters, the company produced a 13-1/2″ tall porcelain leprechaun standing on a stash of golden coins, filled with 4-year-old Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Death Wish Coffee Mug
Speaking of coffee, this next leprechaun highlight just may give you a jolt – but hopefully not a deadly one! The Death Wish Coffee company was founded in Saratoga Springs in 2012 and produces what they guarantee is the strongest coffee in the world. Their products have been featured on a Superbowl advertisement. Perhaps to ward off the grim reaper, Death Wish is very philanthropic, contributing to numerous nonprofits including the Special Olympics. They partner with the Deneen Pottery company to produce limited edition, hand thrown, individually glazed coffee mugs to celebrate their beans as well as support local charities.
Notre Dame Snuggie
In November 2017, a new in box, blue, white, and green logo’ed Notre Dame Snuggie featuring its leprechaun mascot sold for $29.99.
Leprechauns sometime appear as school or team symbols. The Boston Celtics have “Lucky the Leprechaun” as their logo, in a nod to the city’s Irish roots, while Notre Dame is practically synonymous with its feisty “Fighting Irish” leprechaun mascot. Almost every possible item you can imagine has been emblazoned with these logos for advertising and marketing purposes. But perhaps the coziest of them all is a Notre Dame Snuggie. A Snuggie is a person-long blanket with sleeves, designed for cozying up on the couch and reading, knitting, or other activities that require freedom of arm movement. These “as seen on TV” specialties are usually made out of soft fleece.
Lucky Charms, of Course
Finally, it would be challenging to find someone here in America who is not familiar with Lucky Charms, the “magically delicious” cereal from General Mills featuring marshmallow “hearts, moons, stars and clovers.” This magical mix debuted in 1964 and has been a multigenerational favorite ever since. As a matter of fact, an estimated 45% of the brand’s consumers today are adults, according to company research! Its spokesman, Lucky the Leprechaun, was originally named L.C. Leprechaun and sometimes goes by “Sir Charms.” With over five decades of Lucky the Leprechaun advertising specialties on the market, it is very hard to choose just one recent sales highlight. So here are two that truly qualify as “end of the rainbow” finds.
- Early Lucky Charm Television Commercial Advertising Cel
All eyes are certain to be glued to this first find, an extremely rare Lucky Charms cereal commercial production cel. Given it is dated 1964, it must be among the earliest animation ephemera available for this brand. “Cel” is shorthand for celluloid, and this setup includes transparent sheet featuring hand drawn illustrations that would have been used to create a TV commercial. According to the setup’s description, “Lucky is 4″ and is part of a 3-cel setup. The cels are stapled to their Key Master hand-painted production background. Beautiful color of the forest with flowers.”
2. Giant Lucky the Leprechaun Pez Dispenser
This second find truly proves Lucky’s status as an American icon. Here we have a 12″ tall Lucky the Leprechaun Pez dispenser. It is made from plastic and features Lucky’s head perched on an orange, footed pillar. His face comes to life with orange hair and eyebrows, prominent ears and cheeks, white and black pupil eyes, and just the tip of his tongue emerging from his simple smile. He wears his traditional green hat. His head is marked “2007 General Mills.” Only 900 of these were made and distributed to sales managers at TV stations as a promotion. According to the online Pez database, other giant General Mills Pez models include the Betty Crocker “Hamburger Helper” hand, the Honey Nuts Cheerio Bee, and the Twix Cereal Rabbit.
Rebekah Kaufman is a Worthologist who specializes in vintage Steiff and other European plush collectibles. You can follow her blog, which focuses on vintage Steiff finds, Steiff antiquing and travel adventures, international Steiff happenings, and the legacy and history of the Steiff company at http://mysteifflife.blogspot.com. Sign up for her Steiff newsletter by contacting her directly at email@example.com.
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