Q & A with Harry Rinker: Ray Harryhausen Animation, Vietnamese Bank Notes & More
QUESTION: I was born in 1944. During my elementary school years, between 1950 and 1956, we watched film cartoons shown on an 8mm or 16mm projector. One I remember was about a man who loved gold, somehow managed to turn his daughter into gold, and then gave up all his gold to bring his daughter back to life. The cartoons contained stop motion animatronics. I have spent hours on the internet trying to locate information about this film. Can you shed any light on it?
– S.S., Boerne, Texas, via e-mail
ANSWER: The film is a theatrical cartoon entitled “The Story of King Midas.” It was produced and directed by Ray Harryhausen, written by Charlotte Knight and distributed by Phoenix, BFA Films. It was first released around 1953. The run time is 10 minutes and eight seconds. The two characters in the film are King Midas and his daughter.
The story of King Midas dates back to Greek mythology. King Midas was an actual person, although historians disagree about his personal history. In one account, Midas, son of King Gordias and his goddess consort Cybele, was king of Perssinus, a city of Phrygia. Herodotus, a Greek historian, talks of the ancient kings of Macedon and King Midas’s garden of roses on the slopes of Mount Bermion.
Ovid introduced the King Midas myth in his “Metamorphoses.” Silenius, a satyr, is discovered asleep in King Midas’s rose garden. After discovering Silenius, King Midas entertained him for 10 days and nights. On the eleventh day, Silenius granted King Midas a wish. King Midas asked that everything he touched turn to gold. Unable to eat (his food turned to gold), King Midas faced starvation. He prayed to Dionysus, who instructed him to wash in the river Pactolus. When Midas did, the power to create gold transferred from Midas’s body to the river’s sands. Midas mined the sands and became a rich king.
Raymond Frederick Harryhausen, born June 19, 1920, created Dynamation, stop-motion model animation. Willis O’Brien, the model animator for “King Kong,” inspired Harryhausen. In many Harryhausen films, the animation interacts with live action.
Harryhausen began his film career working on Paramount’s George Pal’s Puppetoon shorts. During World War II, he was part of the Army Motion Picture Unit. Harryhausen’s film credits include “King Kong” (1952 release), “The Monster from Beneath the Sea,” “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms,” “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” and “Clash of the Titans.”
Harryhausen produced five stop-motion cartoons—“The Storybook Review” (1946), “The Story of Little Red Riding Hood” (1949), “Hansel and Gretel” (1951), “The Story of Rapunzel” (1951) and “The Story of King Midas” (1953). Harryhausen hoped to make 15 to 20 fairy tale cartoons. He stopped the project while making “The Tortoise and the Hare” because of the time required to make each cartoon and a desire to return to feature films.
“The Story of King Midas” is available here YouTube and several other internet sites free of charge. Anyone wishing to view it can easily do so. As a result, the demand for older film versions has declined significantly. A viewable film copy is valued at under $40.00.
QUESTION: My husband has two bills that he acquired in Cambodia. The first is a Viet-Nam 10 Dong note, the second is a “Une Plastre” Institut D’Emission Des Estas du Cambodge du Laos et du Vietnam. Do they have any value?
– T.M., Solomon, Ariz.
ANSWER: The Institut d’Emission des Etats Du Cambodge du Laoa et du Vietnam issued notes in piaster and dong between 1953 and May 2, 1978. The first dong series was 1953 to 1975. The second dong series was released from 1976 to May 1978. The notes were official currency in sections of Vietnam not controlled by Communist forces. Two other branches also issued banknotes—the riel in Cambodia and the kip in Laos. Beginning in 1955, the National Bank of Vietnam printed its version of dong notes. The Ngan-Hang note is a Bank of Vietnam issue.
The dong divides into 100 xu (also written as su). Coins were available in 10, 20 and 50 su and 1, 10, 20 and 50 dong. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam continues to use the dong as its national currency.
Vietnam experienced inflation in the early 1970s. Eventually, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 dong notes were introduced.
American G.I.s and civilians serving in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam frequently returned home with banknote examples. The notes had little value.
The secondary market is flooded. Most examples sell between 50 cents and $3, especially any note that has been circulated (used as currency as opposed to crisp and clean). Your notes have more sentimental than monetary value.
QUESTION: I have a set of three stoneware crocks, the largest of which is 7 inches in diameter and 7 inches high. They are marked on the bottom: “Roseville Spongeware / Workshop of Gerald Henn.” What is the set’s value?
– R, New Rochelle, Ill.
ANSWER: Your spongeware crocks are modern reproductions. A web search of “Gerald Henn+Roseville” produced a list of dozens of websites offering Henn pottery for sale but no clear information as to who is the “real” Gerald Henn. Are the Henn Workshops, the workshops of Gerald E. Henn, and Gerald Henn one in the same or two or three separate entities?
Henn Workshops is a family-owned business located in Warren, Ohio. The company specializes in handcrafted accessories, bakeware, dinnerware, serving pieces and home furnishings. Henn Workshops maintains a Museum Store at 8292 Tod Avenue, Lordstown, Ohio.
According to the Pottery Consultant website, The Workshops of Gerald E. Henn Pottery is no longer making pottery. Another website indicates that Henn ceased operation as of September 2009. Several websites list the address of the Workshops of Gerald E. Henn Pottery as 3672 Silliman Street, New Waterford, OH 44445.
Conflicting information is one of the reasons why I love the internet. No one polices the information. Anyone can post anything. Misinformation is the order of the day unless skepticism reigns regarding all information.
The one safe thing that can be said is that whoever made Henn pottery is no longer making it. Dealers with large inventories tout that now is the time to complete collections or patterns while supplies exist. Buyers beware. Take time to comparison shop. Many sellers have raised the retail price to reflect what they consider to be marketplace scarcity.
Rinker’s Thirty Year Rule—for the first 30 years of anything’s life, all its value is speculative—applies. Collectors and others are speculating. This is the time to sell not buy. While some individuals view Henn pottery as folk art revival, it is commercial and not folk art reproduction. It has not stood the test of time required by the secondary market. After reviewing the Henn pottery products offered online, my prediction is that the Henn collecting craze will run its course in 10 to 15 years, after which time people desiring to own examples will be able to buy Henn pottery at pennies on the 2012 dollar.
Supporting this point of view is the wide disparity of pricing I found among sellers offering the three-piece spongeware canister set. An eBay seller has a “Buy It Now” price of $229. Shipping is free, which it well should be for any fool willing to pay this price. A rose spongeware canister set is listed with an opening bid of $60 but has failed to find a bidder.
WorthPoint.com lists a blue spongeware set that sold on eBay for $47.01 in October 2007 and another blue set that sold in January 2008 for $203.83. This is a perfect example of how “who is at the auction” impacts price. Beware of any object with a three- to four-times price swing.
The quick sale value of your thee-piece, Henn blue spongeware canister set is around $125. However, expect the value to fluctuate as much as $75 in either direction depending on circumstance. The true secondary market value of your Henn canister set will not be established until 2030.
QUESTION: I have a large print of Henry P. Smith’s “Blossom Time” in a simple quarter-sawn oak frame. The print is marked copyright 1907 by Sackett and Wilhelms Co., New York. What is its value?
– E.P., Hanover, Wis.
ANSWER: Little is known about Henry Pember Smith (1854-1907). The assumption is that he was self-taught. He first exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1877. He also showed his work at the Art Institute in Chicago, the Boston Art Club, the Brooklyn Art Club, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.
“Blossom Time” featuring a genre scene of a cottage in a rural landscape was typical of household prints used for display, on calendars and the surface of jigsaw puzzles between 1905 and the late 1920s. The copyright indicates the print was published after Smith’s death.
Your print’s principal value is decorative and between $45 and $60.
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Harry L. Rinker welcomes questions from readers about collectibles, those mass-produced items from the 20th century. Selected queries will be answered on this site. Harry cannot provide personal answers. Send your questions to: Rinker on Collectibles, 5955 Mill Pond Court SE, Kentwood, MI 49512. You can e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Only e-mails containing a full name and mailing address will be considered. Please indicate that these are questions for WorthPoint.
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