Beware of Fakes & Look-Alikes
Bossons have been illegally copied and molded throughout the years in every medium possible including metal, plastic, rubber, wood, and even the "wrong" kind of gypsum plaster.
The backside of the Bossons is one of the easiest ways to identify an authentic Bossons. Most are identified by the name engraved on the back. When you purchase a Bossons from us, we stand behind its authenticity 100%.
Contact us for more information about purchasing from our collection of authentic Bossons.
FOLLOWING IS A STUDY OF BENGALI. It is presented here as an exclusive and original presentation from Don's Collection and written by Dr. Hardisty. It was excerpted, with permission, by Dr. Robert E. Davis in his second edition of "The Imagical World of Bossons," Book II, page 69-70 (1994).
BENGALI 10-1/4" Wall Ornament. Two versions are show here. Above, three-stripe, and followed by the five-stripe.
The marvelous and original coloring of the formal headdress of these Bossons can not be equaled in the art world. Collectors say, and I agree, it is the beauty of these hats that makes them so popular. But I also say the eyes appear to be looking right at you; thus, one can be part of the realism present in Bossons.The Bengali Bossons are among the most coveted examples of Bossons artware.
Follows some of the most important considerations when making them part of your personal collection. All Bengali contain the paintress initials painted to the underside of the left collar as "he" faces you. It can read several ways, and here are two authentic examples from both the five-and three-stripe versions.
Above you will see the original incised copyrights from the Five-Stripe, followed by the Three-Stripe Bengali. This official copyright always appears on the back and can be either on the lower side or at the top, as shown. You will also see here incised initials of the moldmaker, and some reference to the date the mold was made. More information in this regard can be found on my original website linked at www.bossons.us.
Above are the same two Bengali and showing the open cavities that were used for the limited number of Bengali that were produced and released from Bossons for approximately one year, 1970, as shown in the paintress initials above. It has been my experience over the past 40 years that more than 50 were made. The number is closer to one-hundred as confirmed by Ken Potts, who was Factory Manager at Bossons. The usual "run" for Bossons, unless they were experimental prototypes, was that number.
Of interest, I can also confirm that Bossons did release one example of Bengali that had a CLOSED BACK, I.e., no open cavity. It was experimental, and one of the first examples from Bossons. Then they needed to reduce the weight of all Bossons, and Bengali fell into line with some of the plaster being removed by using the open cavity in the back. You can see this rare Bossons shown on page 70 of the reference given above of the "Imagical World of Bossons." Unfortunately, the closed back example does not exist in my personal collection as I sold it. However, I now append a full-length view of this "fantastique" Bossons that we do have for sale, periodically.
May I also indicate here that I am seeing several copies of my Bengali, and other Bossons appearing on the INTERNET. It could be considered aa compliment, but it would be professionally appropriate if these individuals would reference the use of our photos. IT IS VERY EASY TO KNOW WHEN YOU ARE SEEING MY ORIGINAL BOSSONS, EITHER FROM MY COLLECTION OR FOR SALE: THEY ALWAYS APPEAR SHOWN ON MY EXCLUSIVE BLUE BACKGROUND THAT I HAVE USED AS A COPYRIGHT SYMBOL SINCE OPENING DON'S COLLECTIBLES IN 1986.
THE FIVE-STRIPE BENGALI "looking rght at you."
Gilded Winston Churchill, produced for one year, 1966.
Fred Wright sculpted this coveted model of Churchill in 1965 (here see his incised signature on the right.)
It measures 5-1/2" and though it has no number within the Bossons numbering system, it would be part of the Series B Wall Masks. It is especially unique since it is one of a few members of the 'Bossons' Cast of Characters' that is real, and not "Imagical ™." Note the open cavity, outside hanger and incised copyright on the back, all unique to the original Gilded issue of Winston Churchill from Bossons.
SPECIAL NOTE: Churchill is one of several Bossons that has appeared on the open market having been "doctored" by amateur painters. In the original edition, it contains no less than three semi-gloss colors of rich antique gold, iridescent copper, and brilliant gold leaf. If you look closely at this model you will see those three authentic and original variations of color.
THE RAREST "BARE ARM CHEYENNE" INDIAN
Full colored experimental 1st version of Bare Arm Cheyenne from our personal collection. This full colored version has commanded a much higher price than the more often found 2nd version. There are differences in coloring, hair ribbons, armband, shield, and red heads of the feathers. Ken Potts told me "this variation was experimental and limited for economical reasons; it simply took too long to color, and only 5 or 6 were ever released.”
You may reference this same Bare Arm Cheyenne for original coloring as illulstrated in "Imagical World of Bossons, Robert E. Davis (see Book II (1994), page 69, upper right photo taken by D. Hardisty on his "copyright-blue background, May 27, 1986.) Photo used by permission.
Here is also shown the original copyright with production date of 1967 for this rare Cheyenne Indian, used on both Bare Arm and second "red-coated " editions. Original molding,and subsequent versions all include the open cavity, inside hanger and the incised copyright marking on the back of the head and they all include the inside hook that was embedded into the plaster.
TWO EDITIONS OF THE NIGERIAN MAN COMPARED
Several collectors have been discussing the authenticity of the Nigerian Man from Bossons with incised copyright of 1961. This is what I have written on the IBCS website in an attempt to clarify surface differences that were used by Bossons over the years. Here is what I have said so far:
Well, it appears I need to comment here. I do not REPAIR Bossons, I restore them to their original condition. I am proud to say that I am the only person that Ray Bossons recommended to restore their products. I have so many Bossons now in stock that came directly from the factory that it is not worth my time these days, and most people do not want to pay for the time it takes to do it right. Thus, the only restoration work I have been doing of late involves our rarest Bossons and Hummels. I did study, privately, for several years the restoration of pottery, glass, porcelain and gypsum plaster with several leaders in the field.
Yes, Nigerian Man is another Bossons that was first released with a kind of gloss finish and later with a soft matte finish. In fact, **Bossons released a slightly different coloring of Nigeran Man in the 1990's (see correction below); however, may I emphasize all versions carry the same copyright incision, a common misunderstanding among some collectors, i.e., the copyright date does not add to the value but it does in many cases help us identify authenticity to these works of art.
Explanations are getting complicated through this medium. I CANNOT confirm, with complete assurance, that the Nigerian Man, or any other Bossons is authentic, and from Bossons, WITHOUT SEEING THEM IN HAND. There are several reasons: (1) pictures, cameras, and photographers capabilities are relative; (2) there are what we call "gloss, glaze, shine, sheen, matte, soft tones, varnished, shellacked, etc., etc.; (3) Bossons glaze was a particular kind of soft sheen(not really gloss) that is almost impossible to recreate without using the original products from England, and especially knowing how and when it was properly applied; (4) As I have explained on my website at...
many amateur repairers do not realize what I learned as early as my first woodworking project in elementary school: you cannot cover up dirt and surface imperfections with paint, and especially with simply spraying varnish, or some kind of gloss. The professional works to make the surfaces completely perfect before applying anything, and that is what takes the time when technique and artistic talent are applied. They always strove for imperfection with severe quality control. Mr. Bossons always limited production to make certain this level of perfection was maintained. I WILL place a picture for you to view two authentic Editions of the Nigerian Man either here or on my website. Regards, Donald M. Hardisty 6-17-14.
FURTHER ANALYSIS OF THESE TWO EDITIONS OF NIGERIAN MAN
The First Edition(LEFT) was obtained directly from Ken Potts. It has hung in my personal collection, under glass, for nearly 30 years(to be exact 29 years ago). I met Ken in August of 1984, and he sent this Bossons, among others, in 1995. It is as close to being from the factory as one can get, and thus does show some surface imperfections. IMPORTANTLY, notice the sheen, NOT HIGH GLOSS in comparison to the 2nd Edition on the RIGHT that I took out of a Bossons box to illustrate here. As explained, it was released to the market for one year in 1988. **I stand corrected here by referring to page 110, Imagical Wolrd of Bossons, Book II.
Here are the reverse sides of the early model(LEFT) and 1988 release(Right). They are perfect examples to also show the difference in one early method of displaying Bossons with an exterior "U" shaped hook, and the final method of a steel rod imbedded into the gypsum plaster. Notice also the incised copyright date of 1959 on the 1st Edition ON THE BACK.
Though not as clear as I would like, the first, original edition(Left) is incised as 1961 as clearly shown here for the Second Edition. However, the original paintress initials confirms the date of 1962. It was common to have the incised copyright date appear one, two, or three years before the particular Bossons was released into production.
CONCLUSION: It is extremely important to see the original Bossons (glaze/gloss/sheen) seen above on the LEFT, in comparison to the beautiful and rich matte finish on the Right. The 1959/1961 First Edition is not BRILLIANT as often seen on models that are NOT Authentic. Also the richness of the 1988 version leaves me to vote with the Bossons people who made the decision to turn to Matte finish for most of their products. It simply is much more impressive, rich, and REAL looking. DMH
Edited June 17, 2014- Donald M. Hardisty, Don's Collectibles.