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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:28 pm 
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A reader wrote:
I came across your site quite recently and would like to thank you for a most interesting site I have found the information within most informative. I love Christmas and read your article on Hawthorne Village with great interest which has prompted me to write to you for advice. I have several items of Hawthorne Village from 2000/2001 and wondered if there was a list available of the pieces made at this time as I would like to add to my collection, thanks.

Tony, Thanks for getting in touch. I didn't really become acquainted with Hawthorne village until about 2004, though I've retroactively collected a few pieces that were made much earlier. Here's some history to tell you why I can't exactly answer your question.

Unlike Dept. 56 whose business plan depended on each individual piece being a numbered collectible with "value" and hopefully increasing in that value in years to come, Hawthorne Village's business plan depended on appealing to a wide range of audiences with many different products. Yes, they're all numbered, and most of them are assigned serial numbers and little certificates. But with Dept. 56 there is a huge focus on protecting the past (and therefore "guaranteeing" new purchasers that their pieces will one day be classic collectibles as well). Hawthorne Village's designers were always looking to the future, trying to find niche markets that no one else had tapped. So you'll see Dept 56 collectors' guides that list every piece ever made and it's presumed value (always overrated). You won't see that for Hawthorne Village - they made and sold a lot more pieces, and many of them appealed only to, say, John Wayne collectors, or Munster fans. The whole dynamic of creating something guaranteed to increase in value just BECAUSE it is a collectible isn't there.

Collectibles Today (Hathorne's owners) would contract with resin artists and factories in China to make a "run" of product at the same time they hired artists to draw an "artist's conception" of the first issue to put into their catalogs, web pages, and magazine advertisement. When the first, test batch was available, they would sometimes use photos of those, especially if the photos looked much different than the "artist's conception." Often only the first three or four issues in each run were even designed before they started taking orders. But they wouldn't put in orders for issues past #5 unless they had a good number of signups, so some sets only ever got 4 pieces. Other sets kept adding new pieces indefinitely, but once the original set was "retired," orders for the ongoing "issues" would gradually taper off, so the last few pieces would be made in very small batches, and even then would sometimes wind up being given away to advertisers as "samples."

So if you had, say the first 12 in a series that went to 15, you might NEVER track down the other three.

Due to the 2008-2009 recession, Collectibles Today was consolidated into the Bradford Exchange, and a certain amount of historical knowledge of early sets has been lost.

Worse yet for you, the regional offices of Bradford Exchange have stopped carrying most Hawthorne Village lines and you can no longer order directly from the US/Canada office. (I've complained to them about that, but to no avail.)

THAT SAID, some sets, like certain Thomas Kinkade villages, were produced for a very long time, and there are enough of them around to at least get an idea of what pieces were commonly available.

So that's a very long explanation to tell you that you might not ever be able to track down the other pieces you'd like to have (or even find out about them). But if your collection is one of the more popular ones, you might have a chance at an answer.

BTW, lots of "odds and ends" come up on eBay US, but don't bid on anything unless you're A: absolutely sure you need it and B: can see enough detailed photos to tell that EVERY PART of that issue is there and is in excellent shape. I've bought several Hawthorne village pieces over eBay, and every one had a bad chip or a missing accessory, or multiple missing accessories.

Here's my question, what set(s) do you have part of, and which pieces in those sets?

If I don't know them, I'll post your question on the BigIndoorTrains.com discussion forum for other folks to take a look at.

Hope you have a GREAT spring,

Paul Race
www.BigIndoorTrains.com
www.FamilyChristmasOnline.com
etc.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:05 pm 
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The reader replied:

Hi Paul

Thank you for your reply and the very interesting information. These are the items I have of the Hawthorne Christmas Village:


Name of Piece Item No Year
Holiday Bed And Breakfast 79971 2000

Light Of Hope Church 79972 2000

Santa’s Workshop Toys 79973 2000

From The Heart Gifts 79974 2000

Victorian Homestead 79975 2001

Skating At The Pond 79776 2001

Yuletide Bakery 79777 2001

Stonehearth Restaurant 79978 2001

All the item numbers run consecutively and wondered if there were any before the Holiday Bed And Breakfast ie. (79970) and if there are any that follow ie. (79979) and also if there were any accessories available created for the village of the same period.

I would be grateful of any information received.

Thank you once again.

---------------------------------
Tony,

First of all, the Holiday Bed and Breakfast was the first issue sent out in each collection

http://www.bradfordexchange.com/products/917482_.html

The next two in the series are:

#79979 009 - Village Christmas Station
#79980 010 - St. Nicholas Christmas Shop

Both are usually available on eBay in the US. Perhaps one of the sellers will ship to UK? The only downside is that the kinkade buildings I've bought over eBay haven't always been flawless or had all the accesories. So study the photos carefully.

The next number beyond that is Fallbrook Florist, which is part of the Lamplight Village collection. I don't know if there are more in the original "Village Christmas" Collection.

Have you contacted the UK branch of Bradford Exchange? They don't list these villages at all, but maybe they could give you some ideas for getting through to the US/Canada offices.

http://www.bradford.co.uk/

I'll keep searching and let you know if I find anything else.

Paul Race
www.BigIndoorTrains.com


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 2:43 pm 
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Another reader writes:

--------------------

looking for info on "Its A Wonderful Life" series,like how many pieces were issued, ( I have 11 )and besides E_BAY, any ideas where to look for more?

-----------------------Our reply, please log in and add your own if you can help -----------

I apologize for having no idea how many of these were made.

Before Bradford Exchange reorganized a few years ago, they used to have folks who knew such things, and sometimes calling customer service would get you an answer.

Did you subscribe at one time? You might could call and ask to continue your subscription, even though they're not taking any new members for that particular issue. Have your paperwork handy. 1-866-907-3607 is their current number I believe.

I have part of three different collections myself, but too little space to worry about which pieces I'm missing. :-)

I'll also post this question (without your name or contact info) on one of my sites and see if I get any "bites."

- Paul


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:54 pm 
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A reader writes:

I subscribe to Rudolph Christmas Village through Bradford Exchange. However, there are 8 pieces I am missing and see people selling them on Ebay. Bradford said they may have gotten them through you. They have them listed as part of the set but have never received shipment of them from you. Please give me a phone number so that I can call and complete my set. I also have received all of Rudolph's accessories.

Through another contact page, the same reader wrote:

Sorry Paul, this is a second site I am trying to get information from. I received all but 8 pieces to Rudolph's Christmas Village and the accessories. Bradford said they did not receive shipment from you. I just want to buy the 8 pieces and see that people are selling them on Ebay. Bradford said they are included in the set but have never received shipment from you on these pieces. PLEASE help me find the correct place to contact to get these 8 pieces.

------Our reply----------------------

Thanks for getting in touch.

I have received both your notes, since I administrate FamilyChristmasOnline.com also. I don't know what the Bradford Exchange folks have told you, but the only people in the world authorized to sell these new is Bradford Exchange. I post reviews of many of their products on my web pages, but if you click through to order you go RIGHT to Bradford Exchange. I suppose I should be flattered that whoever you talked to thinks I have a secret source of these things, but I don't. In fact I only own a few pieces myself, since I have too much stuff to set out as it is and I don't sell it to readers.

Is your subscription still active or did you cancel it at some point? If you cancelled it at some point, you should be able to renew your subscription and tell them which pieces you have, and they should be able to start you at the next piece. If they send you a duplicate, send it back; they have a great return policy that includes a 365-day period during which you can return a piece for any reason.

On the other hand if the subscription "ran its course," and you just did not get all the pieces, and the Bradford Exchange "Customer Service" folks don't know how to get you the rest of them, I am sorry. Your best bet may be to buy them through eBay, unless the prices are through the roof, in which case, you should just bookmark your search and check back every few days for someone selling the thing at a reasonable price.

By the way, other companies have ALSO made Rudolph villages in a similar scale. In addition, the original distributor of these was Collectibles Today. They used to be a subsidiary of Bradford Exchange, but they were absorbed into Bradford Exchange after the recession. Although B.E. will deny it, one of Collectibles Today's distribution points used to sell individual pieces wholesale directly to gift shops. So there might be legitimate Hawthorne Village Rudolph village pieces that NEVER went directly to subscribers. And since most of the original Collectibles Today helpdesk and warehouse people are long gone, there's no way to track that down.

I apologize for not having more specific information, but at least you have a little more knowledge in case you find yourself encountering more oddball pieces and claims while you're trying to complete your collection.

Best of luck,

Paul


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:30 pm 
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A reader writes:

I would like a catalog of Mayberry villages

--------------------------------------

I am sorry. Neither CollectiblesToday nor Bradford Exchange ever published a catalog of the Hawthorne Village houses.

The Mayberry houses were very popular and sold out quickly, so chances are the only place you can get them is on eBay, now.

Sorry about that.

Have a good week,

Paul Race


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