Would you like to buy animal hand puppets that boast true entertainment pedigree? Well, you could do little better in that regard than investing in several Sooty hand puppets that were used by the little yellow bear’s creator and his son, Harry and Matthew Corbett respectively.
This is precisely the opportunity that is being presented to puppetry enthusiasts on 23rd November, when two original Sooty puppets will be sold at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, Derbyshire.
What’s the story behind these Sootys?
Sooty has featured on television in some form or another since the early 1950s, and he has gone on to become one of the best-loved children’s characters of all time.
The original Sooty Show ran from 1955 until 1992, while characters like Sweep and girlfriend Soo have joined him over the years as he has continued to entertain generations of kids – including, we’re sure, many current customers of Puppets By Post!
The older of the two puppets that will be on auction was given to Eunice Weston in 1960, when Harry Corbett was staying at her parents’ bed and breakfast pub, the Robin Hood, in Clacton, Essex.
As the now 69-year-old has recalled: “I didn’t really speak to him very much. I was only 11, quite shy and used to scuttle off to school. So, I was delighted at the end of the week when he gave me the Sooty puppet.”
The puppet was made to measure Harry’s hand, and has an estimated auction value of between £1,000 and £1,500.
A Sooty representing the end of an era
The second puppet that will be auctioned, meanwhile, was the last to be used by a member of the Corbett family, when it appeared in Matthew Corbett’s final stage show at Bloomsbury Theatre in London in December 1997.
Matthew retired at the conclusion of the tour, and a couple in Tewkesbury, 37-year-old Rob Smith and his wife Suzie, 35, are selling this historically significant Sooty puppet, which is expected to sell for thousands. It is accompanied by a magic wand, a copy of Sooty’s ‘life story’, a book entitled Sooty’s Magic Tricks, a Sooty, Sweep and Soo breakfast bowl, badges and a rosette.
Hansons Auctioneers sold another original Sooty puppet, used by Harry Corbett on TV in the 1950s, for what is believed to be a world record price of £14,500 in September.
The auction house’s owner Charles Hanson commented: “Sooty and I work well together! I hope I can make good use of Sooty’s magic wand and deliver another strong result. The interest in this iconic children’s character is huge.”
Alternatively, peruse our own puppet selection
Luckily, if you can’t ‘bear’ (sorry) the thought of paying such prices, you don’t have to! You can buy animal hand puppets of a wide range of brands and designs – but always of the highest quality – right here at Puppets By Post. We’re the one-stop online shop for true puppetry enthusiasts.