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Hello, I found this ~20cm x20cm Michelin man figure in my shed, he weighs a lot and is made from cast iron. I was wondering if anyone could identify it as I can't seem to find any images of the same one online, I have found similar ones that attach to a compressor however this guy has no holes and is a different color. The top two images are of the one I have while the others are of ones that I have seen but don't quite look the same.


Any information would be helpful, I don't even know when it was made...







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Indeed these are modern reproductions.  The antiques market, auctions, flea markets and even internet sales sites are flooded with them.

Originals were the figurines mounted atop Michelin tire pumps, and a variety of them have been produced over the years. The earliest of them used a cast iron figure on top. Later and smaller versions used one made of zinc.  The one shown in your last photo is most likely an original.     The "Detroit" info on the back has been added to it and was never a part of the original.  Sadly these have often  been artificially aged and are sold as antiques to those unaware.  There is of course a much larger version of the Michelin Man statue also produced in cast iron.  Again, antique markets are flooded with the.  Just check evilbay to see how many are around - with stupid prices!   Unfortunately, one was recently sold by a well known auction house that was totally a fantasy item and it sold for over $2000, not including a very high buyers premium.   Ebay item 123585071549 shows one of them currently listed with a buy it now price of over $1000  (or best offer).  I'm tempted to offer $10 for it if shipping is included!


Is RIP OFF a single word or should we use a hyphen in it?


Michelain statue.jpg

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Forgot to add that there is a wonderful Michelin reference book published by Schiffer, "The Michelin Man" An unauthorized advertising showcase, by Rudy LeCoadic who has amassed a tremendous collection of Michelin artifacts, and also used photos and information from a lot of other great sources.  For anyone collecting early Michelin automobilia it's a great resource.


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Just because you can't find another doesn't mean it's rare. It could mean you are just not looking in the right place.  It could be that a small run of them was made and wholesaled off and the maker went on to producing other products.  If you define rare as simply not many made, then you might be correct, but if you attempt to include the "rare factor" in determining value, it's a long stretch for items like these.  They are purely modern knock-offs and are virtually worthless, unless you can find one of those kinds of people who P.T. Barnum said were "...born every minute." Hope you didn't buy it as a real "antique" or pay too much for it.  As a decorator item for the proverbial "man-cave" it might be cute sitting on the bar so I suppose it has some value in that respect, but IMHO it's not more than a $20 novelty.


Loads of info is available from this posting on a great forum for collectors of all types of Petroliania and was submitted by a well known expert on Michelin items, Dr. Pau Medrano-Bigas, Professor of Graphic Design at the Grade of Design. Department of Visual Arts and Design. Sant Jordi Faculty of Fine Arts. University of Barcelona.   A full discussion on Michelin collectibles and fakes can be found at http://www.oldgas.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=384489&page=2


I write you to tell you that the English translated version of my Thesis Dissertation titled The Forgotten Years of Bibendum. Michelin’s American Period in Milltown: Design, Illustration and Advertising by Pioneer Tire Companies (1900-1930) is now available online at the University of Barcelona Thesis Depository:


The Thesis Dissertation was presented in 2015 and the English translation was finished in 2018 thanks to the financial support of the late Bruce T. Halle and the management of Susan Driver, curator of the Collection of Discount Tire turn of the Century lithograph tire posters. I’m so grateful for their support and endorsement.

The pdf files has been prepared and concived to be printed on paper. The Thesis can be downloaded separately by chapters, where the images appear reproduced in full color and in good resolution.

Files with the covers/back covers of the four volumes are also provided. It is made with the intention that everyone can print it on paper and bind it for your own enjoyment.

I think you will delight it, specially the chapters dedicated to American forgotten tire companies such as FISK, KELLY, REPUBLIC, GILLETTE, HOOD, MILLER, LEE, among others.

Although it is deep in the textual content, do not worry ... it is not boring, and it is also very visual (it contains more than 4,400 images, most of them never published before).

I 'm looking forward to reading your opinions...

I wish you enjoy it!

Your friend in Barcelona,





Edited by Terry Bond (see edit history)
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