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Minerva mascot - is it, or isn't it???


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A friend discovered this in his mother's home after helping her to move recently and was wondering about it. I've had it in my hands a while now and have done a lot of investigating, comparing photos in reference books and mascots in other collections. I'm of the opinion this is a repro, but thought I'd post my concerns and let the crowd weigh in on the topic. It isn't for sale at this time but the owner will no doubt eventually be trying to figure out what to do with it as he is not a mascot or automobilia collector.

 

For background, I'm only an amateur mascot collector. Have a few nice ones and like to learn everything about what I've got. Was a good friend of the late Bill Williams and provided him some of the European contacts he used when preparing his book on mascots, so I've been around them a while and always keep an eye on auctions and sales. Here are my concerns.

 

First, it's chrome-plated brass. While not a deal breaker, the best and earliest of them were silver or nickle plated.

Most I've seen that are undoubtedly genuine are marked with a signature on the base of the sculptor, P.de.Soete. Additionally, under the back rear of the helmet, they are marked "PD" in a circle. 

 

Looking at the photos, this one has no sculptor's signature but is marked very crudely, with the "PD" logo. Compared to known originals, this logo lacks the definition and level of crispness I'd expect. A look under there tells me is is not a great casting and has been poorly finished, with deep file marks evident.

 

Looking directly at the front, the label "Minerva" itself is not crisp. Perhaps the raw casting was just over-buffed in preparation for the plating? The quality of the lettering and level of detail is poor and the background behind the lettering is poorly done compared to known originals. I've seen several variations on this part of the mascot. Some have a dotted "i" in the word Minerva, while others don't. Some have a large "A" at the end of MinervA while others are simply spelled out "Minerva" with a lower case letter "a."

 

The griffon on top of the helmet on this example is another part that is either a poor quality casting or was over-buffed during the clean-up and plating process. On other known originals, the detail is crisp and the griffon is very well detailed. 

 

Obviously this one is mounted on some kind of cap that is non-original.

 

Overall, it just doesn't seem to have the quality I'd normally associate with a Minerva mascot. Perhaps it's just the ravages of time and handling, but I'm not confident enough to pronounce it as an original, so am looking for agreement with my assessment, or am willing to be educated. 

 

Would appreciate your sharing whatever collective wisdom exists on these.

 

Thanks,

 

Terry

 

Minerva front view resized.jpg

 

Minerva 3.jpg

 

Minerva base resized.jpg

 

Minerva top resized.jpg

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Wish I'd looked closer at the one I saw Saturday at Rhinebeck! One of the vendors I always stop to see had one on the front of his table, brass, in a frame with a small plaque. I just gave it a quick look and mentioned it was Minerva, he said I was the only person that knew that and we went on to other things. Haven't got a clue what his name is, but he has the same spot every year. Bob

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Years ago, like 40 or 50 years ago, someone in England was reproing classic car mascots rather crudely like the one you describe. Sometimes they were 'antiqued' with sandpaper and thinned black paint or India ink. An old time English collector may know who I mean, I remember reading something about him in an English old car magazine, possibly Old Motor.

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Thanks, I've looked at that site and many of the mascot photos also show up in other resources.  One thing I have noticed when looking at other mascots is the detail in the eyes.   The one in my hands really lacks the level of detail I see in many other examples.  Now about certain the one in my post is a copy.

Terry

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One of the better automotive mascot websites is this one:

 

https://www.mascot-mania.co.uk

 

Go: factory mascots -> click on the Belgium flag -> select Minerva from the drop-down menu.

 

Six Minerva mascots are shown and the only one that looks similar to Terry's is this one:

 

minerva.2.jpg

 

Differences in the name and the "squareness" in the base would lead me to believe Terry's is a later reproduction.

 

Too bad Bill Williams left us so long ago. I'm sure he'd be able to tell you what this really is.

 

 

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Thanks, have often used Mascot Mania for reference.  The only thing I've not done yet is remove it from the cap it's on to see if it is hollow cast.  To me that will be the final check-list item.  This one is quite heavy so I suspect I'll find it is a solid brass casting.

Thanks to all,

Terry

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