Although we’ve already examined many of the felines and birds that were produced so beautifully by Connoisseur, there are yet more animals to explore. They range in habitat from the wilds of Africa to the ice floes of the Arctic…even to a cosy corner of a typical home.
Kodiak, an issue of 25 in 1985, was designed by Christopher Ashenden. It measures 22″ high x 11.5” wide (56 cm x 29 cm) and retailed for $4250 in 1987.
The charming Harvest Mice was a limited issue of 250. The designer name is currently unknown but it appeared sometime between 1981 and 1983. It is 7.5″ (19cm) high and sold for $750 in 1983. An alternate version may have been issued as ‘Field Mice’ but this is unconfirmed at present.
An article in the Summer 1988 issue of Collector Editions magazine mentioned this limited edition Impala at 17” (43 cm) high, with a then-current USA retail price of $2100. My guess as to the designer would be Christopher Ashenden. A 1987 introduction, the issue was limited to 100 pieces.
The Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is native to Africa and is unrelated to the water buffalo of Asia. These are massive animals that can attain almost 2000 lbs at adulthood. Connoisseur’s study includes the white Cattle Egrets and the tickbirds who have a symbiotic relationship with the buffalo by eating the ticks that would otherwise infest the buffalo’s skin and undermine its health. The egrets consume insects that are stirred up into flight as animal passes. Designed by Chris Ashenden and an edition of 25, this 1987 study is 18″ (46 cm) high on its accompanying wood base.
A mid-1980s text-only Connoisseur price list mentions a Chipmunk priced at $575. The pricing suggests that this might have been either an open edition or a limited edition that was smaller in size than the Dormice and the Harvest Mice.
Connoisseur also produced an Elephant standing almost three feet tall (34.5”, or about 87 cm) and two-thirds as wide. The design’s name is not known but the designer was Christopher Ashenden and the elephant is portrayed walking with its trunk hanging downward. It was sold with an accompanying wood base. I have not included a photo because the only example I have found is later reproduction of the original piece (see Identifying Original-Studio Connoisseur for a discussion of how to recognize those.) The circa-2000s operation produced two different elephants bearing a Connoisseur stamp: the trunk-down one which was cast from the original-studio’s 1980s molds, and another completely different elephant whose trunk was held upright.
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