Released in 1950 as part of the Alice In Wonderland series, sales of the curious puppet paled in comparison to those of more recognisable Alice characters. Pelham factory records from 1954 suggest that across each month, an average of just two of the Fish Footman puppets were sold.
This example, minus its box, appeared for sale at Hansons (20% buyer’s premium) in Etwall, Derbyshire, on January 23 where it took a double-estimate £1400.
Only a handful of examples have appeared previously at auction. One in its original box took £580 at East Bristol Auctions in 2015 and another sold for £1300 during Bamfords’ 2016 benchmark three-part sale of over 1500 Pelham puppets formed by well-known Lincolnshire collector Kaye Casey.
That trio of Derby sales included a record for any Pelham puppet: the £4100 bid in 2015 for 6ft 9in (2.05m) model Bimbo the Giant Clown that was used by Bob Pelham to promote the brand from the early 1950s.