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From the Editor

I know I say this every issue, but I really do think this Summer 2017 magazine is the best one we've ever done! There's so much to read, from taking a tour inside Australia's official houses to the history of the nutcracker... and in between, the world's most expensive watches (Christmas gift ideas, perhaps?), souvenirs from the Grand Tour (it was a little bit longer than the average summer holiday!) and even the history of Christmas lights.

And speaking of Christmas, what about a little reindeer magic? Reindeer were already popular as a Christmas theme before Rudolph came along... Santa's eight flying reindeer were established in the poem A Visit from St Nicholas in 1823, and figures in papier mache and composition were being made in Germany in the 1890s. But it was after Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - 'the most famous reindeer of all' - was published by the American department store Montgomery Ward in 1939 that he really stormed the festive season.

The story was written by copywriter Robert May, but when he presented it to his employers at Montgomery Ward they weren't keen, mainly because they thought red noses were mainly associated with too much alcohol. Robert and artist Denver Gillan went to the nearby Chicago zoo to observe reindeer, and the sketches they produced convinced the powers-that-be to publish the book. During that first Christmas season of 1939, 2.4 million copies of Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer were distributed... but it was the release of the song in 1949, recorded by Gene Autry, that saw Rudolph go global. In 1964 the animated television special narrated by Burl Ives was screened for the first time, and it remains the longest running Christmas special in the history of television.

And speaking of television... we've finally been given a date for the screening of Clash of the Collectables! You'll be able to watch Alan Carter and Eric Knowles battle it out over ten weeks, starting on Friday December 1 at 7.30pm on Gem (which is the secondary free to air channel for Channel 9). Repeats are also being screened, but we don't have the official times for those yet.

Finally, if you're a subscriber to the magazine we hope you love your free calendar, which has the dates listed of more than 140 antiques and collectables fairs being held in 2018. And if you're not a subscriber but you'd like a copy of the calendar, you can subscribe before January 31, 2018 and we'll send one out to you (see the banner on the home page of this website).

Meanwhile, have a lovely Christmas and we'll see you in the New Year!

Julie Carter
Editor, Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure & Profit