There was a time  . . .

before the omni-presence of the internet, the invention of television, or even the flooding of airwaves with radio, that news was not instant.  (shock, horror, disbelief)  Hence, the level of excitement caused by the weekly coach. Imagine having a major event happening every week in your hamlet.  The coachman's trumpet would bellow the clarion call as it approached.  Work would stop, and children and dogs would chase and scream, as if it was the ice cream man. "COACH IS HERE!"  Carrying PASSENGERS from exotic locations (or neighboring villages) along with MAIL and NEWSPAPERS, the anticipated, latest old-news, had arrived!  Dominating conversations at the Village Fountain, was "Guess what the Weekly had THIS week."  Carrying on this great tradition, we now offer our version of - (cue the fanfare) - "THE WEEKLY" . . . The Epping Coach is scheduled to arrive every Monday. Of course there are lots of hazards on the Dickens era roadways, so it's not always exactly on schedule, but when the cry goes out "COACH IS HERE" . . . the party begins. Who knows who or what it will bring  .  .  .  and it's contact free with social distancing.

 "Epping Coach is Here!"



July 8, 2020






Ahh, the miniature lit buildings.  The heart of all villages,

and my favorite part of my collection. Most of my collection

is from Department 56, but a few other brands may sneak in.


This week's highlighted building seems appropriate for

our troubled times. It is the Department 56

Dickens Village Series #55832. It was first introduced in

1989 and then retired in 1991. The short release window

assured that this popular building would be harder to

find, and keep the value on an upward trend. It was listed

at $37.50, and the current Village D-Tails has it as $100.

Cobles Police Station

I've never found out the significance of the name "Cobles"

but I hope there's a collector out there who can let me know.

It is the FIRST village police station.


The first British Police Force men were known as the

Bow Street Runners. In 1829, Sir Robert Peel established

the Metropolitan Police, which absorbed the runners, and

became the organization we still have today. In reference

to Sir Robert, his men were nicknamed "Bobbies" - a term

still occasionally heard today. Among many, other things,

Sir Robert Peel is known for his "Peelian Principles" which

defined and established the ethical requirements for ruling

     Sir Robert Peel

police. I feel confidant that he was a frequent visitor at our

police station. Since our village has NO crime and ONLY

happy villagers, the Bobbies must be doing a good and

"propah" job. So, we rightly say THANKS to them.




Before the internet, a major source of "information, inspiration

and connection" was the arrival of the many publications for

village collectors. Here, we'll take a look at the mailbox stuffers of

the Golden Age of Collecting. And you won't even need an S.A.S.E.

(Younger collectors may need to ask their Grandparents what that is)


Published by Cranston, RI's Peter and Jeanne George,

The Village Chronicle

arrived here from Volume 1, Number 1 (Sept/Oct 1991)

until the final issue, Volume 14, Number 6 (Nov/Dec 2004).

This bi-monthly infusion of villaging was always eagerly

watched for. When it arrived in my mail box, I could just

write off the rest of the day. After back issues sold out, they

offered copies made from the masters that sometimes were

hard to tell from the originals. Their famous tagline was

"The Original Magazine for Department 56 Collectors"

and it was always on the top of my reading pile. It is one

publication I truly miss from the "Golden Age of Villaging"

I was fortunate enough to videotape one of Peter's

always-packed seminars at New Hampshire's Christmas Dove

for my "Video56" Series.





As a collector, you've probably heard many times, sometimes in panic,

"Don't rip the box!" or "Save the box!"

Boxes are very important to the item's value, but you hardly

ever see the all-important packaging get the respect it deserves.


This week we feature a box from a different part of the

Heritage Village collection, Department 56's Alpine Village

Series #59536. It was introduced in 1988 at $42, and retired

in 1997. The current Village D-Tails list the value at $72.

With this size box/building, it is hard to keep the box sleeve

undamaged. Unfortunately, we aren't always successful. :)

 Even though our selection, the

"Stoder Grist Mill"

is with the Alpine Village, it is a classic example of a

Dickens era mill and makes a nice addition to our village.

"Stoder" refers to Adolph Stoder, the kindly old village miller.

(at least he's kindly and old in OUR village)

History Time?  Grist mills are at least as old as ancient Greece,

but the vertical mill wheels were first recorded in first century

Rome. Classic European mills started appearing in the late 10th

century. In England, a famous accounting, "The Doomsday

Survey of 1086" has an exact count of 5,624 water-powered

flour mills (about one for every 300 people). This number grew

to over 17,000 by the year 1300.

Of course, the classic, iconic American version, is the Sudbury,

Massachusetts "Wayside Inn's Old Grist Mill" made famous

by Longfellow's 1863 poem. What has this to do with Dickens?


But, Kathy and I were married here, 50 years ago this month.

(I'll unabashedly score points where ever I can)





I really like photography. It's even more special to me when villaging

is included. Here, we'll feature the ones that grabbed my attention

and made me say "Wow That's Cool."  


This week's "Photo of the Week" is another beautiful example

of Larry Treadwell's talent as seen HERE. It's always so easy

to escape into one of his stories. Enjoy his Dickens Christmas

fantasy on his own page, here on "The Village Collector."



This is the celebration of our community.

A chance to experience the enthusiasm that embraces our

pastime and, more importantly, that it extends around the world.

We are Not Alone!

Lit village collectors are awesome, and everywhere!

Here on the "Village Video" page is where we prove it. As the

saying goes, "Photos are worth a thousand words" but remember:

"Videos are Thousands of Photos"


We're sure you'll notice that the weekly videos displayed here

vary from just a couple of buildings to hundreds. All brands

or homemade buildings are celebrated, and you'll witness

varying levels of video expertise. As you watch, we ask you to

look past these factors. What comes through all of these selected

videos,is the passion, care and effort that went into each display.

Plus, when they're finished, these collectors are excited and proud

enough to make video and want to share it.




and we want to help


Share your village with us . . .                          

                      . . .  and we'll share it with the world!   


All the nominees for our popular "Hall of Fame" come from this

page. If you love your village, then you are part of our community.

Just think, have you ever heard someone say to another collector,

"Want to see my Village?" and get "no" for an answer?

Of course not, we all want to see it. Let us

share your passion, your efforts, and your village.

Email us the link to your video or any questions HERE


"It Takes a Village to Make a Village"TM

Every week five videos are chosen as videos of the week.

Plus the "Editor's Choice" highlights an additional one, that

in our opinion, deserves a little extra recognition.

Time to kick back, get out the Jiffy-Pop, and  . . .

"Watch Some Villaging"



It's easy to think locally when it comes to villaging, but it

truly is a world-wide passion, with a huge variety of styles.

We enjoy them all. As we're searching for more, other villagers

find out about us here at "The Village Collector." This is where we

get to recognize the scope of our community, and maybe

learn something, even if only by accident.


This week, we salute a recent villager who visited us

from the Isle of Man. This is home to one of the greatest

(and my favorite) Motorcycle Races in the world, the

"Isle of Man TT." WELCOME to our community!




Who says we can't learn sumthin' here?



Here's a catch-all of random thoughts, smiles and who knows what.

As Arsenio Hall used to say, "Things that make you go Hmmmm"


"And now  . . .  for something completely different."

None of these are part of my collection - OUCH!


In 1984, Department 56 introduced the new Heritage Village.

The search for "All Things Heritage" was destined to become

the heart of my collection's theme, and it all started here,

with the new Dickens Village Series.

"The Original Shops of Dickens Village"

#65153 was released in 1984 at a whopping $175. Way out

of our range, but always fun to dream about when collectors

got together. The seven were retired in 1988, and have a

current Village D-Tails listed value of $890. Cool!


It was not until 1985 that the next Dickens piece

was revealed, the much sought after #65161 "Village Church"

which released at $35 and then retired in 1989.  It had so many

variations that it was always the subject of many late night

discussions and printed opinions. Current value depends on

the version that you have, $115, $124, $130, $145, or $155.


And THEN  . . .  came the stuff of legends, the

"Village Mill" #65196, the first Numbered Limited Edition,

Department 56 issue. I never had interest in this piece

because I liked more windows to let the light show.

WOW! was I ever WRONG!

This was introduced at the affordable price of only $35.

Wish I bought at least a dozen. The current listing in

Village D-Tails is (and this definitely deserves a fanfare)

A Staggering $3,895!

Oh, the "coulda, woulda, shoulda," police have been

haunting me more than a Larry Treadwell Halloween story.

You can file that right next to my decision NOT to go to

Woodstock because I didn't think many people would show

up. Guess I'm still one french fry short of a Happy Meal. But, I

really enjoy looking back at The Golden Age of Collecting.





Here we go again  -  the fun finale.




And Whatever You Do -

Don't Let The Dog Near The Fireworks!




C'ya next week