Oh boy! Rare vintage Mickey Mouse toy saved from rubbish
A vintage and rare Mickey Mouse toy will proudly be put on display after being saved from the rubbish tip thanks to eagle-eyed colleagues from Monmouthshire County Council’s waste and recycling contractors, Suez. The extraordinary cuddly toy, which is thought to date back to the 1930s, was discovered in a container destined for the tip. After unearthing the old toy, staff contacted MonLife’s Museum’s team about their special find.
Intensive research found the Mickey Mouse was originally made at one of UK’s oldest teddy bear manufacturers, the Deans toy factory in Pontypool. The business, which dated back as far as the 1700s, was the first manufacturer to make the Disney character in the UK in the 1930s but sadly fell into administration in 2005. An almost identical example of the toy – the earliest version of Mickey, as he appeared in his debut 1928 film ‘Steamboat Willie’ – is held within the collections of the V&A Museum in London.
After discovering the historical importance of the toy, Rachael Rogers, curator of Abergavenny Museum suggested that Mickey’s forever home might best be Pontypool Museum, which is less than a mile from the old Dean’s factory where it was made all those years ago.
Speaking about the extraordinary find, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, Councillor Jane Pratt said: “I think it’s wonderful that Mickey has, after his very long life, been saved from the rubbish! I am so pleased that he is being donated to Pontypool Museum near to where he was made at Deans Rag Book Company. I hope that the publicity he creates will encourage people to think carefully before they throw things away. I am delighted that he will be viewed by generations to come in his new home.”
Cllr Pratt added: “Our Reuse shops at Llanfoist and Five Lanes have gone from strength to strength, with fantastic support from the staff at these recycling centres who spot lovely things, as well as the dedicated team of enthusiastic volunteers. It is not every day you find something as special as Mickey, but you would be amazed at what great things get saved that would have simply been thrown away.”
Upon receiving the donation, Pontypool Museum Curator, Caitlin Gingell said: “The curatorial staff are very pleased to be acquiring Mickey into the collections at Torfaen Museum. Dean’s toy factory, where Mickey was made, has been an important strand of Pontypool’s history and it is lovely to be bringing him back to his hometown. We hope that Mickey can go to a professional conservator in the near future, to be cleaned and structurally supported before going on display as part of a small exhibition about the toy manufacturer.”
Bargain hunters and antique enthusiasts alike will be able to head to Monmouthshire County Council’s Llanfoist and Five Lanes Reuse shops from mid-March. Buying reused items is a great way to help the environment and reduce waste. All profits from the reuse sites go to tree planting in Monmouthshire to help in the fight against climate change. People can visit the reuse sites at the following locations:
- Llanfoist Reuse shop – Llanfoist, NP7 9AQ, reopening every Tuesday 10am – 3pm from 15th March
- Five Lanes Reuse Shop – Caerwent, NP26 5PD reopening every Wednesday 10am – 3pm from 16th March