The genesis of Sebastian Miniatures was in 1938 when a man named Prescott Woodbury Baston designed a set of figurines for a Massachusetts restaurant. The figurines were a great success and inspired Baston to start Sebastian Miniatures in 1939.
The figurine designs were copyrighted, cast in a plaster-like material called Ceramastone and hand painted. In the early 1980’s they started using bonded porcelain instead, but they were always individually hand painted.
The two figurines here are about 30 years apart in age. The title of the one on the left is impressed on the front: A CALL FROM THE CANDY MAN and under that: IN 1890. On the back edge of the base COPR 1949 PW BASTON is impressed. This is one of the scarcer figurines, as it was made specifically for Necco Candy Company to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 1947. Only 5000 were made and in 1951 Baston changed the title of the figurine to “A Corner Drugstore.” The bucket in front of the counter has “Necco Sweets” in red letters on it and on the left side is “Fine Candies Since 1847 by Necco,” also in red (this side is blank on “A Corner Drugstore.”) You’ll notice that the varnish has darkened on this piece over the last 60+ years. The Sebastian Miniatures Listing number for this figurine is SML-122D and it was made in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The base measures 3 1/8 inches long by 1 1/8 inches front to back. It’s 2 ¾ inches tall to the top of the salesman’s black hat.
By the time the figurine on the right was made, the company had moved to Hudson, Massachusetts. The title of this one, which is impressed on the bottom front edge, is “In the Candy Store,” which is number SML-90. Impressed on the rear corner behind the man is COPR 1947 PW Baston. It is signed on the bottom PW Baston, the artist on this piece (his son Woody also designed for the company.) There is a handwritten identifier on the base: SN (artist’s initials)/ B (year of manufacture –1980)/1 (location). There is also a yellow oval label: Sebastian Miniatures Handcast and Hand Painted Hudson, Massachusetts. On the left side of the figurine there is a white rectangle impressed with “Necco Sweets.” The base is about 2 ½ inches long and 1 ½ inches front to back. It is 2 ½ inches tall to the top of the woman’s bonnet. The newer type of varnish used on this figurine did not darken. As a side note, the copyright date on these figures is often cited as the date of manufacture. The date code of 1980 on this example proves that is not the case; many of these figures were produced for years and even decades after they were copyrighted.
Both of these figurines are in really exceptional condition, with no chips, cracks or paint loss. They are terrific finds for a collector or for “a sweetie.”