The Tudor Mint Ltd.
Back up to the Castle Entrance
The Tudor Mint Ltd.
About the Company
The Tudor Mint Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the foreign parent, The
Watson Group Ltd. located in Solihull, England. The Watson Group Ltd. is
directed by Mr. Graham Hughes, who is also the chairman and president of The
The Watson Group Ltd. has been manufacturing metal products in the Birmingham
area of England for over eighty years. Originally focused on costume jewelry,
Watson, widely known and well received in the United Kingdom, changed its
concentration to fine metal gift-ware items. The Tudor Mint Ltd., a subsidiary
of Watson, was founded, and in 1989 created the first 12 Myth and Magic
studies. The figurines were an instant success. In appreciation for all Tudor
Mint collectors, a yearly 'Extravaganza' show is hosted by The Tudor Mint Ltd.
with approximately 800-1200 collectors in attendance.
Myth and Magic products are studies of medieval figures and characters from
English folklore, expertly and artistically detailed in antique, silver plate
metal, embellished with genuine crystals. Myth and Magic studies form the base
of the product lines for distribution in the United States by The Tudor Mint.
The interest in the United Kingdom is of such intensity that the Myth and Magic
Collector's Club was formed, elevating products from the fine gift-ware status
to that of highly desirable collectibles. Interest quickly spread to the
The products were represented originally by an unrelated company based in New
York City. The Watson Group Ltd. soon realized that in order to reach full
market potential, it would be necessary to have a presence in the United
States. The Houston based subsidiary was opened January 1, 1995 to handle U.S
distribution and moved to Florida August 1, 1997. The last few years, the US
distribution has moved to Samaco Trading in Canada.
Collectors' show attendance in the U.S. includes The International Collectible
Exposition twice a year in Long Beach, Ca. or Secaucus, NJ. in April and
Southbend, In. in July.
How The Studies Are Made
"Myth and Magic" is the brainchild of Graham Hughes, President of
Tudor Mint Ltd. Graham briefed his chief designer, Sharon Riley, to "submit
drawings of a collection of dragons, wizards, castles and mythical creatures,
to be manufactured incorporating crystals". Thus, the "Myth and Magic"
collection was born. The designers work together, exchanging ideas and
commenting on each other's work, which helps to retain a consistency of design
for the recurring characters of the collection. A study starts to life as a
drawing by one of the designers. "Myth and Magic" collectibles are
called studies, not figurines. Usually design comes first and a name is chosen
later. The design must be practical as well as aesthetic in order to avoid
model and production difficulties. After a completed design is approved, a
model is sculpted. Then the model makers transform a two-dimensional study
into a three dimensional figurine, to the exact scale of the design drawing.
Their raw materials are metal and Milliput, a resin similar in texture to
putty or clay which hardens rapidly (2-3 hours) at room temperature. The
figurines are usually sculpted in more than one section, for assembly at a
later stage. The average standard sized study has 3 sections.
A master mold is created by placing the original sculpted pieces between two
rubber discs, which are then placed in a metal container to form a 'pack'. The
pack is 'cured' in a press at high temperature and under great pressure. When
this is done, the two parts of the mold are separated and the original
pieces are removed. Several copies of the prototype pieces are made (called
multis) and from these, production molds can be produced. The model is now
ready to go to production. Molten white metal is poured into the spinning
molds. The two part mold is cast, trimmed and, if necessary, the
individual castings are then soldered together to create the completed study.
Although solderers are given precise instructions on how to assemble the
figurines, slight variations do occur - the position of a hand, for example -
which explains minor differences between the studies when they appear in
shops. The assembled studies are then given a coating of copper, nickel and
finally silver which makes them shine brilliantly. To achieve the darkened
'antique' look, they are oxidized by dipping them in a sulphur-based chemical
which turns them black. They are 'relieved' or 'burnished' by buffing. As the
'relieving' is done by hand, no two studies will ever be identical. After
'relieving', the studies are dipped in a lacquer solution to prevent the silver
plate from tarnishing. The crystals are now glued into place - by hand - on
the tiny platforms sculpted specifically for this purpose. The unicorns' horns
are also glued into place at this stage. If it is a new study, it must first
survive The Drop Test! The study is boxed and shrink wrapped then dropped
from shoulder height onto each face and corner. Only when it has successfully
passed this final test is it ready for shipping.
W.A.P Watson Ltd.,
Tudor House, Highlands Road,
Shirley, Solihull, B90 4LB
Tel: 0121 705-4624 Fax: 0121 711-1086
Contact: Contact Page
Back up to the Castle Entrance