The questions most commonly asked about Sebastian figurines.  Much practical advice, especially for the new collector.  Click on any item in bold italics for additional information.
Q. Are Sebastians still being made today?
A. Yes. Figurines are still being manufactured today, including reproductions of some of the earlier items. As of the year 2000, all new figurines, including medallions and ornaments are being created and manufactured under the Wayland Studio Label. Five new designs were introduced in 2000. By the way, between 1938 and 1975, approximately 850,000 total figurines were produced. However, from 1976 until 1983, about 1,250,000 more were produced. After 1983 through 2000, about 500,000 more were produced, making a grand total of about 2,600,000 Sebastian figurines produced since their introduction.
 
Q.  How or where can I acquire Sebastian figurines today?
A.  Nearly all Sebastian figurines, pewter plates and other items are no longer produced and are therefore available only on the "secondary market" - from dealers (including antique dealers), other collectors or auctions (including on-line auctions, especially eBay).  The Sebastianworld web site contains a partial listing of dealers and services. We are looking for new dealers and welcome your inquiries either from our web site or by contacting us at our mailing address.  Click here for a list of Sebastianworld authorized dealers.
Q. I have a figurine.  How can I tell if it is a Sebastian and if so, which one it is.
A. There is an Identification Guide on this web site that will provide thumbnail images of each and every Sebastian, including fakes, forgeries and look-alikes.  To go to this section of the website, click here.
Q. I have Sebastians that I would like to sell. How can I do this?
A. Sebastianworld offers, on its web site, the Marketplace feature that allows you to post items you want to buy, sell or swap. You may also wish to contact dealers listed on our web site. Many Sebastian items, including collections, are sold on eBay and other on-line auction sites.
Q.  Is there any place to see a collection of Sebastian figurines?
A.  For most of you, the best way to see a large group of figurines is to find a serious collector in your area.  Most collectors are delighted to show you their treasures and share their enthusiasm.  To see a virtually complete collection, you will probably need to visit the Sebastian Museum in Walpole, MA.  We plan to have a short "virtual tour" of this museum on this website.
Q.  How can I determine the value of Sebastian items I wish to purchase or sell?
A.  If you have just a few figures you want to evaluate, go to the Listings and Valuations section of this web site, find the item or items you are interested in by using any of the four options (alphabetical, SML number, topic or series) and click on the SML number for that item.  Information about that item will be shown including a value estimate or range.  If you have a larger collection or want to readily determine the value of all Sebastians, you may want to reserve a copy of the Sebastian Miniatures Gold Book of Information and Values from this web site - due Fall, 2000.  Also, a number of individuals were certified as appraisers by the Sebastian Exchange.  These will be listed elsewhere on this web site.
Q.  Are there any reference books or guides for collectors?
A.  The classic reference work titled The Sebastian Miniature Collection was published in 1982.  Written by Dr. Glenn S. Johnson, it is fully illustrated in color with all figurines and other items produced until then. Recently Sebastianworld found the small remaining supply of these and is selling them from this web site - click here for details.  Subsequent Catalog and Value Registers published by the Sebastian Exchange which have included additional figurines but the last complete version was printed in 1992.  Sebastianworld is preparing a replacement for this titled, The Sebastian Miniatures Gold Book of Information and Values that will be available in the fall of 2000.  You may reserve a copy from this web site by clicking here.
Q.  Are there any Sebastian restorers?
A.  Yes.  Sebastianworld has a list on this web site.  Click here for list of restorers.
Q.  Are there any Sebastian appriasers?
A.  Yes.  Sebastianworld has a list on this web site.  Click here for list of appraisers.
Q.  What is the range of values of Sebastians?
A.  Many of the more popular figurines, particularly those produced since about 1976, can be purchased for $15 to $50, sometimes even under the original retail price.  Values for the scarce items can range up to and well over $1,000.
Q.  How does the condition of Sebastian figurines affect their value.
A.  As with most collectibles, condition has a very significant  impact. While minor imperfections on old Marblehead and Arlington pieces such as discolored coating, faded colors or small paint flakes may have a small effect on value, anything more serious can drastically affect the price you should be expected to pay.  Be sure you are aware of the condition of any piece you purchase, especially if you don't have an opportunity to examine it first. If you are purchasing a piece from a dealer or collector located at a distance from you, let them know that you will return the piece if it does not arrive in the condition you expected.
Q.  My figurines have labels on the bottom.  What do they mean & how do they affect value?
A.  Many older figurines don't have labels or if they do, it is a green, shield-shape label that identifies it as having been made during the "Marblehead" era of production.  Newer items (since about 1976) have various colored labels that identify the year it was made.
Q.  I have a signature on the bottom of some of my Sebastians?  What does this mean?
A.  Many thousands of Sebastians were signed by the artists, Prescott W. Baston or his son, Prescott W. Baston, Jr. ("Woody").  A signature generally increases the value of most figurines by a few dollars.  A red signature indicates the item was signed on the issue date.
Q.  My Sebastians have small initials on them.  What is this all about?
A. The artist who painted these figures would add his or her initials to the base as well as a letter code telling you exactly where the figures were made.  This painting process was a "cottage industry" carried out in several places, Martha's Vineyard Hudson, Massachusetts and Lee, New Hampshire.  
Q. I have Sebastians with their original boxes.  Do the boxes add anything to the value?
A.  Very little.  For many years the boxes were very basic (gray, with a hand-stamped label.  Figurines produced more recently have colorful boxes.  Keep the box but don't count on getting much of a premium because this box is still available. 
Q.  I understand my older figurines are made of "Ceramastone."  What is this?
A. Ceramastone was a high-quality plaster-like casting material in which Sebastians were cast for close to fifty years. Starting in the mid-eighties, Lance began to produce Sebastians in bonded porcelain and completed the conversion to this new material in 1988. The switch was made because this newer material was stronger while at the same time allowing for the same level of detail in each casting.
Q. I also have figurines made of bonded porcelain. How does this differ from Ceramastone?
A. Bonded porcelain is a material that has become a popular medium in which to cast collectibles. It first started to appear in the early 1980s. The popularity of the medium had grown over time and now many collectable lines are produced in bonded porcelain. It is composed of a resin (as the “bonding agent”), a coloring agent and ground up porcelain frit, a vitreous material widely used in the industry.
Q.  I have seen the same Sebastian figurines but with different colors. What does this mean?
A. Some figurines were issued, discontinued and then reissued later.  Remember, all Sebastians are hand-painted so variations will occur for this reason as well.  Also, colors do fade over a period of time depending on exposure to sunlight, etc.
Q. I have Sebastian figurines that are older.  They have a yellowish, varnish-like coating.  Is this a problem that affects their interest to collectors or value?
A. No.  The older varnish tended to yellow with age.  This can actually increase the value of an individual figurine since it indicates it is probably from an early era.
Q.  How can I meet or contact other collectors?  Are there any organizations or meetings for Sebastian collectors?
A. Answer. Keep an eye on this web site.  If you can attend one of the annual Sebastian Fairs or Festivals, you will be able to make many new collector friends.  See the next question. 
Q. What ever happened to the Sebastian Miniatures Collectors' Society and the Sebastian Exchange?
A. Answer.  The Sebastian Miniatures Collectors Society was formed in 1980 by the Lance Corporation who then manufactured and distributed most Sebastian Figurines.  It focused on the primary market (new issues).  The Sebastian Exchange was formed about two years later to cover the secondary market for Sebastians.  The Society was discontinued in 1986 when Lance Corporation was dissolved.  The Exchange continued until 2000 when it was disbanded and some of its functions transferred to Sebastianworld, Incorporated.  At the present time no specific group for Sebastian collectors exists.  One may be initiated by Sebastianworld if it appears that collector interest warrants such a step.
Q. I live in (Arizona, for example.  Why can't I find Sebastians in any local gift stores? 
A. There has been a reduction in retail outlets in recent years.  Also, some regions in the country were never represented.  We expect to change this.  Let us know of possible outlets in your area.  We may contact them. Don't forget to refer dealers to this web site as well.
Q. I have a Sebastian Miniature that does not fit any of the descriptions you have.  Is it possible to add figurines to your list?
A. Yes, however, Sebastianworld needs to review and research your information, perhaps examine the piece and make a decision.  Please be aware that some items are unique.
Q. A Sebastian Miniature is stated to have an issue of 10,000 but only 2,250 pieces were issued.  What does this mean?
A. A limited edition of 10,000 was planned.  However, because of circumstances, only 2,250 pieces were actually made.
Q. What is the difference between a limited edition piece and a registered piece.
A. Really very little. A limited edition simply has a maximum number that will be produced. The piece will often be numbered, usually on the base, such as 379/500 indicating this was piece number 379 of 500 that were actually issued. Sets will occasionally be numbered so that all pieces within the set will have the same number, a feature appreciated by some collectors. A registered piece has a unique number assigned, in sequence, again on the base. The number that will be produced is not known. This term “registered” was used for very few pieces such as The Scotsman (SML-720).

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Revised: October 14, 2013