KNICKERBOCKER LORD OF THE RINGS
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The Knickerbocker Toy Company was founded around 1850 in Albany, New York and started out manufacturing educational toys, like alphabet blocks. The unusual name 'Knickerbocker' derived from the nickname for the citizens of New York. In the 1960's, the company won the license to manufacture 'Smokey Bear', until 1977 en became reasonably famous with it. Even a talking version was made, with a build-in tape that told the children about preventing forest fires. In 1968 the company moved to Middlesex, New Jersey. At the end of the 1980's the company closed.
Based on the 1978 Ralph Bakshi Animation, Knickerbocker action figures are considered widely as the king of all Lord of The Rings offerings. The figures released a year later in 1979 with a very brief one wave release. These figures were made from cheap plastic and have little articulation. However, their charm and value is in the sculpt work. The Wraith and Charger are still considered 2 of the best action figures of all time in ANY brand.
The lower production numbers, and scarcely advertised Knickerbocker campaign led to a high market value for these pieces. Latest value on carded examples are from $500 to over $3000 depending on character. Even loose figures go for absolutely insane amount of money. Putting a set of these together is very costly and is usually a highlight spot in most collections. These are the figures you want to buy and put behind acrylic or glass.
Bill Lemon, who is a well respected contractor working for companies such as Kenner and Marx, sculpted the icon Ringwraith figure. He was known for using the acetate medium for most of his sculpt work. His Ringwraith figure has been featured in many magazines over the past 40 years, as well as on Jordan Hembrough's Toy Hunter TV show, originally airing on the Travel Channel.