Rare WW2 Mickey Mouse gas mask case discovered in Erdington house clearance
A RARE Second World War Mickey Mouse gas mask case designed to make children less frightened of respirators has come to light following a house clearance in Birmingham.
Discovered at a property in Erdington, the tin goes under the hammer with Richard Winterton Auctioneers at The Lichfield Auction Centre on Monday, November 13.
Using the mischievous mouse as a character on gas mask cases was a way to allay children’s fears of the potentially lifesaving yet eerie equipment.
However, relatively few of the tin cases were produced before the Government ruled that all metal was needed for the war effort.
Created in 1928, the iconic Walt Disney rodent began appearing in comic strips from 1930.
On the multi-coloured lithographed tinplate case, Mickey is depicted wearing his respirator as his nephews try to guess who or what the masked figure is.
Made in England circa 1941 as number 50 in the Happynak Series, the 21cm tall 10cm diameter tin has the original owner’s name and address – Stanley Wills of Rosary Road, Erdington – scratched to underside of the lid.
Jon Price, valuer at Richard Winterton Auctioneers, said: “It was thought using Mickey Mouse as a role model would make the thought of wearing a gas mask less scary for children.
“It is believed only a relatively small number of these tins were produced as the Government decided all metal was needed for the war effort.”
The gas mask tin features as Lot 427 in Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ Antiques & Home Sale on Monday, November 13, starting at 9.30am at The Lichfield Auction Centre, Wood End Lane, Fradley Park, WS13 8NF.
The catalogue can be accessed online line via our Auction Dates page a week before the sale and viewing in person takes place at The Lichfield Auction Centre by appointment on Friday, November 10.
Free home visits for large collections and house clearance quotations are also available.