Christmas in July 1988

Custom Limited Edition • #2 of 75 • Retired Mold

In June 2010, a 1988 Santa in Sleigh was auctioned off. The number 2 piece sold for an astounding $2,025. As with all Vault Pieces, this piece was shipped to the auction winner including a certificate of authenticity, a history of the piece, and a history of the mould used to create the piece. The below information is for this piece.

In 1988, Vaillancourt Folk Art & Friends, the retail store, was in its second year at its new location at 145 Armsby Road. The 1820 New England farmhouse would be home to the VFA painting studio and its newest venture a retail store for the next eighteen years. & Friends, featured the artwork of contemporary folk artists that Judi and Gary met as they traveled to the then popular venue of Folk Art Shows displaying their chalkware and other folk art offerings, mainly reproductions of antique smalls.

The Bicentennial of America had brought to light the rich history of America’s folk art. Reproductions of these popular antiques were promoted by many publications such as Early American Life, Colonial Homes, and Country Living magazines. The artists featured in these print media became lifelong friends and their artwork was the foundation of our shop. The chalkware was initially just decorative accessories to furniture reproductions featured in the store.

Christmas history and its celebration was the Vaillancourt focus in collecting antique chocolate molds. In fact they could never get enough Christmas so Christmas in July became a theme of the retail shop. As a child Judi would play Christmas in July in her attic. She would dig out all her family ornaments and lights and decorate a room in her attic with lights strung overhead and tables set with cloths and evergreen bouquets dripping with glass ornaments. It was a natural evolution to “Play” Christmas in July at the shop and put up trees and feature folk art carvings and Christmas figures from artists and friends Bobbie Taylor, Chris Lamontagne, Tom Kelly, Denise Calla, Bruce Catt, Judie Tasche and Edee Carlson. Truly, the chalkware was an accessory in the shop in the early years.

This chalkware sleigh numbered 2, is in fact the exclusive piece that was made by VFA to celebrate this first Christmas in July. An edition of 75 were painted in the VFA Sutton studio. They are signed Christmas in July and never had a style number assigned to them.

The antique chocolate mold used to produce this series is extremely well marked. The mold maker is Anton Reiche of Dresden Germany. This particular mold was dated and manufactured in 1931. The U.S. agent has also stamped the mold T. C. Weygandt of New York. Reiche’s style number 27620 is stamped on the frame as well as the patent number. This is actually 2 molds racked together. In many instances when individual molds are racked together “book molds” all the mold information is generally lost. To rack the molds the metal flange is cut and removed within a 1/4″ of the cavity. The flange is where most of the mold information is stamped. But in this instance, all the information has been stamped into the framework of the book mold.
The mold was retired, never to be reused in any manner, as is the case with all the VFA limited editions.

Santa in Sleigh — Christmas in July 1988 (Retired)