Alma Cogan's famous toy collection set to go under the hammer

Toys owned by the Jewish singer include iconic British children's character Sweep


A vintage toy collection that belonged to Jewish singing sensation Alma Cogan is set to go under the hammer. 

The collection includes a 1950s puppet of the iconic British children's character Sweep. The Sweep glove puppet is believed to have been given to Cogan by Sooty and Sweep creator Harry Corbett. 

A poodle which Cogan has been photographed cuddling, a Merrythought black cat, teddies, a koala bear, kangaroo and a giraffe are also included in the 20 item collection.

Cogan, who was Britain’s highest earning female entertainer in her day, was known to keep the collection on her bedroom table. 

She was born in 1932 in Whitechapel, London and is of Russian-Romanian Jewish descent.  

The singer, known as “the girl with the giggle in her voice,” had a lot of celebrity friends, from Jewish showbiz icon Lionel Blair to The Beatles and Audrey Hepburn.  

Sadly, Cogan, who also credited Princess Margaret as a friend, died aged 34, from ovarian cancer in 1966. 

The star topped the annual NME reader’s poll as ‘Outstanding British Female Singer’ four times between 1956 and 1960.  

She had several hit records during her career, reaching number 1 in the UK charts with ‘Dreamboat’ in 1955. During the 1950s, she registered 23 hit records in Britain, securing her more hits than any other female singer of her time. 

Steve Fulford, toy valuer at Hansons Auctioneers, said: “Alma was a superstar in her day, an extraordinary talent loved by fellow stars and royalty, but her passion for cuddly toys connects her to us all. Nearly everyone keeps a childhood teddy or soft toy and she was no exception. 

“The fact that she kept her toys in her bedroom shows how important they were to her. Some vintage examples include a poodle she has been photographed cuddling, teddies, dogs, a koala bear, kangaroo, giraffe, lion and her Merrythought black cat. The Sweep glove puppet is star of the show in terms of value but we hope to find them all new homes. 

“Memories of Alma have faded but she had a huge impact on Britain’s entertainment industry in the 1950s and early 60s. We hope this sale will reignite the nation’s memories of a woman who left us too soon.” 

The Alma Cogan toy collection will be offered in Hansons Auctioneers Toy Auction on October 17.

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