SnowBabySP's Place
Let's Be Friends!

A Very Special Limited Edition

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D56 And Disney Say "Let's Be Friends"!

By Steve Peckel (a.k.a.
(Article Appearing in Village Pride! 1/99 Issue)
Snowbabies collectors have something new and exciting to add to their "want" lists these days. The "1998 First Ever Christmas Collectibles Convention", sponsored by Walt Disney World and held at Walt Disney Resorts, took place on December 6-9, 1998. Department 56, Inc. was among the many artists and designers represented at the Convention, and a limited edition snowbaby of just 1200 pieces was made available to conventioneers for the special occasion. This piece is fast becoming a big hit as they make their way into the hands of Snowbabies collectors by way of non-collectors that were fortunate enough to attend the Convention. On the internet, news and buy/sell activity has been swift and vigorous with pieces appearing here and there within days of the Convention's close on December 9th.

The special snowbaby piece, called "Let's Be Friend's", features a snowbaby holding aloft and gazing into the eyes of a little snowbaby doll. The doll is wearing a tiny snowbaby suit, nubbied with fine snow as all snowbabies are, and it has a little white ribbon tied around its collar. The doll's face is absolutely adorable with tiny blue eyes, rosy colored cheeks, a round nose and a pencil thin smile. The doll is in most respects very much like a tiny snowbaby but for the facial features which are animated and doll-like in appearance. The snowbaby that is holding the doll is actually fairly plain and sized very much like typical Snowbabies in the bisque figurine line. It has a very small circular base, and there are two stars on the base in front of the snowbaby's feet. Under the base, the piece bears a special stamp, in black color, identifying the year and logo of the Convention as well as the Department 56 logo. The box comes similarly inscribed in gold with the same information, and the D56 #6810. The issue price at the Convention was $25.00 (US).

Conventioneers who purchased this piece during the Convention also received a special Certificate of Verification to go with it. The Certificate is really just a brightly colored, piece of cardboard folded. The outside bears a red ornament in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head and the year and name of the Convention is printed over it in gold. The inside back cover identifies the piece as being a "Limited Edition of 1200, not individually numbered", titled "Snowbaby" by Department 56, Inc. and made of "Resin". The piece is, in fact, not numbered, but it is clearly not made of resin. It is made of the typical porcelain bisque familiar to collectors. There is also a line to indicate the "Date of Purchase" but on many of these "Certificates" the date is not filled in. The title and medium errors in the Certificates suggest that Disney and Department 56 had proceeded somewhat hastily to make this Convention piece by show time. This supposition is also supported by the fact that there is no picture of the actual piece in the Catalog that was given to Conventioneers in attendance, but instead, there is a picture of a drawing of the design. The Catalog states: "This collectible has been created for the First Ever Christmas collectibles Convention. Department 56 will not release this figure until late next year as part of a larger figurine. This piece will also differ from the nationally-released piece in that it will have a bottom stamp of the Convention logo." Thus, it does very much appear that this special Disney customized version of a D56 design will become highly prized by serious Snowbabies collectors.

So there you have it all the news that's fit to print on this wonderful new introduction. To this writer's mind, its nice to see that D56 and Disney have come together again to produce a very special collectible for Snowbabies collectors, especially after the introduction of "Mickey's New Friend" had so abruptly retired. Does anyone think its sort of ironic that they've come together again on a piece called "Let's Be Friend's"? Hopefully, there will be more wonderful Snowbabies to come from the combined efforts of these two leading producers of fine-quality collectibles.


View of Box Cover

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View of Bottom Stamp

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is this the rarest Snowbabies piece to date?

    Department 56, Inc. does not publish production numbers for most of its collectibles. The exception in the Snowbabies line is Limited Edition pieces released from time to time. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that "Let's Be Friends", at a limited production of 1200 pieces, is the rarest of the Limited Editions to date. The Limited Edition "Frosty Frolic", at a limited production of 4800 pieces, was the previous Limited Edition having the distinction of lowest number produced.

  • Where can I get one of these pieces?

    "Let's Be Friends" was made for the Disney Convention only, and its presumed that all 1200 pieces were distributed to Disney for that purpose. By all accounts that I have heard, the piece is "sold out" and can only be obtained on the secondary market at this point. The introduction of this piece is known by many, many online collectors, and opportunities to find and purchase it online appear to be diminishing significantly as of this date (1/16/99). The piece has been selling regularly lately at over $200.00 online. The word is currently spreading rapidly amongst offline collectors as many D56 club newsletters, secondary market dealers, and publications devoted to D56 collectibles get the news out. Quite naturally we can probably expect that the demand for this piece in the short term will far exceed the number of pieces produced as more and more serious Snowbabies collectors become aware of it. Long term pricing and demand for this piece is extremely difficult to predict, however, my guess is that eventually most of these pieces will make their way into the hands of serious collectors and the volatility and excitement in the market presently will subside. What happens to prices at that point is anybody's guess. I suspect most serious collectors are like me and would rather have the piece than the dollars it might yield ... that theory would at least explain why we go at all to a secondary market for collectibles.

  • Is this true that some pieces were available by mail order from Disney?

    This is true. The story that I've been able to piece together from the online rumor mill and some that were fortunate enough to know of, and afford to attend, the Convention is that there were 1000 pieces made available first to Conventioneers only and then to Disney visitors in the park on so-called "public" day(s). I've heard (but do not know for certain) that the remaining 200 pieces were made available to Christmas theme stores within the park, and apparently at least some of these pieces were available via mail order. Several collectors that I know placed calls and succeeded, and others I know were unable to obtain them in this fashion. Recently, I've learned that many, if not all, of the mail order pieces mistakenly shipped without the Convention Certificate that Conventioneers received with their purchases. The word now circulating is that if you did not obtain a Certificate with your "Let's Be Friends" purchase, then you may be able to obtain one from Disney personnel at (407) 397-6164. I know of one collector that in fact was able to obtain a Certificate for her piece in this manner so the information appears to be good.

  • Is it true "Let's Be Friends" will be re-released later in the year?

    There have been rumors floating around the internet that "Let's Be Friends" will be re-released to all Snowbabies retailers in late 1999 in a larger version but without the customized Disney stamp and Convention printing on the box. The answer to this one appears to be "Yes" and "No. There is a 1999 release that has been announced and scheduled to arrive at retailers in 1999 called "My Snowbaby Baby Dolls". It is a set of two, and one of two pieces appears to be identical to the "Let's Be Friends".

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    These facts, when viewed in light of the announcement appearing in the catalog that Conventioneers received (see Article above), suggest that "Let's Be Friends" will not be re-released though a non-Disney customized version of it will be in the set "My Snowbaby Baby Dolls. Time will tell the full story :)

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