‘The Star Kist Tuna’
This is a happy day. I finally have Charlie the Star- Kist Tuna, ceramic bank, in my Ad World collection. It was by accident that I found it. I was in the Goodwill Store looking for glass paper weights, another one of my favorite collectables, and almost immediately I saw the cheerful looking Charlie looking straight at me!
When I wrote the book, “Zany Characters of the Ad World,” published in 1995 by Collector Books and out of print at this time, I had only two Charlie the Star- Kist Tuna pieces for photographs. The vinyl Charlie squeeze toy with fins down was made by Product People, one of their “Famous Friends.” It was available in the 1970s.
The other picture of Charlie the Star- Kist Tuna was a figural telephone available in 1987. It has all the latest in electronic devices for that era. It can be used either touchtone or rotary dial pulses telephone systems. Charlie’s red eyes blink as the number is dialed and the eyes light up when a call is received. The telephone is 9.5-inches tall and made of hard plastic. The phone originally cost for the promotional telephone was only $19.95 and one Star-Fish Tuna label.
Charlie the Star-Kist Tuna, ceramic bank has familiar features. It is a Bluefin tuna with an open - mouth smile, and there are no teeth. Charlie, the telephone and toys, all wear pink glasses with black rims. Charlie also has a little yellow tam. The ceramic Charlie is standing on a can of Star-Kist tuna surrounded with stacks of silver coins. The image of Charlie is on one of the coins with the words “IN STAR - KIST WE TRUST.” “BANK ON GOOD TASTE,” is the slogan painted on the front of the bank base. Printed underneath the bank, are the words, “©1988 STAR-KIST FOODS INC.”
There are many Charlie Tuna collectibles. Some of the collectibles to look for are Charlie for president buttons from the 1960s; wrist watches from the 1970s; Charlie the Tuna plastic AM radio 1970; Charlie Famous Friends with fins up © 1973; figural lamps from the 1980s; brass charms made in Charlie’s image; Charlie Tuna talking pillow dolls made by the Mattel toy company. The talking Charlie doll voice box says, “Hi, did you ever hear a talking fish before.”
Another promotion was the Charlie Tuna scales. For only $5.95 and three Star -Kist labels, people could have, “Charlie Tuna scales that makes watching your weight almost fun.” It has a capacity of 300 pounds. Customers were reminded that that Bluefin tuna, found in the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean waters, may weigh as much as 1000 pounds!
Many of these Charlie Tuna collectibles can be found on Internet auctions today. The prices vary greatly anywhere from $10 – $79.