DANDY GUM TATTOOS. Collectors Guide.

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Dandy Gum Tattoos - Information.
  Made in Denmark.
Information including: series name, tattoo format, series letter, numbers in the set, approximate issue date and some notes…
Anyone reading this, please send corrections to: eBay uuui
 
DANDY GUM TATTOOS – CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF ALL KNOWN SERIES.

ON-WRAPPER SERIES (55mm x 95mm) :
Early series were ‘ON-WRAPPER’ – the tattoo was on the reverse of a wrapper that folded in three. They came with a piece of pink bubble-gum wrapped in a wax parcel, that was then wrapped by the wrapper/&tattoo. Most of these tattoos have a small tear where the main wrapper was sealed with glue. – However, some examples from some series don’t. Some seem to have come straight from the printer. Perhaps they could be specially ordered back in the day, or belonged to Dandy staff.
TOMAHAWK ON-WRAPPER
1-COLOURED (mauve/purple). 
SET OF: < 50? - 7 known.
PRINTED: Pre 1956-1957?
 
Tomahawk seem to be the hardest get series and their relatively simple production style suggests that they are the earliest known series.
The series designs seem to have all been American Indian and some Cowboy themes.
The counter box was probably quite small and came with a colourful pop-up display of an Indian Chief whose name is ‘ Sitting Bull’.

PIRATE ON-WRAPPER
3-COLOURED (purple, green, red).
SET OF: < 50? - 24 known.
PRINTED: Pre 1956-1957?
(Mentioned as DAN-330 in reference book)
 
Pirate are very hard to find. The designs seem to be the first examples of the classic pirate/sailor/navy illustrations. Many of these were repeated over many series for decades to come.
 
SAILOR'S TATTOO ON-WRAPPER
( WITHOUT “KAUMASSE MIT FREMDEN STOFFEN” under the words “BUBBLE GUM”)
3-COLOURED (purple, green, red).
SET OF: 48.
PRINTED: post 1956-1957?
 
I think the translation from German to English for “KAUMASSE MIT FREMDEN STOFFEN” is “ Masticatory with strange substances”.
I believe the series without the German words was probably sold in England …and probably Scandinavian countries.
The series without the German words seems to be the easier to find, by a small margin.
 
SAILOR'S TATTOO ON-WRAPPER
( WITH “KAUMASSE MIT FREMDEN STOFFEN” under the words “BUBBLE GUM”)
3-COLOURED (purple, green, red).
SET OF: 48
PRINTED: post 1956-1957?
 
I think the translation from German to English for “KAUMASSE MIT FREMDEN STOFFEN” is “Masticatory with strange substances”.
I believe the series with the German must have been sold in Germany…
The series with the German words seems to be the harder to find, by a small margin.

WITCH DOCTORs TATTOO ON-WRAPPER
( WITHOUT “KAUMASSE MIT FREMDEN STOFFEN” under the words “BUBBLE GUM”)
3-COLOURED (purple, green, red).
SET OF: 50? - (that would be the same number as 45mm x 70mm ‘golden-era’ WITCH DOCTORs TATTOO set) although 30 known in on-wrapper version.
PRINTED: post 1956-1957?
 
Probably sold in Scandinavia and England.
 
WITCH DOCTORs TATTOO ON-WRAPPER
( WITH “KAUMASSE MIT FREMDEN STOFFEN” under the words “BUBBLE GUM”)
3-COLOURED (purple, green, red).
SET OF: 50? - (that would be the same number as 45mm x 70mm ‘golden-era’ WITCH DOCTORs TATTOO set) although 39 known in on-wrapper version.
PRINTED: post 1956-1957?
 
Probably sold in Germany.
Seems to be more common than version without the German words.
 

‘GOLDEN-ERA’ SERIES – 3-coloured (45mm x 70mm):
The next style to come along at the dawn of the ‘golden-era’ were the first classic rectangle size, with "3-coloured" designs, where you could see the colours of the design on the white background, before the tattoo was used.
This style are all very rare and sought after. In my opinion, they are a great piece of history before the classic-style of tattoo appeared in the golden-era.
Sadly, I don’t have anywhere near all of these sets complete in my collection.

BUBBLE GUM with TRANSFER PICTURES: 3-COLOURED TATTOO.
Mauve (Purple) printing details: "Designs: Copyright by Tattoo-Ole, Copenhagen Printed in Denmark"
SET OF: 48? (Same number as the on-wrapper ‘Sailors’, with the same designs. 18 known.
PRINTED: late 1960’s?
 
Purple set might be first series. Harder to find.

BUBBLE GUM with TRANSFER PICTURES: 3-COLOURED TATTOO.
Green printing details: "Designs: Copyright by Tattoo-Ole, Copenhagen Printed in Denmark"
SET OF: 48 (same number as the on-wrapper ‘Sailors’, with the same designs).
PRINTED: late 1960’s?

WITCH DOCTORs TATTOO 3-COLOURED TATTOO
Mauve (Purple) printing details: "PRINTED IN DENMARK"
SET OF: 40
PRINTED: 1960’s?
 
These designs were never repeated. (Possibly because they are rubbish)

PIRATE TATTOO: 3-COLOURED TATTOO
Green printing details: "PRINTED IN DENMARK"
SET OF: 50? 41 known
PRINTED 1965?
 
Wrapper features a brown pirate with a domestic parrot on his right shoulder. He has an eye-patch on his left-eye (perhaps explaining why the parrot has changed shoulders). He has a yellow ear-ring in his left ear.
 
WIGWAM TATTOO 3-COLOURED TATTOO
Green printing details: "PRINTED IN DENMARK"
SET OF: 50? 48 Known.
PRINTED: 1960's?
 
All tattoo designs feature American Indian stereo-types. Must have been set around Davy Crockett’s era. Early 1800’s in the USA. Davy is on one of the tattoos, but is missing an eye, yet has no eye-patch, so this may have been designed as a tribute to Davy on 6 th March 1836 at Alamo, where he was shot and killed.
Two Indians have rifles, but other than that, there is no signs of tender-foot.
The wrapper features an angry-looking Indian deputy-chief, with three white feathers in his hair. He is hiding behind a bush. Perhaps he has had his loin-cloth stolen by the Chief Sitting Bull.


‘Golden Era’ Tattoo Series - (45mm x 70mm):
T hen came the style that was used for the majority of the series during the ‘GOLDEN-ERA’ of Dandy Gum Tattoos. A white back-ground with a black-looking design that revealed its colours once it was transferred on to the skin. Many series have a Sailor theme. Tattoos that might be worn by a Sailor or a Pirate. These series have many tattoo designs repeated across the various series. Just the number and letter (N, T, S, B, C etc.) have been changed. A few designs are refined from earlier on-wrapper style and 3-coloured tattoos. There are normally a few new designs in each series, which make collecting worthwhile.
In most series there are definitely "key" tattoos (numbers), which are harder to find than others. For a series of 100 there seems to be about 80 that turn up as easily as each other. Then about 15 that appear about 1 for every 5 of the majority. Then about 5 or less that seem to turn about 1 for every 30 of the majority.


HIPPY HAPPY TATTOOS
SERIES LETTER: A
SET OF: 80.
PRINTED: early 1960’s?
 
Probably the very first series in the classic golden-era style, with the black-appearance tattoo designs, revealing colour after the tattoo is put on the skin. This series of ‘Hippy Happy’ tattoos are almost impossible to find.
It is distinguished from the more common second series, by the series letter and tattoo number being on the bottom LEFT of the tattoo, also there are a number of unique designs. This series has more ‘slogan’ designs than the second series, which had more ‘hippy flower patterns’.
 
HIPPY HAPPY GUM (MAGIC TATTOO GUM)
SERIES LETTER: A
SET OF: 80.
PRINTED: late 1960’s?
 
The second series of ‘Hippy Happy’ tattoos. Subtitled ‘Magic Tattoo Gum’ …as only the Danes can do.
This series is pretty rare, but turns up once in a while. I like them very much, because they are printed exactly the same way as the classic Navy, Sailor etc tattoos – yet have such completely different designs. Most of the hippy patterns appear to be stylised flowers, a few can probably only be appreciated by rolling a spliff or dropping some serious vintage acid, which I have not ever tried.
The series letter and tattoo number are in the bottom RIGHT of the tattoo.
Some designs only appear in this series.
3 tattoos per packet. 90 packets per counter-box.
 
DISNEY TATTOOS
SERIES LETTER: D
SET OF: 60.
PRINTED: Late 1960's - Early 1970’s?
 
Very common series, seems to have been made in huge numbers and would have been sold in USA, as well as elsewhere. …still has a couple of harder to get designs. – D6 for example.
Just 60 numbers in this set, perhaps due to the fact that Disney cartoons have no good characters, besides Pluto and maybe Donald on a good day.
4 tattoos per packet. 96 packets per counter-box.

SKIPPER TATTOOS
SERIES LETTER: T
SET OF: 100.
PRINTED: Very early 1970’s?
 
I think Skipper must have been the first of the classic sailor/navy style of tattoo, in the golden-era style, with the design looking black until it was on the skin. So this is where the real classic tattoos started.
Perhaps because of the age or the changing tattoo style, a huge number of Skipper turn up in poor condition. There seems to have been a lot of bleeding of the gum in to the tattoos and then they get smudged. So a good achievement to get a mint looking set of 100. Like most sets, there are various numbers that are harder to get then others. This set seems to have two ‘key’ numbers. T 83 and T 92 – good luck getting those two.There are at least two wrapper-variations. So probably two printings. Seems like maybe one printing was on acidic-paper, which has turned brown over time. Also the type on the printer for the letter “T” next to the number seems to have been damaged and too many of the “T’s” are missing the left side of their lid. My guess however is that the earlier printings had the damaged “T” and then they repaired it (for a lazy 15 Krone). The earlier ones are on the bad quality paper. However, BOTH printings have the same hard-to-get designs etc.
3 or 4 tattoos per packet. 120 packets per counter-box.



NAVY TATTOOS 3-coloured (with skull & bones designs for numbers 14,82,  83,86,89,91,92,94,96,97,98)
SERIES LETTER: N
SET OF: 100.
PRINTED: Early 1970’s?
– This 3-coloured version of the Navy set (with skull & bones designs) seems to perhaps be PROOFS. The only known sets come from a source with ties to the Dandy Factory.
So this is probably the most desirable Dandy Tattoo set. (However, ‘Western Tattoos’ are probably even rarer)
On 6th November 2015 a set of these sold on eBay for US$610.00.

NAVY TATTOOS  (Denmark only? issue, with skull & bones designs for numbers 14,82, 83,86,89,91,92,94,96,97,98)
SERIES LETTER: N
SET OF: 100. PRINTED: Early 1970’s?
This series has 11 Skull and Cross-bones themed tattoo designs substituted for the designs (that were probably sold outside of Denmark) . This makes those numbers particularly hard to find. Many of those numbers seem to be ‘key’ numbers in the regular series anyway, but having 89 designs that are all the same in both series and 11 that vary between two designs, obviously makes them harder to find these days. I would guess that the skull & bones designs were substituted, because skull and crossbones is a much darker theme for children to collect.
NAVY TATTOOS
SERIES LETTER: N
SET OF: 100.
PRINTED: Early 1970’s?
 
I believe that the Navy Tattoos were the definitive series at the apex of the golden-era of Dandy tattoos.
If you only get one series, this should be the set.
Seems to have been printed 3 or 4 times, with different wrappers.
Has two key hard-to-find numbers – N 91 and N 92
 
There were also Navy tattoo-related foil-wrapped gum coins. Called ‘ Navy Coins’. They retailed for 1p in the 1970’s, but like many coins, they would have gone up greatly in value over time.
3 tattoos per packet. 120 packets per counter-box.

BARRATT PIRATE TATTOOS
Series of Sailor/Pirate designs taken exclusively from Navy and Skipper series (+ 2 skull & bones).
“Made in Denmark”, no doubt by Dandy. For Barratt in England.
SERIES LETTER: B
SET OF: 100. PRINTED: late 1970's?
Presumably Barratt saw Dandy’s success with tattoos during the golden-era and wanted some of the action. They were given exclusively previously published designs, that are taken from Navy (N) and Sailor (T) (Most in the actual order they appear in from the N and T series) and also there were  2 of the enigmatic Skull & Crossbones designs thrown in. Despite this series seemingly going to England on commission…there is still the traditional method of making some cards VERY hard to find. There are two numbers in the middle that are especially difficult. Any tattoos from this series are relatively hard to find. Strangely, I have never seen one with gum-damage…unlike all other Dandy series. However the wrapper clearly states that there were 3 tattoos with bubble gum. Perhaps they had a limited run in England and all got opened quickly, or maybe Barratt-Gum was superior to Dandy’s legendary ‘asbestos-bubble-gum’. – so bad, that they had to add 3 brilliant tattoos as a bribe, just to sell the junk.
 
SAILOR TATTOOS 
SERIES LETTER: S
SET OF: 100
PRINTED: Late 1970's
 
‘Sailor’ was probably the sequel to the great Navy series…but there seem to have been a lot less printed and they are harder to find. Perhaps collectors didn’t want them, because almost all of them were the same designs as the Navy series, which everyone probably already had.
I did not collect them much back in the 1970’s…although once again, there are clearly key numbers to get. I don’t have all I won’t myself yet, so must keep the numbers in-house.
3 tattoos per packet. 120 packets per counter-box.
 
CAPTAIN TATTOOS
SERIES LETTER: C
SET OF: 100
PRINTED: Mid 1980's
 
I really enjoyed this series. It was about ten years after Navy and I was able to start all over again. The designs seemed to be hand-picked from all previous series, going right back to the on-wrapper and 3-coloured illustrations. Some being published for the first time and some completely new designs as well. Almost like a ‘by request’ series.
Once again, some very, very key numbers…which I can’t reveal.
The series came in three different designed wrappers. Plus a fourth variation for some markets. There were several different counter-box designs too.
3 tattoos per packet. 120 packets per counter-box

DANDY "CAPTAIN" TATTOO - known as " TATTOO - OLE"
Named as " DANDY CAPTAIN TATTOO" (on the counter box)
Named as " DANDY TATTOO" (on wrapper)
Mentions " TATTOO - OLE" (on the lower part of the tattoo) …most people seem to see that as the definitive name. So the series seems to always be called: " TATTOO - OLE"

Printing details: “C (Copyright) TATTOO - OLE, Copenhagen" "PRINTED IN DENMARK IMPRIME AU DANEMARK"
SERIES LETTER: A
SET OF: 100
PRINTED: Late 1980's
 
" Dandy Tattoo" often called " Tattoo Ole" - This was a whole new set of 100 designs with a variety of themes. The artwork is more detailed than previous series. "Tattoo Ole" could be the name of the design studio for the tattoos, although I understand that "Tattoo Ole" possible means they were illustrated by Mr. Ole himself... …the artist who also possibly designed many of the earlier Dandy tattoos. So this series could have been a special commission and an attempt to bring back the popularity of the tattoos from the ‘GOLDEN- ERA’. They seem to have sold well and remain very popular today with collectors.
However, this series suffered badly in my opinion from having too many hard-to-get "key" numbers. I bought about 2 boxes in the mid 80's and have since picked up a few hundred more tattoos from eBay, yet I have not been able to put together a full set by myself. I did buy one full set from a collector in Denmark, so he somehow put one together. I know of at least 3 keen collectors, who have been collecting longer then me and have better resources than me, who as far as I know are all still sitting on about 80 out of 100. (Word-up David)
ALSO, very interesting, despite the detail in the designs and presumably the state of the art printing methods used - on at least 10 of the designs – THE EYES “MOVE”…from tattoo to tattoo. It looks like it’s deliberate. So for example, tattoo A47 is a skull & crossbones…and his eye-ball clearly looks straight-ahead on some printings and is then looking left or right on other printings. – It’s great! …but means that the serious collector has a lot more than 100 to collect. It’s more like 120.
 
DANDY WESTERN TATTOOS
SERIES LETTER: W
SET OF: 100.
PRINTED: Early 1990’s?
 
This series seems to be the final attempt by Dandy to make their classic style of tattoo.
I am 90% sure they weren’t even commercially released. I have only seen a handful of tattoo designs, a few wrappers and one counter box…and all were sourced from a special contact in Denmark, with ties to Dandy. They must be the rarest of Dandy tattoos. Yet from what I can tell, it was 100 new designs in a Western/Cowboy theme. They mostly appear to be very simple illustrations. I really hope to get a full set of these one day.
Counter-box also included black foil-wrapped bubble-gum coins, with the outline of a cowboy on each side.
 

COLOURED BODY TRANSFERS AND TRANSFERS SERIES (Various sizes):
Later series and a couple in between, were full-coloured body transfers, which I have included in this list.

TATTOOZE TRANSFER BUBBLE GUM
Coloured body transfers of funny animal characters. 
SET OF: 59
PRINTED: Early 1970’s?
 
Made in partnership with none other than Letraset. Extremely hard to find.
Odd to collect. Besides being next to impossible to find, they are not numbered. But mainly when in original condition, they have what must be a partly acidic, opaque sheet of semi-waxed paper to protect the image, prior to application. So they are hard to see through the paper…and the paper seems to brown slightly over time. Also of course, the images are in reverse before you put them.
Having said all that, any Dandy collector would be mad not to try for a set of Tattooze.
The pictures are mainly of ‘zoo’-related animals, but also a variety of other wacky themes.
There are 6 different wrappers, with zoo animal pictures that are taken from 6 of the transfers.

ACTION TRANSFERS
Letraset? – (style?) body-transfers?
SET OF: ?
PRINTED: 1974
 
This series exist, I have seen a photo of the counter-box and they are recorded. But I have never seen a transfer up close.
 
Bubble gum TATTOOS - Coloured body transfers
(probable) First series.
SET OF: 50
PRINTED: mid 1980’s?
The probable first series is distinguished easily, by having much simpler application instructions on the reverse of the sheet of tattoo transfers.
Series are all numbered 1 to 50. ‘1 of 50’ ‘30 of 50’ etc.
The first series came in an orange packet, with a cartoon young boy and girl together, enjoying putting tattoos on their bodies. The first series wrapper has different writing on the back to the second and does not have a bar-code.
One card of tattoo-transfers in each packet plus gum. The packet had to be torn or cut to open.
There were 60 packets per counter-box

Bubble gum TATTOOS - Coloured body transfers
(probable) Second series.
SET OF: 50
PRINTED: late 1980’s?
The probable second series is distinguished easily, by having much more comprehensive application instructions on the reverse of the sheet of tattoo transfers.
Series are all numbered 1 to 50. ‘1 of 50’ ‘30 of 50’ etc.
The second series came in an orange packet, with a cartoon young boy and girl together, enjoying putting tattoos on their bodies. The second series wrapper has different writing on the back and does have a bar-code.
One card of tattoo-transfers in each packet plus gum. The packet had to be torn or cut to open.
There were 60 packets per counter-box

DANDY SAILOR TATTOOS - Coloured body transfers
SET OF: 50?
PRINTED: Early 1990's
 
Combined Dandy’s traditional ‘Sailor’ theme, but in the body-transfer format.
They were even around the same size of about 45mm x 70mm, although quite different in most way and designed horizontal from memory. I don’t have any of these any more, although they were readily available where I live.
 
BUBBLE GUM tattoos - Coloured body transfers
SET OF: 40
PRINTED: late 1980’s?
 
Coloured body transfers. 2 per sheet. Sheet folded 3 times, to 1/6 its opened-size. Wrapped around a large piece of pink chewing-gum. Then wrapped around by outer wrapper. Pink, blue and yellow stripes, with a winking dog putting the tattoos on.
Designs are colourful children’s pictures. (Could also be used on cool dogs)

BIRDS - Transfers
SET OF: 50
PRINTED: 1958
 
Has birds. Possibly not meant as body-transfers.

PREHISTORIC ANIMALS - Transfers
SET OF: 25
PRINTED: 1960
 
Has prehistoric animals. Possibly not meant as body-transfers.
 
There were also a number of other Dandy body-transfer series, made in many different countries and other series that may have been copies. They are a long way from being like the classic Dandy tattoos and many I know next to nothing about, so I am not listing them.
 
CAN ANYONE CONTRIBUTE FURTHER INFORMATION TO THIS LIST ? PLEASE CONTACT eBay uuui
 
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