Sometimes the more mundane metal detecting finds are the most interesting – like the Robertson’s Golly shared recently by John Lewis aka ‘coinshooter’ on the Northern Relic Hunters detecting forum.
Golly is probably best known in England, appearing during the 1920s as the advertising logo for Robertson’s Jams.
The badges became so popular that other items of Golly advertising merchandise became available and each year bought new items to add to you collection. It is a little known fact that the badges became a great strain on the company as nearly all monies raised from sales were donated to the various charities that Robertson’s supported. These charities included Cancer Research, Cystic Fibrosis, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Leukaemia Research and the 2001 Children in need Appeal. Eventually though Golly suffered the fate of the PC brigade as the continual habit of crediting Golly to the word ‘Golliwog’ finally seen him off. This is almost incomprehensible to fathom as anybody who takes the time to examine the history and paperwork of the Golly sensation will soon realise that even as far back as 1920s the word ‘Golliwog’ was not used, Robertson’s simply referred to their beloved iconic logo as Golly.
It is believed that the firm was so taken aback that anybody could even think their company brand stood for racist views that they didn’t attempt to defend themselves and instead chose to retire Golly even though several surveys supported them.
So one of the greatest ever supporters of charities who stood for healthy eating, recycling, and our children’s safety whilst promoting sport and fitness, was finally seen off in the name of racism.
The Golly was as much a victim of racism as any other, He was a large part of most children’s childhood and stood for no more than jam and the fun of collecting his many friends. As such he should have been recognised as the pride of his era! Instead, he was removed from labels in 2002. Thanks to golligosh.co.uk from which some of this information has been extracted.
A version of this article appears in the Northern Relic Hunter’s magazine. If you’d like to see more, then please click on the link below.
MAGAZINE – ISSUE 7
Jerry Morris and Mark@Morpeth have shared their Golly Golfers. If YOU have found a badge and would like to add him to the gallery, then please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I believe that the Golly badge was modelled on the hero of Francis and Bertha Upton’s1895 book Two Dutch Dolls …
How did you collect a badge? Easy. By collecting ten of the paper Gollies that were tucked very tightly behind the label on each jar of Golden Shred. Robertson’s had found a way of securing the tokens so they couldn’t be easily pulled out from the jars on supermarket shelves by light-fingered collectors.
As you can see from the images, there were Golly badges for every career, sport or hobby … although I have yet to see a metal detectorist! Alas, these controversial badges have now gone only to be resurrected by collectors and detectorists.
Had they continued Robertson’s would have been ‘forced’ in this day of political correctness to include a disabled Golly, one suffering from anorexia, a white version, a cross-dresser … and so on. Nobody seems to have noticed that Golly has been a transvestite for years!