Welcome to Sir Raffles! I started collecting wood figurines as a young boy, along with baseball cards and other things. Some of them have stuck with me for life! Travel broadened my interests. First I explored the United States, then on to Europe and finally Asia. The wood carvings continued to attract my interest and over time, I accumulated quite the collection of ethnographic works from several countries. My enjoyment comes from learning about the context, the people, their cultures and what these objects meant to them.
My most recent interests have centered on vintage and antique Santos, especially from the Philippines. I am drawn to the pieces that show use, that have survived time, that still have remnants of candle and incense smoke on them….
Sir Raffles (1781-1826) was an Englishman who held several posts in Asia under the British Colonial rule. Wherever he went he explored, documented and made life better for the native people. He is best known for founding Singapore and the London Zoo. His spirit lives on in this site! I welcome your inquiries, comments and interest on this journey!
“Whatever the culture, there can be no more important art than that used as an aid for communicating with the divine. I have always found devotional artifacts fascinating to collect; there is no better way to connect with a past culture than through the objects that were important to it. Collecting santos figures is particularly gratifying. The subject, the style and the methods of production combine to tell the tale of what the individuals in that culture valued.” -Charles Mandel
Baseball fans, you might find my other business, Helmar Brewing Company, both interesting and entertaining!