The vintage wooden collectible, The John Belville House is from the 1986 Series IV issue. This early series piece was manufactured prior to when FJ Designs changed the manufacturing process to “pressed word”, and complete screen-printed designs. On this piece you can see the actual wood grain on the unpainted bottom, and the piece info and Faline’s signature & date were hand stamped on this unpainted bottom surface.
Since this is a retired piece it is no longer available at the “Official” Cat’s Meow Village website, but it is still available at other web sources. The best value source for this piece is probably ebay, but it can also be found at Appletreedeals or with a google search. Prices range from an ebay auction price starting at .99 to retail sales prices at online sites for around $17.95.
The 1986 Series IV was retired in 1991. First year issues generally go for slightly more than later issues, but piece condition is always a major factor. Since these pieces are 12 – 22 years old, and were probably in someone’s collection, it is important to try to get as much condition info as possible. This mean pictures, so you can see for yourself what you are buying.
The production process for this series has the piece info and Faline’s stamped signature and date of issue on the bottom of the piece, on the exposed wood grain. And as in all authentic CMV pieces, look for Casper the cat somewhere on the piece. On the John Belville House piece, Casper is sitting by the front doors, watching all the arrivals.
Occasionally pieces can be found that were in retail inventory and never collected or displayed by anyone, but even then, due to various storage methods, item condition still needs to be seen. Any good source for CMV pieces should be able to provide good clear front and rear view photos. That was the case with the Appletreedeals.com source, plenty of pictures and a good item description.
I was unable to find a historical picture of the actual Belville house, or any historical info other than that the Belville house was designated a Historical House, and is now being used as the giftshop at the Southview Hospital. If anyone can contribute any more info or a picture I will post an update.