As part of the First World War effort, the British Red
Cross Society and The Order of the Hospital of Saint John held art sales at the
auction house Christie's.
Frustrated by delicate health, Florence was found
unfit to serve in any physical capacity during the First World War. So, she
satisfied her determination to help out by donating to the third fund-raising
auction for the Red Cross, conducted by Christies in 1917.
The Golliwog Ambulance, 1917
The lot included the complete set of original drawings for
eleven of the Golliwogg and Dutch Doll books, the manuscripts for four of the
books, and a glass case which contained the original dolls owned by Upton -
Golliwogg, Peggy, Sarah Jane, Meg, Weg, and The Midget.
The catalogue features a special note under the lot which
stated: 'Golliwogg was the creation of Miss Florence Upton, and the doll in
this lot is the original from which all Golliwoggs were taken'.
Despite Florence's misgivings that the items would not sell,
because the dolls and hundreds of drawings were catalogued to be sold as one
lot, the lot was indeed purchased for a considerable amount. In the April 1917
edition of The Red Cross: The Official Journal of the British Red Cross
Society, the organisation confirmed that 'Miss Florence Upton's Famous Golliwog
collection fetched 450 Guineas (£472.50) at Christie's Sale.'
The money realised from the sale of Florence Upton's
drawings purchased and equipped an ambulance, aptly christened
Golliwogg, which went to the front and served in France during the
First World War.
Golly also made the ultimate sacrifice during the Second
World War. In 1939 the long-running series of popular Robertson's Jam badges
was discontinued because the metal was needed for the war effort, but by 1946
the Golly returned.