When Peter Kingston and the Kit Walker Phantom Art Show posted this picture on Facebook in the week leading up to the opening of The Phantom Art Show in Coffs Harbour, sections of the Phantom collectors community went into meltdown. A new Phantom ring was available!
The announcement that a "brace of Phantom rings from melted down old pirate gold [were] heading for the BunkaPhantom (sic) show at Coffs Harbour", and would be limited to "first come first served", had some phans drooling.
Priced at $25, the rings sold quickly over the weekend. With an empty shelf by midway through the opening gala on Friday 10th March, it appeared that if you had missed the party you had, well, missed the party.
Fortunately for those who came in later, a second stash was discovered and the shelf re-stocked for Saturday's Artists' Talk event.
However, ChronicleChamber can report that all the "Pirate Gold" rings are now sold, with Australia's preeminent Phantom ring aficionado Gary Horne confirming with Gallery staff that he had purchased the last rings available early on Sunday morning.
But what are the origins of the "Pirate Gold" ring? Surely at $25, they could not be real gold? Of course not! However, the provenance is no less compelling.
At the Toowoomba opening of the Show, Michael Bryce spoke and presented the curators with a sketch of an F-4 Phantom fighter jet that travels with the Art Show to this day, and three Skull Rings that he had produced himself with a 3D printer, pictured right.
Inspired, Peter made a mold from that ring and used it to create the "Pirate Gold" Skull Ring, made from the remnant resin left after producing batches of figurines for the Phantom Game of Life and Death. ChronicleChamber has confirmed that total of 15 rings only were produced.
While all of these have been sold at the time of writing, it is entirely possible that more rings will be created as Peter has more remnant resin available at the end of creative runs, and will possibly produce another batch for the Art Show when it moves to Newcastle and Sydney later this year.
It is worth noting that there is also at least one variant of the "Pirate Gold" ring, created in the prototype stage: a hand-painted green and white version.
Finally, eagle-eyed phans may be wondering: what about the cheaper Kids' and Adult's rings on the merch shelf in the picture above? To clear up any confusion, these are the more common alloy metal Phantom rings that were initially produced for the 1996 The Phantom movie.
For copyright reasons, these rings are the ones sold in the box with the paper label wraparound; the unlicensed "Pirate Gold" ring was sold in a plain cardboard box with no label.