Children of Japan

Children of Japan
Courtesy, R. John Wright

The Jumeau 201

The Jumeau 201
Courtesy Theriault's and Antique Doll Collector Magazine

Hinges and Hearts

Hinges and Hearts
An Exhibit of our Metal Dolls

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Tuxedo and Bangles

Tuxedo and Bangles

A History of Metal Dolls

A History of Metal Dolls
Now on Alibris.com and In Print! The First Book of its Kind

Alice, Commemorative Edition

Alice, Commemorative Edition
Courtesy, R. John Wright

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Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory

Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory
Her Grace wishes us all a Merry Christmas!

Annabelle

Annabelle

Emma Emmeline

Emma Emmeline
Our New Addition/fond of stuffed toys

Cloth Clown

Cloth Clown

Native American Art

Native American Art

the triplets

the triplets

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby
Bought Athens on the street

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Sand Baby Swirls!

Sand Baby Swirls!
By Glenda Rolle, courtesy, the Artist

Glenda's Logo

Glenda's Logo
Also, a link to her site

Sand Baby Castaway

Sand Baby Castaway
By Glenda Rolle, Courtesy the Artist

A French Friend

A French Friend

Mickey

Mickey
From our friends at The Fennimore Museum

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll
British Museum, Child's Tomb

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll
Among first "Toys?"

ushabti

ushabti
Egyptian Tomb Doll 18th Dynasty

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

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Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase

Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase
Courtesy, Antique Daughter

Judge Peep

Judge Peep

Hakata Doll Artist at Work

Hakata Doll Artist at Work
From the Museum Collection

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Japanese Costume Barbies

Japanese Costume Barbies
Samurai Ken

Etienne

Etienne
A Little Girl

Happy Heart Day

Happy Heart Day

From "Dolls"

From "Dolls"
A Favorite Doll Book

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Jenny Wren

Jenny Wren
Ultimate Doll Restorer

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Baby Boo 1960s

Baby Boo 1960s
Reclaimed and Restored as a childhood Sabrina the Witch with Meow Meow

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum
L to R: K*R /celluloid head, all bisque Artist Googly, 14 in. vinyl inuit sixties, early celluloid Skookum type.

Two More Rescued Dolls

Two More Rescued Dolls
Late Sixties Vinyl: L to R: Probably Horseman, all vinyl, jointed. New wig. R: Effanbee, probably Muffy, mid sixties. New wig and new clothing on both. About 12 inches high.

Restored Italian Baby Doll

Restored Italian Baby Doll
One of Dr. E's Rescued Residents

Dolls on Display

Dolls on Display
L to R: Nutcrackers, Danish Troll, HItty and her book, Patent Washable, Mechanical Minstrel, Creche figure, M. Alexander Swiss. Center is a German mechanical bear on the piano. Background is a bisque German costume doll.

A Few Friends

A Few Friends
These dolls are Old German and Nutcrackers from Dr. E's Museum. They are on loan to another local museum for the holidays.

Vintage Collage

Vintage Collage
Public Domain Art

The Merry Wanderer

The Merry Wanderer
Courtesy R. John Wright, The Hummel Collection

The Fennimore Doll Museum

The Fennimore Doll Museum

Robert

Robert
A Haunted Doll with a Story

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

The Cody Jumeau

The Cody Jumeau
Long-faced or Jumeau Triste

German Princesses

German Princesses
GAHC 2005

A Little PowerRanger

A Little PowerRanger
Halloween 2004

The Island of the Dolls

The Island of the Dolls
Shrine to Dolls in Mexico

Based on the Nutshell Series of Death

Based on the Nutshell Series of Death
Doll House murder

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A lovely dress

A lovely dress

Raggedy Ann

Raggedy Ann
A few friends in cloth!

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI
Pixar Animator's Collection

Little PM sisters

Little PM sisters
Recent eBay finds

Dressed Mexican Fleas

Dressed Mexican Fleas

Really old Dolls!

Really old Dolls!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Kardashian Barbies

A few days ago, I received the following email from one of my readers. I promised I would post the photos of these super unusual Barbies, and he graciously provided his email address and the photos. I got my hands on a Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe Kardashian Barbies that were never produced. I am being told there were only 3 of each in existence because negotiations broke down with them in 2012. Do you have a idea what these would be worth? A Rep for Mattel stated: As popular as the Kardashian sisters are, at this point in time we are not manufacturing Barbie-branded Kardashian dolls. Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2012-01-21-mattel-cancels-kardashian-barbie#ixzz3Bp7XZ8RM Rare doll like this are hard to price. I tried very hard a few years ago to locate an Angela Merkel Barbie only to find out she was a custom, one type doll. Barbara Handler, the original Barbie, presented Oprah Winfrey with a custom Oprah doll a few years ago on her show. I wouldn't know how to price these. When the prototpye G.I. Joe was offerred for sale several years ago, the asking price was originally $1million. When he didn't bring that, the doll was taken off sale. He finally brought $200,000 on eBay in 2003. A Stefano Canturi Barbie with a pink diamond necklace sold for $302, 500 and benefitted cancer research. Some twenty years ago when I visited the Barbie Museum in Palo Alto, the owner pointed out a prototype box for #1 Barbie that one expert told her was worth $20,000, just for the box, because there were seven figures instead of six printed on its cover. I've not read about this box anywhere else; it could be doll legend. Prototype dolls, or dolls pulled off the shelf, are too scarce to price, normally. I don't know if there could actually be only three of each, because they are already packaged and have gone through the "mass produced" process, but then again, it isn't impossible. There are publications just for Barbie, including "Haute Doll", "The Fashion Doll Quarterly", "Miller's Barbie Doll", "Doll Reader" Magazine, "Doll Castle News" Magazine, and "Contemporary Doll Collector." Mattel is online; they might have some words of wisdom to share on thse dolls Experts on Barbie include Franklin Lim Lao in California, Everly Burkhalter in Palo Alto, CA, Zona Yeldis McDonough, who wrote a book on her. I have a section on Barbie sources in a book I compiled, "A Bibliography of Doll and Toy sources. " Also, try dollreference.com. They are fascinating; there are also places on Facbook to look, and artists that do original Barbie art, called OOAK artists. Craig Yoe is an author who wrote on The Art of Barbie, but these are Matel dolls, from what I understand, not custom made examples. Readers may remember that Kim's father, Robert Karadashian, had a million dollar + collection of baseball memorabilia and was an instrumental figure in the O.J. Simpson case twenty years ago. If anyone has information about these Kardashian dolls, you may contact Richard at rmcgee@sunsetlogisticsphx.com.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Folk, Flower Dolls, a Theriault's Auction

Folk art is generally defined as art created by people not trained. They didn't go to art studio in college, or take classes at an art institute. Folk artists usually work with what they have, and are fond of assemblage and collage art. Grandma Moses is considered a folk artist in some circles [Incidentlaly, some dolls she made have turned up]. Many quilters, doll makers, potters, and sculptors fit the category, which often branches out into tramp art, convict art, and outsider art. Folk dolls are made of found objects, can be sophisticated or crude, realistic, or not, depending on the artist's natural talent. The first doll had to have been a folk doll. Many experts theorize that a child picked up a stick or piece of bone that resembled the human figure, and, Voila! the doll was born. From the Stone Age come cave paintings and the Venus figures, and we don't know if early humans had art classes to learn how to make this type of art, but all of it began with one person's experimentation.
Ethnic art and all types of crafts have been defined as folk art, too, and the category has included national costume dolls, tourist dolls, all handmade dolls, cloth dolls, ethnic dolls, and carvings. Dolls made of unusual materials like dressed fleas [let me know if you have a set for sale out there!], dried apple dolls, cornhusks, rocks, and coal are also called folk dolls, though some are often made in factory settings, like the apple dolls of Isabelle Million [See Coleman's, "Collector's Encyclopedia of Dolls, Volume I"]. Teddy bears and worn plush toys are often considered folk art, ships figureheads, cigar store mascots, scarecrows, snowmen, primitive doll art and others are, too. The best book on the subject is Wendy Lavitt's, "American Folk Dolls."
Also, look for posts discussing my dolls made of plants and herbs, and my new paper dolls, "Herb's Daughters," debuted at a local herbal society gathering. I also discussed Hawthorne's story, "Rapaccini's Daughter" as a sort of doll/Frankenstein story. More to come on this subject. Remember, Nathaniel Hawthorne inspired House of Seven Gable dolls, and he is related to the hanging judge of the Salem Witch Trials, Judge Hathorne. Dolls or poppets were invovled in the trials, too, and I have a set of them made in Salem, as well the official broom of the Salem Witches.
Laurie Cabot, official Witch of Salem, also collects dolls. Below is the press release for "An American Childhood" by Theriault's, a doll auction that features hand made and folk dolls. The italics are their words:
Theriault's . . . has a tradition of showcasing the myriad of genres within the world of dolls. Says Theriault's President Stuart Holbrook, 'Each and every collection speaks to the particular vision of the person who assembled those dolls. Yet, there are times when a collector's vision is so pure and focused, that we are left in amazement at the spectrum of dolls that fit within that view.' One's first thought on viewing such a collection, Holbrook adds, "I never imagined . . ." A the October 4-6 auction event in Los Angeles, California at the Universal City Hilton, collectors will have three days to pour over this concept when Theriault's presents a weekend entitled 'An American Childhood', highighted by the collection of the internationally-famous identical twin doll collectors, Valerie and Diane Blackler, whose vision was the quintessential American childhood from the mid-19th century to the first half ot the 20th century. The Blackler twins began their joint collection during their own childhood with one particular focus: dolls that the average girl might carry west in covered wagons, dolls that evoked the simple past that is so beautifully arranged in their coastal home in Naples, California, seemed the very juxtaposition of their own classic "California Beach" persona with blonde bouncy ponytails and vibrant costumes and jewelry for which they were so famous in antique circles in Southern California. 'Sometimes collections mirror our obvious selves', says Florence Theriault, 'but sometimes they reflect something completely different and deeper...the opposite of the obvious.' It is why, when people see this astounding collection it will be a completely different idea than what most collectors might have imagined as The Blackler Collection. The collection is one of the finest offerings of early American cloth and folk art dolls every to come to market, including an astounding collection of black cloth dolls, as well as dozens of fine teddy bears, Raggedy Ann and early studio dolls from such iconic firms as Ella Smith, Emma Adams, and Martha Chase. The collection seamlessly mixes with early wooden toy horses and even a small collection of early country advertising that completmented the Americana vision, as well as, curiously, early Mickey Mouse and Disneyanna. Back to me, I think the catalogs themselves will be a treat! These were two collectors who clearly thought outside the doll house!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

In Memoriam, Two who Shared Doll Memories with Me

The 14th and 15th of August are bittersweet days for me. A young friend of mine, Janet Coulter, was killed on the 14th 40 years ago in a freak car accident. She had just recovered her health after being in the hospital nearly a year, and was riding home from her job in a fastfood restaurant. She was my next door neighbor's great niece; Charlotte, our neighbor, lived to be 106. Janet and I would write, and she would visit her aunt during the summer. She was from a little town in a very rural community. We talked about farms, and boys, and music. She still liked dolls, and the summer we were ten we played Barbies in twilight. We used illustrated books as backdrops for doll houses, some were books about dolls, and they made a great stage. We caught fire flies in jars, and let them go, and watched the sun set. I have a couple photos, her letters, and two necklaces her mother gave me, and the memories that are never far from my heart. My grandma Marie was born August 15th, a holy day commemorating the Assumption of the Virgin. She, my great grandmother Margo on my dad's side, and my friend, Rosemary, are the three truly good, guileless people I've known. They never lost their tempers, never were vain, never said a bad thing about anyone. Grandma Marie sufferred her whole life; as a child, she had no toys, and went to school at 11 to learn to be a seamstress. She wore black because her father died when she was a little girl. She sufferred from ill health, World War II, the deaths of two children, her mother, her mother -in-law who was her best friend, and the death of my Grandpa Steve. She taught me Greek, though she had no former schooling past age 11. She was magnificient with her crochet hook, creating her own designs and pictures, never using a pattern. She baked, but not Greek pastires, rather she made cherry pie and chocolate chip cookies. She loved poems, and cut them out with her pinking shears from Greek newspapers. She would make little books by fastening her poems together with safety pins. She married grandpa Steve through an arrangement, and they met in Paris. She had a complete French trousseau. After the War, they came back to Villa Grove, IL, and resumed their business, Fanakos Bros. Restaurant. During the Depression, when transients would come to beg for food, she would make them fried egg sandwiches and ask if they wanted mustard. She always crossed herself when she passed a church, and she heated our dog's meat scraps so he wouldn't eat cold food. Before I started school and everyone moved across country but for me and my parents, I stayed with her and grandpa Steve. It was the best time in my life. I helped her bake, and plant flowers. We took little walks, and she told me stories and sang. She never complained, even when she broke her hip in a car acccident the day before Christmas Eve that nearly killed all of us. No matter what pain she suffered, she never let on. She would just pick up a quilt, or her crochet hook. Grandma Marie was famous for disliking nudity. She cut the photos out of certain Nataional Geographics, and if I left a naked doll lying around, it would have dress sewn for it by morning. She asked my uncle, who was an artist, to paint outfits on the Greek Figures on the vases and plates my family collected. After the war, she and the rest of my family travelled. They brought back lots of dolls, and two of those started my doll collection. Grandma loved dolls, but never had any when she was little; she worked all the time, and they were too poor. She also wore pins on special occasions, and that started me wearing them, and collecting them. She died in 1981, and I miss her everyday. My grandpa Steve died in 1979. My mother, her sister,my great grandparents, two uncles, and that little aunt who died in infancy are with her. If there were prizes given for being excellent women, she would have won them all. I miss you, Yia-yia.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dolls are only "Creepy" if you Lack Something to Love

Again, I say, "Free the Talega 11!" held hostage in San Clemente. By the way, has anyone wondered how SC's Finest "booked the dolls" into evidence? Did they have itty-bitty handcuffs? Were they careful not to get ink on lace dresses when they were trying to take little porcelain fingerprints? Surely, this has been a terrible misunderstanding. Perhaps we could hold a teaparty with sugar-water tea and tiny donuts with the C.O.P to discuss bail. I had thought of starting a fund on Kickstarter. So, again, this message to the good officer who "arrested" the dolls; if you don't want them, send them to our Museum. We'll do just fine with them. So, enough of this creepy doll garbage. Dolls, no matter how expensive, have evolved into children's toys. They were mant to be innocent companions of childhood, and were meant to be loved by children. Dolls are created to prevent nightmares, not cause them. Before I go on, the wonderful images are courtesy our friends at Theriault's, the Dollmasters! I know, there is no accounting for peoples' taste. Not everyone likes dolls. Not everyone likes Nascar. Not everyone likes marbles, or beer cans, or baseball cards, or Dungeons and Dragons. After all, some of us are a little bit country; some of us are a little bit rock n' roll.
To each his own, or, in the immortal words of Sly Stone, "different strokes for different folks." I'm on board with all of it. I'm not on board with people who have no passion for anything but make fun of those who do.
Virginia Woolf advocated finding a room of one's own, maybe not literally, but she cetainly meant in her long essay of the same name, that to stay sane, we needed something that encouraged us to be ourselves, to foster our creativity, to be our solace and shield from "the slings and arrows of fortune." Barbara Pym called this passion "something to love." It didn't have to be a man, or a woman, or anything tangible. It had to be a passion, a cause celebre, books, travel, gardens, or a beloved collection. People make fun of collectors because they've never had any interests. No, diddling around on an Iphone and taking selfies are not hobbies. They are not a passion that encourages learning and study. You don't learn to network with other like-minded people or hone your skills and knowledge to be an expert in your field. Collecting dolls teaches history, community, networking, creativity, and more. That passion for dolls inspires a love of people and their cultures everywhere, as Anne Rice has implied in her quote from "Taltos." I find the series "The Collector's Voice" enlightening on these topics, as I do the books of Marilyn Gelfman Karp and Mary Randolph Carter.
Moreover, dolls are images of ourselves. They are soul portraits, and reflect the artists who created them. The biographies of early doll makers are as intersting as those of composers and artists. What's creepy about that? I've met many people writing for about.com who find their dolls comfort them as they face terrible life challenges, including serious illness, the loss of loved ones, infirmities of all types, and despair. Writing about dolls is one of my strongest passions. When I sit and look at my dolls, or rearrange them, write about them, mend them, or make them, I forget all my other problems. They've kept me going in some very bad times, and the thought of sharing them in my writing and through a museum keeps me going. It's not for nothing that I say that when the going gets tough,the tough collect dolls. Like most collectors, I have many interests. I could tell the fine folks of Inside Edition didn't quite get that when they talked to me. They also knew nothing about dolls, and it strikes me how ignorant the general public is about them. Here are some of the other things I'm "following:" my family stamp and coin collections, music, especially singing and the piano, ballet, the geography of Strabo, ancient art, prehistory and anthropology, Anne Rice's work, mystery novels, Shakespeare, Tudor History, especailly Anne Boleyn, local highschool football, sustainability of water, plants, gardening, green living, the life of Erzebet Bathory, books of all types, gymnastics, The Olympics, writing poetry, blogging, my pets, my flowers . . . . You get it. I have hundreds of contacts and network in live settings and social media. I'm a school administrator who graduated from law school, with a Ph.D in literature, and I'm a wife, daughter, parent, friend, and cousin. My church and family are important to me, but I like to follow politics and listen to the news. I don't consider tabloid TV news, but I get a kick out of seeing it once in awhile. I like to write letters, and was a good student. I made several honor societies including Phi Beta Kappa, but my friends come from all walks of life. My mother taught me tolerance. My dad taught me courage. My grandmother, whose birthday would have been Friday, taught me compassion. Oh, and I don't type well and have arthritic fingers. So, I'll end my rant. I hear tiny hands applauding. Dolls are NOT creepy. They are not haunted. All objects bare traces of their owners' personalities; all have significance in their owners lives, whether they are kept or discarded. Doll collectors are historians, curators, artists, business people, teachers, clergy, and parents. There is nothing sinister about having dolls, just as there is nothing sinister about Lladro figurines, Depression glass, or Beardsley prints. We aren't hoarders, though space can often be at a premium for us. We are generous, and we share our knowledge and collections. To those who don't get it and think dolls are "creepy," well, get a hobby. Collect something, and learn a little history and some organizational skills. And, Grow up.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Discovery, Desire, Possession"

A direct quote from Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory," but it would make a great title for a Theriault's auction. The next Monday night auction is August 11th, and as usual, the selection is amazing. I may bid myself! As Marilyn Gelfman Karp might say, it is the thirll of the hunt which keeps us collecting. For me, it is the sheer diversity of dolls, the people I meet, and the unlimited amount of things to learn. The greatest collections are the most eclectic, or so I've believed. When Anne Rice collected, I thought it was great that she had everything from Bru to hard plastic, souvenir Native American dolls by Carlson Dolls and similar companies. She had everything from artist dolls, good reproductions, a life sized Pumpkin Head from a horror flick literally everything. When I was 10, I received a copy of Mary Merrit Darrah's "All Color Book of Dolls," which was a photo study of her museum. Much alter, I was able to buy one of the dolls featured in the book, Emma Clear's Pink Scarf doll, as well as several others. She included creche dolls, salesman samples, folk dolls, early dolls, and many more in her displays. I never got bored looking through her book. Perhaps the Queen of Eclecticism was Lenon Hoyte, Aunt Len of Aunt Len's Doll Museum. Her house was my dream house, thousands of dolls of all types, rubbing shoulders with each other in every space and alcove. No surface seeme uncovered, and what wonderful dolls they were! Death the marionette who thought of herself as Queen Alexandra, the boy, armless manniken who guarded the stairs, Uneeda vinyl Roly Poly Kids, Milliner's Models, a Black Alice, wax dolls, French dolls, artist dolls, all sorts living in harmony. It is from Aunt Len that I borrowed my own housekeeping for colletors mantra, "clutter is clutter, but a mess is a mess!" Amen, Aunt Len, and God Bless You! Mine is not the most expensive collection, but it is diverse. It's diversity is what most poieple celebrate. As I look around hte living room, I can share some of hte citizens of dolldom who share it with me. Living in harmony wiht my two kittens are a vintage rubber Hummel Little Traveler, a French miignonette, an 8 inch A and M named Melinda,an authentic African mask, life sized bust of Marie Antoinette, a wooden Mexican doll, hand carved, with a wooden mask, Patty Play Pal, several china heads, two Skookums dolls, a case full of tiny Frozen Charlottes, all bisques, pink lustre chinas, mini Day of the Dead figures, miniature dough dolls, a later Lenci, Ideals Crissy, a modern procelain "Walda," several bears, and a mechanicl Santa Claus and a witch are just some of the dolls who live with me. I've seen collections where no doll is under $10.000.00, and I find myself yawning. I know collectors who collect to invest, and know money, but they don't care much for variety or charm. I like coins, too, and even money can be intrestng. Somehow, for them, it isn't. They see dollar signs, not dolls. Others collect trends. Some may have a problem; they don't get that the dolls aren't real. Well, to each is own. However you collect, have fun, and don't be a doll snob.

Friday, August 1, 2014

From Ashton Drake and Amazon.com, comes a miniature breathing, realistic baby. The new dolls for Christmas 2015 are slowly making an entrance; more soon, but see below: Andrea Arcello Tiny Miracles Ashley Collectible Lifelike Miniature Breathing Baby Doll: So Truly Real by Ashton Drake by Ashton Drake •The FIRST-EVER collectible lifelike breathing baby doll created in an incredible 10" size, available exclusively from The Ashton-Drake Galleries' line of So Truly Real baby dolls •Cuddle this Tiny Miracles baby doll, watch and feel her "breathe" and she'll melt your heart! •Created by acclaimed Master Doll Artist Andrea Arcello, this So Truly Real miniature breathing baby doll has RealTouch baby-soft vinyl skin, micro-rooted hair, wispy baby eyelashes and tiny, hand-painted fingernails and toenails •We offer generous guarantees on everything we sell - up to 365 days on select items! If you need to make a return, you'll receive 100% of everything you paid. •This doll is not a toy, but a fine collectible to be enjoyed by adult collectors.

2014 Spring Annalee Dolls - Annalee Gallery

2014 Spring Annalee Dolls - Annalee Gallery