Thursday, July 3, 2014
Collecting in Summer; Gather ye Dollies while ye May
I did a good part of my collecting in my younger days on road trips, usually cross-country to California. We took the scenic route and stopped in Yellowstone, Lake Havasu, Monterey, Mexico, Juarez, San Antonio, Amarillo, Disney Land, Solvang, Jackson Hole, Reno, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and many other places along the way. We had favorite places to shop for dolls: The Boardwalk in Laramie, Wyoming, Fort Cody and Front Street in Nebraska, The Tinkerbell Toys Shop in Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Little America, souvenir stores, antique stores, Old Spanish Town, Casino gift shops, all were fair game. We also took trips to Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Williamsburg, New Orleans, Toronto, Manitoba, Boston, Salem [Oh, the wonderful witch dolls, the House of Seven Gables doll, the miniatures, and the antiques that came from there!], Hannibal, Chicago, St. Louis, Rome, Madrid, Athens, and Delphi. Dolls were truly where you found them. My family and I took short day trips every weekend, usually on out of the way country roads, looking for antique shops and thrift stores. There used to be a doll store in St. David, IL; leave it to my mother to find that! I hadn't even heard of St. David. We knew about a lot of country flea markets that had dolls, and we usually did very well. So, in the spirit of those wonderful trips, I thought I would share my summer doll finds, though some came from Ruby Lane, some were local, and some were the result of day trips. For those who also want to embark on doll collecting adventures, albeit local ones, I recommend a book that, though written in the mid to late 70s, is till timeless. It is Evelyn Meade Chisman's "Small Dolls and Other Collectibles." She has excellent advice on finding dolls at yard sales and similar venues for your own collections, but also as items to sell to fund your hobby. 1. From EEB Flea Market, I bought a 24" Supermarket Fashion doll, circa 1960, with her original high heel sandals, light brown wavy hair, intact red nail polish, and a sleeveless early 60s shift dress in light blue print. Cost: $6.00. Doll price guide value: $35.00 - 100.00. 2. African cloth doll, 18" with original tribal cloth costume, bought from a thrift shop. Similar to dolls sold in Unicef and Fair Trade shops. She coast $4.00, and new costs about $50.00. 3. Related ephemera: "Supplemental List of Badges and Buttons" book let for $1.00, date 1896. Remember dolls fit into political collectible categories as well. The 1897 McKinley Soap Baby is a prime example. 4. Colonial Stump doll, calico print dress, apron, sun bonnet, she is a half doll, built on a bowl that rests on a wooden block, and she may be a toaster cover. She has painted features and very blue eyes and a blonde mohair sewn onto her head. She came from the same thrift shop as nos. 1,2, and 3 and cost $2.00. 5. Vinyl Inuit doll from a thrift shop dressed in a faux fur parka, mukluks, with painted face and black wig. She is 10" high and is in her original baggie. 6. From EEB Flea market came a large bag of vintage photos from the turn of the century to 1931. There are about 100 of them, some in great condition, some not. They are sepia toned and there are many children's outfits and other great clothes features. There are also some mounted in cardboard presentation frames. The whole bag cost 10.00. 7. 8" gorilla made from a vintage quilt. Free as a perk from EEB Flea Market. 8. Dr. Seuss Horton hears a Who elephant finger puppet with a pink fuzzy Who world. Original rice $4.00, free as a perk from EEB flea market. 9. From an estate sale, I found an assortment of about ten dolls, mostly national costume dolls which included a lovely Furga and several Gura dolls from Germany. These are hard plastic, very good quality with wigs and lovely sleep eyes. Also, I found a complete Hummel doll of rubber, "The Little Traveler," with all his accessories, and several Eros dolls from Italy, which are classic Lenci-type dolls. All were about 40 years old or more, in excellent shape, some with their boxes. All were well under twenty dollars each, many under five or ten dollars. 10. From Ruby Lane, an 8 in F.G. fashion with painted eyes, original costume, and tiny pink velveteen shoes with impossibly small buckles. She is a real gem, and her cost was more than reasonable. 11. From the Pan American Exposition of 1901 came a Native American Doll with documentation of cloth and leather labeled "Indian Congress 1901." 12. From a store called "Artifacts," came a 27 in. Shirley Temple with old clothes and button, wig in curls, eyes good condition, some cracking on side of the head, $180.00. According book value, this is around a $1200.00 doll. 13. Also from "Artifacts," a 10 in 1970s Kathe Kruse, the "Hannah Kruse" model, in her original box and in excellent shape for $14.00. She cost 40.00 from Marshall Field's in 1970, and books at around $225.00 in this shape. 14. A beautiful clay head folk doll with cloth body and wire wrapped arms and legs from Peru, brightly painted to look like hte son for $4.00. These are not bad finds at all, and summer is not even over! There are still good dolls to be had, and they are worth the look. Happy Collecting!