Theriaults Dollmastery Seminar – An Opportunity To Learn About Rare Antique Dolls

Very Rare Bru Bebe Modele doll body in the DollMastery Seminar by Florence Theriault

Very Rare Bru Bebe Modele doll body in the DollMastery Seminar by Florence Theriault

One of the fun things I got to do at the recent Theriault’s weekend in Naples, Florida was go to a Dollmastery Seminar given by doll expert Florence Theriault. This all-day seminar gave participants a chance to get up close and personal with many rare dolls being offered in the auction, as well as a chance to handle rare doll bodies and antique doll clothing, hats and other doll accoutrements. The photos will give you just a sampling of the wide variety of dolls and doll bodies we had the opportunity to see and discuss.

If you ever get a chance to attend a seminar like this, I highly recommend it. No matter how much you know about antique dolls, you can always learn more, and the opportunity to handle many undressed antique doll bodies to compare and contrast them is very rare. For antique dolls, I truly think the quickest way to learn is to see them close-up, Continue reading

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Random Musings on Dolls, Antiques, And Old Fashioned Things

Beautiful Antique Dolls

Beautiful Antique Dolls at a Theriault’s Auction

I’m not sure if I’m in a contemplative mood because I am spending a cold, drizzly day in an old-fashioned New England inn, or because it is Easter weekend, or because I am seeing an old-fashioned Tennessee Williams play tonight. Perhaps it is all three. So you will have to indulge me today.

I despair at the prevalence of electronics and black, shiny and sleek interiors and decorations being the preferred way of living today. Kids play with iPads and computers instead of dolls and trucks. Young people often spend much of their time with electronics instead of forming connections to people and places and things. Old people often must part with their old and lovely things so they can move into a small, convenient Senior apartment. Antiques all seem so passé in our culture—back in the day families used to fight over antique heirlooms; now, they don’t think they fit in with their shiny Continue reading

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Kewpie Dolls Do So Much More Than Stand At Attention: Action Kewpies

Small Action Kewpie Playing Mandolin

Small Action Kewpie Playing Mandolin, Bisque Made in Gemany c. 1912

One of the many dolls I recently purchased at the Theriault’s Auction weekend in Naples, Florida, was this little action Kewpie doll. He is playing the mandolin and also leaning against some books, all created in bisque.  He was in a lot of five little Kewpies, all under 2 inches tall, that included an Action Kewpie holding a pumpkin (Halloween cross-over collectible), an Action Kewpie, and a Kewpie salt-shaker holding a little chick (Easter cross-over collectible).

I am particularly fond of the very small-sized Action Kewpies because of my love of very tiny all-bisque dolls. Although, if you think about it, Action Kewpies sort of sneak in with the designation of “doll” because they don’t actually have any jointing. The vast majority of basic-style Kewpies do have jointed arms, and a rare few have jointed legs, and so it seems that all the Kewpies get to pile-in under the designation of “doll.” Plus, Kewpies certainly are at home being displayed within a doll collection, and the bisque ones were made by many German companies that made other dolls, such as Kestner.

Continue reading

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Stuck Behind Your Computer Screen 24/7? Go to A Live Doll Event

Theriault's Sanctuary Auction Catalog Naples Florida March 2016

Theriault’s Sanctuary Auction Catalog Naples Florida March 2016

I think many doll collectors in the 21st Century are content to sit behind their computer screens and buy and sell dolls on eBay and Ruby Lane, perhaps taking part in Facebook or other social media doll groups. If they attend an auction or a live event at all, they “attend” via Proxibid or other online live auction sites.  I certainly have been guilty of this myself.

Which is why I coordinated a trip to see good friends in the doll world in Florida with a trip to the Theriault’s doll auction weekend  in Naples, Florida. I attended Florence Theriault’s DollMastery Seminar on Friday  the fully cataloged Sanctuary auction on Saturday, and the no-internet fun free-for-all that is a “Discovery Day” auction on Sunday.

Really, there is no substitute for seeing dolls in person, and the benefits of attending an auction with no internet bidders is obvious. But beyond that, attending a live event allowed me to spend time with other doll collectors and make new doll collecting friends as well.  Also, having the opportunity to attend a doll event in a new place truly added to the experience…I have been in a real rut the past few years and have mostly attended events in California and Las Vegas…close to home.  I realize that not traveling or traveling closer to home can be cheaper, but not always, and if you can afford it, sometimes it pays to travel a little farther to find new dolls and new friends.

Of course, this holds true for any live doll event, be it a doll doll convention, a doll class or Continue reading

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New Fashionistas Barbies Come With New Body Types and Lots of Unwarranted Hype

Barbie Fashionista Dolls - Tall, Curvy and Petite

Barbie Fashionista Dolls – Tall, Curvy and Petite

About a week ago, my Social Media lit up with tons of news reports about the new Barbie dolls with the new body types–curvy, petite and tall. At first I was intrigued–I figured that perhaps Barbie was finally getting some long-standing friends in the doll line like the 1960s Francie and Casey (they were shorter, less curvy, flat-chested, and quite popular) that could hang out with Barbie. With tall, short and curvy friends found in the Barbie main line of dolls in the Toys R Us Barbie aisle,  kids could have a Taylor-Swift like “squad” for their Barbies that reflected diversity and basic reality (most girls, unlike Barbie and Taylor Swift, are not really tall and really thin with straight blonde hair). Lots of play opportunities for girls with their own, diverse Barbie squad!

But, sadly, I then read the articles and that was not to be. Somehow, instead, Barbie will morph into shorter, taller, or chubbier versions of herself depending on which one is purchased.  And, if you purchase multiple dolls, Barbie can hang out with…well, Barbie.

I never had trouble with Black or Hispanic versions of Barbie because they still were still 100% Barbie. Same look, same iconic Barbie body and style, same clothes. But these new Barbies will NOT be able to share clothing. They don’t even look like the same doll.  Confusing for kids and their parents. And, the new doll body types are in ONE of the Barbie lines of dolls–not throughout the entire line of dolls. Again, confusing. Barbie given permanent tall, curvy and petite friends could have created gift sets, and had their own “themes” and stories and clothing could have been made for the different friends–just like my Francie and Casey had their own clothes line when I was a kid. Continue reading

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A Rare Kneeling All-Bisque Doll by Kestner Shows Off Her Beautiful Modeling

Kneeling Kestner All-Bisque

Kneeling Kestner All-Bisque Doll c. 1880

As many of you know, I have a collection of antique all-bisque dolls. One of my favorite things about antique all-bisque dolls is the truly vast variety of types. When I was transitioning from collecting only modern miniatures and miniature dolls to antique dolls in the late 1980s to early 1990s, one of the very first books I read about antique dolls was All-Bisque and Half-Bisque Dolls by Genevieve Angione. Published in 1969, this classic book impressed upon me the great variety inherent in antique all-bisque dolls, and how focusing on the different varieties could make for a very interesting and fine collection. It was that book, plus Dolls in Miniature by Evelyn Ackerman that greatly influenced my beginning in the world of antique doll collecting.

In any event, at Theriault’s Forever Young auction earlier this month, I was very pleased to acquire a very rare all-bisque, the “Kneeling Girl.” This is a very early all-bisque, circa Continue reading

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Happy 2016! My Smiling Bru French Fashion and I Are Off To a Wonderful Start, Including the January Theriault’s Auction

Smiling Bru French Fashion Doll

Smiling Bru French Fashion Doll, 20″, Wood Body c. 1871

Happy 2016! I realize I was silent for the last half of 2016, but life didn’t work out as planned; indeed, sometimes life gets in the way of art. I started the doll part of my year off at the Theriault’s annual Newport Beach auction weekend. What a wonderful time spent with good friends and fabulous dolls! I realized this weekend that I’ve been buying dolls from Theriault’s for about 20 years (my goodness, where did the time go?) and in honor of that, I found a real blast from the past with this LA Times article about their Newport Beach auction from 1996.

I purchased some fantastic dolls at the auctions last weekend…more about them later…but one of the things that buying new dolls will make you do is look at your cabinets, and move things around. So, while I was doing just that yesterday, I spotted a lovely Smiling Bru French Fashion doll that I purchased nearly two years ago from Theriault’s, which is pictured in this blog.

The first photo is of the doll as she appeared in the catalog.  I didn’t buy her for her clothing…just a dressing gown…but for absolutely amazing face, and for the Continue reading

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Ode to Salesroom Doll Dealers at the UFDC Convention

Stunning Japanese doll offered by dealer Alan Scott Pate at the UFDC National Convention

Stunning Japanese doll offered by dealer Alan Scott Pate at the UFDC National Convention

Doll dealers who sell at the UFDC National Convention really don’t get enough credit. I was a dealer only once at Convention, in 2011, and it was exhausting work.  First of all, you have to transport–often by several thousand miles–dozens or hundreds of dolls. You also have to figure out an attractive  display for those dolls, and transport and rent what you need to make that happen.  Then you have to haul it all to the salesroom and set it up. In effect, you are setting up a small store that is only going to be in existence for a few days.

Then the salesroom opens! And you are going to be mobbed.   Continue reading

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Tiny Dolls Take Center Stage at the UFDC “Small Dolls, Big Dreams” Special Exhibit

BAPS doll on display at the Small Dolls, Big Dreams Exhibit. Photographed at he the United Federation of Doll Clubs Annual Convention

BAPS doll on display at the Small Dolls, Big Dreams Exhibit. Photographed at he the United Federation of Doll Clubs Annual Convention

One of the highlights at every UFDC convention is the Special Exhibits. These exhibits highlight certain dolls in-depth and in style. There were four Special Exhibits this year, and I’ll highlight each of them in my UFDC Convention coverage.

The first exhibit was Small Dolls, Big Dreams. This exhibit focused on dolls 8″ and smaller made from a wide variety of materials. Dolls in this exhibit were made of cloth, bisque, wax, wood, rubber soap, paper, vinyl, china, leather, and many others. This exhibit was put together by The Wichita Antique Doll Study Club, and many of the dolls were from the Nancy Moore collection.

Within the exhibit was an extensive display of BAPS dolls. Continue reading

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Legendary Barbie Designer Carol Spencer Makes Dinner Dazzle at UFDC Event

Blue Skies Barbie

Blue Skies Barbie by Carol Spencer for UFDC’s Dinner Dazzle event

I didn’t register for the UFDC convention until fairly recently, so when I arrived in Kansas City I had no special events on my schedule. So on Wednesday I stood on a line to get tickets to available events. I was happy to find out the Barbie doll dinner  had a few tickets left, and I signed up without knowing anything about the event.

Imagine my delighted surprise when I walked into the event tonight and found out that not only did the legendary Barbie doll designer Carol Spencer design the event souvenir, “Blue Skies”  Barbie (limited to only 100 pieces) but Ms. Spencer also was giving the program about Barbie’s early history and Ms. Spencer’s design history with Barbie over the years.  I learned some nuggets about Barbie’s history that I didn’t know–for instance, I learned that Barbie clothing designer Charlotte Johnson spent over a year at The Imperial Hotel in Tokyo working with Japanese designers and seamstresses on Barbie’s very first wardrobe. Coincidentally, I stayed for a few days at the Imperial Hotel in April (same location, but sadly not the original Frank Lloyd Wright structure). I also learned that Carol Spencer designed the number one selling Barbie of all time, Totally Hair Barbie. Continue reading

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