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Monday, March 4, 2013

Types of Collectors and Favorite Doll Shops of the Past

Chronologically, we are on dolls of the early 19th century. The 19th century in general seems to be the heyday of doll making, and there are literally dozens of types of dolls made, and perhaps hundreds of manufacturers and makers. We will get back to them, and spend a significant amount of time on them. I like to digress now and then, to fill out the topic and peak readers' interests. I was ponderng over thew eekend after visiting another antique show and staying up late to read various antiques publications including The Collectors Journal, Fine Art, Treasures, and a few more. These are just my musings; I do not claim expertise, but am simply putting my thoughts on paper for you. Investors: These may be dealers, museums, private people, and at least one LLC I've come across. Dolls are an investment to them, more exclusively than to other collector types. They want only mint dolls, where possible, and high end dolls. If dealers, they may be highly specialized. Sentimental value is a commercial asset that makes the product marketable. This is a good way to make a living for good business people and those who love to study. It takes years of expertise to be a successful investor, and lots of hard lessons are learned along the way. It takes discipline and patience, just as play the stock market does. Investors will not buy a rare doll if it is in bad condition unless the restoration involved is economical and will enhance a doll's value. Investors have the pulse of the market; they survey what sells well, and stick with it. They are often good at auctions, at least those I know are. They like playing the game and are friendly and willing to share their knowledge. Dealers; they may be investors, or collectors selling items they are do not collect themselves. Some become dealers to learn the market and to learn where to buy better dolls. Dealers have to be good at marketing and at customer service. Like investors, they know a good deal, but to stay in business may depend on quick turn around. Storage may be a problem for them jsut as it is for other collectors. They may or may not have chattel mortgates taken out on their inventory, and may or may not have stores. Some dealers may also be certified appraisers. This involves taking classs and receiving credentials as an appraiser. You may see some of them on the Antiques Road Show. Many belong to the National Antique Doll Dealers Association. A few are also doll artists. Some dealers are professionals, others operate soley on eBay and Etsy or other mail order sites. Some do not collect dolls at all, but are very knowledgeable and belong to UFDC and other organizations. As always, Caveat Emptor, but it is safe to say most dealers in dolls appreciate them, and are in business to sell. They are williing to look for items for you and act as "pickers" and to trade shop talk. Without them, many would not be able to collect! Private collectors who are knowledgeable. This probably describes me. We collect not to sell, but to build a collection for our own enjoyment, or for our families. Some of us want to create a museum, or we use our dolls to write about. Others make dolls or paint and use dolls as models. We may trade or sell a doll to upgrade, we may give to charity to become involved in Scouts or other community service projects. Some of us are investors, but we love to scrounge yard sales as well as high end auctions. Many of us now specialize because the price of dolls has skyrocketed; we look for modern and collectible dolls as well, foreign dolls, celebrity dolls, paper dolls. Some of us collect "People," e.g., Dionne or Shirley Temple Dolls and memorabilia. A favorite chldhoo doll often starts us, and sentimental value is crucial, as is a doll's history. We don't care so much about condition if we can get a good price, and some of us like to restore our dolls. We may run a doll hospital, too, though this is also a course of study, still offerred by Lifetime Career Schools. Selling our dolls and profit are not our main goals, though know knowledge is power in our field. Private collectors who are interested in decor; These collectors love dolls, and like to decorate with them. They are not interested in makers or price guides, and may not even history. They enjoy the ambiance a bisque doll lends to an old chair, or like to buy dolls as souvenirs of travel. They are happy, may or may not be sentimentally attached, and place alimit on what they spend. Decor collectors are interested in aesthetics and beauty; they like modern porcelain dolls as much as antiques and/or reproductions because they are lovely to look at. Decor collectors can morph into knowledgeable collectors, and can even become dealers or investors after a while. Action Figure, Figurine, Stuffed Animal collectors; they are variations of the types of doll collectors out there. They don't often like to be called doll collectors. They are, but tread warily. Many men fall into this category. Also, museums often have collections of these objects cataloged in areas other than "dolls and toys." Toy collectors; they manage to have a few dolls among their treasures. May also be dealers and/or investors. Doll Artists/other artists; may collect found objects or doll parts to make their own creations. May also collect in their own right. Other artists may photograph or paint dolls. These include the folks of NIADA, ODACA, Crafters Guilds, Joseph Cornell, Lynn Pererra, Tasha Tudor, Hans Bellmer, David Levinthal and Jarvis Rockwell. Favorite Doll Shops of the Past: The Fallen Angel/Colorado: We used to drive through over the summer on our way to California. She had lots of art dolls and Santos, old and new, and Shackman porcelain dolls. My first Heebee Sheebee came from there. No longer open in 1985, the last time we drove through. Lolly's Doll Museum, Galena; closed about 20 years ago. Lolly Shaver, the owner, passed away. She sold dolls and costumes, etc., as well. My Dad says my house looks like her museum. I should be so lucky. Kneen's Doll Shop: Mrs. Kneen and her husband ran department stores, and then she had a small shop in rural Central Illinois. She also sponsored doll shows. She was a prominent member of her community and of the doll community. My mother and I liked her very much, and she featured dolls with provenance and dolls that came from around the world. I also found many Barbie collectibles, and a great crazy quilt top at her store. The Boardwalk, Larmie, WY: I don't know if they are open, but we used to race to get there by closing time. The elderly owner always let us in. There were souvenirs, antiques, and Native American Dolls of all types, including general store items, and a Horse supply shop. The Albuquerque Doll Shop: She had the most amazing dolls from around the world, collectible, old, foreign. She was located in Old Spanish Town int he 70s, but closed sometime after 1981. Indiana Antiques, San Jose, Ca. This was like going into a high end museum in 1973. Over the years, the inventory dwindled, but there were more antiques, French dolls, frozen Charlottes, and Peg O' My Heart dolls in original bottles than I had ever seen. I bought a doll that survived the 1906 earthquake from them, among others. The Magic Kingdom Toy Shop and King Norman's Toys: They were in San Jose and other parts of CA. Modern dolls, but great collectible dolls, and dolls we did not have in The Midwest. Some of the dolls I've never seen again. Marionette Doll Shop and Doll Hosptial; changed locations in and around El Paseo Saratoga in San Jose. She had amazing foreign dolls, and antiques. There was a great earthenware head, and one made from a gourd. My first Floradora came from there. Dolly Dear Doll Hospital, Iowa: Run by Mrs. Rossi; her collection was magnificent, and took up her living room. She had every Joel Ellis, every French Bisque, every Schoenhut you can imagine. I bought my first Sherman Smith from her. Mrs. Rossie was a wonderful person, but a bit of a doll snob. She didn't think much of Mr. Smith's dolls at all. :) The New York Doll Hospital: run by the Late Irving Chais and hsi family. Spelling is not perfect, but his doll hospital was nearly so, and featured in Carl Fox's 1970s photo essay, The Doll. Ms. Lenon Hoyte, of Aunt Len's Doll Museum, took her dolls there to be repaired. Her collection was featured in Who won Second Place in Omaha and in the 1970 Xmas edition of Life. India Imports, The Importer, Santa Cruz Imports, all in San Jose. There are many more I could add here. They fueled my desire to collect and inspired my love of dolls. There was Hobby City in Anaheim, Motts' Miniature Museum in Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park; Glick's Antiques and Doll Musem in Galena, Hobby City and the Hobby City Doll Museum, Anaheim, The small doll museum in San Juan Bautista, part of an antique shop, The Big D Doll Shop and museum, Kalona, IA; Anns Antiques, Illinois and Iowa, Dolls and Doodads, Maquoqueta, The Mary Merrit Doll Musem, The Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art, and the Enchanted World Doll Museum, South Dakota, Estes Park Doll Museum, and many, many more. Of course, there is Emma Clear's legendary Humpty Dumpty Doll Hospital. May they live on in our memories, along with the wonderful people who have owned them.

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