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Sunday, February 7, 2016

So many dolls ....

Lately, I've come face to face with doll snobbery, and doll cyberstalking.  It started with a good deed of mine, which did not go unpunished.  A dying woman wanted a museum to take her dolls, about 5000 of them. She documented all of them in a book.  Most were modern dolls, many modern porcelains, mass produced.  These hold no values for dealers, or those who buy and sell.  She began collecting after the death of her only child, a girl.  Her husband bought her an Alexander Pussycat as a memento mori.  Other friends and family followed suit, and she became a collector. 

The response I got on my social media groups was , "what a shame she had no one to guide her so she would have a valuable collection."

Collecting isn't about money.  The stock market is.  Collect stocks.

In my area, people are still interested in dolls, but not expensive antiques.  No one can afford them, even my dealer friends who used to buy and sell them shy away.  Also, the creepy doll fad, shows about hoarders, organizing, and cleaning house, have made collecting anything unattractive to many.  Time committments take away from doll collecting, as do busy schedules for kids and their extracurricular activities.

And, of course, those phones that you can all but mate with.

Many doll stores and museums have closed their doors, the dolls ironically selling well at auction.  I think one reason they close is that dolls have become too expensive and bewildering to interest people.  I'm part of this, too, of course, but we've priced ourselves out of the market.

It gains us respect when a doll can sell for nearly $400,000, but it discourages people, too.  Only a few people can afford to trade in those types of dolls, and the dolls go back and forth among them. Perhaps its as it should be.

Another reason people lose interest is that there isn't much for them to learn at museums full of antiques that focus on mold numbers and value.  Museums should invoke interest and nostalgia, with a lot of variety to attract guests.  Story book dolls, crafts, historical characters, folk dolls, baby boomer toys, even Barbies and her knock offs,  spark memories.  Some should be preserved for future generations.

Mrs. Coleman is quoted as saying every old doll is rare.  She's right, and even my childhood dolls are now over 50 years old.  In fact, I started collecting as a toddler, and I've been collecting over 50 years.

It is disheartening to be attacked by merchants who have only been in the business about 20 years, to tell you you are full of nonsense.  I knew what a German bisque was when I was 5, and a Jumeau when I was 7.  Did they?

All personalities, aside, there as as many types of dolls as people, and as many ways to collect.

There is not right or wrong way.  I love all types of dolls; artists dolls are incredible and speak to me, played with dolls are poignant, my own childhood dolls tell countless stories, my beloved antiques are living history.  Current dolls, even the "junk dolls" are studies in contemporary and popular culture.  Let's all go back and review our Mary Hillier, our Max von Boehn, our Janet Johl, and especially our Carl Fox, "The Doll," and let's check our "egos" at the door of the doll room!

Courtesy Theriault's

Courtesy Theriault's

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