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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Vintage Rose for Dolls, fellowhip and More

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The Bottom Line:  Partners Michelle and Diane opened this wonderful, true antique store in 2009.  This is the kind of antique store I grew up with, with real antiques, a good general line, vintage and antique china and pottery, lots of Art Deco, and wonderful jewelry.  I especially love the rhinestones.  There is also a good selection of dolls and toys from vintage to antique.   I have purchased Silvestri automatons, once displayed at the flagship Marshall Field’s Store in Chicago, small all bisque German dolls, German bisque dolls with glass eyes, dressed in furs, vintage and collectible Raggedy Anns, including to talking varieties, antique china heads, a near mint comp character baby, and more.  Michelle and Diane also carry miniatures like netsuke, bone china animals, children’s books, toys, and seasonal items.
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One case holds antique toys including a Victorian wooden doll bed, several small German bisque dolls, vintage doll accessories, and other toys dating from Victorian days to the 1930s.  She carries several unusual types of German bisque nodders and figurines, many with elaborate detail.  She has also featured LLadro Japanese Doll Festival figures and musical marottes with German bisque heads.
Recently on display was a vintage mechanical Santa who pops out of a chimney, circa 1950s.  Vintage Rose is a great place to look for gift items and vintage and modern Victorian inspired lithographs.  She carries Victorian Papers cards, but also original graphics and paper ephemera. 
Pros:  The displays and merchandise are always changing.  Michelle and Diane are super friendly and customer service is excellent.  Staff, including Lois, Ellen, Eric, and Lexi [forgive me if I’ve forgotten anyone], are knowledgeable and upbeat. No one is every pressured to buy anything, layaway terms are generous. You can spend one minute or one hour browsing and receive the same wonderful service.
Displays change with the seasons; wonderful old aluminum trees and 50s/60s ornaments appear during Christmas.  Spooky, nostalgic vintage Halloween decorations pop up in the fall, along with pilgrims, and later in winter, snowmen.  During the Christmas season, Michele and Diane hand out real sugar plum candies.
Prices are fair and often negotiable.  Ask about the Gold Box program!  There are good books on genealogy and local history, too.  Michelle is active in DAR activities and also has an Etsy store, Effie Rose Antiques.   She has many antiques on consignment from around the country, and also displays in other malls.  She is active in the antique show circuit and is good at looking for special collectibles for her customer.
She carries books on antiques including my own book on metal dolls, “With Love from Tin Lizzie . . .” We had a terrific book signing there.
I especially appreciate the fact that anything you buy at Vintage Rose is carefully wrapped in clean tissue paper and carefully packed.  Michelle does not spare the bubble wrap, boxes, or large, handy shopping bags.  I always recycle these.  Nothing is ever lost, left behind, or broken when I get it home. I can’t say the same of all my antiquing experiences.
Cons:  Only that Vintage Rose isn’t open 24/7, though you could argue it is with the Etsy store.
See their Facebook Page for contact information. On the same street and within walking distance are several other antique stores including G.V’s Stuff [general line, pottery, national costume dolls, glass, Stengl, Lefton kewpies, half dolls, metal doll houses, plastic doll house furniture, some Star Wars and Hot Wheels], Fred and Ethel’s [Lucy memorabilia, vintage clothing, fifties and sixties nostalgia, Gas Station/Duchess Costume dolls, some 80s Barbies, Christmas, Halloween, Easter, displays 6’ Barbie manikins, vintage costume jewelry], Jackson’s Antiques [Great Seasonal Open Houses, Jackson Pottery, books, vintage clothing, “Ugly” sweaters at Christmas, small dolls, china heads, miniatures, compo dolls], Estate of Grace [seasonal, primitive, shabby chic, some dolls], Dar Jac Antiques [Dover paper doll books, antique jewelry, glass, miniatures, furniture, some dolls] Fabulous Finds [collectible porcelain, Franklin Mint type, Danbury Mint, 80s Effanbee, 80s Ginnys, some art dolls, Lefton figurines]. Don’t
forget Tim’s Corner for vintage comics magazines, action figures, and other doll related collectibles, and More than Memories-Estate of Grace for unusual décor and vintage items.

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Because every doll has its story...

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Saturday, December 16, 2017

日本語で博士 E の人形博物館 [Dr. E's Doll Museum in Japanese}: のすべてを持っている人形コレクターに何を与えるか。アンティーク人形コレクター誌の購読! アンティー...

日本語で博士 E の人形博物館 [Dr. E's Doll Museum in Japanese}: のすべてを持っている人形コレクターに何を与えるか。アンティーク人形コレクター誌の購読! アンティー...: のすべてを持っている人形コレクターに何を与えるか。 アンティーク人形コレクター誌 の購読! アンティーク人形コレクター が 20 年のヴィンテージやアンティークの人形を扱うすべての事のための首位の出版物をされています 。   モダンな人形を収集人もは ADC の...

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

日本語で博士 E の人形博物館 [Dr. E's Doll Museum in Japanese}: Japanese Friendship Dolls

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Maria Mitchell and the Solar Eclipse; Astronomer and Dolls Dressmaker

The Solar Eclipse and Maria Mitchell

By Ellen Tsagaris

Popular Astronomy Club

This piece was published in a local newspaper; I include it here, because Mitchell, a respected astronomer and professor, liked to make doll clothes as a child.  Doll lovers are indeed talented nad remarkable people.

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Maria Mitchell, Public Domain


On March 20, 2015, the next solar eclipse will be visible.  NASA’s Solar Eclipse Page provides tables of past and future solar eclipses, along with graphics and other pertinent information. 


A solar eclipse takes place, of course, when the moon passes between the sun and the earth.  Once this occurs, the moon partially or totally hides the sun.  Then, the moon casts a shadow on the earth.


For a solar eclipse to occur there must be a new moon because the eclipse can only take place during the phase of the new moon, which makes it possible for the moon to cast its shadow on the earth.

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Eclipse 2017 Public Domain


Such an event has been billions of years in the making, truly awesome when one considers that since its formation almost 4.5 billion years ago, the moon has been steadily pulling away from the earth. According to, the moon has been moving away from the earth by about 1.6 inches each year.  Furthermore, the writers at point out that “right now the moon is at the perfect distance to appear in our sky exactly the same size as the sun, and therefore block it out. “


The Bible mentions a solar eclipse in Amos 8: 9, “I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the Earth in the clear day.”  Other references from Ancient China and Nineveh have also been documented. 

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Public Domain

Most solar eclipses are very short, with some of the longest recorded at 7 minutes 31 seconds. During this time, the corona, the outer atmosphere of the sun, is visible.


The March eclipse will not be visible in the Quad City area, unfortunately. A total solar eclipse will be visible in Svalbard, Norway and the Faroe Islands, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible in Europe, northern and eastern Asia and northern and western Africa
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Maria Mitchell and her Sisters


The last solar eclipse was only a partial eclipse and occurred on October 23, 2014.


Celebrated astronomer Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) made the study of solar eclipses her specialty.  Mitchell was born to Quaker parents who believed in educating equally their sons and daughters.  She learned to love astronomy through helping her father, and one evening, she helped him calculate their home’s position by observing a solar eclipse. Mitchell became famous after she discovered a comet in 1847.  The King of Denmark awarded her a gold medal for her discovery of the comet.  In 1856, Mitchell became a professor of astronomy at Vassar College.


Maria Mitchell was an admired and beloved teacher who inspired her students and believed woman could achieve the same accomplishments that men did, if they could only be given a chance.  She believed creativity and science worked well together, and one quote attributed to her reads: “We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.”




Friday, October 13, 2017

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Theriault's Rendezvous,

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Theriault's Rendezvous,: Rendezvous, ah, what a wonderful word!  Tomorrow is yet another chance to bid on amazing, beautiful antique dolls!  There are dolls made in ...

Monday, October 2, 2017

From Stuart Says, con Permiso

Dear Friends,

There is no one moment that sticks in my head. The past three months have been a culmination of moments that blend together into one of the most poignant journeys of my life. While Tuesday may mark an end of sorts for me, the voices of tens of thousands of people who shared with me the touching “Love, Shirley Temple” tour will be never be buried in the archives of my past. In fact, it will guide me for the remainder of my life.

The recurring theme that I witnessed was love. Not just for a little girl who continues to lift the spirits of so many with a magical wand of sparkles and hope. It was a love that I felt was in a deep-rooted appreciation of nostalgia, memories of a happy time past, and the joy of living in a time when simplicity was all that was needed.

Shirley was not about special effects or shocking back-stories. Nor was she trying to woo us with anything other than honesty. Shirley was just herself. It will always be her “secret.” That is that she was never trying. What we saw is what we got. It’s why the world still looks to this little girl as a last link to a different time. In the sometimes overwhelming stimuli of today she still represents the best parts of all of us. I, for one, am now a better person for this experience.

Tuesday is the end. But for you it is the beginning. For those who wish to participate and become a steward to these objects it is, in fact, the door opening. That is, these objects will become mementos that you can tour yourself and teach and remind people of what she gave to the world. So, while my tour may be at a close, yours is about to start.

I know the recurring statement so well: “These pieces should be in a museum." Yet, as I have tried to convey to all who expressed this sentiment: “You are the museums.” Everyone who obtains any of these pieces has not only the joy and pride of holding these objects for themselves - but the ability to share and spread the story of Shirley for generations.

You are the stewards to one of the greatest stories of the 20th century.

And, in the end, if a traditional museum is best served in your mind with some of these objects - and your true hope is that eventuality - it is people like you, the collectors, who can make this happen in the end game of seeing them to their next location.

This is all Shirley ever hoped for. That her story will continue to be told. That generations from now she will still serve as a beacon of hope, cheer, and honesty. Most of all, as we know Shirley so well, she would want you to have fun and enjoy this moment with her. Sing her songs, smile her smile, and clutch close to you the objects that she adored and felt should now be with you.

As Shirley said so well; “These tangible mementos were important, far more than the event. Things to heft, feel and take away gave an air of permanence to what happened.”

This is not the end. We are only just arriving at a junction. I am honored and excited to pass the baton to all of you in knowing that these pieces – pieces that have meant so much to me in my own personal time with Shirley - will be in the most loving hands possible.

Warm regards, 

Stuart Holbrook'
President, Theriault's

Origami-Style Suits Turn Robots into Real-Life 'Transformers'

Origami-Style Suits Turn Robots into Real-Life 'Transformers'

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

For Love of Betsy, not Wetsy

Public Domain

Most collectors realize that dolls and high fashion go hand in hand. Remember, before there was “Godey’s” or “Vogue” or “W” there were dolls sent around to illustrate current fashions.  These Pandoras often were the equivalent of front page news to women keenly interested in viewing the latest fashion.
I could wax poetic on the history of antique fashion dolls, French and otherwise, but we don’t have enough space in this post to cover all of them.
When, however, a designer melds her ideas with doll making, I have to comment.  Especially when that designer is one of my all time favorites, Betsy Johnson.
Betsey Johnson is a native of Connecticut who grew up to become a famous and unique New York Designer.  Initially, Johnson trained to be a dancer, but soon turned to fashion and design.  In this, she is alike another dancer turned artist, or doll artist, my friend, the late Suzanne Gibson who was a ballerina. 
Johnson has been a successful and influential designer for over 40 years.  In 1964, she won a guest editor prize for “Mademoiselle”, which helped to launch her career. She attended Syracuse University and The Pratt Institute.
Her love of the whimsical and of costumes influence her work.  Many of her designs incorporate charms, dolls, and miniatures.  I have jointed skeleton and flapper-type dolls made into necklaces that she has designed including some black cats and teddy bears that are jointed.  Her themed necklaces are works of art for those who love miniatures.  My Day of the Dead set includes earrings, a ring, bracelet, and necklace of the famed sugar skulls and Calavera Catrina figures that are icons of the holiday.
One set of my earrings is made up of tiny, very detailed mermaids embellished with rhinestones.  A ballerina necklace features a tiny, jointed doll with gold tone metal with a blue silk tutu.
Several other dolls appear in Betsey Johnson jewelry lines, and the word “doll” is used in some her clothing and shoe designs, like the 5.25 inch embellished heels called “Doll” Pumps.
Kahri by Karhianne Kerr has even created a portrait of Betsey herself, with her long, bright blonde hair, red lips, and hot pinked striped dress. (
Betsey’s Adventure Book Shoulder Bag includes a cloth Betsey doll for around $60.00. (
Dolls continued to play a role in Johnson’s designs when, in 2014, the “New York Daily News” reported that she was among several other designers who designed OOAK doll costumes based on “The Wizard of Oz.”
According to her site, Betsey Johnson “celebrates the exuberant.”  I have to agree.  She has been quoted as saying, “Like red lipstick on the mouth, my products wake up and brighten and bring the wearer to life...drawing attention to her beauty and specialness...her moods and movements her...dreams and fantasies"
This past holiday season, I noticed 7 inch dols made of metal selling at Dillard’s for about $25.00.  These included many designs, as well as the princess, robot, and frog shown on The doll ornaments are described below:
From the official Betsey Johnson Site:
You'll love to trim the tree with this princess ornament from Betsey Johnson.  It also comes with crystal stud earrings that would be a perfect stocking gift.
  • Includes Princess ornament and crystal stud earring set
  • Gold plating
  • Material: metal/resin/fabric
  • Ornament: 7"L x 2.75"W
  • Stud: 0.25"L x 0.25"W
There are also a frog and a robot, and all are currently discounted from $25.00 to $9.99.  Before the holidays, these were available at Dillard’s Department Stores.
Recently, Johnson announced she would be moving permanently to her home in Malibu so she could be near her daughter and granddaughters.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Building a General Doll Collection

Building a General Doll Collection
In the early days of doll collecting, the goal was to collect as many types of dolls as possible.  Many early collectors were educators, like Laura Starr, “The Doll Book”, (1908), and museum curators like Max Von Boehn and Carl fox. The idea was to show how dolls helped people to express themselves and to replicate their cultures and traditions.
Helen Young, who wrote “The Complete Book of Doll Making and Collecting” and “Here is your Hobby . . . Doll Collecting” was an artist who provided dolls to Kimport who also collected dolls.  She advocated variety in all things doll, and I supposed I took my philosophy from her.  So, below, is my guide for building a general collection of all types of dolls, heavily influenced by Young.
A General Collection should include types of the following: modern dolls, national costume or tourist dolls [from all 7 continents], folk dolls, baby dolls, celebrity and advertising dolls, storybook dolls, historical figure dolls, play dolls, antique dolls, representations of ancient dolls, medieval dolls, Renaissance, Baroque, and 18th century dolls, paper dolls, teddy bears and stuffed animals, dolls of various materials, edible dolls,  toy soldiers, action figures, artist dolls, mechanical/talking dolls, and a few figurines or small statues for comparison, and a doll house.
I’ll take them category by category for you.
Modern Dolls:  Check out our various categories of dolls made from the 1980s till now.  These include all types of Barbies, dimestore or dollar store dolls, some hard plastic dolls, vinyl dolls, reproductions of vintage dolls like the Mrs. Beasley and Chatty Cathy made some years ago by the various “mints”, modern paper dolls, including Internet paper dolls, PVC figures, Disney dolls, Mattel, American Girl, My Friend, Fisher Price, Eden, Cittitoy, Madame Alexander, and all current doll manufacturers.
If you want to include Vintage dolls, don’t forget Ginny, Madame Alexander, Poor Pitiful Pearl, Effanbee, Knickerbocker, Cameo, other Vogue dolls, Horseman, Uneeda, Topper Toys, Hasbro, Ideal, and other companies.  You would include later Nancy Ann Storybook dolls, Gas Station Dolls, Dolls of the Month Club examples, Hollywood dolls, Muffie, Ginger, sewing dolls, and others made after about 1947 till now.  These dolls are often classified as vintage.
National Costume or Tourist Dolls.  Try to include a doll wearing an outfit from a costume of each continent, for Antarctica, substitute a toy penguin, or a historical figure of one of the ill-fated explorers of The South Pole.  Review articles on this site, including “The King of Dolls” and explore sites that feature these dolls, including The Strong National Museum of Play,  Shankar’s International Doll Museum, and Antique Japanese Dolls.
Try to include a book or some literature about The Japanese Doll Festival; dolls are huge cultural artifacts in Japan, with even temples devoted to them, some artists designated as living treasures, and more than one holiday involving them. 
Pam and Polly Judd’s books on dolls include several on international dolls.  Pat Smith has written about them, as has my friend, the late John Axe.  Mary Hillier’s books and R. Lane Herron’s books include them as well.  A good source is Loretta Holz’s “The How to Book of International Dolls.”
Folk Dolls:
These dolls are generally made from every material imaginable material but artists that are not formally trained.  They included dried apple dolls, cornhusk and corncob dolls, nut head dolls,  lobster claw dolls, prune dolls, handmade dolls of cloth, rubber, wood, and wax, certain primitive art dolls, cloth dolls, paper dolls, clay dolls, tramp art,  and more.  Russian nesting dolls fit this category, as do wooden Pinocchio dolls made in Italy.  Some tourist dolls made of wooden spoons, old utensils, or found items also fit.  Young included Peddler Dolls and Frozen Charlottes in her chapters on folk dolls because they had stories behind their creation.  Folk dolls are often one of a kind, and appear in craft fairs and antique stores.  Thrift shops sometimes have a good selection, too. Wendy Lavitt’s “American Folk Dolls” will get you started.  See our post, “Dolls, Flowers, and Gardens” for more examples.
Baby Dolls:
Many doll books claim baby dolls did not exist before 1850.  Don’t be confused by the early word for dolls, “baby” as in “Bartholomew Babies.”  Certainly girls treated their dolls as babies, even if they represented grown women or men, but representations of babies were rare before 1850 unless they were Crèche figures of Baby Jesus.  Around the mid-19th century, papier mache and wax dolls, soon to be followed by bisque examples,  began to emerge as actual babies.  By the early 20th century, there were all types of character babies, including JDK’s Hilda, The Bye-lo Baby, The Dream Baby, Kewpies, Mamma dolls, and later, composition, hard plastic, and vinyl babies.  Cittitoy currently makes many of them.  Madame Alexander has Puddin, Pussycat, and Victoria, while Vogue has Baby Dear, my personal favorite doll of all time, designed by Eloise Wilkin.  Baby Dear was allegedly the doll Nikita Khrushchev bought to take home to his grandchildren after he banged his shoe on the table at the UN.   You can find many baby dolls today, from Real Life Baby, to Drowsy and Baby Secret from the 60s, to dime store plastic baby dolls.  There are handmade dolls and Reborn Babies, and many super-real varieties like the early 80s hospital baby.  Artists include Linda Webb, Mikki Brantley, Lee Middleton, Reva Schick, Branka Scharli and more.  Shackman, Inc. reproduced many antique bisque babies, including the Bye-Lo and so-called Kaiser Baby. Tiny dolls made as dimestore dolls in the 60s and still made as party favors and King Cake dolls also fit this category.  You could fill a Mason jar with baby dolls and also represent miniature and/or plastic dolls with them.
Celebrity Dolls:
Everyone should have a Shirley Temple doll; the older compo dolls have fallen in price for dolls in good to fair condition, but there are porcelain reproductions available, whole series of Danbury Mint dolls, vinyl dolls from the 50s, 80s, 90s, paper dolls, figurines and much more.  It would be easy to collect DVDs, photos, or videos of her films, as well as books about her, if you don’t want a doll.  She, too, had a doll collection, formerly displayed a Stanford Children’s Hospital, and there is a film about her and the collectibles she inspired called “Shirleymania.”  I even found a bottle of pop called “Shirley Temple”, inspired by the kiddie cocktail that bears her name.
Billie Nelson Tyrell, who was herself an actress, had the best collection of celebrity dolls I have ever seen, including the super-rare bisque Mary Pickford portrait doll.  Many were reproduced as 9 inch and 11 inch figures by various companies in the 90s and early 2000s.
Movie tie-ins abound today, but many represent actors and actresses in popular films. Hallmark Itty Bitty’s often represent characters from films as well.
Vintage celebrity dolls include The Dionne Quints, Judy Garland, Deanna Durbin, Sonny and Cher, Jackie Coogan, Charlie Chaplin, Baby Peggy, Farrah Fawcett Majors, Charlies’ Angels, Brooke Shields, Susan Dey, Twiggy, Elizabeth Taylor, and more.  Some of these are also artists’ representations.  “Gone with The Wind Dolls” are very popular with collectors, and new examples are made by Tonner and others to celebrate the movie’s 75th anniversary.  The same is true of “Wizard of Oz” and memorabilia.  Mattel has created many personality Barbie dolls including Truly Scrumptious, Rosie O’Donnell, Deirdre Hall, Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Cindy Lauper and more.
Advertising Dolls:
The easiest of these to obtain are Happy Meal toys and premiums on various products.  The Gas Station dolls in international costume also fit this category, as do the Little Debbie dolls and Hostess Cupcake Characters.  You can find a lot of them in Goodwill and The Salvation Army for pennies or a dollar or two.  You only need one example.  Antique versions cost more, but are still out there, with the Aunt Jemima characters and Buster Brown dolls appearing frequently at doll auctions. 
Storybook Dolls:
Besides Nancy Ann Dolls, there are dolls by Hollywood, Horsman, Effanbee, Kehagias, Madame Alexander, and Royal Dolls.  The late Suzanne Gibson created a line for Reeves International in the 70s and 80s and even collaborated with Steiff on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  R. Dakin has had a line, and Barbies often appear with storybook character outfits. Eden toys replicated Beatrix Potter characters in the 70s, and Target often features a famous Peter Rabbit line in its dollar section around Easter.  Ever After High dolls fit this category, as do some of the Monster High dolls.  Dozens of companies and artists have created Alice in Wonderland dolls; they are a collection in themselves. Disney dolls often represent fairy tale and storybook heroines like Sleeping Beauty, Snow While, Cinderella and Thumbelina.
Tiny plastic dolls were made in the 50s and 60s representing storybook folk, including tiny celluloid charms.
Ashton-Drake has produced many storybook dolls as has Madame Alexander. 
McFarlane Toys recreated characters from Grimm’s Fairy Tales a few years ago, but these are not for the fainthearted.
Little Red Riding Hood dolls are also popular, and many are made in the 7.5 inch plastic doll style.
Again, paper dolls of storybook characters have always been extremely popular. 
Historical Figures:  
Uneek Doll Designs makes many dolls in this category, and they are all only 5 or 6 inches high.  Bernard Ravca made them, and so did Peggy Nisbet.  Madame Alexander still creates them, and her vintage examples of Antony and Cleopatra, Mary, Queen of Scots, Anne Boleyn, Napoleon and Josephine, and The First Ladies are magnificent.
There is a wonderful blog devoted to them, and several doll artists specialize in historical dolls as well.  Antique doll portraits of Queen Victoria, Jenny Lind, Prince Albert, and others fit this category, too.
Check out my posts on Dolls for Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln Dolls.
Also, some historical dolls may be so because they have provenance, like the Danbury mint Titanic Doll, or the large china head in my collection that is tied to The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.  I include here a couple small dolls I own that once belonged to Anne Rice.
Sites dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books will also have historical dolls of her and her own dolls, and Effanbee’s historical series included FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt, George Washington, and Lincoln.
Many toy soldiers that represent famous military figures fit this category, as do Heartland western and baseball figures.
Play Dolls:
This is your catchall category.  Really, any doll or even object, can be a “play doll.”  Most antiques were meant to be toys, with a few exceptions, but I had dolls that were meant to be art objects or figurines that ended up in my toy box.  Technically, see our category Dolls for Children and Play, and consider most Barbies, Bratz, Ideal Dolls, Horsman dolls, rag dolls, including Raggedy Ann, toy soldiers, paper dolls, baby dolls, and fashion dolls.
For ideas, review G. Stanley Hall’s “A Study of Dolls” (1897) and Manfred Bachman’s “Dolls The Wide World Over.”
A doll is definitely a play doll in my book if she has removable clothing.  If she comes with accessories, then she is meant to be played with.
American Girls fit this category, as do the Heidi Ott dolls and other 18 inch dolls made for little girls.  50s and 60s companion dolls like Patty Playpal make an interesting collection of play dolls, too.
Antique Dolls, which dovetail with Dolls of Various Materials:
For ideas, go to Theriault’s and surf their archived catalogs, or go through your own print catalogs.  If we define an antique doll as a doll 75 years or older, the possibilities, and price ranges are endless.  If all you can get is a good reproduction, do it, to have a representation.  Many of the early reproduction dolls are no themselves vintage or antique, as are the dolls by Emma Clear.
Metal heads and metal dolls are still not that expensive; I still find Minervas with molded hair and painted features for under $30.00, often complete.  One inch metal Frozen Charlottes are often under ten dollars, and are also sometimes Old Cracker Jack prizes which adds to their allure.
All bisque and all china dolls, including penny dolls and Charlottes abound, and are not expensive.  Fragments, dug up in old European doll factories, are popular with doll artists and miniaturists, too.
They are usually over 100 years old, so you can always afford at least one antique doll for your collection.
Wooden dolls can be expensive, rare Queen Annes, or more affordable Penny Woodens, many still under $100. Wooden carved dolls from Poland, Sweden, Russia, Japan [Kokeshi], China, India, Germany, Italy, Denmark and Norway fit the bell well for wooden dolls, as do Native American dolls, especially Kachinas.
Sherman Smith dolls and Peter Horn artist dolls are gaining in price and popularity, but they are still out there.  Artist’s lay figures can cost as little as $7.00 at Hobby Lobby or Michaels’.  Keep your eyes open, and you can find small, every old wooden dolls for your collection.
Wax dolls are also rare and ephemeral, but figural candles are also doll objects.  Modern artists work in wax, too, like Sheila Wallace, Peter Coe and Paul Crees, Lewis Sorensen, and Gladys MacDowell. Some wax dolls are really composition, papier mache, or metal dolls coated in wax.   Beeswax dolls come from Mexico and Germany.  Man re antique or very old, and not very expensive.  Again, think outside the dollhouse.  Many vintage Christmas angels are made of wax and cost under $100, or even less.  Helen Young recommended holiday figural candles like Gurley candles to round out a doll collection that needed a wax doll.  It isn’t a bad idea at all, and the variety is astounding.
Representations of Ancient Dolls:
So far, the Goddess or Venus figures from Willendorf and other places in Europe are, according to Max Von Boehn, the oldest dolls.  For years, everyone thought they were all idols, but some anthropologists are now making educated guesses that these tiny limestone figures may have been toys, too.  There is a figurine found in Idaho called the Nampa figurine that could be much, much old.  It was found buried 300’ down, and archeologists claim items buried at that level are usually around 2 million years old.  There are 10,000 year old figures from Turkey extant, and many dolls and idols from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, and Britain. 
While we can usually own these dolls, there are good museum replicas of the Goddess figures, as well as artist creations.  I have them in resin, stone, glycerin, and silver. Design Toscano replicates Ancient Egyptian and Greek figures and dolls.  Sadigh Gallery in New York purports to sell genuine Ushabti and other ancient art.  They advertise in Smithsonian, and work within the law governing the sale of antiquities, to the best of my knowledge.  You have to be careful buying allegedly ancient items because of these laws, but they have been auctioned from time to time by reputable auction houses.
Still, go to any museum, and you can find affordable representation of ancient dolls, sometimes as paper dolls, sometimes as clay, stone, or resin replicas.
Rock shows and Relic shows are also good places to look for them.  If you are crafty, it is easy to fashion ancient Greek dolls from terracotta clay, or even simple modeling clay.
Representations of the Medieval Period or Middle Ages:
Once again, dolls from this era do exist in Museums.  You can see examples in Mary Hillier’s “Dolls and Doll Makers”, Manfred Bachman’s “Dolls the Wide World Over”, and Max Von Boehn’s “Dolls.”  There are also blogs devoted to them. 
Look at the sources for ancient dolls to find representatives for your collection, and don’t discount Uneek Doll Designs and Peggy Nisbet Dolls, or even Madame Alexander.   For that matter, Medieval Lady Barbie is not a bad representative for this genre, and neither is a vintage Barbie dressed in the Guinevere Little Theater outfit of the early 60s.  Ken as King Arthur is another good option.  You can also look for prints of paintings from this era that feature children with dolls and toys.  Peter von Breughel is one such artist.
Toy soldiers and diorama figures are also good representatives.  Schleich makes many good examples, and you can find their figures at Farm and Fleet Stores, museum shops, and target.
Marin of Spain made lovely dolls from this time in the 80s.  One 14th c example is called Jimena.
Renaissance, Baroque, 18th century, very early 19th century:
If you are very wealthy, you may be able to find an original doll from these eras.  Many collectors still find Queen Anne dolls and Georgian wooden dolls, and an occasional 200 year old wax doll, perhaps a Nativity figure, may surface.
There is a doll that dates from 1530 in a museum, and a wooden doll that allegedly belonged to Edward VI used to be in the former Helen Moe’s Doll Museum, Paso Robles, CA.
Bartholomew Babies date from the 17th century.
For representatives for your collection, look for the sources given for Historical Dolls above, and for Ancient and Medieval dolls.
Archie McPhee stores also feature action figures of Leonard da Vinci, Marie Antoinette, and Jane Austen.
Petit Colin makes gorgeous celluloid dolls representing French historical figures, as does Alexander and Nisbet. 
Several artists who advertise in “Antique Doll Collector Magazine” recreate 18th century wooden dolls.   If you travel to Colonial Williamsburg, you will be able to buy an authentic replica of a Queen Anne doll or a poupard that you can dress.
Many folk dolls, especially corn dollies and cornhusk dolls date from this time.
Paper dolls:
Paper figures have their origins in Ancient China and Japan.  Paper dolls have been known to us since the controversial jointed Pantins of 18th c. France were first made.  Chromolithography made production of paper dolls easy, and sets like The History of Little Fanny and The History of Little Henry became popular.  These are reproduced today.
Theriault’s has featured paper dolls in their auctions, as has Noel Barrett.  The Paper Collector blog is one of the best sources for information on them, as is Marilee’s Paper Doll Page.
Dover paper dolls are wonderful additions, and also fulfill the need for dolls from the celebrity, advertising, historical, ancient, medieval and renaissance categories.  Many collectors specialize in the paper dolls of the late Tom Tierney.
Other modern artists included Stephanie Hammonds, Peggy Jo Rosamond, John Noble, John Axe, and Diana Vining.  Doll Castle News always features a paper doll, as does the Mary Englebreit magazine.  Vintage National Doll World and Doll Readers magazines also featured paper dolls, as did the old “McCall’s” [Betsey McCall].
Really, the first expert to write on them was R. Lane Herron, and his books are wonderful sources of information.
Art paper dolls are popular, and “Somerset Studios” devotes entire magazine issues to them.  Vintage paper dolls from magazines and comics are still plentiful, as are Whitman paper doll books of the 60s and 70s.
Colorform sets fit this category, as do any paper toys.  McDonald’s is currently offering a paper dinosaur for free at some of its stores.
Antique dolls, especially those by Raphael Tuck, are reproduced today, and Florence and George has a wide selection of movie star paper dolls reproductions from the 40s and 50s, as well as other types. has boards devoted to paper dolls, and these may printed for your own personal enjoyment.
In this category, you can make your own, and join the ranks of Sylvia Plath and Laura Ingalls Wilder who love to make them.
These are the easiest dolls to collect; one file cabinet can hold thousands!
Teddy Bears and Stuffed Animals:
I have literally found examples for my doll museum, but you can spend thousands of dollars, or a quarter at a yard sale for a bear or stuffed animal.  Beanies are always plentiful, and Steiff makes bears and animals in every price range.  Volkmann’s puppets are great, as are stuffed toys by Eden, Knickerbocker, Mary Meyer, Russ, R. Dakin, Hallmark and more.
Church rummage sales and thrift stores are treat places too look.  Amusement parks are gold mines for them.  Craft sales and art fairs also feature them, especially those made by wool roving or patchwork.
Peter Bull’s writings on teddy bears are wonderful, as are the various stories about them that abound.  There is a lot of related merchandise available, too.
Dolls of Various Materials:
This list is endless.  Read about antique dolls and folk dolls above to get ideas.  Some suggestions in addition to those above, coal, metals, precious stones, clays, animal bones, dried fish, beads, rag strips, mops, bedposts, twigs, all kinds of found objects, Pooh Pets of ten years ago, paper dolls made of elephant dung [does not smell at all], rubber, resins, dough, edible materials, pasta, cork, dried grass, raffia, seaweed, buttons, etc. Visit craft and art fairs and use your imagination.
Edible Dolls:
This category includes dolls mentioned under folk dolls and dolls of various materials.  It includes gingerbread and cookie dolls, doll cakes, doll shaped candy, butter figures, carved radish figures, jack o’lanterns, gourds, ice sculpture, snow figures, wheat dolls, chocolate bunnies and figures, clear toys, maple sugar figures, sugar Easter eggs, Day of the Dead sugar skulls,  and other ornaments.
Don’t store these in closed places with other dolls, and don’t put them in basements or attics.  They will deteriorate, or you will have a replay of “A Tale of Two Bad Mice.” If possible, have edible dolls varnished or otherwise preserved.
If they are in a display box, keep them there.
You can have artificial representations of them, or books and literature about them.  Photos or molds of butter figures work well as edible doll representatives.  So do chocolate molds, candy molds, and cake pans.  Books on cake decorating by Wilton feature doll cakes, too.
Pez containers and candy box dolls fit this category well. I have an extra refrigerator, set at the right temperature, that I am lucky to keep my edible dolls in.  A cool, dry place you can check on will preserve them for a long time.
Toy Soldiers:
See my posts on these or my book “With Love from Tin Lizzie: A History of Metal Dolls . . .”   They date to ancient times and are very popular today.  Facebook has a wonderful group for those who love plastic soldiers.  Action figures, G.I. Joe, Major Matt Mason, Soldiers of the World, and other dolls fit this category.  The Nutcracker Prince is traditionally a soldier, and Wolverine mechanical soldiers fit nicely.  The Bronte children had a set of wooden soldiers that inspired the miniature books of juvenilia they created to amuse themselves.   Effanbee, Freundlich, Madame Alexander, and Mattel also make military figures.  My favorite is Freundlich’s General MacArthur.
Remember, you only need one.

Action Figures:
Besides dolls already mentioned, there are Star Wars figures, space and alien figures, Lord of the Rings and movie tie-ins, Mego figures from the 70s, Spawn toys, Kiss figures, World Wide Wrestling examples, Bible characters, Harry Potter Stretch Armstrong, The Golden Girls, Masters of the Universe, Transformers, She-Ra, Sky Dancers, and many more.
A great car commercial featured them over the holidays this year.
Whites Guide to Figures, published in the late 90s, was a wonderful resource for these.  Large bookstore chains like Barnes and Noble, Sports Stores, Disc Replay and comic book stores are great sources for them.  For inspiration, watch “Big Bang Theory”, “That 70s Show”, “Tie Me Up, tie Me Down”, and ‘The 40 Year old Virgin.” Comicon, or any local version, is also a great place to find them.  Aurora plastics kits of The Universal Monsters are also wonderful.  I still covet “The Bride of Frankenstein.”
Artist Dolls:
Santa Fe’s “Doll Art” event is wonderful for these.  There is a terrific film about this festival.  There are magazines devoted to artist dolls or OOAK dolls, and N.I.A.D.A has a wonderful site.
Individual artists also feature their dolls. 
Faith Wick and Suzanne Gibson had their dolls mass produced in vinyl, and these are found on eBay, Ruby Lane and Doll Shops United.  Etsy is also a good source. Art fairs, craft fairs, galleries, and studios also feature them.
Noted doll artists include R. Lane Herron, Dorothy Heizer, Kathe Kruse,  Clara Wade, Patti Jene, Berdine Wyffels, Peter Wolfe, Magge Head, Fawn Zeller, Lewis Sorensen, elinor peace bailey, Nancy Wiley, Lisa Lichtenfels, Margaret Ann Bothwell, Floyd Bell, Judith Turner, Rose O’Neill, Grace Storey Putnam, Madonna Hardy, Bobbi Langkau, Joseph Kallus, Glenda Rolle, Teri Long, Jan McClean, and Debbie Ritter.
Dolls in this category also cross over into the other categories above.
Remember, you only need one from each classification, and don’t have to go hog-wild, unless you want to!
Mechanical/Talking Dolls: 
Automatons date to ancient times, by their heyday was probably the 18th c.  See my posts on Uncanny Dolls, Mr. Haddock’s Androids, and Automata.  Also, I have a lot of material on them in “With Love from Tin Lizzie . . .” and on my other blog “Dr. E’s Doll Museum.”
Charles Lindbergh collected them, as did Sam Pryor.
“Wired” magazine and “Make” feature stories about them, robots and mechanical toys of all types and materials fit this category.
It also includes wind-up, light up, fast food toys, mechanical banks, holiday moving figures, mamma dolls, talking dolls, battery operated dolls, Robosapien, Karakuri, Transformers, Shogun Warriors, animatronic figures, and marionettes and rod puppets.
Watch the film ‘Hugo” for inspiration.  Also, check out my book “A Bibliography of Doll and Toy Sources”, now on Kindle for more places to look for automatons and mechanical dolls.
Inexpensive versions are found in dollar stores and thrift shops.
Figurines/Small Statutes/Doll Related Objects:
To think outside the doll house in this category, read “Dolls” by Max Von Boehn and “Dolls and Doll Makers” by Mary Hillier.  Doll collectors also collect miniatures, figurines like Hummels, Lladro, or Precious moments, art related to dolls or doll artists, licensed merchandise, books about dolls, Hallmark ornaments, holiday memorabilia, Christmas ornaments, vintage cards,  children’s dishes or items, vintage clothing and hats, fans, toys, charms, old books, ephemera, doll-shaped utensils, and small sculpture.  Many like to add plates with dolls or characters on them. The sky’s the limit.  “Dolls” discusses beehives shaped like dolls and doll-shaped utensils.  Target has a line of kitchen items that feature the Russian Matruysha or nesting doll.  Miniature shoes fit this category, too.
Doll Houses:
Paper doll houses look like albums, and fold out paper houses don’t take up much space.  Crate doll houses or shadowboxes are fun and easy to make.  There are Liddle Kiddle houses, Fisher Prices houses and buildings, houses for larger dolls, American Girl doll furniture, and more.  Miniature light-up villages like those by Dept. 56 are nice, and some elaborate bird houses fit the bill.  You can build your own, or collect kits to have an example.  Some collectors like to use a glass case or china cabinet, and to set up the shelves as rooms.  Tasha Tudor’s “The Dolls’ Christmas” showcases a doll house for large dolls that takes up a whole wall. 
Many collectors like vintage tin doll houses and plastic furniture.  Others like antiques.  Hobby shops and miniature stores are good sources of doll house materials.  Modern railroads and their buildings and accessories fit in well, too.  There are lots of books about doll houses, fiction and non fiction.  Flora Gill Jacobs wrote many, as did John Noble and Jean Greenhowe.  Some collectors like to create their own plastic canvass furniture.  Margaret Grace writes a series of mysteries about doll houses you might enjoy.
Miniatures of all types have existed since prehistoric times, and we know there were doll houses or baby houses in the 17th and 18th century that are astounding in their detail.  Precipios and crèches from the 16-5th-18th century fit this classification well, too.  Doll rooms and doll houses are an important part of doll history, and should be represented somehow in every serious collection of dolls.