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Sunday, June 19, 2022

Collecting tips and mental meanderings!


Collecting tips and mental meanderings!



Love things that work in Fairy Gardens

I like to watch shows on antiques, estate sales, and storage units.  As I watch, I compare to things I do in collecting, how I chose items, etc.  Here are some of the ideas that run through my head when I’m in collecting mode, and they help me decide what to buy.


                                            4th of July  items are among the holiday decorations 

                                                                    I look for at sales 

  1. Do I like it?  If I don’t, of course, I don’t buy it.
  2. Is the price right?  I have limits on what I’ll pay at a thrift store, at a yard sale, at an estate sale, flea market, or doll show.  I do a few auctions, mostly online.  In general, I don’t enjoy them.  My husband does, so I sometimes go with him.
  3. Holiday décor, especially Christmas ornaments:
    1. Can I use it in the museum?
    2. I follow trends since I like my collectibles to chronicle a history.  The last couple years, I’ve picked up felted animals, especially sloths, which have become popular.  I look for licensed characters popular through the years; we also like Dr. Who, Star Wars, and Star Trek.  I once let someone else have a Han Solo Hallmark ornament I was buying, and have regretted ever since.  I can’t find the exact one.  So, now, I hold on to it if I found it first; I don’t give my things up or let others talk me out of my finds. 


Doll show and
gift shop items, including my original paintings and books I
have written.

Also, don’t pass up blown glass ornaments, especially vintage balls and figural shapes.  Mickey Mouse, Peanuts, Raggedy Ann, are great bets.  So are Italian blown glass figures, and the late figures using the technique but made elsewhere.


I love little bags of 60s/70s ornaments.  I love decorating trees with them or making other art pieces.  I also love to give them as gifts to other collector friends of mine.


    1. Halloween; I love Halloween, and love unusual decorations, especially Scarecrows.  I found one recently made by a Shaker community, very neat.  I choose handmade items, like a recent family of crocheted pumpkins because they are nicely done and reflect what may become a lost art.  I knit and crochet, but not like that!


  1. Dolls and toys:  I try to fill in areas we don’t have in the museum.  Ditto comic books and pop culture items.  I still look for beanies, Precious Moments figurines, Hummels, and other collectibles that were once hot, but fading in popularity.  I document the history of these things in our museum.
                                                                We have lots of books!

  1. My next point is that we are a Museum, not a retail establishment.  I handle it well, but am vexed when people take things off the display shelves, then bring them up to be priced.  I’m not sure what people don’t understand about my sign, “American Doll and Toy Museum”, or my greeting, “Welcome to American Doll and toy Museum, we are a not for profit 501c organization.”  Next gripe, and I’ll try to stop, we do need the donation we request to enter and enjoy limitless time among our displays.  Thank you to those who to contribute.  A big raspberry to those who waltz in, basically freeload, then make snotty comments about dolls coming to life and what a shame the library became a museum.  PS; we have over 4000 books on display and in our archives for public perusal.  We also don’t request donations of those who return to us; though always have a free will donation jar.  It’s for the museum, not me; we have to keep the building going.
  2. Notwithstanding paragraph 5, we do have small gift shop, and proceeds are for the museum.  We sell small toys, jewelry, holiday items, books, including those I write, some doll clothes and doll sized baby clothes, holiday sweaters, hats, some very large and fancy, knitted scarves, little cars, fancy playing cards, coloring books, some antique items.  They are not from my collection; I look for things that I can sell reasonable.  Most things are one or two dollars, nothing is over fifty dollars.  When it is not on display, I show items by request, and I take them to doll shows to benefit the museum and to get the word out that we are here.
  3. When I look for jewelry, I’m on the lookout for real silver and gold.  I also enjoy small sterling pieces, like spoons, coasters, figures, pitchers, and butter pats.  Vintage rhinestone jewelry and holiday pins are on my list, as well as broken jewelry pieces I use for my own creations.
  4. I like furniture, especially Victorian or arts and crafts.  I’m thrilled when I can get a curio, small shelf, shadow box, or accent chair. 
  5. Recently I was given a wonderful antique pump organ.  I am learning to play it, and I play the piano, so sheet music, music books, and other small instruments are on my list.

  1.  I think categories, and am looking for things to fill the gap.  There is a method to my collector’s madness, which makes the thrill of the hunt even more fun.
Doll Show Set up

Saturday, June 11, 2022

World Doll Day

 Here are some pics to enjoy this special day, also Aunt Connie's birthday 🎂🎈

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Our History - American Doll and Toy Museum


American Doll and Toy Museum was established in 2019.  We moved to our permanent location in 2020.  We opened to the public in 2021.


We are a Not for Profit, 501c corporation.  We welcome your financial donations and accept donations of dolls and toys, and other related items.  We have a small gift shop, all proceeds go to the Museum.  The books that our director writes are also sold to profit the museum.


We house more than 8000 dolls, toys, models, doll houses, books, puzzles, puppets, and art in our facility, once the 30/31 Rock Island Branch Library, 3059 30th Street, Rock Island, IL.


Our artifacts represent prehistory to the present.  Our director has collected since age 3, and with her family, has traveled the world to find museum objects.  Some of our dolls and toys include:


Antique French and German Dolls * International Dolls * John Deere Toys * A Doll that once Belonged to Shirley Temple * Asian and Japanese Festival Dolls * Action Figures * Doll Houses * Models * Bru Brevete that belonged to the Daughter of Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes *

Barbie * Madame Alexander * Wax Dolls * Soldiers* Paper Dolls * Books * Ginny * Patsy * Babies * Doll

Furniture * Trains * Masks * Pedal Cars * Antique and

Vintage Toys * Board Games * My Little Pony * Polly Pockets * and Much More!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Our Advertising Doll and Toy Exhibit; Notes from the Exhibition


Below is information on the advertising dolls and toy program we did May 30th at American Doll and Toy Museum.  There is information on the companies represented by artifacts in our display.


Types of dolls and toys that were part of our exhibition.   Toni, Miss Revlon, Color Me Cosmetics doll, Buddy Lee, Teddy Snowcrop, Buster Brown and Froggy, Mrs. Butterworth, Soda cans/bottles, Beer Cans/bottles, Pez, Bobble Heads, Shirley Temple Products, Kewpies, Grace Drayton and Campbell Kids, Georgia O’ O'Keeffe and Old Dutch Cleanser,



Coca Cola Santa Tray

Advertising Dolls

Original Box

Advertising Dolls and toys


Acknowledgement:  My thanks to my cousin, Chuck Fanakos, who sent me the two books I used basically as reference


The worst part of  the advertising world involves Spam and fraud, and dangerous

products that lead to torts, a civil wrong,  primarily product liability law.


The best part of advertising is promotes commerce and healthy competition. In fact, advertising/commercial speech  even has limited US Constitutional protection


Advertising history has its roots in  Stone Aged Travelers who traded goods among themselves.   Beads, shelves, rocks, and later, pottery and other goods, were currency among ancient peoples.  The ancient Venus figures tell their own stories of trade.  The early figures we thought were limestone dating 25,000 to 40,00 years ago really contain bits of shells and other materials that imply they were made elsewhere and somehow made their way to a river bank in Willendorf, Austria, which is where many have been found.  The Venuses often have cornrowed hair with implied beads. The beads shown carved on Venus figures were likely early trade beads.  In Africa and elsewhere around the world, beautiful beads of different designs, and masks, were incorporated into trade and travel.  African peoples often created passport masks to identify themselves as they moved among different tribes.


            In fact, the Chiffon Mother Nature margarine ad which inspired the ad, is an allusion to the Venus figures or early goddesses, that were the original  Mother Nature figures.


Medieval Guilds


Guilds evolved during The Middle Ages, with each having its own colors and mode of dress.  A good idea of how the Merchant Classes were developing  and how trade emerged is found in contemporary literature like Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and accounts of Marco Polo’s travels.


            Artists and artisans had their patrons, and signs, often without letters but with pictures or symbols, began to appear above shops.


            While trade often had negative connotations during The Middle Ages,  many still engaged in making things and selling products to survive.  The 15th century Hortus Sanitatus even shows workers making dolls and puppet heads.



Nascar Bear

The Merchant of Venice and Bartholomew Faire – C.1400 capitalism makes it its debut. 


Business  becomes respectable by the Renaissance, and Shakespeare chronicled at least part of its history in The Merchant of Venice.


Excellence in business and trade soon became rewarded through products sold at fairs with prizes given for the best, and skilled crafts people competing for opportunities to sell their wares.



Coke Ad products

Special Edition Can; We also have Andy Warhol, Mickey Mouse
and Disney Princesses

Baby Cookie Monster, clothes by my Mom

Traditional Peg Wooden Peddler

Peddler from Mexico

ing peddlers, and peddler dolls, became part of the culture.  Itinerant sellers like these also populated the country side, as well as city streets.


Listing products (ads) date to 1630 with Kikkoman soy sauce in Japan.  In around 1605, the Hudson Bay Company was established.  Its stores are still around.


The term “brands” originated with the practice of using a red hot iron to brand a manufacturers name on wooden shipping crates.


In early days of advertising; people did not name food,  so there were no food brands.  It was the manufacturer or makers name that appeared on any packaging.


The Industrial Revolution made it possible for more people to own things through mass production.   It also created jobs for people, who now were leaving their farms to move to cities where there were jobs.  Read the poetry of William Wordsworth and William Blake to learn more.


Many companies we know got their start during the 18th century.  The Guinness Brewery started in 1759.   In 1762, the sandwich invented  by John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich  .  Of course, sandwiches needed condiments, and Grey Poupon Mustard emerged in 1777.



1765 John Hanson first chocolate mill in Dorchester, MA US, helped Dr. John Baker, Bakers chocolate.  The Baker’s Chocolate girl became one of the most recognizable advertising figures.  She has been made as a beautiful half doll, and as a small lead figure, carrying her famous cocoa tray.


                  In 1795 Jim Beam whiskey came on the scene.


By 1818 Tin cans were invented in US by Peter Durand.


1824 Cadbury Chocolate started a coffee and tea shop.  Now Cadbury is the world’s largest chocolate producer.  Mrs. Betty Cadbury was big doll collector.  My friend Mary Hiller knew her and her husband.


Cadbury came up with another collectible still popular today, the first Valentine’s box.  Whitman’s another chocolate favorite, began in 1842 Whitman’s Chocolate


1845 Jell-O first patented, but was first produced 1895. The patent was sold to Frank Woodward 1899.  In 1897, the year my grandfather Steve was born, a  new patent  was taken out by J. Pearl Wait.


Rose O’Neill drew the Kewpies as the Jell-O trademark and in 1908, the  Kewpies advertised Jell-O.


In 1867 Underwood Deviled Ham emerged with the red devil trademark.  The first US trademark was dated 1870.


Campbell’s S soup arrived 1869, Camden NJ, originally mincemeat, canned fruits and vegetables.  The Campbell Kids were drawn by Grace Drayton in 1904 who also drew Dolly Dingle


Campbell Kids dolls were first made in 1910 by E.I. Horsman. 


In 1871 Pillsbury debuted in Minneapolis, founded by Charles Pillsbury.  The Pillsbury dough Boy debuted 1965.  He was created by Rudy Perz.  I first saw dolls  in 1973


Milton Hershey, opened first candy shop 1876.  The candy bars  appeared in 1900.


1883 Oscar Meyer in Chicago, began. The Wiener Mobile was designed by Oscar’s nephew Carl Meyer, 1936.  Weenie whistles were given out by Wiener Mobile in 1952. The plant is still in Davenport.


1886 Coke was first sold in Atlanta.  Known as Brain Tonic and Intellectual Beverage, its recipe was kept secret, but has changed several times. Remember New Coke.


1889 Aunt Jemima Flour began.  Aunt Jemima dolls have been made since the 1920s, with some on printed cloth, and others made of stuffed oil cloth.


Planters Nut and Chocolate Co. started in 1906 in Wilkes Bar, PA.


In 1917 Starkist Tuna, began as the French Sardine Co.  San Pedro, CA

Their mascot was Charley the Tuna, voiced by actor Herschel Bernardi.  A vinyl doll of Charlie appeared during the 1970s, as well as other types of dolls.


In 1927 Pez Mints were invented as mints for smokers.  Soon, highly collectible character dispensers appeared.  During the 60s, they could be purchased from vending machines placed in big box stores like Zayre’s.


Also in 1927, Kool-Aid was invented by Edward Perkins. It was first known as Fruit Smack.  Kool-Aid the Kid arrived in 1954; he represents cherry the original flavor


Hostess Twinkies appeared in 1930 under Continental Baking Co. which became Hostess.   Twinkie the Kid   showed up in 1971.  Twinkies earned their place in popular culture after San Francisco politician Dan White killed two other politicians, citing overdosing on sugar, including Twinkies, caused him to shoot the two men.  This was the famous “Twinkie” defense.


Among the most famous advertising toys are the McDonald’s characters and Happy Mean Toys. McDonald’s was founded by Richard and Maurice McDonald.  Happy Meal Toys were first offered in 1979. Ronald McDonald debuted in 1963 with Willard Scott playing Ronald.


Green Giant Foods began 1950 The Green Giant was first used 1960. The Little Green Spout soon followed.


Raggedy Ann served as the logo for Raggedy Ann Foods, founded in Chicago c. 1950s.  The company was in business till the 70s.  Raggedy Ann appeared on the labels of canned peaches and other products.


1952 Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes were invented, the same year Tony the Tiger appeared.  For more on Kellogg, read T.C. Boyle’s The Road to Wellville

a.       Tony the Tiger   1952


1954 Burger King Chain originated.  Burger King dolls and other premiums became available, including posters by Leroy Nieman for the 76 Olympics.


In 1837 John Deere opened his first plow works.  Collectors specialize in John Deere farm toys, memorabilia, dolls, bears, and plush.


In 1844 first ice making machine was invented by Dr. John Gorrie.  Snoopy Snow Cone Machines showed up about 100 years later.  The Peanuts Gang has appeared on many licensed products, with many dolls and toys included in the mix.


In 1853 potato chips invented.  Hiland Potato chips began 1936 and  closed in1979 in Davenport


 Pencils allegedly were painted yellow for 1893 Columbian expo; almost held in Rock Island, Illinois.



Thursday, May 12, 2022

Astronomy Night at the Museum


On May 28, 2022, after 8 pm, enjoy Astronomy Night at American Doll and Toy Museum.  The museum’s address is 3059 30th Street, Rock Island.  The Popular Astronomy Club will bring its mobile observatory and a number to telescopes to view the night sky.  The Museum will also be open for tours.  Requested donation to tour the museum is $2.00.  Outside observation is free. 


Rain date:  June 11, 2022

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Friday, April 29, 2022

American Doll and Toy Museum is Open Sat. April 30th 11-3 and Memoirs

 First things first; we are open tomorrow at 11 am till 3.  Come visit us and relive your own childhood, or your parents' or grandparents',  even your great-grandparents'.  We represent toys, dolls, games, miniatures and models from prehistory to the present.  We have fossils as old as 2 billion years +.

We have vintage dolls, including many Shirley Temples, Tonis, Barbies, and antique  dolls, both French and German.  We have doll wardrobes and trunks, fully equipped doll houses, doll furniture, toys stoves, toy battleships, cars, robots, mannikins and more.

In our last major haul for the season, I visited an estate sale for a friend and fellow collector.  She was a friend of my mother's, too, and Mom had visited her home nearly 30 years ago.  I was in California, and could not go.  This last weekend, I went, to pay tribute to our friend as much as to search out dolls.

Another friend held the sale, and as I told him, my Mom saw these dolls, and now many of them were coming home to me.  Here are their photos.