Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas and Holiday Dolls and Bears

It is December and the Christmas season is upon us. With that in mind, this blog will focus on a few of the dolls and bears that I have met so far that will that help us celebrate the Christmas season. They may even find themselves as part of my decorations or offered on this year! Each one has its own personality and gift to the season.

When I think of a little girl on Christmas morning, I think of the excitement and wonderment that can been seen on her face as she gets her first peek of what awaits her under the tree and in her stocking. Christmas Morning by doll sculptor Elke Hutchens gives us a perfect vision of this special joy. Christmas Morning was issued by the Danbury Mint in 1991 as part of the Melissa Collection.

There is nothing like Christmas music to help get us into the holiday season. The Victoria Ashlea OriginalsTM Limited Edition Porcelain Christmas Doll is a little charmer dressed in her holiday dress waiting to play you “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause”. This Victoria Ashlea Original Musical Porcelain Doll was made in 1983 and was distributed by House of Global Art.

Who wouldn’t want to snuggle with a furry teddy bear at Christmas? The teddy bear has long been a Christmas tradition to help us celebrate the holiday season, both as a decoration and as a gift under the Christmas tree. Gallery Teddy Bears help us celebrate by issuing Annual Holiday Bears.

The 2000 Annual Edition Holiday Bear is a handsome lad dressed in his finery and proudly holding his candy cane. He was designed by artist Pamela Wooley.

The 2001 Annual Edition Holiday Bear wears her fine green velvet cape and cap to stay warm in the cold weather as she proudly displays her holly. She was designed by artist Vicky Lougher.

One more doll to share today is a reproduction K*R baby doll named New Baby. This baby is ready to celebrate Christmas in her red velvet dress and lace-trimmed cap. She anxiously waits under the tree for her new mommy to pick her up and give her all the love she needs. The tag on this reproduction doll says she was hand-painted and dressed in 1985.

Thank you for letting me share just a few Christmas treasures with you this holiday season.

Many wishes to you for a wonderful and meaningful Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Madame Alexander Dolls – The Pussycat Doll

Among the collection of dolls that I am getting to know are Madame Alexander. I decided to write this blog to introduce you to Madame Alexander's Pussycat doll made in 1965 because she looks at me every time I walk into my office.

A little history on the Madame Alexander Doll Company. The Alexander Doll Company was founded in 1923 by Beatrice Alexander Behrman. Madame Alexander was born March 9, 1895, the daughter of Russian immigrants. She was raised over her father's doll hospital—the first in America—and often played with the dolls waiting to be mended. Her love of dolls led this dynamic woman to creating her own line of dolls. The first dolls were made of cloth, and the rest, as they say, is history. Madame Alexander infused a sense of excitement and wonderment in her fine quality, handcrafted dolls. She initiated a series of firsts in the toy industry: the first doll based on a licensed character (Scarlett from Gone With the Wind), which led to the creation of dolls based on characters from popular motion pictures; the first to bring feature baby dolls to market; the first to create dolls in honor of living people (Queen Elizabeth, the Dionne Quints). Madame Alexander was also the first to introduce the first full figured fashion doll (Cissy) with haute couture outfits.

The Alexander Doll Company was acquired in 1995 by the Kaizen Breakthrough Partnership LP. The tradition and elegance of Madame Alexander dolls continues today with a full line of collectible dolls, baby dolls and play dolls. Madame Alexander Dolls have become one of the most cherished and well-known collectible dolls that have been passed down and enjoyed from generation to generation.

The Madame Alexander Pussycat Doll. Since 1965, Madame Alexander has produced Pussycat vinyl baby dolls with huggable, soft bodies that can be nestled perfectly in a child's arms. In doing research on Madame Alexander's Pussycat doll, I find that they were produced in many different years, starting in 1965. They were made in different sizes (I saw one that was 3" in height!) and colors, with different looks, and wearing different clothes.

The Pussycat Doll who keeps me company in my office is marked “Alexander 19©65".

Her characteristics:

· Vinyl head, arms & legs with a cloth body
· Strawberry blond rooted hair wearing a white bow
· Blue glass sleep eyes
· Approximately 21” long weighing approximately 3 lbs
· Cries when you tilt her forward
· Original clothes of a blue checked gingham dress and bloomers & knit socks.

This Madame Alexander Pussycat doll is pictured on the Dolls and Bears page of Thank you for letting me introduce you to her. I'm sure she is thrilled to meet you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Challenge of Learning about Dolls

As I sit in my office surrounded by boxes filled with lots and lots of dolls, I think "What have I gotten myself into?" I could have just let all of these dolls be auctioned with the rest of my aunt's estate, and if I had done so, I'd be at the gym or golfing or maybe on the runway waiting for take-off to an exotic destination. Ok – back to reality. If I had taken the path of least resistance, I wouldn't be getting to know each of these dolls on a personal level or be touched by the memories of the one who collected them, would I? Nor would I be learning the fine skills of developing a website named or selling on e-bay or blogging. But - this is the path I chose.

There are so many questions to be answered for each beautiful doll. And I have to say here that beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. My daughter who is away at college thinks some of them are downright scary looking; gee, I wonder if that's why she doesn't come home very often!

Who am I? Who made me? How old am I? Am I antique, vintage, or modern? Am I an original or a reproduction? And if I am a reproduction, am I a good one or a not so good one? Am I a porcelain doll or plastic doll or composition doll or cloth doll? Do I have glass eyes, painted eyes, set eyes, sleepy eyes, flirty eyes, intaglio eyes, or googly eyes? Is my mouth open or closed or pouty? Is my body jointed or not? Is my hair painted on, made of mohair or real hair? What's my story? What is my value? Whew – I'm exhausted just thinking about it. There are many questions to be asked, and answering them is my challenge. But this IS the path that I chose.

Now let's see. Where on earth do I start to understand this culture of doll collecting and selling? Well, there's always the internet: articles, forums, blogs, etc. There are books…….I can't tell you how much time I've spent in the bookstore looking through books about dolls, only to ALWAYS walk out empty handed, because I just didn't know which book to choose. And of course, there are other doll collectors, which turns out to be a really comforting source of information: people to talk to, learn the lingo from, borrow books from, and begin to understand the art of doll collecting and selling. There are newsletters and clubs, and AUCTIONS! In my learning process, I decided to go in person to a Theriault's on-line doll auction, thinking that 4 hours of my time would be plenty. It was fabulous to see so many beautiful dolls all in one place. As I merrily perused the selection and jotted down the item numbers of the dolls that caught my eye (which is not glass or googly or many of the other descriptions above), I sat in the audience awaiting the auction to begin. And when it did, my education truly began. I learned so many terms for things like eyes, learned that there are hundreds if not thousands of people in this country and in the world that truly love to collect dolls, learned that I needed another 4 to 6 hours of my time if I was to stay for the whole auction, and I learned that that there is so much more to learn. So wish me luck as I dig into my boxes and the details of each of my dolls. I need it. For THIS is the path I chose!