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 www.kfcollectibles.com 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!