Saturday, November 6, 2010

Madame Alexander International Dolls - Sweden

Over the last two years, I have received numerous e-mails and phone calls from owners of dolls who wish to sell their collections. Sometimes the collections were purchased by the collectors themselves; sometimes the dolls were received as gifts over the course of many years; sometimes the collections were received as a result of estates of relatives or friends. There are many, many different reasons people want to sell their dolls. Sometimes the dolls are just sitting in boxes and the owner has no desire to keep them. Some are moving, and don't want to move them again. Some are unemployed as a result of the economic downturn and are selling off possessions to make ends meet. Some have been inherited and there is just no use for them.

As much as I would like to help folks out, I normally pass and do not purchase the collections. Recently, though, I had a request that interested me. I have a fondness and for some reason a soft spot for Madame Alexander dolls. There is just something about them…..maybe it's the look in their eyes, their cute faces, or their clothing. As I was pondering whether or not to purchase the dolls, my website,, sold two items and I sold another item on (textbooks4education) on the exact same day. I took this as a sign to move forward with the purchase of the Madame Alexander dolls.

Most of the dolls are the small 8" dolls from the International Dolls Foreign Friends Collection. I love to travel and so these dolls remind me of places I've been, people I've met, and places that I'd like to go. Let me tell you about one in particular. In this blog, I will talk about the doll from Sweden, in honor of my very good friend and neighbor, who moved from Sweden just a couple of years ago. This little Madame Alexander Swedish doll is dressed in a red skirted dress. She wears a gold apron with black trim embroidered with red and pink flowers with green stems. On her head is a cap with white, red and yellow embroidered flowers and green stems. She wears a lace edged slip and pantyloons and has black socks and black shoes. Her blond hair and light blue sleep eyes finish the traditional look.

I originally planned to share one of the other dolls on this blog, but decided to point out a few facts about Sweden instead. Did you know?

  • In 1855, safety matches were patented by Johan Edvard Lundstrom of Sweden. Lundstrom put red phosphorus on the sandpaper outside the box and the other ingredients on the match head, creating a match that could only be safely lit off the prepared, special striking surface. For the history of the match, go to

  • And more currently, Swedish author Stieg Larsson brought us the Millennium Trilogy of crime novels that have swept the world in popularity. The Millennium Trilogy consists of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, The Girl Who Play with Fire, and the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. For more on Steig Larsson, visit

I will share more of the Madame Alexander dolls at a later time. I will be keeping some of these recently purchased dolls, and some of them will be for sale on If you are like me, there are some that just speak to you and your life experiences. And as a doll collector, it is always fun to look at a doll and be reminded of a person, an event, or your travels, and THAT will make you smile.

When I bought the collection of Madame Alexander International Dolls, I didn't know that this little Swedish girl would lead me to this blog, but it was fun to write. I hope you enjoyed it, too.

See you next time!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Doll Collecting – Beton Reproduction Desdemona

Along with the doll collection that belonged to my beloved aunt, was a nice little booklet that contained details of each doll that she received or purchased. Among the details include the date, name of the place the doll was obtained, name of the doll, price, and a brief description of the doll. The information for one of my favorite dolls that I display in my home is contained on the third page of the booklet and is the 45th item listed. The year is 1985. The doll is named "Desdemona". She is described in the booklet as a porcelain doll wearing a pink hat. In 1985, my aunt purchased this doll for $175 at The Candle Corner Gift Shoppe in West Milton, Pennsylvania.

The tag that still hangs on the doll says "Desdemona, Beton Repro, cloth body, glass eyes". So what is Beton? That is the question. The markings on the back of the head appear to be S 116, although the 6 is questionable.

The markings on the doll's back are clearly BOK 84. Desdemona stands 19" tall.

I must confess that my research on this doll brought me up empty. I found Beton/Bergen plastic toys. And I found Belton Type dolls. According to the Doll Value books I've read, there are no dolls marked "Belton" found, only mold numbers, of which 116 is included. Do I have a Belton reproduction? Hmmm – information about the Belton Type dolls doesn't quite fit, so further details about the reproduction doll that I have will remain a mystery.

There are many reasons why doll collectors display their prized dolls. This doll will remain on display in my home, not because of her value, but simply because I like her.

See you next time!

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