Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kenner page updated

I just uploaded some new photos and descriptions to the Kenner page on the website, including Blythe, Darci and Dusty.  In reading over it again, I see that I have described Blythe as having a hard plastic head. But from some closeup photos I have, it looks like her hair is rooted into her head. Now, it's been awhile since I've actually seen a Blythe doll in person. But if her hair is in fact rooted, she's probably a rigid vinyl rather than hard plastic. As far as I know, the only hard plastic doll with rooted hair is the very rare HP version of the Monica doll.  Anybody out there have a Blythe and want to comment?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

American Character page updated

I've just finished uploading a big revision to the American Character section of the website, with lots of new photos and descriptions of dolls including Sweet Sue, Betsy McCall, Tiny Tears, Toodles, Puggy, Sally, Whimsies, Little Miss Echo and Tressy. I added new pictures and descriptions to the 10" Toni page too.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vintage doll TV commercials on YouTube

Did you know YouTube has vintage doll ads? They have several different ones from the '60s and '70s. I am starting to add them to the website (check out this hilarious one on the Bonnie Bride page), but here is one to whet your appetite. It's for Mattel's Rockflowers dolls, narrated by legendary disc jockey Casey Kasem.

Madison Avenue comes calling

This week I received an inquiry from an advertising broker who wanted to place an ad on the VDC website and pay me some money. With visions of early retirement, I asked for more info. Turned out they wanted to pay me $50 to insert some text into the description of the vinyl Mother of the Bride doll to the effect that a smart collector would want to contact such-and-such an insurance company to protect such a valuable and delicate item. (This text was to be placed in the sentence directly after I described the doll as "poor quality.") After I got done rolling on the floor and laughing, I politely declined the offer. Oh well, early retirement will have to wait a while longer.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kader baby doll

When I got this baby doll in a boxlot at an auction, I didn't think he was anything special - but he has a few unusual features that make him interesting: a movable tongue and jointed wrists. He was made by Kader, probably in the 1960s. A unique little guy! Go to the website for more information on him.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Researching & Appraising Your Own Dolls

Yesterday I did a program for the doll club on the topic "Researching and Appraising Your Own Dolls."  It went pretty well, the members asked a lot of questions which is a good indication of interest. 
In preparing my talk I had boiled it down to a series of questions that need to be asked, and hopefully answered, in appraising a doll. The first five questions deal with identifying the doll:

1. What material is my doll made from?
2. When was my doll made?
3. Where was my doll made (which country)?
4. Who made my doll (which manufacturer or artist)?
5. What is my doll's name?

Not all of the questions can be answered for every doll. If a doll is unmarked and has no unusual characteristics, only the first two or three questions might be answerable. If the doll was artist made, the first question might even be a challenge. One member brought an unmarked artist doll of Whistler's Mother, complete with rocking chair. We could not agree on whether her head was made from a type of composition or wood. Since her outfit was sewn to her cloth body and fitted closely around her neck, we couldn't see the unpainted edges.

I had a handout on Timeline of Doll Production showing which countries made dolls in which materials from 1820 to 1980.  I left out cloth and wood and more unusual materials. There was also a handout on the best books for doll research. It was hard to limit it to one page!

The remaining questions deal with the appraisal of the doll:

6. What is my doll's condition?
7. How original or appropriate are my doll's wig and clothing?
8. What is the range of values for my doll?

I stressed that the doll's value depends on who is selling and who is buying. A top dealer or auction house selling to a well heeled collector will get more money for the same doll than you or I selling it on eBay. Value should therefore always be expressed as a range, unless the type of buyer and seller are known. I talked about using price guides and the impact that eBay has had on doll values.