Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Two More Patients for Doc G.

Two early Ginny dolls have come unstrung.

I discovered these two limbless Ginny dolls when I retrieved my 1913 Grumpy doll to photograph for the Grumpy post.  Since their early 1990s arrival, they had been sharing a curio cabinet with Grumpy, my composition Patsy,  and several other 8-inch Ginny and Madame Alexander Wendys.  They both have 1991 copyrights from Vogue Dolls. Ginny Little Navajo is on the left and Sari on the right in the above picture.   Both are from the International Collection.

As I reached into the back of the curio to remove Grumpy, I saw the Little Navajo's jacket with the doll's arms in the sleeves, but no body or head.  Oh my... here we go again, I thought.  Sari's head, dangling from the body, was found next. 

The two patients had a bit of a wait before receiving attention.

I removed the clothing and wrist tags and kept them in the waiting area (the doll room) for a day or two before taking them to the resident doctor along with the remaining elastic cord.  Upon receiving them this past Sunday, Doc Garrett said, "I'll have to get to them later.  I'm about to watch the game."  (No one, except our grandsons, maybe, interferes with his football time.)

I have no idea how long these two had been in their states of  limb-lessness with heads loosely hanging or completely separate from their bodies; but I knew a few more days in that condition would not matter.  So I left them in the capable hands of the doctor. 

Monday evening the doctor returned the patients to me as good as new. 

I dressed them to prepare for their return to the curio cabinet.

Now that my elastic cord for restringing is almost gone, I will have to replenish the supply soon. I am certain there are other unnoticed dolls here that are in the same, if not worse, predicament.



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Theriault's Upcoming October Doll Auctions

An American Childhood, upcoming Theriault's doll auctions:  At Play in a Field of Dolls and The Blackler Collection

I received auction catalogs for two upcoming Theriault's auctions:  At Play in a Field of Dolls, and The Blackler Collection. Combined, the catalogs total 324 pages of early American dolls.  The following letter accompanied the catalogs:


We are gearing up for our wonderful fall auction event "An American Childhood" in Los Angeles, California... which will take place October 4-5-6th.  The collection is one of the finest offerings of early American cloth and folk art dolls ever to come to market, including an astounding collection of black cloth dolls, as well as dozens of fine teddy bears, Raggedy Ann, and early studio dolls from such iconic firms as Ella Smith, Emma Adams, and Martha Chase.  The collection seamlessly mixes with early wooden toy horses as well as early Mickey Mouse and Disneyana.

The entire auction will be streaming online and bidding will be available onsite, by absentee, live by telephone, and online.  We would love it if you would help us spread the word about this momentous event and also consider joining us for the auction.  
Warm regards,

Kristin McWharter
At Play in a Field of Dolls takes place on October 4, 2014, 9 a.m. (preview of auction), 11 a.m. (auction begins) and will feature "the fine Lois Cohorst antique doll collection of the Marysville Doll Museum on the Pony Express Trail of Kansas, as well as private estate dolls from important French and German collections."

The Blackler Collection takes place from October 5 - 6, 2014, 9 a.m. (preview of auction), 11 a.m. (auction begins both days).  "The private collection of  [twin sisters] Diane and Valerie Blackler of Naples, California offers the most exceptional collection of American cloth dolls ever presented, highlighted by folk art dolls, 19th century studio dolls, and black folk dolls."

Both auctions can be viewed now by visiting and clicking on the button for Proxibid.

I previewed the catalogs for both auctions online prior to receipt of the hard copies and remain fascinated by the offerings, most of which are one of a kind and very rare pieces of early American doll play, history, and appreciation. 

Both catalogs can be viewed online here.

Both auctions include black dolls with the Blacker Collection containing the most.  In the following video, Florence Theriault shows a few of her favorite dolls from The Blackler Collection.

As mentioned in the letter, there are several ways to bid:
  • Onsite at the Universal City Hilton in Los Angeles, California
  • Absentee Bidding (by absentee bidding form)
  • Online bidding via
  • Telephone bidding at the time of the auction is also available.  Call 800-638-0422 for information or to schedule your bidding calls.
For additional information, also call 800-638-0422.



Friday, September 26, 2014

Buttercup Trixie Post Inspires Two New F&B Purchases

Black Grumpy is shown on the far left in the red floral-print dress with Effanbee (F&B) Patsy family dolls (Photo courtesy of CLF Doll Collection).

The photo shared by CLF Doll Collection, shown above of Patsy family members, which was originally included in my ButtercupTrixie post, led to my discovery of other black Grumpy dolls beyond the one I purchased over a decade ago.

Snowball by Effanbee circa 1913
I purchased Snowball (a.k.a. black Grumpy) in the early 2000s. This 12-inch doll dates back to 1913 and has a composition head and lower arms.  The pink cloth body feels straw stuffed.  Red, white, and blue striped fabric covers the legs, which I have elected to keep covered with the romper the previous owner had the doll dressed in.  Snowball wears white socks and baby style shoes.  Typical of Grumpy dolls, Snowball has black molded curls and a facial expression that clearly indicates her displeasure.  Here is a link to another Snowball that was offered at auction in 2009.

My initial search for a version like the CLF Grumpy led to an auction for an identical doll that was in need of restoration to her partially missing forefoot.
Black Grumpy by Effanbee, circa 1922 with damaged foot as shown better in the next image (taken with iPad since digital camera was not accessible).
Black Baby Grumpy's damaged foot allowed me to snatch her in an eBay auction for $50 plus shipping (another iPad photo).

From the seller's cell phone-looking photos, the doll appeared to also need even more attention.  This is probably the reason no one except me was interested.  While other Black Baby Grumpy dolls in better  condition have sold on auction for three digits, I paid no where near that amount for my doll. 

Grumpy's damaged foot has been sealed.
Other than the foot, the doll's condition was much better than expected.  My initial plan had been to rebuild the forefoot with Elmer's Wood Filler, as I have done in the past for composition dolls, but I decided to use an easier method of getting her ready for display.  To prevent additional chipping away of the composition, I sealed the damaged area including all edges with Mod Podge and allowed it to dry.

The Mod Podge dries clear.

I hand washed Grumpy's dress, added a bow to the collar, found shoes and socks that fit, and tied white ribbons to each of her three tufts of Topsy-style hair to make her as presentable as any other inanimate 92-year-old.  

Grumpy is so fresh and so clean now.
This Grumpy has a composition head and shoulder plate, composition arms and legs, and brown cloth body.   The back of the shoulder plate is marked:  Effanbee Dolls Walk*Talk*Sleep (the doll does none of these; this was the mark used on Grumpy and other Effanbee dolls beginning in 1922).

Another recent eBay steal, Baby Grumpy by Effanbee circa 1922, as she appeared upon arrival.

Before Grumpy's auction ended, I was excited to find an eBay listing for 12-inch Baby Grumpy (shown above).   The baby has chunkier legs and molded hair without braids.   She bears the same shoulder plate marks as the previous doll and again cannot walk, talk, or sleep.  I was the only bidder of this auction that had a low beginning bid.  Don't you love it when things happen like this in your favor?

Just as I expected before the doll arrived, what appears to be her original outfit would need a good hand washing.   I also knew from the auction pictures that her face would need some cosmetic touching up.   Her shoes were in  grave disrepair.  With the shoes on, the poor baby's toes were touching the surface on which she stood. I had more work cut out for me with this one.
Baby Grumpy's shoes as they were upon arrival (top photo) and after the holes were filled with tissue paper.  A few final steps were required to make them wearable. 

Baby's soaking clothes, socks, and shoe ribbons

Determined to make her presentable, I did just that after soaking Baby Grumpy's clothes in a mixture of laundry detergent, baking powder, hydrogen peroxide and hot water.  They were left to soak in this solution overnight. 

Flori Roberts cream makeup was applied to the paint-chipped areas of the face.  I did not cover the chips on other areas of her body, maybe later.  This is just a temporary fix because the makeup will rub off, which is the reason I chose not to use makeup on the body.  I used black acrylic paint to cover a few paint chipped areas on Baby Grumpy's head.  This was sealed with matte varnish.  (I did the same to the head of Grumpy with braids, after I took her so-fresh and so-clean photo.)

Back to the baby, I made new soles for her shoes and glued small pieces of tissue paper to the inside of the shoes to cover the holes (as shown in the second photo immediately above).  Finally, I painted the shoes with acrylic paint mixed to match the original color of the shoes and sealed the paint with varnish.

Baby Grumpy's shoes look much better now.

Baby Grumpy, looks much better now, too.  If she had feelings, she'd feel better and turn that pout into a smile.  I know I am smiling because I paid far less than one like her seen recently for an asking price of $425.

In 1988, Effanbee reproduced a vinyl and cloth Baby Grumpy as a store exclusive for Shirley's Dollhouse of Wheeling, Illinois.  I purchased the repro doll from the shop shortly after I began collecting in the early 1990s.  The reproduced doll wears a yellow and white romper with matching bonnet, and off-white high-top shoes.  In the next image, she joins the extended Black Grumpy family for a portrait.

Left to right, front:  Original Black Grumpy (Snowball) from 1913 poses alongside Shirley's Dollhouse-exclusive Black Grumpy from 1988.  Back Row:  Grumpy and Baby Grumpy circa 1922 frown and pout together.

I am not sure how many black versions of Grumpy were made by Effanbee, but I am happy with the examples I currently own.