Thursday, March 14, 2013

American-Made Dolls: A Rarity These Days

Artists Collectibles distributed dolls for artists such as FahZah Spanos and Virginia Turner during the late 1980s and 1990s.

I had to navigate to a doll-dense area of the doll room recently which required moving some larger standing dolls to create a pathway.


Buttercup by FayZah Spanos is one of the dolls obstructing the clearance.  After lifting her up from her standing position, I noticed what appeared to be rust stains on her ruffled yellow dress and that the glue holding her wig in place had weakened.  I undressed her to hand wash her dress, pantaloons, socks, and her shoes, which are faux leather.  Some of the stitching on the shoes had turned a rust color as well.  I also freshened her wig and secured it in place with Aleene's Tacky Glue.

Buttercup by FahZah Spanos, ca. 1992 is a 20-inch, all-vinyl doll with brown stationary eyes, cherry cheeks, and a smiling, open mouth that exposes her two upper and two lower front teeth.

Undressing Buttercup revealed her super cute, all-vinyl toddler body as shown in the image above.  Finding a doll, playline or artist, with an all-vinyl or all-anything construct and MADE IN AMERICA is a rarity these days.

Recent shortcuts in artist doll manufacture in addition to cheap off-shore labor has diminished the doll quality collectors often took for granted 20+ years ago when Buttercup was made.  Many doll artists and manufacturers have opted to lower the cost of production thereby increasing profits by using non-American labor.  Unfortunately, the consumer suffers twofold:  the savings from cheap labor have not been shared and the quality of the product often suffers resulting from inferior materials and craftsmanship.  But we, doll-addicted collectors, continue to consume.  Stepping off my soapbox...

I am happy I ruled out selling Buttercup after contemplating doing so in early 2012 when I began finding new homes for many of my older artist dolls.  Had I done so, her long-time best doll friend forever and display companion, Molly, who had not been one I had considered selling, would probably look out of place here.


Buttercup and Molly (the doll in pink standing next to Buttercup) can be seen among other dolls in the following photo, taken after Buttercup was redressed in her so-fresh and so-clean fashion, socks, and shoes.

Buttercup and Molly, the center dolls, are happy to remain on display together and plan on doing so for another 20+ years. 
Molly was sculpted by Virginia Erhlich Turner and has a copyright date of 1989 marked on her head.  She, too, has an all-vinyl toddler body, identical to Buttercup's.  Both dolls were distributed by Artists Collectibles, an American doll company from the past.  This is probably the reason for their identical bodies.  I know their well-made construct can be attributed to their American-made origin.
 

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10 comments:

  1. Hello from Spain, i am happy you have in your collection Buttercup and Molly. I like her yellow dress. Keep in touch

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    1. Hello Marta,

      I am happy I own both dolls, too, Marta. Looking at both (when I can spot them within the sea of dolls) makes me smile.

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  2. Buttercup is very cute! I'm glad you kept her.

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    1. Thanks, Paulette. I am happy I kept her too.

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  3. Buttercup is a cutie! Do they still make Fayzah Spanos dolls? I use to love watching HSN (Tina Berry) when they would showcase the new FS dolls.

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    1. Thanks, GG. The last I heard about Fahzah Spanos was that she moved back to Greece to care for her mother. I think the last dolls made were in the early-to-mid 2000s.

      Prior to HSN, I saw her dolls advertised in Dolls and Doll Reader -- those that were made prior to forming her own company and later becoming affiliated with HSN.

      Buttercup was made prior to forming her own company (Precious Heirlooms) and is not as over-the-top as some of the other dolls that followed. Of course I purchased several of those over-the-top, little mamas until artist dolls no longer interested me. I have sold all except one that was not as over the top as most, Treasure, but I might eventually sell her.

      Some of FayZah's toddlers and tiaras-looking dolls can be seen at the FayZah Spanos fan site, which does not appear to have been updated in years.

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  4. Buttercup is cute, but Molly is adorable! She is calling my name and I am closing my ears.

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    1. When I saw Molly advertised by Artists Collectibles in either Dolls or Doll Reader during the 1990s, I had to have her, Vanessa. I was a huge baby and toddler doll fan back then; couple that with an adorable face, and I was usually won over.

      I need to freshen up Molly's wig and I did discover some damage to her vinyl torso from being held by the waist with a doll stand for so many years. I will have to correct this soon and share the process in a future post.

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  5. I cant tell from the photograph, but it almost looks like Buttercup has articulated knees. Does she or is that a trick of the light?

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    1. Hi Muff,

      Buttercup's knees are not articulated. The slanted angle from which the photo was taken creates that illusion.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!