Saturday, August 31, 2013

Jem and the Holograms Shana Elmsford

From 1998 through 2001, I sold dolls and accessories on eBay for a woman from the East Coast.  Some of the dolls and accessories included her massive Jem and the Holograms collection of dolls, fashions, and accessories.  She had multiples of each.  These were among other, then, highly collectible antique, vintage, and modern dolls of all types that she bought and sold for profit.

I "met" this woman through a doll purchase and actually became more acquainted with her after receiving a subsequent handwritten list of other dolls she was selling.  She did not own a computer.  I was already buying more than selling on eBay at the time and was familiar with that market.  I knew her dolls would sell.  This was during eBay's infancy, at a time when collectors were eager to replace dolls and other relics of their youth and money was usually not an issue in that more stable economy.  The hunger for past playthings with fewer sellers offering the same items created the lucrative eBay seller's market of the late 1990s early 2000s.

After I explained the eBay process to this woman, we developed a partnership where I sold her dolls on eBay for a small percentage of the sale.  The business was quite profitable, but it became extremely time consuming for me.  My selling items on eBay for her was her effortless "job," but lots of work for me to scan the photographs she mailed me, create the listings, write the descriptions, and coordinate the end-of-auction sales. 

After the birth of my first grandson in 2001, my time between a full-time (albeit working from home) job and caring for him while my daughter worked, left little free time to sell on eBay or a desire to do it; so I gave it up.  She was not a happy camper, but I had given her enough warning before his birth by urging her on multiple occasions to purchase a computer.  (___, you need to buy a computer and sell your own stuff).  Not being computer savvy was her excuse, but eventually she was forced to do it and hopefully realized it as a blessing.

I still have some of the photographs of the Jem dolls and others I sold for top dollar on eBay back then. The Jem items are illustrated in the following six collages.

Jem and the Holograms dolls, top to bottom, L-R:  Jetta, Roxy, Kimber, Roxy, Raya, and Rio

Jem and the Holograms dolls, top to bottom, L-R:  Shana, Banee of the Starlight Girls, Rock  'N Curl Jem, Krissie of the Starlight Girls; Krissie (again), Glitter 'N Gold Rio, Flash 'N Sizzle Jem/Jerrica; Synergy, Video, Jem/Jerrica, and Clash

Jem and the Holograms accessories that I sold in the past included fashions, coloring books, playsets, cassette tapes, view master reels, wrist watches, and ball point pens.  Some of these with the exception of the ball point pens, are illustrated in the next four images:

I recalled this part of my eBay seller life this morning after browsing an Integrity Toys sale at, which includes Integrity Toys' version of Shana.  Reading Shana Elmsford's bio further stirred my Jem and the Holograms seller's memory:
Shana by Integrity Toys (stock photo) 
SHANA ELMSFORD is a fully articulated 12-inch vinyl doll with rooted hair and hand applied eyelashes. Always ready for a good jam session, SHANA ELMSFORD comes dressed in her truly outrageous stage costume and includes high-heeled pumps, her signature ultra-detailed bass guitar, complete with realistic miniature strings, whammy bar and plug-in amp cable! It also includes a doll stand and a certificate of authenticity. For adult collectors 14 and up only!

Jem and the Holograms Krissie Starlight Girl (1987) and Shana (1985) by Hasbro dressed in Smashin' Fashions Winning is Everything

I do not own IT's Shana, but I do own the original Shana and Krissie of the Starlight Girls, made by Hasbro in 1985 and 1987, respectively (shown above).  Shana was not acquired from the East Coast doll dealer, but Krissie was.


Follow my Dolls for Sale blog

Please visit and "Like" The Doll Blogs: When Dolls Speak I Listen

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dolls that WERE for sale in 2001

I received an email this morning in response to a November 19, 2001 message board post regarding dolls I was selling at that time.  Of course I no longer have the Chubbykins doll the writer desires, but the list was quite impressive and the initial statement I made about the dolls is rather comical.  I thought I would share the link here:

As I replied to the potential buyer (I no longer have these dolls):

Hi Wendy,

Obviously the Chubbykins is one that I still do not remember buying (as I noted in the post) or remember selling, but I do know that I no longer have it.  At several points during my quest to find new homes for dolls, I placed them in local antique malls and sold them elsewhere online and locally.  Chubbykins probably found a new home during one of those selling ventures.  Good luck in your search for one. 


Follow my Dolls for Sale blog

Please visit and "Like" The Doll Blogs: When Dolls Speak I Listen

Monday, August 26, 2013

More Thrift Store Finds

A return trip to the thrift store found the above pair still there.  I had seen these dolls packaged together for $2.99 the day I found Top Model Nikki.  The taller doll's articulated knees interested me, but because she was paired with the Bratz doll that I did not want, I left her there, hoping to return later and find her still there for 50% off.  No such luck for me; last week's price tag that qualified for 50% off was lavender.  I splurged and purchased the dolls for full price.  At the register, however, I made one final attempt at a reduced price.

Me:  "If I only want one of these, can the price be reduced?"  
Cashier:  "Noooooo."  
Me:   "Okay, I just thought I'd ask."  
Cashier: "It never hurts to ask."  

I agreed.  So both dolls came home with me for $2.99 + tax.

The larger doll is marked Chic Dolls, Made in China.  In November 2012, Paulette of Limbe Dolls introduced us to a boxed set of princess dolls sold at Wal-Mart during last Christmas season.  She recognized these to be Chic Boutique dolls.  

The one I found has the same caramel complexion that Paulette described.  My doll's hair is lighter.  As Paulette indicated, she could represent several ethnicities:  African American, Hispanic, or multiracial.  She has a twist and turn waist and jointed knees, which are quite wobbly.  

She will need a doll stand to hold a bent-knee position or something to support her back if she stands erect.
She will never sit here.  Her sitting position is quite awkward looking and lacks grace. 

She does have a pretty face and a fully rooted head of hair that was in need of brushing when I found her.

Girlfriend endured some extreme play, didn't she?.

Even though she looked clean, I wiped her off, brushed her locks, gave her a top braid, and found something to cover her nudity.

A Barbie Fashionistas dress found at Big Lots for $3 some time ago fits her well along with a pair of transparent lavender heels that were already on hand. 

The following photo of this doll with S.I.S. Marisa and Trichelle can be used for a complexion comparison.

No, I did not forget about the Bratz doll that I believe is Yasmin.  Initially, the plan was to discard her, but those big alien eyes convinced me to at least comb her hair and find something for her to wear.  

After her bath, Yasmin was given a side ponytail.  I added pink studs to her ears next.

The cowgirl boots were found first.  They are part of the original outfit worn by Rock Star Kenya.  The floral print lavender dress, which was way too big before I modified it, was originally worn by Swappin' Heads Artsy.  

After hemming the dress and closing the back Velcro, I created a flap-over pleat and tacked the side down.  The brown satin shoulder straps were next snugly sewn to the top of the dress in back creating a little bow in the process, which is illustrated next.  (Yasmin and I do not care that the dress is now sewn on and that the open seam of the cowgirl boots does not meet in the back.)

Jasmin is now all pulled together from head to toe (as shown above).  She poses once more with her thrift store Chic Dolls companion.


Follow my Dolls for Sale blog

Please visit and "Like" The Doll Blogs: When Dolls Speak I Listen

Friday, August 23, 2013

When Dolls Talk, I Listen

Sherry Howard of Auction Finds and the Stories Behind Them is publishing a series of profiles on people who collect black dolls.  For my profile, "When Black Dolls Talk, Debbie Garrett Listens," Sherry asked some really great questions that led me down doll collector's memory lane.  It was a fun trip.  My memory excursion can be read here

Thanks again Sherry for your interest in my passion for black dolls! 

If you collect black dolls and are interested in sharing your profile with Sherry, do let her know!

Follow my Dolls for Sale blog

Please visit and "Like" The Doll Blogs: When Dolls Speak I Listen

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thrift Store Doll Rescue

Thrift Store find, Top Model Nikki

During a quick visit to a thrift store last week, waiting to be rescued, I found an extremely preloved Top Model Nikki.  Her ModelMuse body caught my eye first followed by her distinct head sculpt.

Like the other fashion dolls there, Nikki was enclosed in a plastic bag, stapled closed with a price tag that I initially thought read, 87 (cents).  Of course I snatched her from the rack for a closer inspection.

Through the plastic I could tell that some little one had really enjoyed hours of serious Nikki play.  Her hair was mess, as illustrated in the next pictures.  Can I salvage the hair? I wondered as I walked to the scarf section with Nikki in hand to look for silk scarves to use as headwraps for myself.  None of the scarf offerings interested me so I headed toward the register.

Top Model Nikki with hair all over her head, holds her $1.99 price tag

At the register, the cashier said, $2.15.  I asked, "What?"  She said, "$2.15."  I examined the handwriting on the price tag and discovered it had been stapled to the bag upside down.  Instead of 87 (cents), the price was $1.99 plus tax.  "Do you still want it?" the cashier asked.  "Yes, I do."  I said.

At home with Nikki removed from bag, I could see additional signs of extreme doll play.  In addition to the unruly hair, Nikki had several scuff marks on the sides of her arm and a few on one leg.  An attempt to mask these with Lemon Pledge furniture polish failed, but this did perk up her vinyl.  The scuffs are not too bad, but I know they are there.

Nikki's hair upon arrival was in rough shape.

Missing hair plugs
She had a few missing hair plugs in the front and on one side.  These were concealed with existing hairs that were pulled over the bald spots and rooted into the scalp with a felting needle. 

Missing hair plugs have been covered with strands of pulled over hair, rooted into her scalp with a felting needle.
After giving her a thorough body wash, I shampooed and conditioned her hair and was surprised by the manageability after the gnarled twists had been removed.


I finger combed and fluffed Nikki's hair into an Afro and used a single black ponytail holder to create a headband.

End result

I dressed Nikki in a simple black halter dress and zebra print pumps.  She holds a white clutch bag.  Her sterling silver earrings are a pair I wore many moons ago.  These had to be polished for Nikki using a silver tarnish remover recipe I found on the Internet that consists of 1/2 cup boiled water to which was added 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and baking soda.  A piece of aluminum foil was used to cover the bottom of the bowl that contained this fluid mixture.  After soaking the earrings for a few minutes, the tarnish faded! 

I added a white ponytail holder to extend the width of Nikki's headband and to complement the black and white theme of her fashion.  She's almost as good as new and not a bad find for 87... no wait, $1.99 + tax.

Below is one more photo with different earrings borrowed from Pop Life Christie (temporarily, because PL Christie would not permanently give them up).


Follow my Dolls for Sale blog

Please visit and "Like" The Doll Blogs: When Dolls Speak I Listen

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wild Wild Sunflower Child Anna

Anna by Alice Darling for Madame Alexander (click the pictures to enlarge).
Anna is from the 1990s "Let's Play Dolls series by Alice Darling (Robin Woods).  Designed for the Madame Alexander doll company, she is an all-vinyl, 13-inch doll with black wig styled in a curly side ponytail, which is accented by an over-sized bow of graduated colors.  Anna has brown painted eyes.  Her original floral print cotton dress is in pastel colors of yellow, mint green, pale pink, and light blue.  She wears white fishnet stockings and yellow Mary Jane shoes that have an embroidered basket with floral bouquet at the toe.

I purchased Anna at retail in approximately1994.  (The copyright date on her hang tag is 1993, so she probably entered the market a year later.)  I was very much into artist dolls then and purchased many newly released African American dolls with reckless abandoned.  Price was not an issue, well, mostly it wasn't because I had not yet established criteria for collecting and basically purchased what I liked, or what I thought I liked, and I liked and wanted Anna.

I still like her, but I grew to dislike her painted eyes.  They are not very realistic looking.  For years she has been on the top shelf at the back of the doll room collecting dust along with several similar dolls.

Earlier this month I received an email from fellow collector, Dawn Spears, with a link to an eBay auction for Anna.  Dawn asked if I owned the doll on auction that had been inspired by a book because she is familiar with my Dolls with Books exhibit.  My reply was, "I'll have to check."  I thought I probably owned the doll but the name "Anna" did not ring a bell.  I knew her artist, Robin Woods (aka Alice Darling) had made at least two dark-skinned dolls that use the same head and body sculpts as Anna, but I could not remember my doll's name.

Anna gazes at the book that inspired her creation.

The book, Wild Wild Sunflower Child Anna by Nancy White Carlstrom, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, was first printed in 1987.  At the time I received the email regarding Anna and the book that inspired her creation, I did own the doll but not the book.  I had no idea Anna's creation had been inspired by this book and had to learn more about this.

I did not have to look too far for the confirmation I needed.  It was right on Anna's wrist hang tag in big bold letters, confirming that she is from the Read Me a Story series by Alice Darling.  According to Anna's hang tag, "The dolls of  'Read Me a Story' are inspired by children’s love for stories and by contemporary children’s books.  The dolls provide interpretations of story book characters who become friends to play with and love."

A paragraph on the wrist hang tag about Anna reads:
"Anna, whose name means 'grace,' is appropriately named.  In a lovely book that tells its story with a poem, Anna frolics through the world of unfolding summer beauty.  Anna is of the age where every growing thing is full of wonders to be uncovered.  With unusual grace, the poetry of the book WILD WILD SUNFLOWER CHILD ANNA, celebrates the ability of children to see the world within the world we know."

My new-found doll knowledge prompted me to order the delightful book that inspired Anna's creation.   Had I known about it, it most certainly would have been purchased when I purchased Anna.  The book's illustrator, Jerry Pinkney, is described on the final page as:  "a talented artist who has illustrated a number of children's books..."  For previous illustrated books, "he was given the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration... He has also designed eleven stamps for the United States Postal Service..." (and probably more by now.)

While Anna the doll, is the three-dimensional character illustrated by Pinkney in the book by Carlstrom, another doll in my collection looks more like Pinkney's illustrations of Anna.

Jerry Pinkney's Anna

Above is another illustration of Pinkney's Anna as she explores a field of beautiful sunflowers.  The feet about the illustration are attached to a doll that looks more like Anna

Super Saucy-type doll by EEGEE, 1961
Up until now I have referred to the above doll as a Super Saucy-type because she uses the same mold as Ideal's 1960s Saucy Walker  (aka Super Saucy).  My doll, however, was made by EEGEE in 1961.*  She stands 29 inches and has been redressed and rewigged.  Her yellow pleated dress is almost identical to Pinkney's illustration of Anna and except for her bangs, their hairstyles are similar.

*(In the past, many doll companies used the same molds, having purchased them from the same manufacturer.  Dolls made by major doll companies were usually more popular than their sister dolls made by smaller companies.  This is the case with my Super Saucy-type.  With Ideal being a more prominent doll company, their Super Saucy was more popular than EEGEE's version.  I am grateful to EEGEE for making a black version because I am not aware of a Super Saucy with dark skin by Ideal.  Until I discover my doll's given name, I guess I'll call her Anna!)

Thank you for the heads up, Dawn, about Anna's book.  As I indicated to you in my email subject line:  "It's always good to learn something new."

With an original retail of $95, Alice Darling's Let's Play Dolls series can be found on the secondary market today for $25 to $40.  Additional Let's Play Dolls by Alice Darling and other artists commissioned by Madame Alexander can be seen on Flickr where several scanned pages of ads and catalog pages appear.


Follow my Dolls for Sale blog

Please visit and "Like" The Doll Blogs: When Dolls Speak I Listen

Friday, August 16, 2013

I No Longer Buy...

... folk art type dolls and figurines of the sort discussed here, but I was inspired to share a few pieces after reading Ms. Leo's I Normally Would Not....! blog.  In her blog, Ms. Leo shared some folk art type dolls that she found at a thrift store.  I decided to share a few of the ones that I display.

Folk art dolls and figures are on shelves alongside kitchen window above sink.  Close-up shots follow.

Not really a doll, this folk artsy nutcracker stands on the top left shelf alongside the kitchen window.  I love the inscription on her apron:  When in doubt, call your Mother.  She wears my favorite color, peach.

Right side, lower shelf:  A group of ceramic dolls created in the fashion of the 1930s bisque jointed dolls made in Japan (like the two in this image), a resin Aunt Jemima figurine, collectible thimbles, and a marble slice of watermelon (given to me).  I found the Aunt Jemima figurine at a flea market for $12 about 20 years ago.  Before purchasing it, I consulted an antique dealer who encouraged me to return to buy it.  After I did, she tried to buy it from me.  I have never tried to determine its true value, but it must be worth more than I paid because the dealer was pretty persistent in attempting to get me to sell it to her, for the price I paid.  (I don't think so, CM.)  The thimbles are modern replicas of Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and a painted Black "Girl with Doll."  See next image.

I purchased the Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben thimbles to display with the Girl with Doll thimble, which was the one I really wanted.  The girl holding a doll is painted on the thimble.  Both have multiple "Topsy" style braids.   The thimbles were ordered from a Gimbel & Sons catalog during the 1990s.  The ceramic dolls were purchased during my eBay infancy.  Had I known they were poorly made knock-offs, I would have left them where I saw them. 

These are Lizzie High dolls by Ladie & Friends, Inc., 1990s.  Made of unjointed wood, they have sewn-on clothes with trademark blank faces and two dots for eyes.  They are L-R:  Nettie Brown (2nd edition) who "always wears her striped stockings except at Christmas Eve when she hangs them on the mantle... hoping for goodies from Santa..."  The Little One with Basket of Greens #1263 "loves decorating the house, baking cookies, trimming the tree... and opening Christmas gifts that rattle."  The one in back on the far right is Bonita #2012.  She is a school girl who "jumps rope the fastest and is the spelling bee champion... she always shares her lunch."  These descriptions are written on their hang tags.

The folk artsy figure on the left  was purchased years before I began collecting dolls.  I probably ordered it from Gimbel & Sons or from another similar catalog, only because of the plaque "Mama" holds.  My children were young when this was purchased.  I thought it was a cute thing to place on my home office desk along with another wooden apple-shaped trinket that has three numbered apples hanging on a peg that reads:  Mom's busy, take a number.  The smaller thumb sucking figure with blanket on the right is also not jointed.  It came with a one-of-a-kind painted cloth doll to serve as the doll's doll. 
I have a few other folk art dolls and figures, but these are the ones that were readily accessible for this post. 


Follow my Dolls for Sale blog

Please visit and "Like" The Doll Blogs: When Dolls Speak I Listen

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gallivanting Grace's Texas Experience

Gallivanting Grace, a So In Style Barbie during her visit to Big D.

From October 12, 2012 through November 9, 2012, I participated in the So In Style Yahoo Group event, Gallivanting Grace.  Grace is a So in Style Barbie travel doll that spent a month with participating group members to ultimately become a raffle item at this year's National Barbie Convention, held in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, from August 7, 2013, through August 10, 2013.

Since I am relatively a homebody, I took Grace on a few Dallas landmark sight-seeing trips on a few occasions with the aid of my husband.  My son, who naturally branches out more than I and whose photography skills are much better, offered to take Grace on an excursion or two, but we were never able to make that happen.

The places we went and the things we saw were captured in photographs as well as the souvenirs Grace picked up here before traveling on to her next stop, Chicago.  My photographs can be seen here. Click the "Slide Show" link to view as a slide show.

In additional, five images of a narrative of Grace's visit were recorded in the journal that arrived with her.  Those images are at the link provided above as well as below (click each to enlarge):

I enjoyed Grace's stay.  This was the first time I ever participated in a travel doll event and the first time I literally took dolls out with me specifically to photograph.  It was pretty liberating.  Will I do it again?  I am not sure, but it was fun while it lasted.


Follow my Dolls for Sale blog

Please visit and "Like" The Doll Blogs: When Dolls Speak I Listen