Thursday, January 31, 2019

The R.Q. Five

Five R.Q.-marked dolls - Photograph courtesy of eBay seller, shadowsam
The above five Leo Moss-type dolls were offered recently on eBay.  They sold for $395.00.

After the auction ended, the doll historian in me contacted the seller to ask if I could use the auction pictures for this post.  Seller, shadowsam, graciously agreed.  In return, I offered to extend a photo courtesy for the use of the photos and a link to their current listings, which can be found at the end of this post.  I also asked the seller if additional information beyond what was written in the auction description was known, and if so, could it be shared.

The seller did not know very much about the dolls other than "they were acquired at an auction house."  The auction description was written as follows:

Up for auction are 5 Vintage Black African  American Artist Made Dolls Resin Cloth Bisque OOAK.
These dolls are in used played with condition and would be great for parts/repair or to restore.
We are not really sure what they are made of, the heads feel like resin but we did see cloth bodies and the legs and arms feel like bisque.
They are homemade but they would need some work as you can see in the pictures, they have been in storage for quite awhile.
The only mark we saw was RQ on the neck.
The clothes show lots of wear also.
The dolls range from about 17" to about 28" tall.
Don't miss out on these dolls, bid now!
The R.Q. mark is illustrated on this doll's neck.  Photograph courtesy of eBay seller, shadowsam.
Because I am familiar with the R.Q. mark and own one doll with it, I knew these dolls were made (or refashioned) by Rubin Quintano, who is known for making dolls in the style of Leo Moss, whose dollmaking preceded Quintano's by several decades.  Moss made dolls from the late 1800s through the early 1930s, but his dolls were not discovered by doll collectors until the 1970s.  

Quintano’s Moss-type dolls can be traced back to at least the 1980s and possibly prior.  He used Moss’s dollmaking technique of applying papier-mรขchรฉ-type material over the heads and sometimes bodies of already manufactured dolls, resculpting the faces and hair, and changing the eyes to achieve the Leo Moss doll appearance. 

This close-up includes two Rubin Quintano dolls fashioned in the style of Leo Moss dolls.  Photograph courtesy of eBay seller, shadowsam.
Most Quintano dolls look similar to the two shown in the above picture. 

Leo Moss-type crying doll and smiling doll with teeth are shown in this photo.  Photograph courtesy of eBay seller, shadowsam.
The doll on the left in the above photo has the signature Leo Moss tears.  Moss is said to have added tears to portrait dolls of children who cried as they sat to have their dolls made.  Of the five dolls in this auction, it was the largest doll, seated next to the crying doll, that really interested me.  I had not seen one by Quintano like this one.  It reminds me of a Leo Moss doll that recently sold at auction for $7000. 

This doll met with some misfortune that I hope is repairable.  Photo courtesy of eBay seller, shadowsam.

The doll with the broken-off head, shown above, has a unique face as well. 

This cloth body appears to belong to the unfortunate doll with broken head/neck attachment.  Photo courtesy of eBay seller, shadowsam

One of the dolls in the auction had a painted-over- or papier-mรขchรฉ-covered body.  Photo courtesy of eBay seller, shadowsam.

As shown in the two photos above, in this auction, the seller illustrated the cloth body of one doll and the painted body of another.

Others have attempted to recreate Leo Moss dolls.  Quintano’s dolls are, however, by far the closest in appearance to an authentic Leo Moss.  Because his dolls are usually marked R.Q. in red paint, this indicates he in no way attempted to deceive the doll collecting community about their authenticity.  He simply utilized his artistic ability to fashion dolls in the likeness of Moss dolls.  Other than his dolls, additional information about Rubin (sometimes spelled Ruben) Quintano is not known.  Dolls by Rubin Quintano are featured in part three of my article on Leo Moss dolls published at Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black.

As promised, here is the link to the seller’s current eBay listings.

It would not surprise me if some or all of these dolls show up on eBay once again but individually.  Kudos to both the seller and buyer.  

There is always something to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Former Banner Image

Circa late 1990s greeting card that I named "doll lover."
I used the above image as the banner for this blog prior to using the current banner image, which is a digital painting of an actual photo of me and my dolls by contemporary digital artist, Son of Ellis.

The previous banner illustrates a little Black girl whose face is partially hidden by the dolls she clutches tightly.  It is a scan of a greeting card I purchased during the late 1990s.  I purchased the card because of this image that reflects how I feel about my doll collection and about Black dolls in general, particularly those that are aesthetically pleasing.

When Black dolls adequately portray the people they represent and are not demeaning caricatures, they warm my heart.  I have often written different forms of this mantra in books, publications, and elsewhere.   The image is also proof that representation matters in the form of dolls for Black girls.  They need to see themselves in their playthings in order to develop a strong sense of self.  As a child, I did not see myself in my dolls.  I did, however, develop a healthy sense of self from nurturing received from my family, from church members, educators who cared, and from my beloved community.

The inside greeting is another reason the card was purchased.  It reads as follows.

My childhood was precious and cherishable.
Thanks to God for giving me parents like you.
You gave me love, pride, courage,and dignity,
Allowing your little girl to blossom into an honorable woman.
Thank you!

At the time of purchase, I thought about giving the card to my mother, but because she and Daddy had long been divorced, the words were not a perfect fit for her alone even though they were a fit for the two of them together.  So I kept the card, which I still have.

The greeting card is stored in the smaller of the two decorative storage boxes shown above.
The card is stored in one of two decorative storage boxes where all greeting cards I have received throughout the years from family and friends are stored.  Sentimental much?  Yes, I am.

With my permission (even though I do not own any copyrights to it), my scan of this image is currently the cover photo for the Facebook group Buy Black Dolls 24/7.

The card is from the Heritage Collection ©Nicole Folks.  The inside greeting and back of the card are shown above.

The image on the front of the card captures my feelings about Black dolls and the inside greeting expresses my gratitude for both my parents.  The card is a perfect fit for me.

Read about the current banner here.

There is always something to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.

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Friday, January 25, 2019

A Parade of Black Dolls

Rub-A-Dub Dolly by Tyco is one of the "Dolls on Parade" featured in April's coverage of the Chesapeake Doll Club's MLK Day Luncheon.

Fellow blogger of "Of Dolls," April Perlowski, wrote a review of the Chesapeake Doll Club's Martin Luther King Day Luncheon, which was held on January 21, 2019. Read April's wonderful review and see additional pictures here.


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Thursday, January 24, 2019

First Dolls for 2019

Team Stacie scientist, a boyfriend of Chelsea, and Chelsea

Recently, I saw Ms. Leo's post about her Team Stacie scientist.  I looked for the doll on a recent trip to a Target store where three were in stock.  I examined each to see if there were any obvious imperfections or facial differences.  I did not notice any head sculpt differences but there were some imperfections in the vinyl on the face of two.  I chose the best of the three to come home with me.

Stacie is a 9-inch all vinyl doll dressed in a pink floral dress.
She wears white, low-top sneakers.

Accessories include a microscope, beakers, test tubes with holder, a flask and tubing, goggles and... 

...a white lab coat.
Stacie has brown hair pulled up into one Afro puff; brown eyes, and an open, smiling mouth.
When comparing my doll's face with Ms. Leo's, my doll uses a completely different sculpt.  (See the link to Ms. Leo's posts below.)

Earlier that day, while at Walmart (where I tagged along with my husband who needed to go there for something he needed,) I saw Chelsea and a boy her size.  Chelsea is newly released (box date 2018), but the boy has a box date of 2017.  This was my first time seeing him in a store.  They came home with me, too.

Chelsea and unnamed boyfriend that I might name Logan
They are both 5-1/2-inch all-vinyl dolls.  Chelsea has brown curly hair and wears a red headband.  Both have brown eyes and smiling mouths with painted teeth.  Chelsea wears a yellow molded-on tank top with a pineapple and tiny hearts painted on the front, lavender polka dot fabric skirt, and pink rubber sandals.  The boy has brown molded hair and wears a one-piece white fabric top and light blue/aqua fabric shorts with gray low-top sneakers.

The little ones' shoes are shown above.

My Life as Gymnast 18-inch doll with prosthetic leg seen at Walmart

What I did not buy while at Walmart that day was a My Life As Gymnast doll that represents a gymnast who is an amputee with a prosthetic leg from the knee down with a flex-foot-type system that is designed for running, or in her case, gymnastics.  My husband brought the doll to my attention, which is when I took the above photo and the one below.

A closer look at the gymnast's prosthetic leg and Running Blade-type foot
I didn't buy the gymnast then and regretted not doing so.  "You want the unusual in your collection," my husband said, which makes sense, but I also want what warms my heart at first sight.

The links to Ms. Leo's Team Stacie posts are below:
Ms. Leo's Team Stacie
Ms. Leo's Second AA Team Stacie


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Monday, January 21, 2019

Kuki's Redresses, Wig, and Dr. King

Kuki by Annette Himstedt is shown in a prototype headshot in the above photo.  My doll entered my collection the year of release, 2003.

Kuki wears her original clothing, headscarf, and leather sandals.

Not long after taking the above photo, which is included in my second black-doll reference book, Black Dolls a Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion, I removed Kuki's raggamuffin-looking clothing, headscarf, and shoes to redress her.

Kuki wears a Lloyd Middleton romper with white sandals.  Her other doll friends are Georgia by Heidi Ott, Carolyn by Helen Kish, and Hollie by Katja Schneider and Ruth Kunz.

As illustrated immediately above, Kuki's redresses have included Lloyd Middleton doll fashions made to fit baby dolls and other 22- to 25-inch dolls.  She has also enjoyed wearing dresses that were made for her by my friend, Debra R.

In this photo, Kuki was dressed in a stars-and-stripes-themed dress sewn by Debra R.  "America" is spelled out on the bodice.
Kuki wore this Lloyd Middleton doll fashion until her most recent redress.
The blue calico-print Lloyd Middleton fashion above was not a very flattering look on Kuki because it was made for a chubby baby doll, which she is not.  Nonetheless, she wore it until I decided to dress her in another dress that was made by my friend several years ago that Kuki had worn prior to wearing the calico-print dress.

After redressing Kuki in this yellow floral-print dress again and attempting to straighten out her bangs, her wig, which she holds in her hand, shifted!  The original glue had weakened!
Poor Kuki was only temporarily bald.
 Aleene's Tacky Glue Fix

I used Aleene's Tacky Glue to reglue the wig onto Kuki's head.

Originally, the glue had been placed by the doll maker only around Kuki's head, none elsewhere.  I decided to apply glue all over the head as shown above. (In hindsight, this was not a good idea because the mohair of the wig is sparsely applied to the netting and some of the glue almost seeped through!)

After the wig was in place, I tied a headscarf around Kuki's wig to hold the edges down while the glue dried overnight.
End result:  The glue is set and Kuki holds a doll that wears a matching dress.
Kuki holds 1998 Easter Sunday Wendy #21513, whose original tagged Madame Alexander dress is made from identical fabric as the fabric my friend used for Kuki's dress.   I still find the fact that Debra was able to find matching fabric 10 years after the Madame Alexander doll was made to be amazing.  Kuki's dress and  Easter Sunday Wendy were a gift from my friend in 2008.

Today, the third Monday in January, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.  Happy heavenly birthday, Dr. King!  A previously published tribute to Dr. King can be read here.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Malia's Quick Redress

18-inch doll fashion by Adora in an Internet-captured image

I purchased the above fashion in June 2018 from for $9.99 (now sold out) with plans to redress Brains and Beauty Malia (one of the cutest, if not the cutest, 18-inch dolls I own).  I just got around to doing the redress yesterday.

This is the actual outfit.
The three-piece fashion includes a tan headband that has an off-white nylon flower; a tan sweater with button placket in front and Velcro closure in back; and red, tan, and blue check cuffed shorts.

Malia wears the headband around the crown of her head with the flower positioned on the side as shown here.

Worn with her original faux suede boots, the fashion fits her perfectly.

Malia loves her new clothes and wondered why I waited so long to redress her. 


While visiting Zulily's website yesterday to refresh my memory on the date I ordered the Adora fashion, I stumbled upon New York Collection Haley.  She jumped into my cart before I could leave the site.  A review will follow after Haley arrives.


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Monday, January 14, 2019

Ruby's Repair

Ruby Bridges by Karen Oyekanmi

My Ruby Bridges tribute doll, first seen here, had a mishap.  The day after she arrived, when positioning her for display, I noticed her left arm was not in the arm socket; it was hanging inside the sleeve of her dress.  The cement used to hold the arm hook that was attached to the inner string had weakened.  I consulted the artist who offered to repair Ruby for me, but that would have involved mailing the doll to her.   I knew between my husband and me, we should be able to repair her.

In the past, we had used QuikSteel to repair two other porcelain dolls.  So, I knew it should be a simple task of repairing Ruby's arm.  My only problem was that I am inexperienced at stringing.

Ruby's stringing was pulled outside her body and held in that position with a rod fashioned from a jumbo paperclip.

After Ruby was undressed down to her undies, socks, and shoes, using a pair of hemostats my husband was able to pull the existing stringing out of the body through the body armhole.  I quickly created a rod by opening up a jumbo paperclip which was slid underneath the knot in the stringing to hold the string outside the body until the rest of the repair was completed.  Minus the hemostat pulling, that process is illustrated in the photo immediately above.

I went to a local auto supply shop and purchased what I thought was the correct QuikSteel formulation.  Unfortunately, it was a liquid form and not the epoxy putty that I needed.  We went to Walmart to try to find it, but they were sold out.  So I ordered it from Amazon.

I decided I would do this repair from this point on by myself.  After getting the necessary reassurance from the artist that my plan would work and after making one modification at her suggestion, the repair began.

What Was Done

The hook has been set in QuikSteel as described in the next paragraph.

Inside the hole in the arm, I stuffed a few strips of newspaper to fill up some of the space in the cavity.  I inserted and centered the closed end of the hook and packed the QuikSteel putty firmly around the hook, making sure to keep the hook in the center of the armhole.  QuikSteel cures quickly but was allowed to dry fully for 24 hours.

Photo taken from a different angle illustrates the hook, which is set in place using QuikSteel epoxy putty.

The next day, the hook was firmly set inside the QuikSteel as shown above.

The hook was next attached to the stringing.

The open end or exposed end of the hook was attached to the knot of the string at the armhole as illustrated above and from one additional angle next.

Different angle of the hook attached to the stringing

Using the paperclip rod to lift the stringing away from the body, the long ends of the stringing were stuffed back inside the body.

A perfect repair
Next, the paperclip rod was removed and the arm positioned itself into the armhole perfectly as shown above.

She's all better now.
After the repair, Ruby was redressed.  The hang tag that bears a headshot of young Ruby Bridges was placed back on the left wrist.  She recovered nicely.

I shared the process and completed photos with the artist who wrote:
Thank you for the pictures, she looks so happy!
Very sorry you had to go through that...... but you do have the gift๐Ÿ‘Œ

I smiled.  I think Ruby did, too.  


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Friday, January 11, 2019

Bea's After Christmas Fashion

For Christmas, Bea (Barbie Fashionista #82) was dressed in this blue and white Mikelman Christmas gown.
It took me 11 days after Christmas to take the holiday decorations down and store them.  I had been under the weather the week after Christmas, which is when I normally take the decorations down. After everything was stored and all dolls that had been dressed for Christmas undressed or redressed, I decided I would try the reproduction of Barbie Matinee Fashion #1640 on Bea that I received for Christmas.

In my previous post about gifts given and received, where the fashion was first shown, I indicated the red closed-toe shoes were missing.  I have now modified that post because after I removed the fashion from the card, I was pleased to find the shoes tucked underneath the dress.  In the next several photos, Bea models this fashion, which appears as though it was made for her.

 Sheath, Shoes, and Hat
The sheath and shoes were tried on first.  The dress fits her to a T.  The shoes fit as well.  I added clear bands around, over, and under the heels, soles, and arches to ensure she does not lose the shoes.

The hat with the attached scarf was added.

Close-up photo wearing the hat
Bea removed the wig and posed from the back to illustrate the zipper closure of the dress.

Without the wig, Bea models the dress from the front once again.
Worn with Jacket
Still not wearing her wig, Bea added the faux leopard-fur-trimmed jacket which has two snaps underneath two sewn-on outer buttons.

With wig back on, Bea poses again with the jacket worn over the sheath.

Another close-up photo

In this final photo, Bea looks very sophisticated in the complete reproduction of the 1965 Barbie Matinee #1640 ensemble.
Did you know this fashion is sold in adult sizes?  Based on two reviews at the Unique Vintage website, this fashion was given 5 stars with one reviewer indicating she needed to order a size larger than she usually wears; so they might run small.  This website has other Barbie fashion replicas for adults.


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