Doll Auctions - Temporary Museums

Last year I went to the Skinner auction of Richard Wright's collection and it was amazing.  A doll auction is great for learning, kind of like a temporary museum set up before the family of dolls gets sent off to the next stage of their journeys. This reminds me of when you see seeds blowing in the wind, who knows where they will settle?   The same thing happens to collections.  

Nowadays auction companies often put the auctions online, which is great for those of us who don't have the opportunity to travel to them.  But still, there is nothing like seeing something with your own eyes.  

This week I am going to the Withington auction, and it will be fun to see some wonderful old creations in person.  I'll be bringing my camera, and a notebook, and my thinking cap.  :-)


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My Antique - Vintage Cloth Doll Collection

As I was taking pictures of some of the cloth dolls I've collected to get the ready to list a few online, I thought some of them might be worth showing here.  Not all are antique, they are not over 100 years old, but they still have a lot of charm. I just need to make room right now, so some of these will be sold. 

 If you know the date of some of these dolls, please share.  
And also, check out my blog in the next day or so, 
as I will be listing some of them there.



This doll above I purchased on Ebay, 
listed as from Lancaster County, PA.
The body type is interesting.  
Turn of the century to 1920's?

The face and hair looks like it was drawn on 
with some kind of ink which has browned with age.

I like the head shape.  

I'm guessing this is a 20's doll below? 
She/he looks like an aviator.  
Amelia Earhart, anyone?

Doll with embroidered face
and cool dress below...
1940's?  1950's?  

She is made from some kind of sack. 

  I am 95% sure this doll below
is a Babyland Rag doll, 30" tall.
If it is, she could be from around 1906-1911.


Her arms and legs have been 
resewn at some point in her life.
And she was given button eyes. 


If you look carefully, 
you can see the ghost 
of where her face layer was stitched on, 
because I believe her front is now her back.  


She's stuffed with cotton.

I think she sucked her thumb...
after some little girl gave her "fingernail polish".

 She came with an interesting assortment of clothing - 

 old high-top boots

socks with "patina"

pantaloons with lace and pleating

a lace-edged petticoat

An antique dress which has issues, 
but also has cartridge pleating at the waist.

The girl has been loved a lot.  
Her body shows "hug wear".

 The only doll that I'm showing in this post
that is not antique/vintage is this Helen Pringle doll.  

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A Simple Life, Helen Pringle and Doll Making

A few months ago, I received an email from Helen Pringle, commenting about a doll she made in 1988 that I own and had shown on my blog. The doll is Mary Mason-Dixon, shown below. To see more pictures of Mary Mason-Dixon, you can click here. Helen gave me the back story on the creation of this doll, and then mentioned that she is writing for the magazine A Simple Life.

 1988 Helen Pringle Doll

I first heard about Helen Pringle dolls through the Vintage Cloth Dollmaking Yahoo group. but have since seen many discussions about Helen Pringle dolls in other groups as well.  Helen Pringle dolls captured a sense of the early cloth dolls I love and admire so much.  Helen retired from her business of doll making a while ago, but not from study of early things and other creative endeavors.  Jill Peterson, the publisher of A Simple Life, says this of Helen, 
"Helen is so much more than a writer for A Simple Life!! She never wants any credit for anything, but honestly, the magazine would not  work without Helen!!  She is a contributing editor, Editor, my right arm, my antiques expert, my daily dose of laughter .... I could go on an on.  She works COUNTLESS hours for the magazine - and there would not be a magazine, if not for her."

An article by Helen Pringle on early dolls will be featured in the next issue of A Simple Life, along with a story by Christine Crocker entitled, "Song of the Dollmaker."  This will be of interest to people who enjoy making antique inspired dolls.  When I saw that Christine Crocker was also writing for the magazine, it inspired me to order a subscription.  The mission statement of A Simple Life is:
"When your magazine arrives in the mail,
it will be like getting a letter from an old friend."   
I don't know about you, but the winters in Maine are long, and a letter from an old friend is always heartwarming.     Check out the contents of the winter letter below.