Tuesday, September 15, 2015

An Interview with Collector and Doll Dealer Billye Harris


 Mary McEwen black wax dolls. Courtesy, Billye Harris



When did you start collecting?

My interest in dolls and antiques began at a very early age.  I can remember loving vintage and antique dolls as early as the age of five.  My grandmother in Georgia, Grannie Billye, had a large collection of antiques and dolls in my mother’s childhood home.  I loved playing with them and I remember that I wanted to bring them home.  In my later years, I have been able to keep some of these dolls.  Many were my mother’s dolls when she was a child.  

My allowance was carefully saved so that I could buy the latest Madame Alexander dolls at the local department store, Weil’s.  I also scoured thrift shops for vintage finds when I was a teenager.  My father had a tag sale in our yard and I wanted to purchase an antique mirror in the sale for two dollars.  My father initially refused but later relented.  My mother recently sent me the mirror to hang in my home.  Later, I was to discover that it belonged to my Great-grandfather.  It was used as his shaving mirror.  I also have photos of my Aunt Billie with all of her dolls.  Billye is a common girl-name in my family!



Have your tastes changed over the years?

Yes, my tastes in doll collecting have changed over the many years that I have collected dolls.  My interests at this time are in collecting early cloth dolls, early china head dolls, and black cat dolls/toys.  I am especially interested in collecting North Carolina Moravian dolls that are fondly called “Maggie Bessie” dolls.  I now have several in my personal collection including the elusive boy Maggie Bessie doll.  My collection also consists of several types of early china head dolls, Columbian dolls, Alabama babies, Queen Anne Wooden, Mary McEwen, and a large group of dolls that“spoke” to me!  I find as time goes by, that my tastes are constantly changing and refining.  I try to learn all that I can about dolls.  They are such a fascinating part of our history!


French Fashion and Millicent, an antique English Wooden, Doll Shops United "Ask an Expert" Mascot. Courtesy, Billye Harris



What are your favorite types of dolls?

My favorite dolls, (a term that I use lightly, because I LOVE them all), are the Maggie Bessie dolls.  I think this may be because they are a part of North Carolinian history.  They were made here in the Triad of fabric and paint.  Even though they are supposed to be the same, I feel that each one has its own personality.  This may be due to the hand painting or the construction or a combination of both.  I also love that they are dolls with southern roots from our rich and varied heritage in this area.




Maggie Bessie Cloth Dolls. Billye Harris Collection


What are the characteristics that attract you to a certain doll?

There are no certain characteristics that attract me to a certain doll.  The doll may not be in so called good condition.  It has to have an interesting face, costume or construction to appeal to me.  I see a lot of dolls in my business, so they have to have something a bit different to stand out to me.

Columbian Doll, large Alabama Baby, Brownie. Billye Harris Collection

Do you sew for your dolls?

Presently, I have little time to sew for my dolls.  I am able to sew, French sew, smock, and do several sewing construction methods.  Unfortunately, unless I am in a class, I have little time to sew for my dolls.  I try to find my dolls in their original costumes or nicely dressed, if at all possible.  If not, I try to dress them using my extensive costume collection.




Sister Parian Dolls. Billye Harris Collection


Are you looking for anything in particular, etc.

One of my newest passions is the Ralph Freundlich composition character dolls.  They are not necessarily expensive or early but they appeal to me and my fellow collector, Steva Allgood.  We are still looking for several of the bunnies, cats and other animal characters.  We would love to find them in near perfect condition and wearing their original costumes.  We are trying to write a research paper on them.  They make me happy, every time that I see one!  Of course, I am always trying to find another interesting Maggie Bessie doll too!!




Rare china man with his hat. Billye Harris Collection

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Rendezvous Tomorrow with Theriault's

Just a quick note about tomorrow's Rendezvous Auction, with several ways to bid.  The catalog is on line now, as is the catalog for September 21st's Rendezvous.  These are great auctions, and while I'm no "auction pro" I can say I have done well at these.  Below is Theriault's Description:

Description:

Theriault’s mini-auction, featuring 50-75 Antique dolls from private collections. (onsite, absentee, telephone & internet bids) Location: Theriault’s headquarters in Annapolis, MD.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

October Sneak Peek!

In Our October Issue

Miniature versions of the French Fashion and Bebe dolls of the Golden era, smaller all bisque dolls have unique appeal as well as being charming space savers. In Becky Ourant’s article she shares rare all bisque dolls made in France and Germany before 1900. On our cover, a 10-1/2 inch Simon and Halbig all bisque mother tends to her young daughter, a 7-inch version. Both dolls are all original.

Recently we visited Marvin and Flo Herring, collectors of Japanese Ningyō, the word for human figurines or Japanese traditional dolls. Unlike American and European dolls which are primarily intended as children’s playthings, ningyō are intimately connected to Japanese culture and long held traditions. The couple share this important collection with our readers.

Jan Petersen writes about nineteenth-century French toy shadow puppet theaters in her entertaining article. La Poupée Modèle published scripts, puppets, scenery and performance tickets for children to produce shadow puppet shows, a popular form of entertainment during the nineteenth century.

Beginning in 1930, Petitcollin, maker of celluloid dolls, began producing the model known as Colette. Samy Odin shares the variations of Colette who last appeared in the company’s 2006 catalogue.

From simple beginnings the UFDC museum has grown into a world-class institution. Lynn Murray tells us how it all came about and how members of UFDC can contribute to the museum’s continued growth.

In this issue you’ll also see more of the fabulous antique blue ribbon winners from this year’s UFDC convention held in Kansas City.

In her 1912 article for the Delineator, Käthe Kruse shows the fun possibilities to be had with her lifelike dolls. Her article was entitled “Playing with the Christmas Doll.”

A look at the National Doll Festival, exciting auction results, a special preview, our “mystery doll” column and much more, all in our October issue.

Happy Collecting!
P.S. Please visit www.antiquedollcollector.com to take a brief survey which will help us to serve you better.
Antique Doll Collector, P.O. Box 239, Northport, NY 11768 Call us Toll Free at 888-800-2588 Email: antiquedoll@gmail.com

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Future Auctions

Happy Labor Day Weekend! I hope all of our readers get time to relax and enjoy their dolls.  Theriault's recently sent emails about future auctions, including another featuring Shirley Temple items.  For your convenience and enthusiastic perusal, I post them here, courtesy of Theriault's.  Remember, we love comments and followers, and don't forget to check out our pages on Pinterest, Tumblr and Flickr.

A great lineup of auctions is on the horizon. Theriault’s has a wonderful fall and early winter schedule planned. Here is just a taste to get you excited. You don’t want to miss what’s coming up!

A MATTER OF CIRCUMSTANCE

October 17. Phoenix, Arizona at the Biltmore

Featuring private estate dolls from important French and German collections. Commemorative catalog with special features not available to online viewers is available for $49 including prices realized and priority postage (add $15 for Int'l shipping). For more information call 800-638-0422.


FOREVER YOUNG

November 21. New York, NY at the Waldorf Astoria

Featuring private estate dolls from important French and German collections. Commemorative catalog with special features not available to online viewers is available for $49 including prices realized and priority postage (add $15 for Int'l shipping). For more information call 800-638-0422.


LOVE, SHIRLEY TEMPLE, PART 2

November 22. New York, NY at the Waldorf Astoria

Including the teen years and more childhood related items from her personal collection. Commemorative catalog with special features not available to online viewers is available for $75 including prices realized and priority postage (add $15 for Int'l shipping). For more information call 800-638-0422.


MARQUIS ANTIQUE DOLL AUCTION

January 9. Newport Beach, CA at the Fairmont

Featuring 300 superb antique dolls highlighted by the long lost A. Marque doll in Persian costume previously on display at the Museum of Dolls & Toys in Winter Haven, Florida. Commemorative catalog with special features not available to online viewers is available for $75 including prices realized and priority postage (add $15 for Int'l shipping). For more information call 800-638-0422.


THE CARABET COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE JAPANESE DOLLS

January 10. Newport Beach, CA at the Fairmont

Featuring the Carabet collection of antique Japanese dolls. Commemorative catalog with special features not available to online viewers is available for $75 including prices realized and priority postage (add $15 for Int'l shipping). For more information call 800-638-0422.


To receive notice of Theriault's auctions, go to www.theriaults.com and register to receive email notices. If you are planning on coming to any of the auctions or would like more information call Theriault's toll-free at 800-638-0422, internationally at 410-224-3655 or email info@theriaults.com.
 
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