A rare model from the "Series Fantastique" of French dollmaker Emile Jumeau set a new world record for a 19th century doll when it realized $285,000 at Theriault's antique doll auction at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on November 22. The series, introduced in 1892, featured highly expressive children who were gleefullylaughing, scowling, or impi...shly "making faces", and was a far cry from the beautiful idealized child dolls, known as bebes, that had been the mainstay of the Jumeau firm for the past quarter century. Parents immediately rebuffed these "outlandish" character dolls, preferring the classic "pretty" bebe for their little girls, and afteronly a few years, the production, which was always small, ended. This particular model, of which only one other example in this size is known to exist, was incised "201". Depicting a child with wide-beaming smile accentuated by dramatic large eyes, it sold to a private Boston collector.
The 308 lot auction by Theriault's realized $1.3 million, with enthusiastic bidders from throughout the United States, and internationally from France, Germany, Spain, Philippines, Russia, Switzerland and South America. The Maryland-based firm, which conducts auctions throughout the United States, is entering its 45th year specializing in antique dolls and related childhood ephemera. Collectors may also call 800-638-0422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for any additional information on the event.