Saturday, February 28, 2015

Welcome New Follower!!

Welcome to our friend Debbie and  Uneek Doll Designs!  Debbie is a talented doll maker and artist. You can read more on her by visiting her shop at, and my post at Doll collecting,  Thank you, Debbie!!
Anne Boleyn by Debbie Ritter of Uneek Doll Designs

UFDC Information Update

A Dream
        Come True
                 UFDC 66th Annual Convention
         Thursday, July 16th - Sunday, July 19th, 2015  
                         Kansas City, Missouri
UFDC is delighted to have filled our room block quota. Thanks to your support the fee for full convention registration is now $375 regardless of what hotel you are staying at and the drawing for the Marriott Sunshine twin dolls will now include all registered convention attendees.
If you were not able to get into the convention hotel, here are some other hotels we recommend in the area:
Holiday Inn Kansas City Downtown - Aladdin
1215 Wyandotte Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64105, USA
Book online or call: 800 439 4745  
Crowne Plaza Kansas City Downtown
1301 Wyandotte Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64105, USA
Hotel Front Desk: 1-816-4746664
Hotel Phillips
106 W 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105, USA
(877) 704-5341 or (816) 221-7000
Hilton President Kansas City
1329 Baltimore, Kansas City, Missouri, 64105, USA
TEL: +1-816-221-9490
If you book a room at an alternate hotel and wish to stay at the convention hotel, please check with the Kansas City Marriot Downtown in May or June to see if any cancellations have been made.

Words from Stuart: The March 28th Theriault's Auction

It's almost March, and when this wonderful auction takes place, it will be spring!!  Read the latest "Stuart Says" below for more information.

Courtesy, Theriault's

Dear Friends,

"Yee haw! We're sending it to Hubbard!" If you attended any of Theriault's major auctions over the years you might have heard me call out these words from the podium on occasion. Sometimes more often than others! That yell became the signature "sold" for whenever Berta Leon Hackney, one of the world's most iconic collectors and personalities, would win another doll from the front row.

It's a Texas thing, really. You see, Berta is, unarguably, the truest "Texan" I have ever known. She is at once the consummate lady but at the same time spirited and tough, smart, quick with a one-liner, can probably two-step with the best of 'em or waltz in Vienna ballrooms, and will regale you with stories for hours – adding a laugh and twang that oozes charm.

As proof, in the 1970s, long before women were routinely involved in politics, especially in central Texas, she held the post of two-time mayor of Hubbard, perhaps one of the most "Texan" of towns you will ever ride into.

For us though, Berta is the distinctive woman in the front row wearing elegant clothing matched with boots, turquoise jewelry, and beaded jean jackets. Most of all, she is the doll collector that we have come to love and know for decades.

It's hard to believe that it all started when she was five. It's really her father's fault. A generous and true to heart fourth-generation Texan, he began Berta's love affair with dolls when he graced his only child with a special tradition: "A new doll every week." At the time, in the Depression Years, she was blessed with this happy start to collecting that laid down the very foundation of her doll-filled home today.

Growing up surrounded by dolls would be just the start. As Berta began her grown-up life, marrying Jay Leon, whose aristocratic family had fled from Madrid to New York and Texas during the Spanish Civil War, she began to spend more time in Mexico City where her husband's steel business had brought the young couple. But that didn't stop Berta from dolls! It was from there, in fact, that many of her prized pieces were discovered. In the 1950s, Mexico City was a well-kept secret source of fabulous antiques from the estates of European émigrés. Amidst those, of course, were dolls.

Every week Berta would find a new doll from these estates: French bébés, German characters, early porcelains and parians, and so forth, thereby continuing on her "doll a week" tradition. Her collection grew and grew.

During that time she still kept her house in Hubbard. The dolls would be shipped there over the years and it was the place her collection developed and was displayed until now. This house in Hubbard is like no other, a stunning original Victorian home from the 19th century. Large high-ceiled rooms, winding staircases, rooms opening into other rooms so the surprises never end. And just to be sure she would have enough room for her collection, when a companion Victorian home right next door came on the market, Berta bought and restored that, too. Jay Leon was also a collector; his collection of Rolls Royce automobiles is considered one of the finest in the country. Off he and Berta would go each weekend, in whichever one she wished, down the back roads of central Texas, a sight that, truly, is classic Texan in every which way. Berta's 50th birthday gift was a 1932 Pierce-Arrow which she still cherishes.

By the 1980s Berta was well becoming established around the world as a "major" collector of dolls. Being back in Texas now on a full-time basis and having more time to interact with other doll lovers, she quickly became known and respected at auctions, clubs and conventions. This is the time that we all came to really know her.

And on her collecting went. After Jay passed away she continued, never slowing in her pursuit of new treasures to add to the cases that now filled virtually every niche in her 18-room mansion. After remarrying some years later (to her original high school sweetheart, no less, of which she often says, "I am the luckiest woman in the world, I got to marry the only two men I ever loved"), Berta brought Jim Hackney into collecting and soon he joined her across the country at doll events and was Berta's bidder online when she couldn't attend...he pressing the bid button as she urged in her Texas accent, "Go, Jim. Bid, Jim."

After Jim passed away a few years ago, Berta still kept on, now into her 80s. I would say to her in my pathetic excuse of Texas lingo, "Berta, you're tougher than a woodpecker's lips." She would often then say to me, "Well, I gotta keep going, but no more men. At my age all they want is a nurse or a purse." So, instead she bought more dolls. Still keeping pretty close to one a week.

It was last year though Berta seemed to have enough. While she still loved being surrounded by her dolls and spending time walking through her house telling stories about each one, "I found this in a small village in Mexico" or "Remember when I didn't get this doll the first time it came to auction and then years later it came back and, by golly, I was determined to get it the second time." Yet what Berta felt now was that, as important as these dolls have been to her life (and what a life, indeed), the time had come for her to see them onto a new journey.

As I sat with Berta this past summer in her living room, drinking sweet tea and chatting in the same spot we had so many times over the years, I heard her say the words I never imagined I'd hear, "It's time to sell my dolls and I want to see them go. I want to be part of their journey." A tough sentiment by a true Texan.

So it leads us here. Or, well, to Las Vegas. For two days starting March 28th until March 29th, at the grand Bellagio Hotel, Theriault's will present one of its most historic auction events, featuring this collection. Fittingly entitled, "Only Child, The Lifelong Antique Doll Collection of Berta Leon Hackney", we will spend the weekend finding the next journey forward for her fabulous collection and rewarding her for the years of care and love that she bestowed upon each and every doll.

Yes, Berta will be there with us. Will you? Join us for one more time as we all yell in unison, in tribute, just for old times' sake, "Yee Haw!! We're sending it to Hubbard!!"

Warm regards,

Stuart Holbrook

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Waiting for Dolls

I suppose like many of us, I've learned to be patient as I age.  I don't think it is easy to be patient, especially if one is searching for a special doll to add to a collection.  When I became interested in antique dolls at age 5, I quickly learned that most were outside of a grade schooler's allowance. Thanks to the charitable intervention of my parents, I was able to have many old and collectible dolls.  Yet, no one was going to buy a 5 year old a $500 antique doll.

So, I read up, lobbied to be taken to museums and antique shows, made crude paper dolls based on favorite antiques, and waited. 

Below are some sought after dolls that finally joined my collection, after a period of years, if not decades!

I first saw General MacArthur by Freundlich when I was 8.  He was art of now defunct Lolly's Doll Museum, and another example "lived" in an elegant restaurant that included a doll collection as part of its decor.  He showed up in books sometimes, but it was years before I saw another one.  Finally, about 4 years ago, I won him on eBay.  He was worth the wait. 

Recently, I added a Steiner, Figure A, to my doll family. She came to me needing repairs, but I paid 90% of her price, and most of her was in great shape. I took on a pleasant project and fulfilled another dream.  I first became aware of this doll when I was 14.

Also at age 14, I saw "in person" my first composition Scarlett O'Hara by Madame Alexander. I added one to my collection last month.

When it came to the famous prune dolls of Nuremberg, I only had to wait a couple of years.   My German professor, the late Herr Erwin Weber, brought one for me from the Christmas markets, along with an authentic "kitchen witch."

At age 9, I saw a photo of a French devotional wax doll, circa late 18th early 19th century in my friend Mary Hillier's Book, "Dolls and Doll Makers."  Then, 6 years ago, I won a bid on a similar doll online from the old Mary Merritt Doll Museum. 

Sometimes, a special rare doll, like my anatomically correct Frozen Charlie shows up close to home.  My grandparents' neighbor in California used to set up at doll shows.  I bought my Charlie from her, along with a Darrow Rawhide doll.

My purpose in writing his post is not to discourage, but to counsel patience.  It is indeed a virtue when it comes to dolls.  One day, I know I'll find my dressed fleas, former Kimport specials, and a pewter headed Huret, as well as many of the china heads and French and German bisques on my list.  Meanwhile, I sure love the thrill of the hunt!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rendezvous February 23d-see the Dolls Online, Courtesy Theriault's

Theriault's Rendezvous, Monday Night at the Auctions, are conducted at Theriault's headquarters office in Annapolis, Maryland. Live online bidding, absentee bidding and live telephone bidding is available. Plan in advance, get registered, and when the auction is set to begin - 7 PM EDT - click the audio/video on button. And get set for an hour of fun. For technical help with bidding live online call Proxibid toll free at Theriault's Premier Line at 855-264-8262.

Join Stuart Holbrook, Luke Theriault and Florence Theriault for a fun and fast and fact-filled one-hour auction of great antique dolls. Watch Luke listen with interest while Florence cites a doll factoid. Watch Florence contribute to and encourage Stuart's banter. Just have fun and maybe bring home a doll. The dolls are all available for viewing and bidding online. You can leave pre-bids, you can absentee bid, or you can make a reservation to bid by telephone at the actual time of the auction. Or you can be there online when the fun begins and watch the live audio/video feed.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sneak Peek in our March 2015 Issue!

March 2015 Cover
Occasionally an auction will offer something for nearly all doll collectors – French and German bisque, parian-type, chinas, mignonnetes, papier mache dolls, automata, dollhouses – such a sale is coming up March 28 and 29th at the grand Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas where Theriault’s will present the collection of Berta Hackney. It will be followed on Sunday by several hundred lots in their popular Discovery Day Sales. Our cover illustrates some of the exceptional parian-type ladies to be offered in the auction.
While best known for their teddy bears and animals, Steiff created felt child dolls that remain collectors’ favorites today. Rebekah Kaufman, the archivist for Steiff North America, has written an article on these special children that debuted in 1908-1909. 
Continuing with the identification of Kling parian shoulder heads, Mary Krombholz, the consummate researcher, compares heads seen in the company’s 100th anniversary photo with actual examples. She offers definite proof that Kling was making parians during the early 1860’s.
Horsman is a name very familiar to doll collectors as their products are legendary, propelling the American doll industry to the forefront in the early years of the 20th century. In her article Susan Foreman Lewis discusses Charles Twelvetrees whose “Twelvetrees Kids” became the inspiration for Horsman’s delightful HEbee SHEbee dolls.
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) arts program began in 1937 providing much needed work for untrained workers to make dolls for libraries, schools and museums. Many were later destroyed but those that remain should be considered folk art and important artifacts of a period in our American history. 
We also share with you exhibits from last year’s UFDC national convention. Along with the “Many Faces of German Dolls,” seen in our January 2015 issue, there were several excellent exhibits for attendees to enjoy.
Also you will want to take a look at the record doll prices Theriault’s established at their January auction in Newport Beach, CA. 
Happy Collecting!
P.S. Please visit 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

Friday, February 13, 2015

UFDC Reminder!

A Dream
        Come True
UFDC 66th Annual Convention
         Thursday, July 16th - Sunday, 19th, 2015  
                         Kansas City, Missouri
Convention Hotel Reservations 

UFDC Room Block is almost full, if you have not registered yet, do so now.

To Make Reservations by Phone.
Call 1-877-303-0104

This number is a central station number. Ask for "The Federation of Doll Clubs" to book your room.
If you are asked for a hotel code or group code they are:
Hotel code: MCIDT Group code: DCDA

Making Reservations via the Internet
A dedicated website is now available to book your hotel rooms online.

Convention pre- activities including headquarter trips will begin on Wednesday, July 15th. Repeated on Friday and Sunday.
Banquet is Sunday, July 19th.

ODACA Lunch, Wilde Imagination and Doll Doctors Association special events scheduled for Wednesday, July 15th.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Doll Museum: Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: How to Preserve Porcelai...

Doll Museum: Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: How to Preserve Porcelai...: Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: How to Preserve Porcelain Dolls; Courtesy www.Brow... : How to Preserve Porcelain Dolls   February 5, 20...

Courtesy, Theriault's

Monday, February 9, 2015

Auction Action as we Speak

Any minute now, Theriault's Rendezvous Auction will begin.  Log in to bid on unusual German bisque and other dolls, including the unusual examples below.  Have fun!!
Revalo Bisque, Molded Hair, Theriault's  

All Pewter German Kitchen, Theriault's  

WPA Wooden Display Figures, Theriault's
Rare German Seated Bisque with Glass Eyes, Theriault's

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


We Welcome our New Follower!!  Happy Reading and Collecting!

An Interview with Doll Collector Maureen Herrod

Here is this month's interview.  Enjoy!

When did you start collecting?
I kept my four hard plastic dolls from my childhood, so it could be said that I've always been a collector.  However, I became serious about the hobby when I moved across the street from a lady that collected antique German bisque.  When I would go over for coffee, I never looked at her, just at the dolls, so she encouraged me to start acquiring dolls.  She and I are still wonderful friends, although I don't live across the street from her anymore.  I would say the first year of active buying was 1979.

E.J. Maureen Herrod

Tete Jumeau, Maureen Herrod


Have your tastes changed over the years?
My tastes have changed over the years.  I started buying almost anything that resembled a doll, including quite a few German bisque.  As time has gone by, I find that the biggest difference between then and now is that what I buy now is much more expensive!

French-type Papier Mache, Maureen Herrod

What are your favorite types of dolls?

The two types of dolls that I am certified to judge at UFDC are papier mache and Parian. They would be one of my main loves.  But, I also love china heads and French and German bisque.  With German bisque, I am most attracted to Kestners.  I do not buy vintage dolls anymore, reserving my money for the "really good stuff." I also happen to love big dolls.

Closed Mouth Kestner, Maureen Herrod

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

What the doll is wearing will attract me, but more important, especially with paper mache, Parian, and china heads, would be the rarity of the doll.  I've studied dolls enough now, that I can tell if a doll is rare or not.

Sophia Smith China, Maureen Herrod

Do you sew for your dolls?
I used to sew for my dolls, but I don't think I have ever enjoyed it.  So, now, I rarely make them clothing.  I have been known to buy handmade clothes from other people, and love finding antique outfits that fit my dolls.  I'll buy a lovely antique outfit in a heartbeat, often even if I do not have a doll that can wear the clothes.  Eventually, the outfits find their way to just the right doll. Original clothing is of course to be preferred.
Papier Mache, Maureen Herrod

Are you looking for anything in particular?

I'm always on the lookout for rare paper mache, Parians, and china heads.  Also want a big Bru Jne (who doesn't?)  I just bought a lovely E.J. at Theriault’s a few weeks ago.  I cannot resist those gorgeous French bisque even though they are not as rare as the others that I like.

Chinas and an S&H Parian

Munich Art Doll, Maureen Herrod