Before I unveil what we found at the Chicago Toy Show this April, I wanted to let you know that I did a guest post on the Ruby Lane Doll Blog! Read it here! I had a blast searching through the sale posts on Ruby Lane while trying to pick my favorite Madame Alexanders on their site. If only I could afford all the goodies I wrote about in the post! (Maybe one day?) If you like the article, find Ruby Lane Dolls on Facebook and ‘like’ their timeline update about my guest post! Comment on the blog post or the timeline update with what’s on your current grail list!
Now, onto the toy show! Recently, my mom and I went to the Chicago Toy Show at the Kane County Fairgrounds. As far as shows go, this was a pretty good one. There weren’t a ton of ‘oh my goodness, I need to have this in my collection’ moments, but we ended up finding some neat things!
I splurged the most on a mint in bag Pose N’ Play Skipper. Pose N’ Play Skipper is one of my favorites. I love her cute face and hair style. This particular Skipper is usually found ‘in the wild’ with more poofy hair. It amazes me that her two pigtails and side swept bangs started out so close to her head!
Now, you know me, so it should come as no surprise that I opened the bag she was in as soon as I possibly could! I had to free her from her plastic prison. I’m happy to report that her limbs aren’t melted! I was worried about that, because Skippers with her body can easily have melted joints. Her face and hair are also perfect! The one thing that is slightly disappointing is that Skipper is missing her wrist tag. In retrospect, it looks like her bag had a hole in it that was then melted back together. The wrist tag must have fallen off then.
My second Skipper purchase turned out to be more exciting than originally anticipated! Vintage Skippers come in a variety of hair colors beyond Brunette, Titan and Blonde. I went to the show looking for a two-tone Skipper, but instead, came home with a unique looking blonde. Brunette’s dominate my vintage Skippers, so adding a second blonde to the mix has been something I wanted to do for a while. This particular doll stood out to me for some reason. She looked different to me. I thought it was just a different shade of hair that made her standout, but it turned out to be much more.
After going home, I realized she was a Sample/Test Market Skipper. Details are vague as to when and how they were distributed, but Test Market dolls are surprisingly different from traditional vintage Skippers. I’ll go into mine in more detail later, but here’s the quick rundown. One site suggested that Test Market dolls were given to Mattel employees and those in the industry at events like Toy Fair to test out the waters, so to speak, and see what the target market thought of Barbie’s soon to debut Skipper. These dolls have a wider stance and a different weight to them. Their faces have a slightly different look to them and their bodies are actually shorter than your traditional Skipper. Even their faces look a little different to those who collect vintage Skippers. The price was great for this doll, too, as the seller (like me) didn’t know she was a Test Market/Sample Skipper!
A total impulse buy was this adorable Love Me Linda. For those who don’t know, I have always taken a liking to dolls that have that ‘big eyed art print’ sort of look to them. Love Me Linda was in a booth and caught my eye. It was ‘must buy’ at first sight! Love Me Linda is a doll made by Vogue in 1965. I love her big brown eyes! Her red outfit is original and looks great with her long blonde hair!
There weren’t many Madame Alexanders at the show that made me want to lay down hundreds of dollars and I honestly thought I would be leaving without one. That is, until I saw this reasonably priced Little Women Beth with a Maggie face and a nearly perfect brown wig. Now, she needs a little fixing in the eye area, but for the most part, she’s in great shape. As far as Little Women go, I have two 1950’s Amy’s, but no one else. I’m excited to add Beth to my collection.
Last, but not least, one booth had a Totally Yo-Yo Skipper for a whopping $3.00 in box. I snapped that up. The actual gimmick, that Skipper can really yo-yo, works well and is kind of cool! My actual Skipper collection is lacking when it comes to Teen Skipper, so this is a welcome addition to my collection. I think I might try to actively add more Teen Skippers to my collection this year.
To see what Barbee00913 (my mom) picked up, as well as these lovely dolls listed above, watch the video linked below!
Have you found something really cool at a doll show recently? What do you think of these finds? Let me know in the comment area!
Earlier this year, I purchased a 1930’s Dionne Quintuplet on eBay. (My second of the year– see the first here.) Made from 1935-1939, the Dionne Quintuplet dolls were big business for Madame Alexander and other doll brands of the time. For me, I’ve always loved their adorable hand painted faces. This particular auction listing tugged at my heartstrings. The seller said that this beloved Dionne Quintuplet was a prized possession of her elderly friend. Because she had no one to pass this Quint on to, she had decided to sell it to help with medical bills and the like. The Quint had clearly been loved by this lady and I’m a sucker for a good story, especially when they throw in that they have no one to pass such a treasured item on to within the family.
I didn’t ask many questions about the quality of this quint, because the price was low enough that I could get her restored. On arrival, I noticed that she was definitely in need of a few more repairs than I thought. She was completely unstrung and needed some of her composition repaired around her hip and on her foot. She needed to have some work done around her eyes, too, because some of her paint had rubbed off. (That, of course, I knew from photos.) Here’s a shot of her taken after she arrived to my house. Notice she’s missing eye brows and eye lashes.
So, in search of a doll doctor I went. Dr. Noreen had been on my radar because of the work she’d done in the past restoring dolls under the Tonner umbrella. She recently left Tonner’s doll hospital and is now working out of her own storefront. (See her in action during her Tonner days in the video below!)
Dr. Noreen was amazing. She restored my Quint in record time and kept me in the loop on the restoration through e-mail and facebook updates. Not only that, her price for the work was much better than I anticipated. At no time during the process did I ever feel worried about my doll, which says a lot! More on where you can find Dr. Noreen below. But first, are you ready to see the newly restored Dionne Quintuplet? Here she is!
She was restored beautifully! Look at this darling little face. Both Dionne’s in this post are composition. Prior to collecting hard plastic dolls, I had assumed composition dolls were super fragile. After handling a few, though, I’m amazed at how solid they are! Think about it– these two dolls have survived 80 years with only minimal damage. Think of everything that’s happened between now and 1930. This doll has literally seen it all. That’s one of the reasons I love this kind of doll. They carry so much history with them. (If only they could tell us all about it!)
Here she is with her sister, a Dionne with real hair. (And when I say real, I mean it. This doll is usually listed as having a human hair wig!) While the doll with painted hair is meant to sit, the real hair version has legs that welcome standing. Adding these two dolls to my collection means I have successfully acquired another item on my grail list!
Because I was so impressed with her passion and professionalism, I asked Dr. Noreen if she’d do a spotlight here on the blog and she agreed. Below is a quick Q and A I did with her over email. If you’re looking for a doll restoration artist in the US with talent and experience, visit her website! She did an amazing job on my Quint and is highly recommended!
Question: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you become interested in doll restoration.
Answer: I owned my own doll shop and doll hospital years ago and found that all my enjoyment came from the repair and restoration side of the business. Since I was very young, I always loved to rescue dolls (dogs and cats, too)!
Question: How long have you been restoring dolls?
Answer: I have been restoring dolls for about 30 years.
Question: What kinds of dolls do you restore?
Answer: Antique bisque to vintage and modern. I do not work on Barbies or the smaller fashion dolls at all. Sadly, I also do not sew–so cloth dolls are not something I am comfortable with restoring. My favorite are probably the 50’s hard plastics.
Question: What is your favorite part of the process?
Answer: The before and after shots–I love! But the part I find rewarding is the look on the customers face when they see their beloved doll back the way they remember it!
Question: If someone sends a doll to your hospital, what should they expect?
Answer: When a doll arrives, I spend about 20 minutes checking her completely and take many photos of exactly how she arrived. Then, I usually start within a week or two, depending on how many [dolls] are waiting for the dolly O.R. Generally, they are finished within a few weeks. I show the dolls restoration process by photographing and posting [on facebook].
Question: Do you collect dolls? If so, what kinds?
Answer: Yes! I do have a bit of an eclectic collection ranging from late 1800 China Heads to modern ball jointed dolls. Of course, after working for 14 years as the doll doc for Tonner Doll, I have quite a few of those, too.
I encourage you to check out Dr. Noreen’s site and facebook page for more information on her services. She did an excellent job on this 1930’s Quint and has become my go-to doll doctor for whatever dolls come my way in the future that are in need of a little TLC.
Have you picked up a grail item recently? Do you own a Dionne Quintuplet? Have you ever worked with Dr. Noreen? Share your thoughts in the comment area!
As usual, Madame Alexander had a gorgeous booth at Toy Fair. If they gave out awards for best thought out booth, Madame Alexander would win hands down! They had a ton on display. This is another booth where I highly recommend you watch the video presentation, linked at the bottom of the post. In this post, I’ll cover some of my favorite pieces in the showroom!
There were three bride dolls on display in the Madame Alexander booth. All were very pretty in their own unique way. My favorite was the Renaissance bride. She’s so pretty! Unfortunately, it sounds like she’ll be very limited and super pricey. They quoted these as being around (wait for it) $1,000 US dollars. A crazy price, in my opinion, but there’s no denying it– this doll is beautiful. It looks like she’ll be joining the long (and ever growing) list of Madame Alexander dolls I will most likely never own.
Another nice call back to their past are these three new releases, the Mystery Portrait Dolls. There’s a lot of back story with the 1951 Mystery Portrait Dolls, done way back when the company was still under the direction of Madame Alexander herself. They were created to reinvigorate the New York doll industry and were very, very limited. They weren’t even listed in the Madame Alexander catalogs! She went above and beyond to make these dolls super special, using the finest fabrics to create their outfits. Their 1951 faces are all hand painted and have quite a uniqueness to them. This video, linked below, is a great reference on the Mystery Portrait Dolls. You should check it out.
2016’s Mystery Portrait dolls are smaller recreations of the original 1951 series. They were very high up on the shelves in the booth, so it was hard to photograph them well, but here’s a shot of all three dolls we’ll be seeing this year. What I love about these three is their inspiration. Being a collector of the vintage composition and hard plastic dolls from Madame Alexander, I love that they are being influenced by their companies past.
There were many 18″ dolls on display. The two below are part of a new partnership with NASCAR.
Also on display in 18″ form were Disney princesses! Anna and Elsa were paired together and look so pretty!
Belle, Cinderella, Ariel and Rapunzel were showcased, as well. Each doll comes dressed in an iconic movie look. Beyond that, you can buy other movie inspired outfits for them to wear. For example, Belle comes dressed in her fancy yellow dress, but sold separately will be her winter outfit. I hope we see more movie inspired looks for these girls released over the years. It would also be nice to see them expand into more of the other princesses, like Pocahontas or Mulan (who I realize isn’t a princess, per say, but she’s awesome).
The Middleton Baby doll line is expanding with a more budget friendly price point for kids and collectors who want a little more realism in their baby doll sculpts. They really are very pretty. If I were a baby doll collector, I would find it hard to not have one or two of these!
Just look at that cute little face!
Are you a Gone with the Wind fan? If you are, you have something in common with the great Madame Alexander. She was a fan, too. In fact, the Madame Alexander company was the first company to make a Scarlett O’Hara doll. Rumor has it, Madame Alexander sent her doll to the producers of the epic movie prior to casting and that that doll had some influence on who they chose to play Scarlett (Vivien Leigh)! This new 2016 release is as stunning as ever, I think.
I’m not big on DC comics. I’ve always been a Marvel girl, myself. (Besides The Flash, which is must watch TV in my book!) There must be a huge DC market out there, though, because Madame Alexander (and other companies) had more than one DC themed release on display. On display were three ‘high fashion’ villains, like Harley Quinn, Joker and Penguin. They’re decked out in looks that are ready for the runway!
This little Harley Quinn and Super Girl were super cute, too.
You can see all the pictures we took in my Flickr album. Don’t forget to check out the Toy Fair video, too, linked below.
Did anything catch your eye? Let me know in the comment area!
This weekend, my mom and I went to the Naperville Doll Show. I wasn’t expecting much from it, to be honest. I had heard it was much smaller than the show we go to twice a year at the Kane County Fairgrounds. But surprisingly, both my mom and I came home with a nice selection of dolls.
My first purchase of the day was a dark skinned Sasha Baby. I’ve been keeping an eye on eBay for one recently to go with Caleb, Gregor and my tan baby. This doll was one of only a few Sasha’s out for sale. This black Sasha Baby has very dark brown skin. Later versions were lightened.
My Luts Aru got a new outfit thanks to the show, which rarely happens. Local forums Chi Town Dolls (and Dairyland, I believe) had set up shop at the show. While they had very few actual BJD’s for sale, there were some cute outfit. This outfit, made by May Day, caught my eye. At $15.00, this four piece outfit was a steal. My favorite thing about this outfit is the cute cape. It makes Aru look like she stepped out of an anime.
If January is any sign of what 2016 may bring to my collection, than I suspect I will need more room on my Madame Alexander shelf. I left this show with a 20″ Maggie face Annabelle. Like many of my hard plastic Madame Alexanders, this one comes to me redressed. Maggie’s poodle skirt and white shirt are very cute, though.
Last, but not least, I picked up this cute red dress for my Parnilla Ghastly. I ordered her Black Friday 2014 and since then, she’s been stuck in a really horrid looking black leotard. While this doesn’t fit her perfectly, it’s much better than the look she was wearing before, believe me!
See what my mom bought in the video below!
Overall, the Naperville Doll Show turned out to be a great success. I found some great dolls at great prices. Not a bad way to start the week! Have you found anything recently that you want to brag about? Share your thoughts in the comment area!
Amazingly, in one week, I won two of my Grail items on eBay. For years, I’ve been searching around for the perfect 1930’s Dionne quintuplet to add to my Madame Alexander collection. When I say perfect, I don’t mean I was looking for something so minty fresh it looked like it had just left the Alexander Doll Company. Of course, I wanted a Dionne with a pretty face and good limbs with no cracks for a good price. But, the main thing I wanted, was for the doll to have character, for it to call to me. And somehow, within the span of three days, two Madame Alexander Dionne Quints did that!
The first one I purchased isn’t actually here yet, so we’ll revisit that later. But the second Dionne is here! I am waiting for both to arrive to do a real photoshoot, but until then, here’s a photo or two to tide you over!
I suspect this Dionne quintuplet is Annette, because her dress looks like it could have been yellow at one time. However, I’m not sure and don’t think I’ll ever be sure. There’s a possibility Annette has, according to a few internet sources, a human hair wig. I’m still looking for a good resource on the Madame Alexander Quintuplets, as they released a lot of different versions from 1935-1939.
Annette is composition and 8″ tall. She has beautiful hand painted brown eyes. There are a few scratches on her face, but nothing very noticeable, considering she’s roughly 80 years old!
I’m beyond thrilled to have added this Dionne Quintuplet to my Madame Alexander collection. I can hardly believe another one, slightly different, is on the way to join her!
Have you added a grail item to you collection recently? Let us know in the comment area!