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Alexandra and Sidney Sheldon's exceptional collection of dolls up for auction at Bonhams
An extremely rare Lenci felt doll of Rudolph Valentino as seen in his film The Son of the Sheik. Italian, 1928/1929, Height 29 in. Estimate: $ 6,000 - 8,000.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Bonhams will offer the exceptional doll collection of Alexandra and Sidney Sheldon on June 24 at the Sunset Boulevard salesroom. Alexandra, a former actress, model, and advertising executive married the late Sidney Sheldon in 1989. Sidney won an Academy Award® in 1947 for screenwriting and created hit television shows like I Dream of Jeannie and The Patty Duke Show, all before becoming the seventh best-selling fiction writer of all time, authoring titles including 1973’s number one bestseller The Other Side of Midnight.

During their marriage, Alexandra introduced Sidney to collecting dolls, an interest inspired by her love of design, color and whimsy. The couple acquired an impressive collection over several decades, which graced their Paul R. Williams-designed Hombly Hills estate. Bonhams will offer the entire collection of well over 450 dolls on June 24.

A variety of esteemed international dolls makers are represented, including fine examples from the Italian maker Lenci. Made in the early 20th century, Lenci dolls were constructed of felt and renowned for their unusually large size and beautiful craftsmanship. The company had many celebrity fans in its heyday, including Josephine Baker and Queen Elena of Savoy.

An extremely rare Lenci felt doll of Rudolph Valentino, as seen in his film The Son of the Sheik, is the auction’s top lot (est. $6,000-8,000). Standing over two feet high, examples of the Valentino doll are scarce as it was discontinued only one year into production after the 1929 stock market crash. Lenci incarnations of famous fictional and historic figures will also be up for auction, including Madame de Pompadour (est. $800-1,200), Mozart (est. $1,200-1,600), Columbina (est. $1,800-2,000) and Madame Butterfly (est. $2,000-3,000).

Two Lenci felt “boudoir dolls” on offer are sure to raise eyebrows (est. $800-1,200 each), as are the “opium smoker” dolls from 1921, one of which comes with a pipe (est. $1000-1,500). Lenci dolls in traditional dress from Asia, Europe and the Middle East are also represented.

Other highly collectable makers on offer include R. John Wright dolls, Skookum dolls from the 1920s-1940s, Kewpie dolls, and German bisque-head dolls.

“We’re so pleased to offer the exceptional doll collection of Alexandra and Sidney Sheldon,” said Dana Hawkes, Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Consultant, and specialist in charge of the auction. “It’s an excellent opportunity for a new generation of collectors.”

Bonhams auction of the doll collection of Alexandra and Sidney Sheldon will take place on June 24 in Los Angeles. The auction will preview in Los Angeles from June 21-23.

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