Stephenson's Auction invites collectors to explore the enchanting world of Dolls!, October 1

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Stephenson's Auction invites collectors to explore the enchanting world of Dolls!, October 1
Madame Alexander 7in ‘Gretel’ doll from Little Betty series, 1930-1940. Excellent condition, complete with no fading. Retains original marked box. Estimate $250-$350.

SOUTHAMPTON, PA.- Sometimes simple is best, and that’s why Stephenson’s decided to get right to the point and call its October 1, 2023 auction “Dolls!” The entire session is devoted to the colorful world of dolls, their close pals – including Steiff plush animals ¬– and doll clothing and accessories. The doll-production timeline represented in the sale runs from the late 1800s through the 21st century. All forms of remote bidding will be available for the Sunday afternoon in-gallery session, including absentee and live online through LiveAuctioneers.

“This auction consists primarily of dolls from estates and collections in the Greater Philadelphia and Mid-Atlantic region,” said Cindy Stephenson, owner of Stephenson’s Auction Company in suburban Bucks County, Pennsylvania. “On the antique side, there are some fine French and German bisque-head dolls, and for those who collect contemporary dolls, there are many postwar and TV-related favorites in excellent condition with original boxes.”

European highlights include a Marseille (German) bisque Googly 241 with a bisque socket head, blue side-glancing sleep eyes, painted lashes and brows; and a five-piece toddler body. It is estimated at $800-$1,200. An 18-inch bisque Tete Jumeau fashion doll with blue paperweight eyes is stamped Tete Jumeau on the back of its head and is beautifully detailed with painted lashes, feathered eyebrows, and an open mouth with shaded lips. In very good condition, it will cross the auction block with a $1,500-$2,500 estimate. Another worthy Jumeau, also standing 18 inches high, has stationary eyes, an open mouth with molded teeth, and a cork pate with curly blond wig. The pre-sale estimate is $900-$1,200.

The American selection includes several Martha Chase (Pawtucket, Rhode Island, 1851-1925) cotton-stuffed cloth stockinette dolls. Chase dolls are beloved for their primitive style and charming oil-painted faces. The 1920s examples in the sale are estimated at $200-$300 each.

Lot 181 consists of two tagged and signed Judy Brown carved-wood dolls, each depicting a character named “Rose Marie” and wearing a dress tagged Judy Brown Sterling, Virginia. Dated 11/83 and 11/87 respectively, these dolls would make ideal companions for Judy Brown’s wooden Hitty doll, which was based on the main character of a 1929 Newbery Prize-winning book by Rachel Field titled Hitty – Her First Hundred Years. In excellent condition, the auction duo is estimated at $200-$400.

A very nice collection of 1950s Vogue Ginny dolls, factory clothing and accessories, all presenting in very good to excellent condition, has been apportioned into 32 auction lots. The hard-plastic doll that charmed little girls in the 1950s assumes many roles, as displayed by her well-appointed outfits. In this auction, Ginny appears as several storybook characters, a pageant winner, skier, fun-seeker, and both a bride and bridesmaid. The Queen of Hearts Ginny and Coronation Queen Ginny are each estimated at $300-$500, while a 1950 Ginny Half Century Miss 1910 doll is guided at $300-$400.

Fans of Madame Alexander dolls will find a plentiful array from which to choose, including not only the company’s enduring character dolls but also clothing and accessories dating from the 1930s through the early 21st century. An Alexander 1930s/’40s composition and cloth Baby McGuffey Ana doll, 24 inches long and wearing its tagged and all-original dress, coat and bonnet outfit, could reach $300-$400. From the same timeframe, a boxed 7-inch “Gretel” doll from the Little Betty series carries a $250-$350 estimate.

Nearly two dozen lots were sourced from a carefully preserved collection of mint/boxed Jem dolls, clothing and accessories, all in their original packaging. The Jem toy line of rock-star fashion dolls was launched by Hasbro in 1986 and only lasted two years. Like many toy lines of the 1980s, the Jem doll range was promoted through an animated television series. The main character led an exciting dual life as Jerrica Benton, co-owner of Starlight Music Corporation, by day; and Jem, lead singer of Jem and the Holograms, by night. The auction selection features thoughtfully assembled group lots, for example a mint/boxed quintet that consists of two Rock ‘n’ Curl Jems together with three Starlight Girls: Krissie, Ashley and Banee. Estimate: $300-$600

Other auction highlights include a 1972 Kenner Blythe “Lounging Lovely” doll with stand, $800-$1,200; and 1966 Mattel Kiddles. A wonderful selection of vintage and special-edition Barbies will be auctioned, as well as tagged Barbie clothing. A blond #4 Ponytail Barbie in a striped swimsuit, with its original box, stand and 1961 brochure, is entered with a $200-$400 estimate. Tonner’s glamorous fashion doll Ellowyne Wilde will put her best foot forward in a variety of perfectly accessorized ensembles. Individually boxed examples are estimated at $200-$400, while a group lot of three dolls correctly packaged in two boxes is offered at $300-$500.

A one-of-a-kind artisan’s replica of the famed Roseland Ballroom – which opened in New York City in 1919 – lights up to showcase papier-mache dancing couples, spectators and other figures. Handmade and highly detailed, its diorama-like view also shows a bar with bottles on shelves, a pianist, and Japanese lanterns strung across the ballroom. Estimate: $400-$600

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