Author: Debbie Behan Garrett

From Cookie Cutters to OOAKs—the true value of a collection

I hand selected each of my dolls, which is why each one is dear to me; their monetary value is secondary.  Even my “cookie cutter” dolls, whose market value is relatively nil, possess sentimental value. They began my adult collection.  Dolls with unremarkable brown faces: (mostly manufactured, white dolls colored brown) with slight hair and accessory differences, that were usually overpriced,   whose frou-frou-to-themed fashions exceed the dolls’ values, and often acquired via mail order. These are my “cookie cutters.” The eventual purchase of my first artist doll led to the acquisition of my first vintage doll.  Years later, I acquired my first antique doll, which led to the ultimate possession of my first one-of-a-kind doll.  Doll searches, finds, and genre changes have remained constant. As doll selectivity improved with quality superseding quantity, I eventually acquired my first OOAK.  Immediately, that incited the desire to own another by a certain renowned artist. After learning of actress Demi Moore’s recently insured, two-million dollar doll collection , I briefly noted the cumulative value of my collection is meager in comparison.  Soon thereafter I realized my collection’s value is far from meager.  I collect dolls that are immeasurably precious to me, whose costs remain well within my financial means. Will my collection ever be valued two-million dollars?  This is extremely doubtful.  However, my collection remains priceless to...

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When Will the Real Obamas Arrive?

After Tuesday, November 4, 2008, I was prepared for an assortment of portrait dolls of the new White House residents, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. No one could tell me anything to the contrary, especially after viewing Tom Tierney’s, pre-election, Obama Paper Dolls: Collectible Campaign Edition (Dover, 2008). While not exact portraits of the first family, they are quite attractively done. Even at a glance, anyone can recognize who the four dolls represent. Tierney’s next tasteful paper doll set of the first family, President Barack Obama and His Family Inaugural Edition (Dover, 2009) followed. These two were must haves for me. I just knew someone would make three-dimensional portrait dolls of the first couple; surely they would. A deluge of “Obama” collectibles including three-dimensional dolls and figurines, both manufactured and individually crafted, have in fact reached the marketplace. Unfortunately, very few suit my collecting fancy. Dolls of the First Children are understandably off limits, but portrait dolls of their parents are desperately desired, preferably crafted by the same manufacturer or artist using the same medium (I want vinyl). I visualize them on display in my collection. I want them in the same fashion and timeframe as other dolls I desire, right now. Why was I not born a doll artist? My collection does include DID Corp’s 1/6 scale action figure, Barack,  which closely resembles the President,...

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Kissing Christie’s Freedom

A recent memory jog that I own Mattel’s Kissing Christie (KC) led to her location today. Stored on a lower shelf with a dozen or so other never-removed-from-box dolls, KC was freed for the first time in 31 years (based on her 1978 box date). Purchased NRFB (never removed from box), the doll has been part of my adult collection for approximately 15 years.       After today’s location of this cocoa brown complexioned doll that uses the Steffie face mold, I removed her from her box, examined her kissing mechanism, smoothed out her peach, lip-print dress, observed her peach ankle-strap shoes, and admired the colorful graphics on the sides and back of her box. I also took a few pictures of KC, in and out of her box. The box graphics illustrate all the things KC “can do.” She can wear special liquid lipstick, pucker her lips when the button on her back is pressed, and make kiss prints on note cards supplied by Mattel. I visualized little girls enjoying hours of KC play. The note cards supplied by Mattel, other pieces of paper, and parent-approved and possibly non-parent-approved surfaces were most assuredly used as lip-print targets by the 1970’s little ones who owned her. At the conclusion of this visual and after KC’s quick photo shoot, she was placed back in her box where she now rests on a more readily visible...

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If I Could Buy Any Doll Today

After surviving a week that seemed endless and experiencing extreme joy about the approaching weekend, I decided to make a cyber doll purchase.  This will not provide long-term gratification like an actual doll purchase, but the goal is for any form of doll gratification, real or fake. I asked myself, “If you could afford to buy any doll of your heart’s desire, which doll would you choose?”   I answered, “A Leo Moss doll!” I covet at least one Leo Moss doll for my collection.  Any one of his elusive and thousands-of- dollars-valued dolls, which date back to the late 1800s through the early 1930s, is certain to provide instant and long-term gratification. Moss, a native of Macon, Ga., and handyman by trade, sculpted doll heads of papier-mache without the use of molds.  He purchased manufactured bodies from a New York toy supplier. Moss used family members and friends as subjects for his dolls.   Research shows if a child cried during the sculpting process, he included the tears. A twist to this story:  Moss added tears to child dolls after his wife left him and all, except their youngest child, a baby, to run off with the NY toy supplier! When I actually acquire a Leo Moss doll, I will cry … tears of...

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