So you think you know about doll collecting

People collect just about anything – ceramic lighthouses, pine cones, left-handed tea pots. One individual collected hundreds of ring-pulls from different soft drink tins (and used them to make a chain-mail ring-pull shirt in fact. How would you iron such a garment? Could you put it in the tumble drier? If you did would that invalidate your guarantee?!)

But there’s one collectible that has long endured while other collecting fads came and went. Demi Moore and Sophie Ellis Bextor collect them. And you may be hornswoggled to learn that John Wayne himself collected them too. I am speaking of course about dolls.


Now before shouting ‘You can not be serious!’ in a John McEnroe accent, let me tell you just how serious doll-collecting can get. Bonhams of Knightsbridge, London, the esteemed auction house, recently sold a rare, German, Kämmer and Reinhardt character doll thought to be the only one of its kind in existence. The price tag was a shave under a bank account busting quarter of a million pounds. That’s enough money to support the average wage earner and his family for ten years. That’s a lot of doll.

I’m willing to credit the buyer with having more sense than money, but those new to the doll collecting game and non-collectors alike still harbour ill-informed ideas in flavours varying from mildly bonkers to seriously daft.

barbiedollFor example, some Barbie dolls have the figure ‘1966’ stamped on their plastic derrieres. wannabe collectors claim that these are worth a bob or two. They’re not. The figure ‘1966’ is simply the patent date. Novel though having a date-stamped butt may be, such Barbie dolls are more common than pigeons in Trafalgar Square. They are therefore unlikely to finance your next Mediterranean cruise nor help you stroll down easy street to retirement.

Another common misunderstanding is that only prune-faced old biddies collect dolls. In fact anyone at any age could be a collector—a next door neighbour, the man who comes round in the fish van every Tuesday, or your solicitor for instance. Yes, but surely only women collect dolls, I hear you cry. Isn’t it a gender thing? No. Most collectors are female but men collect too.

Perhaps one of the reasons why so many people collect dolls nowadays is that they can be regarded from so many perspectives. Are collectible dolls toys? Works of art? Conversation pieces? A little bit creepy? Or all of the above?

A couple of other misconceptions about doll collecting relate to cost. Some say that only rich people can afford antique dolls. Not so. You can buy antique dolls for about £70. Others believe that all dolls bought off the Internet are made from cardboard toilet roll inner tubes and the unravelled wool from their great aunt Maude’s Christmas cardigan collection. Wrong again. Dolls in all sorts of price ranges sell online, just like any other commodity.

Probably the biggest myth around doll collecting is that if a doll is old then it must be valuable. This is what’s known in the doll collecting world (and everywhere else, come to think of it) as a load of old flannel. If this were true—that ‘old’ was indeed ‘valuable’—I’d be worth more than that German doll.

Hypnotique Vintage Max Factor Perfume Cat

This was quite a lucky find. It’s not worth a fortune (perhaps $30) but it is quite collectable – and we found it in with a box of bits that my sister had purchased at a local sale for less than $2. It was a complete surprise to find it in there as she had only bought the box for the sleep timer she had seen in it, so this was a nice little bonus.

maxfactor perfume cat

It is a Max Factor perfume called Hypnotique sold in the 1950s we think (or possibly 60s) and is in a plastic dome with a yellow cat in a feather boa and pearl necklace. When trying to find out more about them we have also seen what looks to be the same thing with different colored cats (blue, pink and black) so think there are at least four colors to collect.

A pretty nice find from a box of rubbish :-)

Eggstraordinary Sale

Food prices may have been rising lately, but this takes the biscuit (and helps make the cake) – a single chicken egg has just fetched £480.

round egg

And apparently it is not the first time that a perfectly spherical egg has been sold for a substantial sum.

Gina Read, editor of a free online magazine for backyard chicken keepers, said “when I first started keeping chickens, with the initial coop costs and everything else involved, we would often joke that the eggs were costing hundreds of pounds a dozen – now it seems that is true :-)”

The owner of the clever hen, Kim Broughton, was surprised when it had been bid up to £20, so must have been shell-shocked when it reached it’s final price.

Gina added “I am surprised it got as much as that, and very pleased for the charity. Hopefully this will encourage more people to think about keeping chickens – although don’t expect too many round eggs, they are quite rare.”

Keeping Chickens Newsletter :

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London Calling


Would you pay almost $2000 for this phone ?

Someone did ….


This princess style, rotary wall phone dating from the 1960s recently sold for nearly $2k. Why? Well apparently, according to one kind viewer, it is a rare prototype telephone that ultimately became the Trimline telephone, made by Western Electric and looks like what is called a “Shmoo” phone, so called after the cartoon character.

This was a total surprise to the seller who started the auction off at just $10.

It just goes to show how items will find their own value if given a chance.

The day before the auction ended the bid price stood at $225. Three bidders battled it out in the last minute to jump from $225 to $1964.88 – never, never end an auction early…

“Vampire Bat” sells for over $1400


Chances are you don’t have one of these sitting in the cupboard but if you do it could be worth over $1k.

In this solid mahogany coffin with its hinged lid, brass fittings and view glass, measuring 24cm long and 12cm wide…lies a bat.


Although not particularvaluely fashionable these days antique taxidermy still has many collectors and a quick look at the tv listings will tell you how popular vampires are at the moment.

This unusual item recently sold for £895 uk pounds in an online auction. It’s not my cup of tea, but I dare say it’s made somebody very happy.