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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Morphy Auctions May 17-18 Doll & Miniatures debut auction stars Yvonne Baird, Virginia Gordon collections

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy Auctions’ recently launched Doll department, headed by specialists and co-directors Becky and Andy Ourant, will present its premiere 1,200-lot auction on Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18 at the Morphy Auctions Gallery in Denver (Adamstown), Pa. The high-end, three-session event features exquisite antique dolls and dollhouses, as well as candy containers, artists’ dolls and teddy bears; paper dolls and an extensive array of fine Schneegas, Walterhausen, silver, ormolu and other dollhouse miniatures.

“We’re delighted and very proud to be able to launch our department with such great quantity and quality,” said Becky Ourant. “It’s a very well-rounded selection, with something for everyone.”

The sale will open with 340 lots of antique dolls from the personal collection of Yvonne Baird, including such prestigious makers as Jumeau, Bru, Gaultier and Simon & Halbig. Coveted cloth dolls by Kathe Kruse and Chase comprise another of the sale’s featured categories. Chase characters include a 40-inch “Chester” doll with a steamer trunk full of clothes and provenance from the Atlanta Toy Museum, a Mammy and a very rare George Washington in its original box.

Yvonne Baird’s personal doll collection, which is featured exclusively in the first of two consecutive sessions on Saturday, also includes French fashion dolls, china dolls with many different hairdos, a bisque bathing beauty collection, Schoenhut dolls, teddy bears and an Effanbee doll designed by Dewees Cochran (with hang tag) that originally belonged to Gloria Vanderbilt.

“Yvonne is a very well known dealer and collector who has always had an eye for originality and dolls that have a special quality,” said Becky. “She wisely bought early Simon & Halbigs with molded hair, and they’re sure to be popular with bidders in this sale. You just don’t see this many in one sale. Yvonne also owned Simon & Halbig twill-bodied fashion dolls. They’re so hard to find, but she had several, including a Peddler and a Nun. And then there are the early portrait Jumeaus – Yvonne’s collection includes a rare size 4, which has the earliest mark on it. It’s a very important doll and could bring $30,000 or more.”

Many exceptional, all-original Schoenhuts will be auctioned. There are molded-hair girls and boys, and pouty faced dolls with wigs, many in their original clothing and shoes. Additionally, there are three early Steiff teddies.

Among the dollhouses in Yvonne Baird’s collection is an English circa-1880 St. Elmo model, formerly in the famed Dina Vierny collection that was sold in 1996 at Sotheby’s London. The 25-inch-tall by 24-inch-long by 19-inch-deep dollhouse features a beige painted façade with double-story bay windows, metal downspouts and a paneled front door with transom. The roof is of hand-carved shingles and accommodates two chimney stacks. Each side of the house opens to reveal an interior of four rooms with original wallpapers and paint decoration. The outside is just as tidy as the inside. It has a nicely detailed, fenced, green-painted garden, and a faux-painted tiled walkway. The dollhouse carries a presale estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

One of the sale’s predicted high-flyers will be presented in the second Saturday session, immediately following the Baird collection. It is a very rare French “H” (Halopeau) bébé, standing 24 inches tall and dating to around 1880. Dressed in period clothing of pink silk and lace, the doll is estimated at $50,000-$70,000, but a past price of $100,000 has been recorded on an example of this doll, “so anything could happen,” said Ourant.

Other stars of the Saturday afternoon session include a couture-dressed Jumeau, two 8-inch Steiner (French) bébés, one accompanied by a wardrobe; and a size 1 Jumeau with wardrobe.

A special highlight of both the Saturday afternoon and Sunday sessions, the Virginia Gordon collection is beautifully replete with bisque French fashion dolls (by Bru, Gaultier, Barrois, Rohmer, etc.) and German dolls, many of them accompanied by elaborate wardrobes. Additionally, the collection contains many small French bébés, English poured-wax dolls and around a dozen French mignonettes (highly sought-after all-bisque dolls made in Germany but dressed in France in couture outfits and sold as pocket dolls in the 1880s). Another stand-out is Virginia’s very rare 10-inch Kestner all-bisque doll with jointed knees, complete with wardrobe.

Other nice additions include a fine selection of action Kewpies and Kewpie dolls, a long-face Jumeau designed around 1880 by the celebrated French sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, a late-1870s circle dot Bru, and a highly desirable Bru Jne, with wardrobe.

Another key lot is the Kathe Kruse Schlenkerchen – a very interesting doll, said Becky Ourant, “because it is the only smiling doll among Kathe Kruse’s early productions. It’s a doll that is very much in demand with collectors.”

Other highlights of the Saturday afternoon lineup include SFBJ character dolls and JDK characters, led by a rare JDK 241 (known as “Hilda’s older sister”) and four examples of Hilda dolls. “Again, these are dolls that are extremely popular. Many would consider them essential to a fine doll collection.” The doll group is well rounded with a selection of Kammer & Reinhardt characters, including a 101, 114, several 117s (a classic model), and a model 100 Kaiser baby.

The Saturday session will conclude with a single-owner collection of approximately 50 papier-mâché holiday candy containers, including Halloween, Christmas and Easter characters. Among the many coveted containers are a Santa coming out of the chimney, Santa riding a reindeer, plus an array of animals including horses, a goat, zebra and bull, “all of extremely fine quality,” said Becky. Also in the grouping are Dresden candy containers and lithographed tin Easter eggs. “It’s a very colorful, beautiful and early collection,” Becky observed.

On Sunday, the auction fun begins with more of the Virginia Gordon collection, opening with about 55 lots of rare, early paper dolls. The grouping includes uncut Kewpies, Lettie Lane and McLoughlin paper dolls, and a particularly rare copyright-1811 S. & J. Fuller “The Protean Figure and Metamorphic Costumes.”

Next up will be 150 lots of antique and artisan miniatures, with a mix of 50 percent antique and 50 percent modern. Within the silver array, there are many teasets, hollow ware, etc. “There are some amazing miniatures and dollhouse dolls in this collection,” said Becky. “They are simply superb.”

Many collectors are expected to vie for the keys to the large and wonderful dollhouses, including two mystery houses, examples by Bliss and two well-made contemporary dollhouses. A highlight is the circa-1912 Gottschalk red-roof dollhouse with eight rooms, three porches and an under-stairs bathroom with toilet. The mansion is estimated at $4,000-$5,000.

The Sunday offering of French and German dolls, as mentioned above, will be interspersed with artists’ dolls – many of them very limited edition and handmade – by such renowned designers as Ella Haas, Hildegard Gunzel, Avigail Brahms, and Lynn and Michael Roche. “These are very high-end productions – true artists’ dolls,” said Becky. “The woman who collected them had kept her receipts for all the dolls, which indicated their high value even at the time she purchased them. They were very limited edition and are very valuable. The owner also had reference books in which many of the dolls are pictured.”

Other significant categories in the Sunday sale include approximately 50 lots of acclaimed R. John Wright dolls, many of them early releases, from the Ann Doorley collection; and hundreds of artists’ bears by Ted Menten, Cindy Martin, Ardie Sison, David Scarpati, Karen Meer and many others.

There are many other nice surprises in the sale, Becky said, such as doll beds and accessories, carriages, horses on rockers and platforms; trunks, fainting couches and other furnishings. “Every preview showcase is topped by a display piece, and some are very special. This sale includes two very important doll collections, and since we took both in their entirety, the quality of all the extra additions is absolutely wonderful, as well.”

The auction begins at 10 a.m. on both days, with the preview commencing at 8 a.m., however all items are presently on display and able to be previewed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. any day of the week except Wednesday at Morphy Auctions/Adamstown Antique Gallery, 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver (Adamstown), PA 17517. All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, phone, and live via the Internet through eBay Live Auctions. The entire electronic catalog may be viewed online at or A hard copy of the catalog may be ordered for $45 postpaid to U.S. or Canadian addresses, $55 overseas.

For additional information, call Morphy Auctions at 717-335-3435 or e-mail [email protected]. Morphy Auctions is a subsidiary of Geppi’s Entertainment Auctions & Publications.