Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Secret Collection

I started collecting model horses when I was about seven years old... back in 1968 or so. By 1974, I had Hagen-Renakers, and visited the HR factory, where the gal who offered a tour was probably surprised to find a 13 year old who was an avid collector. I collected horses, on and off, for the next thirty plus years, and only recently stopped buying any new horses (except for those that I make or trade with other artists)

But collecting, like dandruff, doesn't go away that easily. No doubt we all collect something else... old phonograph albums, or frogs, or matchbooks. Postcards. Kentucky Derby glasses, otters, Victorian hair ornaments. There is something for everyone in the world... except for non-collectors. You know, those folks who have clutter free homes. Folks who can walk through a whole swap meet or antique store without finding one single thing that they want. Weird folks. Anyway....

I'm not much of a foofy gal. I currently own three decent pairs of pants, and four pairs of shoes. In total. Seriously. Haven't had a "hair cut" by a professional since my wedding. Just not into that sort of thing... but... I collect dolls.

No, really.


As in, little dressed mannekins of sweetness and light.

Can you believe it?

Only one kind, though. Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls.

I won't go into the history here, but I can tell you that the early dolls were porcelain, and the best of them were made in the 30's and 40's. Then they switched to plastic and the dolls didn't have the same appeal. And I do collect the old ones, some of which are worth hundreds of dollars, a very few worth over a thousand dollars. But currently, I collect the new ones. You see, a couple of sisters, who were collectors of the old ones, came across a listing of the FACTORY for sale. Seriously. It's like you or I coming across the HR factory for sale, on Craigslist or something. So, they did what any red-blooded collector would do... they bought it.

And made their own versions of the old dolls.

I collect those. And now I have them ALL!! Twenty-six dolls, some of which are very rare. One of them is from an edition of 20. It took several years to gather the 26 dolls, and the last one came just two days ago. It took detective work, and a lot of asking, and offering serious money. (Well, serious money compared to what the dolls generally go for, but model horse people would hardly flinch at the highest price)

Here are a few of my favorites:
(click on the images for larger versions)

"Nancy Ann Goes to the Circus", made for the San Joaquin Valley Doll Club, 2007, Edition of 80

"Queen of Hearts", made for the West Coast Gathering 2007, Edition of 20, all of the dresses hand sewn by the designer

"Goes to Mexico" set made for the Modern Doll Collectors Convention 2007, the blonde girl was the last doll that I needed, she was an edition of 26 and was made as the centerpiece for the luncheon tables.

Finally, here is one that I really love, she is in a garden that was made as the centerpiece for a doll convention. A group of doll collectors made these gardens, with their tiny potting benches and tools, the little butterflies and flowers and things. She is "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" and the garden has "Silver Bells and Cockle shells and pretty maids in a row"

Maybe I have a little, tiny, foofy corner in my soul after all.



Wearing History said...

I was trolling throught my journal feed and I was going to link you to a journal on Nancy Ann dolls, then I realized it was you! Haha.
I love this post! You are so unbelievably witty.
I'm so glad you found the last one!!! Yay!! Virtual cup of chai tea from me :)

Susan said...

Joanie, I saw that you collect all the New Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls. So do I. Did you get the new Pinkie and Blue Boy ones? I wanted to know which ones you had and a possible picture of them. Please email me - Thanks, Susan

Joanie said...

Hi Susan! I don't know which Susan you are, so please email me! Joanie

Susan said...

Joanie, this is the first time I've posted to your blog. My name is Susan Knapp and I live in Glen Burnie, MD.

Joanie said...

Susan, you can email me at: joanie (at) and we can chat about the dolls! (that is not my regular email but I won't give my email address publicly for spammers to find!) I have a spreadsheet with all of the info on them, and yes I do have Pinkie and Blue Boy! Joanie

Susan Knapp said...

Joanie, the latest NASB China doll is on ebay. I got mine already - Susan