For more than 250 years she resided in the Curtis estates of British aristocratic family, carefully passed from one generation to another. She was named Miss Timber, and although no one knew exactly why, it was easy to conjecture that the name was an acknowledgement of the tall piece of wood that went into her construction. She was, after all, a regal 27" tall, an extremely rare and luxurious size for a wooden doll of the mid-1700s, and her rarity was only enhanced by her wonderful original state of preservation. At Theriault's annual mid-summer Marquis Antique Doll Auction she soared to ever more heights, realizing $155,000 against a pre-sale of $35,000/45,000.
Miss Timber was not the only doll that occasioned a bidding war at the July 22 auction. There was also a fine 15" Grodnertal wooden doll known as "tuck comb" in reference to the carved ornamental hair comb at her crown. Included with the doll was a superb elaborate original trousseau comprising eight dresses, undergarments, bonnets and accessories. Her pre-sale estimate of $3500/4500 was quickly surpassed with a final selling price of $31,000.
The auction featured the collection of Mary Lou Rubright of Shoemakersville, PA, most carefully gathered during the 1980s. Lot #1 in the auction was a 22" French bisque doll from the 1915 era in her original Red Cross Nursing costume. Whether it was her artistic poignant expression which echoed the faces of nurses featured in famous WWI posters, or her provenance, including the existence of the nursing certificate earned by her original owner in 1917 just prior to joining the Red Cross nursing corps in war-torn France, the doll was in great demand, the final bidding between a collector whose mother had been a nurse, a museum which recognized the importance of the doll, and a front row bidder whose profession was, of course, nursing. Bidding ended at $57,500 against a pre-sale estimate of $8500/11,000.
Also from the Rubright Collection was the cover doll made by the German firm of Kammer and Reinhardt in 1910 from an original sculpture by the Berlin artist, Arthur Lewm-Funcke. The doll had been featured in various magazines including the cover of Doll News in 1969 with the apt description that he appeared to be a fine young man "deadly earnest about life, liberty and the pursuit of education." The doll realized $30,000 (pre-sale $18,000/25000). Another rare example from the Kammer and Reinhardt firm was also from their art doll reform movement of the 1910 era. It was the extremely rare model 104, also sculpted by Lewin-Funcke, whose daughter served as the model. It went to $75,000 (pre-sale estimate $60,000/85,000).
The auction featured 410 lots with many choices in all price ranges and categories and the standing-room only crowd stayed strong and vitalized during the entire fun-filled auction. All of the dolls with realized prices can be viewed at www.theriaults.com.
Theriault's next Marquis auction weekend is scheduled for the weekend of October 26 and 27 at the Westin Chicago North Shore. Saturday's antique doll auction will feature the important collection of the late Marilyn Bard of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and on Sunday, Part III of the Rodney Waller collection of Madame Alexander Dolls will take stage. For more information about either auction or to order the full-color art catalog visit www.theriaults.com or email email@example.com.