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Dolly's Not Long At The Fair
( Article orginally published July 1952 )
This is how it happened. I went to the Eastern States Antiques Fair at White Plains on opening day, May 5th. I arrived at 1:05. Immediately I started looking for dolls-and Mary Gregory glass. When I arrived at the booth of Charlotte & Edgar Sittig, from Shawnee on Delaware, I saw this pair of dolls. My heart skipped a beat or two. Anyhow, I had that peculiar feeling that even the most seasoned of collectors have when they find something they have been looking for. This was it! A pair of 18th century carved wood dolls. All wood, that is. Faces and necks, forearms and lower limbs painted; painted hair, and the cutest rouge spots imaginable on the cheeks. 18th century mind you, somewhere in the era when Duncan Phyfe began making Directoire styled furniture.
I stood there, looking at the poor things, all naked, and hanging by their midriffs, on cords. Oh, how I wanted them! I dressed them in three different costumes in five minutes; in my mind, that is. A boy and a girl doll! A perfect pair! Articulated at hips, shoulders, elbows and knees.
I asked the price. Amazingly, it was quite fair, as doll prices go, for dolls this old, and all original. $165 for the two. But, I have a secret pact with my husband. No antiques buying for amounts over $100 without a family conference! So I scrammed home for the conference, which I knew I was going to win. And did. And then, when I went back for the dolls, they weren't there. They had been sold. So I went home again, and sat down and cried like a little white cloud on a dark day.
The dolls are now in other hands, probably as loving as mine. And all I get out of it is a new pact. From here on we have family conferences only about purchases over two hundred dollars.