Apr 232014

Elise’s ballerina outfits can be tricky to identify because most of them are very similar with only small changes from year to year.

Please note: Alexander used the same stock numbers repeatedly. The number at the end of the description refers to the source where a photo of the outfit may be found. See legend at bottom of page.

#1635 – 1957 – Pale or deep pink or blue ballerina tutu with attached nylon tulle skirt, satin bodice decorated with flowers has satin ribbon shoulder straps that tie in back; circlet of flowers in hair; pink tights; satin ballet slippers. Some have skirt sprinkled with sequins.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller luving_dolls

#1712 – 1958 – Pink ballerina costume; same as #1635 of 1957.

#1725 – 1958 – Pink ballerina tutu has skirt of multiple layers of nylon tulle, attached satin bodice with ruff of pleated tulle around neckline and floral sash; floral headpiece; nylon tights; satin ballet slippers. B&W in #1, color in #7

#1810 – 1959 – Gold Ballerina outfit with attached full gold net skirt, neckline trimmed with sequins; gold sequined tiara; pink tights; gold ballet slippers; gold earrings. Matches Cissette outfit #713. Color in #2 and #12

#1720 – 1960 – Ballerina tutu of shell pink pleated nylon tulle with satin bodice, decorated with rosebuds and rhinestones; shoulders straps are of tulle and there is a tulle sash gathered at the waist; coronet of flowers; nylon tights; ballet slippers. B&W in #1

#1825 – 1961 – Ballerina tutu with multilayered tulle skirt and taffeta bodice trimmed with flowers; shoulder straps are of tulle; coronet of flowers; tights; ballet slippers. B&W in #1

#1740 – 1962 – Tulle ballerina tutu in blue, pink or white has bodice decorated with sequins, attached tulle skirt sprinkled with rosebuds; pink hose; pink ballet slippers; rhinestone earrings. The blue version has gold sequins with a matching sequined headband; white version has white sequins; pink version has pink sequins and a headband of rosebuds. Color (blue version) in #2 and #6

#1720 – 1963 – Pink or Blue ballerina costume of satin bodysuit; separate pleated tulle tutu skirt with tiny pink roses, blue satin ribbon waistband; headband of pink roses; pale pink tights and ballet slippers; tiny rhinestone earrings.
#? – Year? – Blue tutu has satin bodice, gathered tulle around the armholes but not the neckline; pleated tulle skirt; spray of pink rosebuds hangs from waist and pink rosebuds scattered on skirt; tights and ballet slippers. Sold as an extra outfit.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Sources for this page include:

  1. “Madame Alexander Catalog Reprints 1942-1962, Vol. 1″ published by Barbara Jo McKeon
  2. “Madame Alexander’s Ladies of Fashion” by Marjorie Sturges Uhl
  3. “Madame Alexander Collector’s Dolls” by Patricia R. Smith
  4. “Madame Alexander Collector’s Dolls: Second Series” by Patricia R. Smith
  5. “Madame Alexander Collector’s Dolls Price Guide #23″ by Linda Crowsey
  6. “Madame Alexander ‘Little People'” by Marge Biggs
  7. “The Golden Age of American Dolls 1945-65″ by Cynthia Gaskill
  8. “Glamour Dolls of the 1950s and 1960s” by Polly and Pam Judd
  9. “American Dolls From The Post-War Era, 1945-1965″ by Florence Theriault
  10. “Patricia Smith’s Doll Values, Antique to Modern, Fifth Series”
  11. “Madame Alexander Catalog Reprints 1963-1972, Vol. 2″ published by Barbara Jo McKeon
  12. “Collector’s Encyclopedia of Madame Alexander Dolls, 1948-65″ by Linda Crowsey

Copyright 1997-2014 by Zendelle Bouchard

Apr 082014

Click on a thumbnail below to view a larger image.

Mar 112014

The first face of Elise, 1957-63.

Alexander’s Elise is the sometimes overlooked “middle sister” of their family of glamour dolls. Her sweet charm makes her a favorite of many collectors, however, and while she is most often found as a bride or ballerina, her day dresses and evening gowns are worth the search. Many of her outfits match Cissy and Cissette outfits. In 1958, Elise was sold as “Sweet 16″ in the FAO Schwarz catalog.

The second face of Elise, 1962-64.

Body Construction
The first version of her, manufactured from 1957 to 1963, is 16.5″ tall and hard plastic with vinyl arms. She is jointed at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles. She has sleep eyes with brush lashes and a glued-on wig. In 1962, Elise grew to 17″ tall with a vinyl head, although the hard plastic version continued to be produced. In 1962 and ’63, some versions of Elise were made with the pouty Marybel head mold, also in vinyl (see photo below). Elise’s jointed ankles enable her to wear flats, high heels or ballet slippers.

The hard plastic Elise head and body molds were also used for other dolls, including redhead Maggie Mixup in 1961, and Queen Elizabeth II, Scarlett O’Hara and Renoir Portrait in 1963.

Elise disappeared from the catalog in 1965 and returned in 1966 in a redesigned version without the joints at her knees, elbows and ankles. Elise dolls have continued to be produced occasionally throughout the years since.

The third face of Elise, 1962-63.

Elise is marked “Alexander” on the back of her head, below the hairline, and “Mme. Alexander” on her back.

Visit these pages for descriptions and photos of Elise’s clothing:

Photo courtesy of eBay seller luving_dolls

Copyright 1999-2014 by Zendelle Bouchard

Mar 102014

If you look at the comments on this site and on my Facebook page, you will see that the number one question I get asked is “How much is my doll worth?”
For several years I have been doing my best to research the values of dolls that people ask about (no, I don’t know them off the top of my head!) but I no longer have the time to do it. So, in this post I give the step by step instructions, so you can do your own appraisals.

The only way to know the monetary value of a doll, or any object for that matter, is to find out what similar ones have sold for recently. And the best place to find out what a vintage item has sold for recently is on eBay.

Step 1: You need to identify your doll before you can look it up. If you already know who your doll is, proceed to Step 2. If you don’t know who she is, check the back of the head, or her back, to see if there is a manufacturer’s mark. In this site’s Main Index, you will find the most common doll manufacturers listed. If your doll is unmarked, or just marked with numbers, post a photo on my Facebook page and I will try to help you identify her.

Step 2: Once you know who she is, or some more information about her, you can proceed to find her value. Start in the Dolls section of eBay, where most vintage dolls will be listed. There are a few dolls which might be listed in a different section, for example an advertising doll such as Swiss Miss or Tony the Tiger might be located in the Collectibles: Advertising section instead. If you’re not sure, you can always start on the
eBay home page.

Step 3: If you’re starting on the Dolls page, you’ll see a menu on the left side of the screen, with categories such as Antique, Art Dolls, Baby Dolls, Barbie, etc. If you know the manufacturer of your doll, such as Ideal, Effanbee, or Madame Alexander, click where it says “By Brand, Company or Character” and on the next page there will be a menu to select from. If the manufacturer can’t be determined, but you know what material the doll is made from, select “By Material” instead, and on the next page you can choose from Composition, Vinyl, Hard Plastic, etc. If you select “By Type” you will find categories such as Kewpies, Trolls, Nesting Dolls and Celebrity Dolls.

If you know your doll’s manufacturer, click on “By Brand, Company or Character” to go to the next menu.

Step 4: Once you are in the right category, use the search box at the top of the page to enter your doll’s name, or the name of the manufacturer if there isn’t a separate category for them. If you don’t know her name or who made her, you can enter some descriptive terms, but try to keep it as general as possible to start with. If you enter “14 inch vinyl girl doll blonde hair blue eyes pink dress white shoes” you won’t get any results because that’s too specific. You can always narrow it down later if you get too many results.

In this example, I am searching for Whimsies dolls in the American Character category.

Then click on the Search button.

Step 5: Once you click on the “Search” button, the page of results you get will be of dolls that are currently for sale. Ignore these! The asking price for a doll has nothing whatsoever to do with its actual value. A doll is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it. And the way to find out what someone is willing to pay is to look at ones that have actually sold. On the left hand side of the screen (you might have to scroll down a little) under “Show Only,” click on “Sold listings” to get those results.

These are the current listings. The prices of the dolls are listed in bold black type.

On the left side of the page, click where it says “Sold Listings” to find dolls that have sold recently.

Step 6: If you get some results on the Sold Listings page, the next step is to compare those dolls with your doll. To get an accurate value, look for dolls that are in similar condition to yours. When you click on a Sold listing, you’ll get a page trying to show you things that are currently available for sale. Look for the link near the top of the page where it says “See original listing” in tiny print. There can be a huge difference in value between a doll in mint condition, and one that has been played with. Read the descriptions and look at the pictures. Whether a doll has its original clothing or not can also affect the value. If you got no results under “Sold Listings” go to the next step.

The prices of Sold Listings are always shown in green.

Step 7: If you got no results under “Sold Listings,” go back and select “Completed Listings” instead. This will show you items that have sold as well as items that did not sell. While there can be many reasons an item didn’t sell (seller has too many negative feedbacks, listing doesn’t give enough information, etc) the most common reason a doll doesn’t sell is because the price is too high. So that will tell you something as well. For example, if you find a Completed (but not Sold) Listing, for a doll offered at $50, in similar condition to your doll, you can be pretty certain yours is worth less than $50.

On the Completed Listings page, the dolls with prices in green are the ones that sold; ones with prices in red did not sell.

Additional tips: Many dolls were made in multiple sizes, and the size can greatly affect the value. For example, a 26″ composition Shirley Temple doll is worth a lot more than an 18″ one, because the 18″ size is much more common. Life size baby dolls tend to be worth more than smaller ones. Original clothing can sometimes be worth more than the doll itself. If you can’t find any sold examples of your exact doll, try to find something similar, made in the same time period. If you have a lot of dolls to research, it might be worth investing in a subscription to Worthopedia, a site that compiles sold listings of all types of antiques and collectibles from the past several years, from eBay as well as live auctions and other sites. If you have a doll that is less common, you are more likely to find sold examples there.

I hope this helps you to figure out a value for your doll. Leave a comment if you have a question about the process.

Copyright 2014 by Zendelle Bouchard

Feb 242014

Note: the number at the end of the description refers to the source where a photo of the outfit may be found. See legend at bottom of page.

The following Portrait dolls used the Cissy head and body, but instead of being called Cissy, were sold under the names listed.

#2071 – 1955 – Scarlett
Soft white cotton gown with square neckline, lace and red ribbon trim. B&W in #3

#? – 1961 – Godey
Pale lavender satin or pink taffeta gown with two rows of matching narrow braid trim near hemline, flowers at waist; darker lavender jacket with trim to match gown, elaborate trim & fringe at cuffs; lavender straw hat with flowers, tied with blue or lavender tulle; full slip; lavender heels; iridescent earrings; solitaire ring. Color in #2, #6 and #7

#2230 – 1961 – Queen Elizabeth
Gold brocade gown; sash of the garter and jewels; long white fingerless gloves; tiara; jeweled earrings, solitaire ring and bracelets. Color in #8. Also with three piece brocade, short coat costume, pill box hat of tulle.

#2235 – 1961 – Melanie

Deep blue satin sleeveless gown with v-neck; white lace long jacket; cameo necklace. Color in #2 and #8

#2240 – 1961 – Scarlett O’Hara
Blue taffeta gown with black braid trim; matching coat & bonnet; crinoline petticoat; lace mitts; velvet reticule; cameo necklace; rhinestone earrings; tiny watch pin. Color in #2 and #8

#2245 – 1961 – Lissy
Mauve pink organdy sleeveless gown with overskirt of matching accordian-pleated tulle in three tiers, trimmed with gold sequins, flowers at waist; taffeta full hoop slip with six-inch tulle ruffle at hem; pink taffeta panties; stockings; silver sandals. Color in #2 and #8

#? – 1961 – Melanie?
Red moire taffeta long-sleeved gown with black braid trim; black feather boa; black straw hat with flowers; solitaire ring. Color in #7 and #8

Renoir Cissy by Madame Alexander #2250 – 1961 – Renoir
Yellow satin gown with full skirt; matching jacket with black sequin trim; black sequin handbag; large floral headpiece with black veil; full net petticoat; white taffeta panties; black sandals; cameo earrings & necklace; diamond ring.
Godey Cissy by Madame Alexander Godey Cissy by Madame Alexander

#2260 – 1962 – Godey
Gown with white organdy bodice trimmed with lace and rhinestones, bright orange skirt with pleated ruffles; orange velvet short jacket with elbow-length sleeves trimmed with white lace; natural straw hat with flowers, pink veil pulled to the back and tied with a bow and streamers; jeweled earrings, ring; amethyst & rhinestone wrist pendant on
long chain.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller lamoretti.

#2180 – 1962 – Queen Elizabeth II
Gold brocade gown; red & blue sash of the order of Bath; single loop tiara with one double loop in center front, three large stones; long crinoline slip; taffeta panties; gold slippers; long white fingerless gloves; two rhinestone bracelets; earrings; solitaire ring. Color in #2

#? – 1961-62 – Scarlett
White organdy gown with v-neck and elbow length sleeves trimmed in lace, three tiered skirt, dark green satin ribbon trimming neckline and skirt tiers, cameo brooch; large white hat with flowers; pearl drop earrings; ring.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Sources for this page include:

  1. “Madame Alexander Catalog Reprints 1942-1962, Vol. 1″ published by Barbara Jo McKeon
  2. “Madame Alexander’s Ladies of Fashion” by Marjorie Victoria Sturges Uhl
  3. “Madame Alexander Collector’s Dolls” by Patricia R. Smith
  4. “Madame Alexander Collector’s Dolls: Second Series” by Patricia R. Smith
  5. “American Dolls From the Post-War Era 1945-1965″ by Florence Theriault
  6. “The Golden Age of American Dolls 1945-1965″ by Cynthia Gaskill

  7. “Cissy: Identification and Price Guide” by A. Glenn Mandeville & Benita Cohen Schwartz
  8. “Madame Alexander Dolls 1948-1965″ by Linda Crowsey

Copyright 1997-2008 by Zendelle Bouchard