May 052011

Tonight I happened to catch an episode of the new TLC reality series “Pawn Queens” about a pawn shop outside Chicago that is owned by two women and two men. The show focuses on the female partners in the business and the fact that they buy and sell “girl stuff” in the shop – not just the usual guns, electronics and other “big boy toys” that most other pawn shops specialize in. Among the items they purchased in this episode were a light-up wedding dress, a baby stroller that converts to a bicycle, and a vintage ponytail Barbie doll.

The owner of the Barbie doll said that it was “an original 1959” doll and asked for $4,500. Only a #1 Barbie would be worth that kind of money, because she was only made for a few months. The doll was obviously NOT a #1, #2 or even #3 Barbie, and had a massive case of green ear. Worth a couple hundred bucks, tops. One of the pawn shop ladies agreed that it was an “authentic” doll, and stunned me by countering with an offer of $3,000! I was yelling at the TV by this point.

Now came the drama. One of the male co-owners pulled one of the women aside and informed her that they didn’t have $3,000 on hand. She had to swallow her pride and ask the Barbie owner to come back in a few hours after they scraped up some cash. I was hoping for their sakes that they woman had second thoughts about selling her “valuable” doll and didn’t come back. Alas, she did return. One of the guys ran down to a gold buyer with some jewelry and got some money. I was still yelling at the TV, but Chicago being halfway across the country, they couldn’t hear me.

I can’t say this bodes well for either the series or the business. I am a huge fan of “Pawn Stars,” the History Channel show about a very successful family-run pawn shop in Las Vegas. While they make the occasional bad purchase on that show too, they routinely call in local experts to advise them on the authenticity and value of items that they don’t know enough about. The “Pawn Queens” better take a lesson, or they might end up having to hock their own jewelry to pay the bills.

The photo above shows what #1 or #2 Barbie should look like – notice her eyes are painted only in black and white. (Photo courtesy of Loving Dolls.) The doll in the photo below has blue eyes, like the one the “Pawn Queens” purchased. This doll is a #3 – but the doll on the show had a darker skin color, indicating it was a later model Barbie.

Mar 212011

Oh, this is the stuff of my youth. Believe it or not, although I was born in 1962, I did not own a Barbie doll growing up. But I had this doll, Talking Julia. I also had Mattel’s Rock Flowers and Timey Tell and Hasbro’s World of Love. That was back when girls still played with dolls until they were 11 or 12. Now they play video games. Sigh.

Talking Julia doll by Mattel

Photo courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Talking Julia was made with the Twist ‘n Turn Barbie body and the Christie head mold. There was also a regular (non-talking) version of Julia who has straight hair and wears a nurses’s uniform.

View Talking Julia dolls on eBay!

Copyright 2013 by Zendelle Bouchard

Lenci Miniatures

 Cloth, Lenci  Comments Off on Lenci Miniatures
Mar 192010

We had a great program at the doll club meeting on Saturday by our member Susan Voake. She has a great collection of Lenci miniature dolls, sometimes called mascottes, and the program was very informative. These 9″ dolls were first made in 1928 or ’29, and Susan showed us how the designs of the dolls’ outfits changed during the depression, becoming less detailed. She also described features that enable a collector to tell a real Lenci apart from a knockoff. (One tip – many of the knockoffs have cardboard soled shoes, which Lenci never did.) Here’s a picture of a Lenci miniature from the upcoming Withington auction.

Vintage doll TV commercials on YouTube

 Fashion, Mattel, Vinyl  Comments Off on Vintage doll TV commercials on YouTube
Feb 182010

Did you know YouTube has vintage doll ads? They have several different ones from the ’60s and ’70s. I am starting to add them to the website (check out this hilarious one on the Bonnie Bride page), but here is one to whet your appetite. It’s for Mattel’s Rockflowers dolls, narrated by legendary disc jockey Casey Kasem.