On January 11, 2014, Austin's local PBS station, KLRU, sponsored a mini-version of the popular Antiques Roadshow for local donors.
Members Jenell Howell, Elaine Jackson, and Sharon Weintraub volunteered as appraisers at the Doll and Toy Table.
The day was full of unusual finds and treasures. This child's folding rocking chair was made by the Collignon Brothers, who invented the first folding rocking chair in 1868. The story goes that one of the brothers, watching pioneers trying to pack bulky rocking chairs in their wagons, was inspired to invent a chair that could be folded for easy moving. The factory flourished for decades, producing all sorts of folding chairs.
Elaine and Jenell examine an unusual quartet of cloth dolls. The doll's owner said that she had been told that when her mother was 10-years-old and bedridden with diphtheria, a neighbor woman made the dolls and gave them to her mother.
Instead, the owner was thrilled to learn that the dolls, representing the "Little Women" of Louisa May Alcott's popular book, were in fact the creations of early doll artist, Frances Elinor Diecks. She married famed French doll artist, Bernard Ravca in 1943, so these dolls are prior to her marriage. The four dolls are beautifully made and are in wonderful condition. Each had a paper label under her skirt with her name and Diecks' signature. These dolls are not common, and finding all four together is a true treasure!
Lights, camera, action!
Two women brought in several delightful dolls from their mother's collection. Here Jenell examines a sweet little Simon and Halbig child. . . .
and her sister, by Schoenau and Hoffmeister.
Another Simon and Halbig, this time all original, from the bow in her hair to her fancy shoes.
As you can see from our appraisers' faces, it was a day of fun and finds!