The Austin Doll Collectors Society is an organization of antique, vintage, and modern doll collectors, dealers, and artisans. We meet on the first Monday of each month and our meetings are fun and educational. We begin with refreshments and socializing, and, following our brief business meeting, there is a special doll-related program and "show and tell." The Austin Doll Collectors Society is a nonprofit organization and is a member of the United Federation of Doll Clubs.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Video of 2014 KLRU Appraisal Fair

As an update to the January 28, 2014, posting about club members participating as appraisers in Austin's local PBS station's own mini-Antiques Roadshow, there is now a short video showing some of the highlights of the appraisal fair, including a few glimpses of some of the dolls, as well as the members.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

KLRU's Own Austin Antiques Roadshow

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!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Belated Holiday Party Pictures!

On December 9, 2013, the club had its annual Christmas Party.  Member Bette Birdsong generously opened the doors of her beautiful home to the club.  Her halls were amply decked with holly, as well as many other festive ornaments, both antique and modern.

Club members all contributed many delicious delicacies, resulting in a very lavish spread.

After everyone had eaten their fill, we were all invited to Bette's beautiful doll room to view her wonderful and wide-ranging collection.

Members who wanted to participate in the gift exchange brought brightly-wrapped packages, which were placed under an elaborately ornamented Christmas tree.

Eager members line up to select their presents.

Everyone seemed thrilled with their surprises!

Beverly Evans, who has her own flock of backyard chickens, received a most appropriate present.

Some members generously distributed additional holiday cheer.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 6, 2014, Meeting

In honor of the New Year, greeted by the popping of champagne corks, Sharon Weintraub did a program on "nippers," bisque and china novelty bottles made to hold a "nip" of alcohol.  These bottles were often given away as promotional items, gifts, prizes, or souvenirs. Most nippers were imported empty from Germany and were then filled and given away as gifts by bars, liquor stores, at dances or fairs, or by fraternal groups or other organizations. It is not unusual to find a bottle with a paper label containing the name and address of a bar or liquor store. Some rare nippers were specially designed for specific hotel or bar. Most of the bottles had comic themes, but also, perhaps to appeal to the male clientele the bottles were most certainly marketed to, many featured lovely ladies or ribald humor. Some of the most sought naughty nippers are those featuring bathing beauties. 

The vast majority of nippers were made by the company of Schafer and Vater, a firm known for its creativity, productivity, high-quality, and humor. Founded in 1890 in Germany, by Gustav Schafer and Gunther Vater, the company's mark is a "R" contained in a starburst, topped by a three-pointed crown. The "R" stands for Rudolstadt, the city where the factory was located. These blue and white nippers featuring bathing belles are a type of jasperware often used by Schafer. Unlike the jasperware produced by Wedgwood, in which the white portion is molded separately and then added to the colored background, Schafer cleverly figured out a way to produce the same effect in a single mold, by careful use of blue and white slip. Often Schafer produced the same bottle in jasperware, colored bisque, or in a brown or blue glaze, as well as in different sizes.
Nippers were made in a variety of sizes.  The four bottles in the background are nippers by Schafer, while the littler nipper in the front is from the German firm of Hertwig and Company.

The original "September Morn," now in the collection of the New York Museum of Metropolitan Art, was painted in 1912 by French artist Paul Chabas, and was once one of the best known and most reproduced paintings in the United States. After it was exhibited in the Paris Salon, where it won the Medal of Honor, the painting traveled to a gallery in Chicago, where it was displayed in the window of a local art store. The city charged the store owner with violating a city ordinance barring the display of lewd pictures. The ensuing trial and acquittal of the owner brought the painting to public attention. Subsequently, the picture journeyed to New York City, where, again on display in a gallery window, Ms. Morn caught the censorious eye of Anthony Comstock, leader of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Reportedly, an outraged Comstock charged into the gallery, declaring that there was "too little morn and too much maid!" After the gallery refused to remove the painting from display, Comstock threatened legal action, but never followed through. Surrounded by scandal, Ms. Morn became part of popular culture, reproduced on anything from fine art prints to cheap stick pins.  This blue-glazed bottle from Schafer parodies the public's reaction to Ms. Morn.

In addition to her nippers, in honor of the New Year, Sharon brought examples of a series of underdressed bisque belles literally sitting high on the hog.  In Germany, the pig is a sign of good luck and prosperity. A person who is lucky will say "Ich Habe Schwein Gehabt" (I have had pig). It is traditional to give gifts of candy or marzipan pigs known as gl├╝cksschweinchen (good luck pigs) around Christmas.  There are also a variety of antique New Year's postcards picturing a pretty miss on the top of a ponderous porker.  Considering these ladies are dressed only in their chemises and stockings, instead of  "good luck" pigs, these could be called "get lucky" pigs.

 Kathy Meador brought an example of a wonderful whimsical witch she made under the tutelage of new member, Mary McKenzie.
Kathy also brought a little bathing beauty from her collection.