JUNE 12, 2009 2:53AM

For Gary........... Antique Faces

Rate: 31 Flag


I am not a nutter who takes pictures of her dolls just because I'm a nutter. I take the pictures because I sell them online. They are all a minimum of 80 years old but most are 100 and over. I restore them all and I have documented the restoration of a few here. I typically document them all but this is already photo intensive so I just picked a handful to illustrate the before and after stage.


My mother had a wood composition doll when she was little (shown below with crying brother b/c he had to take the little doll.) I was fascinated with that doll. It was so perfectly hideous but I was compelled to drag it out every time I went to my grandma's house. It's hair was smushed and looked like a football helmet. I loved how the eyes creeked when the opened and closed, but I hated the mouth breather look that was supposed to be a smile. I thought all composition dolls were ugly, like my mother's until I was in my mid 30's.

Mama and doll 5x7007_1_1 These dolls have been ravaged by time and elements and they are in desperate need of restoration. I taught myself how to do and honestly it took about a year before I was a pro. And my mom finally agreed to let me restore her doll as well.







This is the doll from Miracle on 34th Street, held by young Natalie Wood near the end of the movie. This is typical "before" condition.



Natalie Wood and Squggle Curl Doll


Patti Playpal is only a late 50's/early 60's doll so they are just vintage (same doll in Gary Justis' post)










Kewpie had a shattered torso and a bad paint job on it's face. I restored this exceptionally rare sized wood composition Kewpie and sold it for $900.



I made this doll from a mannequin.








This doll among a few others, now lives behind glass in a doll museum.











SavageHusband Loves Dolls (not really)

Mark and Peggy

Manny the Mannequin


One of OldestSavageSon's friends having a go at Manny the Mannequin








Eyes move from side to side. This doll had a clump of human hair tucked inside it. It came from Germany and was made in the early 30's. There is also an inscription on the neckboard.



It says in German, "My daughter, my love, forever."



Dimples Gown_2












Damn it Shesham! (cat knocked it off the table)



But luckily, I'm a doctor...







Me and Velvet

Linda and Velvet icon-1

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Your work is astounding, but dolls give me the creeps and I bet they always will.
What have they seen indeed! Awesome pics - rated and peece! DJ
I bet there are lots of interesting stories to go with these dolls. Good work.
Wow. You are really good at antique doll restoration.
Your work is beautiful and it looks like it can be very time consuming and tedious. You have the patience of a saint I think. I love dolls and I fear dolls! I had a Thumbelina doll and several Madame Alexander dolls as a child. When I went to Germany, the first thing I did was purchase a doll for my daughter. My son lived in the apartment in Chicago where "Chucky" was filmed falling out of the window. I have been in doll shops with hundreds of dolls and doll parts lying around and it really creeped me out! Yet, I loved buying them for my daughter. Go figure...
dolls can be creepy.. like they are going to wake up when your not looking at do......... stuff!
but hey, sounds like a great way to make a buck and
it's pretty obvious you love what you do and are quite
the master at it....
You do an amazing job on these old dolls.
Don't you wonder about the facial expressions and what the person who made them was thinking? I am particularly thinking of the one in the sweater sitting in from of the book. Now, Kewpie, on the other hand, is the expression to which I most closely relate.
My, you are incredibly talented! So my guess is that you are in the market for antique dolls that are in less that perfect condition? I don't have any, but I can keep my eyes open. (much like a doll's)
Looks like you do awesome work. The manny the mannequin doll looks like Glenn Beck! lol rated.
Very cool! I kept thinking of a series of books I just read with my kids "The DolL People", "The Meanest Doll in the World", and "Runaway Dolls". Kids chapter books but you should check them out, they are about a secret world of dolls. I have a 100+ year old doll that could use your TLC -maybe someday I'll send it your way!
I have a feeling Pretend Farmer is going to think there is a conspiracy against her. First Gary's post and now yours! (She is a pediophobe - has the BIG fear of dolls).
What you do is amazing and I'm sure it brings great joy to those who love dolls. Incredibly detailed work with no room for error, I'm sure. Your talent shows!
That is unbelievably creepy, and so very cool! You do wonderful work.
They all have different personalities, don't they? Beautiful work. What did Gary say?

Thanks for sharing your passion with us. It's so cool to see all the different expressions and postures of these dolls. I especially like the flopped on his tummy finger sucker in yellow and the pair of snickering smilers who look they're really up to something (even if they're disembodied)
Some outstanding pictures of dolls. But I'm with Ablonde... there is a creepiness to them.

- rated for the varity

Thank you for doing this post! Very, very cool. You still owe me a write-up though, remember? But I'll take this as a downpayment... :)

Really nice work.
Savage.....I am speechless! A truly wonderful collection of images. Your collection is impressive, with emphasis on toddlers?
You have superb skills in working the materials of these treasures.

I think I'm most impressed by the work with the boy doll w the sweater, in front of the book. Thank you for this enchanting piece!
YOU are unbelievable!! Where do you find the time to do all of this along with your art work....and raising a family...and writing about it all?!!! The dolls are incredible. I've never seen so many old dolls in one place. I bet Gary was overwhelmed with this post of yours!
Ooops! I just noticed that Gary's comment was right before mine! I was right, he was impressed!
Your talent is undeniable - the restorations verge on the miraculous - and if ever we meet, it will not be at your house, because even if they are in an enclosed room, I now know that there will always be sufficient numbers of them to break down the door and suck my brains out. But that's just me.

Most of all, though, your work really is amazing - and very meaningful to those who receive your work. (It probably will also get you immunity when the dolls take over the world. Just sayin' - every army needs a doctor!)
Amazing artistic gift you got going. When will I see ya on the Antiques Roadshow? Rated for Artistry!
What an amazing collection, both of dolls and photography. My husband looked over as I slowly scrolled down and said, "Who's child?" He was blown away they were dolls. Awesome work from someone with awesome talents.

This is fascinating, and you do excellent work!

But still, I don't know if I'd want to spend the night at your house...

Some of these really creep me out. I am have Chucky flashbacks.
How wonderful! Some dolls look like angels; others scare me a little... How do you sell them? Do you go to fairs? or online? And what about the clothe? Do you make them too? I´m impressed!
your work is amazing and the photos are fantastic! now, i really want to take pictures of dolls.... :)
Love you girl and respect your art, but can't love the freaky glass eyes ...

LOL :)
Excellent look at your work, and excellent work.

The word creepy keeps coming up in these comments. I had no idea how many people seem to have a doll phobia. Guess I missed that part of growing up. Kind of glad I did. But I have other phobias to make up for missing out on this one. ;-)

Scary...creepy...but I can't look away. Rated.
Wow, see, this is what I get when I sleep for a full 8 hours! ;-)

Ablonde - thanks and yes the dolls do creep most people out. It's actually the creepy aspect that makes me love them so. The creepier the better! But to be creepy AND cute is really cool. I have one that is adorably cute, but one eye is cracked down the center like a cat's pupil. I love that doll.

dj - thanks - the personal historical aspect of them fascinates me.

Natalie - Sometimes I do know the stories and sometimes I just have to wonder. When I do know the history, if I sell it, I pass that information along to the new owner.

littlewillie - thanks!

MiddleAged - I never saw Chucky, but I did see Poltergeist and that scene where the clown doll attacks the boy is where my love of creepy ass dolls came from. I had a clown collection when I was a teen which was amassed from desperately searching for one like the clown in that movie.

Trig - you crack me up! ;-D
When I was 5 or 6 I spent the night along with my older sister with a couple of her friends (both older than me) and one of the friends told me they had a Playpal doll (the life size one like in Gary's post) and one night it came to life and went to her brother's room and started choking him. She said her dad, dismembered it and put it in the attic. I was too terrified to move all night. Then at home I became afraid of my cheap playpal knock off which had a zombie-esque face with almost glowing, wide staring eyes. I got over it, obviously. ;-)

lifehalflived - I am partial to the somber expressions. They seem to capture the very essence of nostalgia. But some dolls are SO hideous, I gotta wonder who was at that board meeting and said, "YEAH! Now THAT'S cute!" ??? Some of them even look like little old man heads on a babies body! And I mean a little old man who is around 95 years old and was never attractive to start with (the infant in Benjamin Button!) Some, like the fun-house looking clown dolls are nothing short of horrifying with totally evil faces and sinister grins.

Michael - always lookin for more dolls.

Sagejournal - I think you're right! LOL!

mamoore - no shit? I gotta buy that series! Of course I won't be reading it to my boys. The girl is not at all afraid of dolls, so she can handle it.

Cartouche - that is so common, I already knew but further evidence is in the comments here. I wonder, seriously, what it is about dolls that people find frightening or creepy -all Chucky type movies aside? Because even people who have never seen a movie with a crazed live doll in it, are afraid of them as well. Any ideas on that,anyone?

Marple - yes creepy and cool. My house is Halloween all year round. One day, when I have enough cash flow, I'm going to buy an awesom mannequin from a lady I know who repaints them like the undead (no blood), and costumes them in authentic antique clothing. There is a recess in the hall wall upstairs and that hall twists and turns and you can never see too far ahead of yourself. The recess in the wall is right at one of the turns - I will put her (the undead mannequin) there for a good shocker.

deepcleav- I see we share the same taste for the beautifully creepy.

denese - the personalities are very different and seem to take on trends by the half decade (of make) - copycat marketing.

Noisy Nora - the snickering pair amaze me. Who is the hell would have made these for a kid??? Did you notice one of them has HORNS coming out of his forehead?

gmgaston - I agree but since I like creepy it's cool with me, but I have to admit, some people DO have trouble spending the night here. It's not just the dolls. It's the mannequins, the creepy antique portrait paintings, the darkness of this house after sunset, the statues, the decor in general, plus our resident ghosts (we have 2 and almost everyone who has spent the night here has seen at least one of them).
Just call us the ADAMS FAMILY! ;-D
love the pic of the old lady doll sitting on the can! And SavageSon & Manny--hilarious!

Seriously, though, amazing work you do! very impressed!
Amazing work, but most dolls always look sad to me.
Your work is amazing! How do you get your clients? Do you they ship dolls to you? The art is magnificent, although it must take a great deal of patience and a super-steady hand. I'm not a fan of dolls but some of these were beautiful; a few of them are just plain creepy.
Mr. e - Thanks and I promise I will get you the rest of the info.

Gary - I thought you would enjoy the pics. I focus on the baby and toddler sizes b/c most do not have their original clothes, but like modern dolls, they were dressed in the popular styles of the day but the quality of the clothing was far greater than what you might find today. So it is very easy to go to vintage shops and find similar clothing to the original clothing with the same high quality. Plus these are the highly sought after/high dollar dolls. I buy them for around $40 - $60, restore and resell for anywhere between $250 - $1,500, with the average being $400 - $500 each.

Patricia k - I never sleep...

Owl - you are too funny

Mustard - thank you. I think they need me on that road show because those folks giving appraisals don't know squat about dolls!

Buffy - thanks. Yeah dolls used to so much cooler than they are today. Maybe it was the material they were made of that made them seem like such works of art? Maybe it was the lack of variety in the toy industry back then, maybe it was that the USA was for the first time, making dolls in our country because of the war (no imports/exports to/from Germany, the previous king of doll manufacturing) and maybe it was all of these things.

jeanette - Most kids have a hard time making it all the way through the night here for sleep-overs, except the teens, they make it, but they might not sleep so well. When I want the teens out of my office (using my computers) I just turn all the doll heads and/or eyes to be looking at them. They laugh at first, an uneasy laugh, but within 5 minutes they are outta here. ;-)

Scott - you are not alone

Marcela K - I sell them on ebay and I have developed a regular customer base as well. I offer the dolls to these customers, before I list them on ebay. That saves me a lot of money and time. But if I have no takers, onto ebay they go. I don't make the clothes (can't work a sewing machine) but I do buy them from vintage clothing shops (same era as the dolls).

Cindy - Thank you!

kmbeardon - I know, I thought at first that it would be weird doing a photo-shoot with dolls, but it is actually quite cool and easy. You never have to worry about the lights blinding them! ;-)

Mother - I must admit, I've done a double take or two when I caught one looking at me out of the corner of it's eye. There was one shifty eyed doll that stood on a dresser in my room that I could see the reflection of through the bathroom mirror. It always gave me a start when I would be putting on my make up and suddenly notice someone was staring at me in an evil manner, behind me in the shadows of the bedroom. (It was the one with the red hair in curly pigtails 26th pic from the bottom).

marcelleqb - thanks!

Monte - I had some fear of dolls when I was little - mostly because of my sister telling me they looked like the girl in the Exorcist, which I had never seen, but heard it while I did my homework and my mom and sister, the horror flick lovers, watched it in the den. That was enough to scare the crap outta me. I saw it when I was 18 thinking it would be tame by todays standards. Oh no. I slept with my light on for a month!

Joe - I know the feeling. Sometimes I just stare right back at them.

Spotted mind - we scare the hell outta each other with Manny. He is perfect for practical jokes! He also makes an excellent Halloween prop with a doll head, held by it's hair, in his hand and a strobe light.

Tom - yes some of them do look sad.

Lisa - Some people send me their dolls, I have some regular customers and I sell them on ebay, though ebay costs a fortune in fees and their rules are a massive pain in the arse.
How many people on the planet could do what you do? An amazing talent.
Fascinating. Very talented. Great pics too.
Congratulations: The dolls are now in PopSmiley's collection :-)
WhooHoo! Pop Smiley! :-D
Your work is amazing! They look awful at first and then you make them look brand new. I don't care how good your dolls look, they still give me the creeps.
The photos are stunning!! This is one of my favorites posts!
You do an amazing job on these old dolls.
Don't you wonder about the facial expressions and what the person who made them was thinking? I am particularly thinking of the one in the sweater sitting in from of the book. Now, Kewpie, on the other hand, is the expression to which I most closely relate Technology Articles.
Still a fantastic post!! and thanks again for the kind mention!