"I Only Wanted to Wonder" at Theriault's Summer Auction
Annapolis, MD -- August 7, 2017
The 250-year-old wooden doll named Nellie had reposed silently in an 18th century chest that furnished one of the 50 rooms of the 500 year old Radford House in Plymstock, England. A regal 28" tall, her enamel eyes appeared to shine in wonder on August 1st as she was presented to a roomful of eager bidders at Theriault's annual mid-summer Marquis antique doll auction which is noted worldwide for offering the finest doll treasures. Estimated at $26,000/42,000, Nellie soared to $108,300 with competitive bidding from private collectors as well as museums.
The doll had been in the private collection of an important British collector, who also consigned to the auction a remarkable French poupée by Adelaide Huret. Presented with an extensive original trousseau, the doe-eyed doll sold for $53,760 and will be highlighted in an important doll museum under construction in southern Virginia.
Early dolls of paper mache, wood and wax are presently enjoying a resurgence in the doll collecting world, and Theriault's August 1 auction proved the point well. Especially notable was a beautiful English wax doll by Montanari, replete with detailed and poignant provenance including a miniature 19th century painting of the doll that topped at $20,720 (presale $12,000/16,000). There was an early paper mache lady with remarkable sculpted coiffure in the young Queen Victoria style and with very rare blue glass eyes; the elated winning bidder proclaimed, "I sat through 437 other dolls at the auction just to bid on her. I first saw her in the home of Lorna Lieberman 25 years ago and have dreamt of her ever since". The bidder raised her paddle high and never took it down under she was declared the winner at $4900 (pre-sale $1200/1500). Other examples include a 19" German lady with "beehive" coiffure topping at $2500 (pre-sale $1100/1300), a 12" wax-over-paper mache child with mechanical bellows at $3248 (pre-sale $800/1200), and a 22" French paper mache bride with original elaborate wig at $4032 (pre-sale $2200/2800).
Theriault's auction also featured the important German collection of Petra Aichelle who for several decades had sought rare German art character bisque dolls. A most endearing painted eye boy by Bruno Schmidt wistfully walked away at $20,160 (pre-sale $2500/3500), Kammer and Reinhardt's 112 model went to $19,040 (pre-sale $5000/7500), and her sister, the 109 model known as "Elise" reached $11,200 (pre-sale $7500/9500). The cover doll, model 1263, a mere wisp of a child at 12" was $9800 (pre-sale $4500/6500), while a beautiful glass eyed character girl, model 149, by Hertel and Schwab topped at $9520 (pre-sale $6500/8500).
More than 500 rare and beautiful antique dolls were presented in the eight-hour auction, with competitive bidding from the attending bidders, absentee bidders, telephone bidders, and live online bidders. (Prices shown reflect the buyer's premium). Collectors cheered when an anxious friend won her sought after doll, plenty of laughter was heard throughout the day (some at the traditional banter lines of Stuart Holbrook, auctioneer and President of Theriault's), and a spirit of good feelings pervaded the auction room.
To view all of the dolls in the auction visit www.theriaults.com. The next scheduled Marquis catalog auction is in Scottsdale, Arizona on October 28/29 featuring important private collections. To receive a free color brochure of that auction call Theriault's at 410-224-3655 or visit www.theriaults.com.
Lot 17. Named "Nellie" by her original owner, the 28" English wooden doll was notable for her size, beauty, remarkable state of preservation, costume, and provenance. She sold for $108,300.
Lot 21. The French poupées of Adelaide Huret continue in high demand. This beautiful example, complete with extensive trousseau reached $53,760 at Theriault's Marquis doll auction and will be featured in an upcoming museum.
Lot 58. Theriault's President Stuart Holbrook proclaimed this wistful fellow his favorite of the German art characters at the August 1 auction. Collectors agreed and the bidding soared to $20,160, ten times the presale estimate.
Lot 37. A mere 10", the petite French bisque bébé marked A.T. by Thuillier, reached $28,000 (presale $8000/11000) while her three little pups barked their way to $1400 (pre-sale $400/600) at Theriault's August 1 auction.