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Doll News at bisque-dolls.com
"When the Circus Came to Town." An auction of fine antique dolls, automata, and music boxes November 11 in Morristown
When P.T. Barnum brought his famed Barnum and Bailey circus to Des Moines, Iowa in the late 19th century, Jumbo the Elephant, reputedly the largest elephant ever known to exist, was the star of the show. The Des Moines performance grounds were rented from a certain Mr. Wesley Redhead, a prominent local businessman, and he and P.T. became fast friends. When the circus was set to depart, P.T. Barnum presented Mr. Redhead with a mechanical toy elephant as a memory of the time. The elephant , made by Roullet of France, lumbered along when wound, and, amusingly flapped his ears, a feature not often found on the later Roullet et Decamps toy elephant. This elephant has remained in the Redhead Family until now, and will be sold at the auction along with photographs and documents about its provenance.
Magician-themed automata include the extremely rare “Levitation Magician” by Phalibois, “Magician Clown” with disappearing head by Phalibois, and “Magician Clown with Monkey in Top Hat”. There are acrobats and mandolin strumming clowns. There is the famed and very rare “Snake Charmer” by Roullet et Decamps, while a “Chinese Opium Smoker” and a superb “Japanese Lady Mask Seller” by Vichy offer exotic charms and movements. A rare mechanical musical carousel that made its home in a Swiss railroad station during the 19th century recalls nostalgic circus times, too. “Buffalo Bill” toured Europe in the 19th century with his inimitable Wild West Circus, and he is appropriately present at the November 11 auction, standing proud and smoking. A companion piece by Vichy, named simply “Mexican” in that firm’s catalog is offered, as well as two outstanding large black paper mache musicians posed on original fancy pedestal and taboret. There are mechanical tableaux by Phalibois, Tharins and others and small wheeled mechanical toys by Theroude and Vichy.
Estate Auction, Saturday, October 13
Choose from among hundreds of wonderful antique bisque dolls by premier French and German dollmakers of the 19th and early 20th century, many in beautiful antique costumes, and others awaiting your costuming touch. Then gaze at the French bisque poupees, early paper mache dolls, dollhouse families, mignonettes and other all-bisque miniature characters including googlies. If your favorites are Americana themed dolls and playthings, you’ll find a nice selection of Schoenhuts, folk art wooden dolls, horse and carts, and other great choices. There are cloth dolls in the folk art manner and studio cloth dolls from makers such as Lenci. Desirable dolls by R. John Wright are included. And look for a nice selection of rare and mostly-mint 1950’s vintage dolls such as Toni and Mary Hoyer. There are great antique doll costumes and costume accessories, too. The auction features more than 300 lots of all your favorite antique and collectible dolls.
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