Morphy's $1.5 million Fine Doll debut beats high estimate by $300,000 Exquisite antique dolls, dollhouses and furnishings, miniatures, teddies, paper dolls, toys and candy containers from coveted collections contributed to a $1.5 million Fine Doll debut at Morphy's.
News-Antique.com - May 27,2008 - DENVER, Pa. – If Morphy Auctions’ May 17-18 Fine Doll premiere could be summarized in one word, it would be “flawless.” The $1.5 million sale that exceeded its overall high estimate by $300,000 was the culmination of six months of intensive preparation under the watchful eyes of department co-directors Becky and Andy Ourant. “From start to finish, it ran like clockwork,” said Morphy Auctions’ chief operating officer, Dan Morphy. “The Ourants are the ultimate pros when it comes to producing a doll auction, and I can’t say enough about the knowledge and level of professionalism they brought to this important first sale for our Fine Doll department.”
“The sale went just the way we wanted it to go,” said Andy Ourant, who also served as one of the event’s auctioneers. “Being exposed to these incredible collections every day during the run-up to the sale, it might have been easy to forget just how incredible they were, but the people coming in to preview the dolls made comments that constantly reminded us.”
The 1,200-lot specialty sale featured 340 lots of antique dolls from the Yvonne Baird collection, including examples by such prestigious makers as Jumeau, Bru, Gaultier and Simon & Halbig; as well as the beautifully varied Yvonne Baird collection. Several other distinguished collections contributed dollhouses, dollhouse and doll furniture, teddy bears, miniatures, candy containers, antique paper dolls and R. John Wright designer dolls.
The predicted top lot, a very rare 24-inch French “H” (Halopeau) bébé dating to around 1880, came through with flying colors. Dressed in period clothing of pink silk and lace, the doll had been estimated at $50,000-$70,000 but attracted intense bidding interest that pushed it into the six figures and a final selling price $109,250 (all prices quoted include 15 percent buyer’s premium).
A superb circa-1885 Bru Jne bébé, 19 inches tall with bisque socket head, blue paperweight eyes and a dimpled chin, came complete with a wardrobe trunk containing four handmade dresses and many upscale accessories. Estimated at $15,000-$20,000 and described in the catalog as having “the face that collectors covet,” the fancy lass realized $40,250.
With hopes of earning $20,000-$25,000, a circa-1878 first-series portrait Jumeau bébé, 22½ inches tall with almond-shape paperweight glass eyes, closed mouth and pierced ears realized $29,900. An Internet bidder prevailed on another select lot: a 24½ inch circa-1880 “circle dot” Bru bébé. Dressed in pristine white cotton with an eyelet-trimmed cape and bonnet, the blond beauty handily surpassed estimate to settle at $28,750.
Both a circa-1888 Bru Jne bébé No. 7, 16½ inches tall in period crocheted dress; and a circa-1885 tete Jumeau bébé, 13½ inches tall with bisque socket head, large blue paperweight eyes and original Jumeau couture outfit, found favor with bidders. Each achieved an above-estimate price of $16,100. A size 1 tete Jumeau bébé, 9½ inches tall with large brown eyes rimmed with finely painted “eyelashes,” more than doubled its high estimate, earning $14,950; while a circa-1860 china-head lady doll, 13½ inches tall with glass eyes, molded