Why we love some dolls and not others, Part V: Trade Report, by guest blogger Milady Blue

by Alison Rasmussen


Milady Blue, special guest blogger, continues on her narrative of loving dolls, and what to do when you don't exactly love the ones you've waited so to arrive.

Why We Love Some Dolls and Not Others
Part V: Trade Report

by Milady Blue
Special Guest Writer

My good friend Jane has had a very rough year. I met her through the Cheery About Agnes Dreary discussion group, and she and I have a lot in common. A miles long “wantits” list, where more dolls we like are being produced than we can reasonably afford, is probably our most common trait.

The economic downturn has struck everyone hard, including doll collectors, and Jane was despairing of ever getting many of the dolls on her “wantits” list. My suggestion to her, that she find a doll shop with a generous layaway plan and pay off a wanted doll in installments did work for her, since her budget is uncertain these days. In fact, she was selling several older dolls, in the hopes of raising cash for the newer dolls she wanted.

I wanted to help her by buying one of her older dolls, but my doll budget is stretched mighty thin these days, too.

I was not really thinking of Jane’s dilemma while I was going through the Crossroads Doll Show in Puyallup last month. I was hoping to see certain vendors there, which was mostly a pricing mission. However, of the four merchants I was hoping to see, only one actually showed.

Naturally, it was the most “dangerous” of the merchants I was hoping to see, the ever wonderful Bearzabout. I call that shop dangerous, because Carol, the owner, brings a lot of Tonner dolls to these shows. Even the most stern lectures and reminders to myself that I don’t “really need” more dolls are defeated by coming face to face with Carol’s display.

How easy is it to resist a doll that you have only seen so far in pictures on the internet when you finally see her in person? In my case, my streak is running 0-5. I have lost at least five battles with myself over the purchase of a new doll that I saw in person.

In addition to new dolls, still in their boxes, Carol also has bins of nude dolls and outfits--splits, in doll collecting parlance--available for sale. I have caved on a new doll at least five times because of these bins!

I was over at the bin of Helen Kish dolls, because I really wanted to get a Riley or other Kish character this time around. I found a Riley and put her on layaway; since I am an established customer who pays her bills, Carol was kind enough to let me take Riley with me after putting down a down payment. Knowing my weakness for Tonner dolls, I did my best to not look in those bins.

I wandered around the doll show for a little while longer, and while I did see some great stuff, I managed to restrain myself fairly well. At least, until I went back to Bearzabout. This time, the allure of the Tonner bins overcame my attempt at self discipline. The miser--realist?--in me was screaming, “What do you think you’re doing? You need to cover your half of the rent and the bills!” I was not terribly worried, because other Tonner collectors had beaten me to these bins, and there were not very many dolls left. There were still some lovely dolls there, but nothing on my “wantits” list.

Then I saw the nude Belle doll, and remembered that she was just about at the top of Jane’s mile long “wantits” list. She is a pretty good likeness to the Disney character. I looked at the price, which was less than half of the dressed doll, and thought of Jane. I debated with myself pretty fiercely for about ten minutes, trying to make up my mind. I finally gave Carol a down payment for the doll, and left, doll in hand.

Here is where I knew I was taking a chance. I had not discussed the possibility of a trade beforehand with Jane. I was interested in at least one of the dolls she was offering for sale, but I didn’t know if she would even consider a straight across trade, even for a doll she dearly wanted. If she didn’t like the deal, then I would be “stuck” with the Belle doll.

When I got home that night, I emailed Jane, and told her that I had a nude Belle doll that I had gotten for a reasonable price, and asked if she would be interested in a trade. Since she was very busy, it took a few days for her to respond, and I was hoping the deal would be acceptable. I suppose it would have served me right if she had not liked the idea, for not discussing it with her beforehand. However, in my defense, I told myself that at least I was doing this with the intent of doing a good turn for a good friend.

Jane loved the idea! Like me, she has a soft touch with dolls, and was reluctant to sell dolls to raise cash for a new doll. However, she was pleased she was sending her “old” doll to a friend who would give that doll a good home.

A few days later, I got a notice in the mail that I had a package waiting for me at the office. The doll Jane sent me was a Blush and Bashful Sydney Chase doll. Jane felt that she had gotten the better end of the deal, so she sent the doll along in a gray dress with black designs on it, to sweeten the deal for me, though I was pleased to be getting hold of the doll herself. Sydney is one of my favorite Tonner sculpts, and this was actually Sydney number eight to join my collection.

I just received word that Jane got her package, and is ecstatic with Belle. She had been so sure she would never get hold of this doll, that she had given up hope. Now that she has the doll in hand, she is getting all kinds of ideas for outfits and other things to make for her.

As for my own part, I consider this a very good trade off. I managed to make a friend very happy, and I got a very pretty doll in return. I have already renamed her, and taken a few pictures that I am not exactly happy with, but that is just an excuse to try again and take more pictures!