Monday, November 22, 2010

$1 Baggie Dollhouse Find

At a recent antique show, rooting around in a dealer's box of bargain-priced "junque," I found this baggie full of broken dollhouse furniture, priced at just one dollar. (It doesn't look like much here, but just wait...)

The pieces were clearly very old, German-made circa the 1890s-1910. On a closer, surreptitious inspection, I discovered all the bits were there, and they weren't really broken, just unglued. Over the past century, the animal-based glue dried out and gave way.

It was the work of a couple of minutes for the pieces to be reassembled, and ta-da: here they are!

The 4 inch tall chair is made of red stained, gold gilt trimmed wood and pressed cardboard, while the faux wood grained sideboard  is in a much smaller scale at 3 1/2 inches, and fits perfectly into my hard-to-furnish 10 inch tall dollhouse.

Not a bad find for a buck!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A New Peng Peng Bear!

Look who just arrived in the mail: "Candy," one of the latest creations of teddy bear artist extraordinaire, Peng Peng. Just 4 1/4 inches tall, the fully jointed little bear features hand-dyed mohair in a luscious shade of green, milk glass googly eyes, and handmade booties with a tie-dyed dress. Candy is just delicious!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Antique Dollhouse Doll and Friend

A recent find was this little German all-bisque dollhouse doll, circa the 1890s-early 1900s. Just 4 1/4 inches tall, she has an unruly blond mohair wig and one tiny eye slightly offset, which gives her a quirky charm. I think she looks like a Victorian child who's gotten away from her nanny, escaped the nursery, and been running wild through the house, throwing temper tantrums all the way.

Here she is with her new best friend, a 1920s Schuco miniature bear. Hopefully he can convince her to tidy up her hair and sit down quietly for a nice cup of tea:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Teddy Bear Trade

A few months ago, I wrote about a wonderful trade I did with Canadian teddy bear artist, Michelle Mutschler. We just completed trade number two: my 1918 American teddy bear and a vintage Fisher Price Goldilocks and the Three Bears playset for four of Michelle's tiny handmade bears (along with an old German dollhouse doll and a bunch of vintage holiday decorations and cards.)

Here's the group of Michelle's quirky miniature bears, ranging in size from just 3 1/2 inches tall to 6 1/2 inches, made of aged velvets and assorted trims:

The clown bear has to be seen in profile to have his wonderful oddness fully appreciated:

The looooooong skinny panda is my favorite out of the bunch:

Poor "Rose" suffers from an enlarged cranium which she unsuccessfully tries to disguise with a festive bow:

As does her sister, little "Pinky":

Thanks Michelle, for another fun trade!


Anyone who's been following the blog may have noticed the sudden reappearance in your Reading List of several old posts...what happened is, somehow a bunch of old photos got deleted from my Picasa web albums over the weekend, and I had to republish the posts to restore the pics. Sorry about that...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Flagg Family Dollhouse Dolls in Original Box

It's funny how antiquing is sometimes: you can look for something for years without finding it, and then when you do finally find one, you seem to find them all over.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about a family of vintage dollhouse dolls made by the Flagg Company that I found at an outdoor antique show, buried in a box of junque. At the time, I had never come across any of these highly-sought Flagg dolls in all my years of collecting. Then, a couple of weeks later, I found two more (which I haven't yet posted, sorry), and then, last week, I hit the jackpot with this unplayed-with set still in its original package!

The box, cleverly designed to look like a house with the dolls peeking out the windows, measures 11 by 7 inches. The parents are about 4 inches tall, while the kids are 2 3/4 inches and the itty bitty baby (it's a boy!) is only 1 1/2 inches long.

The naively styled dolls are molded of a flexible vinyl and dressed in clothing made mostly of felt. The simply painted eyes give them a rather stunned expression, but that's part of their charm, I think. These date from the 1950s.

From the packaging:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vintage Rocking Horse

This rocking horse was the first toy I found at an antique show last weekend. Although its design is quite simple (just a flat wooden cut-out horse, like those used on shoofly rockers), it has a certain primitive charm, and it's in amazing condition with all of its printed detail still intact.

The horse measures 35 inches long, including the rockers, and was made in the 1930s by Mengel Playthings of Louisville, Kentucky. The company was originally a manufacturer of playground equipment, but they became famous for a Lone Ranger's Silver rocking horse they produced in the late 1930s. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vintage Dollhouse Groceries

I have a large collection of antique and vintage dollhouse shops, so I'm always on the lookout for products to stock them with. At an antique show last weekend, I spotted these 1940s-50s American-made groceries. Constructed of paper-wrapped wooden blocks, the tallest is 1 1/2 inches tall.

Here they are on the shelves of a 10 inch tall dollhouse grocery store from the same period:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vintage "King Pin" Bowling Games

At an antique show last weekend, a toy dealer had three fantastic vintage bowling games on display in his booth. I relieved him of two.

Made in the 1930s-40s by the Baldwin Mfg. Co. of Brooklyn, New York, "King Pin" and its smaller sibling, "King Pin Jr." bring all the fun of bowling to your table top, minus the stinky shoes.

King Pin is a whopping 37 inches long, with a tin litho lane, wooden pins, and a cast iron, spring loaded bowler, 4 inches tall. He really bowls, although not terribly well, as the long lane has suffered some dents and warping which tend to throw the ball off its course. This only makes it more challenging, I feel.

To play, you pull the bowler's freakishly ginormous hand back, place the ball in front of him, and let it go!

From this angle, he looks rather as if he's late for work and running for a bus...

Here's what he's aiming for: a set of wooden pins (and yes, there are a few missing. If you saw how these things go flying across the room when the ball whacks them, you'd be amazed there are any left):

King Pin Jr. is a bit more manageable, at 19 inches long. Completely made of tin litho, it features a very dapper bowler, just 3 inches tall.

Isn't he cute? I love his vintage bowling shoes...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Antique German Dollhouse Dishes in Original Box

A tiny treasure turned up at a local antique show this past weekend. An unassuming 4 1/2 inch long cardboard box half-buried in a pile of miscellanea caught my eye. Upon opening it, a tiny teaset, serving dish, utensils, and itty bitty napkins in rings were revealed, all stamped Germany, circa the 19teens-20s. Even the strings that originally held the items in place were still attached to the base of the box. It's always a thrill finding things like this!

The box featured silhouette decorations of a young couple, as if this was meant to be a dollhouse wedding gift:

Inside, tiny treasures!

For a sense of scale, the serving dish (still with its spoon!) measures just under 2 1/2 inches wide, including its handles; the teapot is 1 1/4 inches to the tip of its lid; and the napkins are 1 inch long.

Everything the new lady of the (doll)house needs for a tea party:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vintage Carousel Photo

I found this wonderful vintage photograph at an antique show last weekend. Stamped "July 30 1940" on the back, it shows several women in their "Sunday best" gleefully riding an American traveling carousel at a fair.

What a joyful moment this photographer captured, during what were difficult and fearful times for so many.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Antique Cracker Jack Bears Postcard

I've collected antique and vintage Cracker Jack prizes for several years, but I didn't have one of their iconic pieces, a Cracker Jack Bears postcard, until we found one this weekend at an antique show, buried deep within a tray of old postcards and photographs.

The Cracker Jack Bears were a couple of characters, probably inspired by the contemporary Roosevelt Bears and the concurrent teddy bear fad, used to promote the company's product back at the turn of the 20th century. They appeared in a series of 16 beautifully lithographed full-size postcards, and children were urged to collect them all.

This is number 14, with a copyright date of 1907, measuring 3 by 5 1/2 inches:

The back of the card reads:

"Sixteen Beautiful Post Cards, No Two Alike, (without this printing), sent Free to anyone who will mail us ten sides from Cracker Jack packages, reading, 'The more you eat, the more you want,' or mail us 10 c in silver or stamps and the side of one package. A 2 c stamp is enough to mail ten sides. Rueckheim Bros. & Eckstein, Chicago, U.S.A."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Antique Show Report

We went to our last antique show of the year yesterday, my favorite of the whole season. (Thankfully it was an indoor show, because we had our first snow yesterday as well...) Many of the past summer's shows were much smaller than usual due to "the economy", so it was a happy surprise to discover this show was larger than ever, and packed with old toys.

What did we get?

-a simple rocking horse made by the Mengel Company of Louisville, Kentucky in the 1920s-30s, in beautiful condition

-two tin litho and cast iron "Kingpin" bowling games made by the Baldwin Mfg. Co. of Brooklyn, New York, in the 1930s-40s

-a set of antique German dollhouse dishes and utensils in their original box, circa the 19teens-20s

-vintage dolhouse groceries, 1940s-50s

-a 1907 Cracker Jack Bears postcard

-a set of Flagg family dollhouse dolls MIB, 1950s

-a baggie full of very old German dollhouse furniture for only a buck! (The glue on the pieces had dried and given way, so they looked broken, but were not: all the parts were there and they were easily reassembled. Just goes to show: it's often worth rooting around in dealer's dollar bins of apparent junk...)

-a great old carousel photo, dated 1940

Pics to come this week!

Friday, November 5, 2010

More Views of Harry Potter Land

Here's the last batch of pictures from our recent trip to Harry Potter land at Universal Orlando, Florida. Enjoy, Potterphiles!

The Hogwarts Express Train:

A few views of the castle:

Dumbledore's office, part of the castle ride's queue area:

The dragon skeleton hanging from the ceiling of the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, also part of the queue area inside the castle ride:

Mandrakes in the greenhouses outside the castle (securely locked up for visitor protection):

The Sorting Hat, the last feature seen in the queue area before arriving at the ride in the castle (it moves, talks, and gives you instructions on how to board the ride vehicle):

A street sign pointing the way to Hogsmeade:

 A view of Hogsmeade from Hogwarts' gates. (Note the boar statues at the entrance to the castle):

A close-up view of one of the buildings in Hogsmeade:

Back of the Three Broomsticks and Boar's Head Pub, with a good view of the crazy, crooked chimneys that dot the buildings in Hogsmeade:

This concludes our tour of Harry Potter land. There was SO much more that didn't make it into these pictures...but it'll have to wait for another trip!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Harry Potter Souvenirs

This, the latest of my posts about our recent trip to Harry Potter land at the Universal Orlando theme park, is devoted to my souvenir haul. The amount of amazing things for sale in the Potter shops was astounding; believe it or not, what's shown below is only a small sample:

These tiny bottles of Skele-Gro measure just 3 1/4 inches tall. (They were actually keychains.)

 The Monster Book of Monsters was tops on my Need-to-Get souvenir list, and it didn't disappoint. It rolls around, growls, bites, and snaps, just like the "real thing"!

There was a single-page edition of the Quibbler, complete with Spectrespecs, for sale in one of the shops:

Prefects and Department of Magical Law Enforcement officials could get new badges from a display at the end of the castle ride:

Soft and cuddly Pygmy Puffs are as irresistable in real life as they are in the books:

Much less cuddly was Mr. Filch's nemesis, the Fanged Flyer, complete with a Handler's Glove, on sale at Zonkos!

Of course, if you're using a Fanged Flyer, it's good to have an Extendable Ear nearby, in order to hear the outraged shouts of your intended victims, teachers, or mother:

The ear actually works; it has a microphone inside:

Another good item to have handy at all times is a Sneakoscope, which spins and flashes brilliantly at any nearby nefarious activity (or, when you install the batteries and give it a twirl):

No trip to Ollivander's would be complete without a beautifully boxed wand:

All that shopping tends to leave one famished. Good thing Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Frogs, and bottles of Pumpkin Juice were readily obtainable: