Reviewed by Madelia Hickman Ring, catalog photos courtesy of Theriault’s
ANNAPOLIS, MD. – In the world of doll sales, the auctions of the Marquis de Thériault rank among the most important to follow and the firm’s event from May 15 to 16 did not disappoint. With over 500 dolls marching through the block over the course of two days, the company noted all lots sold for a combined total of $ 1,511,548. Company owner Florence Theriault said she was seeing more and more international buyers joining the usual interests of Western Europe, including those of Singapore, Estonia, China and Russia.
“I was really delighted with the Bru Bebes, not only for the prices, but also for the results we could bring to the sellers,” said Thériault. “We are a small family business and we are building relationships with our shippers; we get to know them as people, not just as customers. I have to admit that sometimes I encourage an item not only because it’s a great item but also because of the people selling it. When an item is performing well I say “congratulations on the story”, I am delighted when things are appreciated. Really savvy art collectors are starting to think of them as works of art.
The house received what could be a world record for a first English wooden doll when it sold for $ 287,500, a price that propelled it to an easy lead in that particular sale and into the stratosphere. of the other best-selling results the company has achieved in recent times. year. Several features of the lot contributed to its high price, including a trousseau of 12 dresses that accompanied the doll from around 1740, most of which dated from the 18th century. The extensive collection of clothing suggested that the doll, which was described in the catalog as a “royal size”, originally belonged to an aristocratic family.
“To survive herself is extraordinary, to survive with her clothes on is simply astonishing”, commented Thériault.
The doll was known before the sale. Not only was it published in Rosalie Whyel and Jill Gorman’s 2003 book, The heart of the tree, the first wooden dolls from the 1850s, but it was in the collection of the Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art in Bellevue, Wash. When the museum closed in 2012, the collection was sold privately, when the seller of the doll acquired it. When asked why the doll was being sold, Thériault said they made the decision during the pandemic to “make changes; Noting that they were so thrilled with the results that they sent her a bouquet of flowers.
The doll has garnered worldwide interest, but Thériault said the top four bidders were all Americans, including the private collector who will give the doll and its expansive trousseau a new home.
The best lot shipper also sold the doll that brought in the third highest price of the weekend, a French bisque Adelaide Huret doll doll that an American collector acquired for $ 44,850. It was marked on his chest “Silver Medal Huret 22 Boulev. Montmartre Paris, Expos L’Univ 1867 ″ and featured detailed modeling and a painted face characteristic of those made during the company’s golden age of production. The 7 inch tall doll also came with a large keychain in its original first wooden box with a paper cover that included two signed Huret costumes and several Huret accessories as well as other underwear, shoes, gloves and various unassigned personal items.
A French bisque doll by Edmond Rochard, her throat encrusted with a Stanhope jewel, made $ 92,000, the second-highest price of the sale. The 16 inch tall figurine was marked “EA Rochard Depose Brevete SGDG” and is pictured in Danielle and François Theimer’s book, The Panorama of Parisian Dolls. It was sold to an American collector. Thériault noted that the doll generated more interest than most of the dolls in the sale.
“The estimate was quite low which attracted a lot of people,” she said. “There aren’t that many, we’ve had maybe four in 50 years of auctioning. About four years ago, we sold one that contained 18-20 Stanhope jewels to a museum in Roanoke, Va., For $ 333,500; this served to drive up the prices on Rochards.
As with other collection categories, provenance often increases value. “I think any doll with proven provenance will generate increased interest,” said Thériault. “Until recently, collectors forgot the story of a doll; more and more we see collectors paying attention to the story and noting where a doll came from.
A mid-19th century American cloth doll by Izannah Walker of Pawtucket, RI performed particularly well, getting $ 42,550 from a new buyer in Pennsylvania. Walker obtained a patent for her dolls in 1873, but the catalog suggests that she made them earlier. The purpose of her patent was to create a doll “easy to clean and not likely to injure a young child who might fall on it.” It will retain its appearance for a long time. Particularly noteworthy comments were the painted curls with which the doll was depicted.
Thériault was particularly pleased with four batches of French savory biscuits by Léon Casimir Bru from a collection in southern Pennsylvania. All were originally owned by the seller’s grandmother. What was particularly noteworthy were the rare small sizes of three of them – 0, 1 and 2 – that had survived in particularly good condition. An 11-inch size 0 dated to around 1880 and made $ 43,700, while an 11½-inch size 1 from around 1884 ended up at $ 39,100. Following the lower priced pattern for a size larger, a size 2 which also dated from around 1884 and was 12½ inches tall fetched $ 31,050. The fourth doll in the collection was a 17-inch size 5, circa 1882, which peaked at $ 39,100.
“We have several buyers of miniature furniture, one of which is now donating to a local museum,” said Thériault. The sale included several miniature pieces of furniture and a few lots were worth noting. An antique English wooden chair, in the late 17th or early 18th century, linked to a copy in the Victoria & Albert Museum which descended from the family of Lord and Lady Clapham. An American collector offered it for $ 17,250. It was followed by $ 13,225 paid for a 19th century Louis XV lady’s desk that could have been made by Maison Huret.
The PLC market is an area in which Thériault has noted developments. Until recently, this niche was dominated by a small group of long-term buyers, mostly men, and she said she was excited to see new bidders. Of particular note is the $ 31,050 paid by an American collector for a French musical automaton “Vendor de fruits”.
The next Marquis de Thériault sale will take place on July 10 and 11.
Prices shown include buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
For information, 410-224-3655 or www.theriaults.com.