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Celebrity Quintuplets Doll Set in Excellent Condition
The real Dionne Quintuplets these dolls are modeled after were born on a farm in the village of Corbell, Ontario, Canada in 1934. Annette, Emilie, Yvonne, Cecile, and Marie were at least two months premature at birth, and each baby was small enough to be held in one hand. Together they weighed only 14 pounds, according to PBS.org.
These “miracle babies” became an international symbol of courage and delight during the bleak years of the Great Depression. Dolls were made by Alexander Doll Company (now known as Madame Alexander) depicting them as babies, and as the children grew they appeared in numerous advertising campaigns. All types of products were associated with the quints, and this memorabilia is still popular with collectors today. This is especially true when they’re found in excellent, original condition like the doll set depicted here.
About the Dolls Shown Above
This set of five composition dolls were marketed by Madame Alexander in the mid-1930s. They are fully marked on both the heads and bodies. They have sweet faces with lashed sleeping eyes, closed mouths, rosy cheeks, and brown human hair wigs. The chubby toddler bodies have rosy knees and the crisp matching organdy outfits still have “Mme Alexander” tags. Several have the gold “human hair” stickers still in place, and each has the original undergarments, shoes, and stockings. The gold name pins are also still pinned to each doll. There is some light overall crazing, as common with composition dolls of this era. Some light overall crazing. Overall this darling matched set is in remarkable original condition.
This set of 11” dolls sold for $2,400 (not including buyer’s premium) at Morphy Auctions doll sale in October of 2013, far exceeding the pre-auction estimate of $1,000 to $1,500.
What made this set so valuable in comparison to others of the same age? The condition of these dolls and their clothing is excellent. They are void of the cloudy, cracked eyes that can be a problem in this type of doll. Additionally, there is no crazing in the composition material making up the faces and bodies that can be present when the dolls were not lovingly cared for over the decades. The clothing is unsoiled and crisp in comparison to many dolls that were either played with quite a bit or stored in less than favorable conditions causing them to deteriorate.Continue to 2 of 2 below.
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Dionne Quints Dolls in Less Than Perfect Condition
At first glance, these dolls seem very similar to other Dionne Quintuplet sets that have sold for tidy sums. They are marked Madame Alexander on the back of each doll. Each one is wearing an original outfit consisting of a romper, coat, leggings, hats, rayon socks, and shoes with decorative buckles. Each doll still has its own name pin - Yvonne, Annette, Cecile, Emilie, and Marie - as well. One thing this lot has going for it is the bonus of coming with a hard to find booklet titled "Dionne Dollar Dresses," which was printed for F.W. Woolworth's, circa 1938 according to the auction listing. Unlike the pristine doll set in the previous slide, however, these dating to 1935 are in less than perfect condition. As with so many different types of collectibles, poor condition impacts value.
What's wrong with these dolls? The clothing shows overall signs of aging, and one shoe is missing a snap. The real condition issues arise in the dolls, however. All of them have small eye cracks in addition to overall clouding of the eyes along with minor crazing in the composition material.
How much do those condition issues impact the value? This set only sold for $90 in September of 2016 at Morphy Auctions, falling quite short of the pre-auction estimate of $300 to $500. Even if they had met the estimated value stated before the auction, they would have still fallen short of the thousands they might bring if they were in pristine condition.