Theriault’s is saving its fireworks for July 12

ATLANTA — That’s when the nation’s notable doll auctioneer, Theriault’s, is holding three important auctions at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta and on Proxibid. The sale is a carefully orchestrated mix of antique European and American dolls and toys touching on every era of the doll collecting hobby. The auction abounds in variety.

rare poupee doll
A tiny French bisque poupee in original costume with parasol and "J" shoes features a swivel head and blue glass enamel inset eyes and painted lashes, circa 1875. Early bidding has already pushed it sale price to lower end of its estimated $2,000 to $3,000 sale price.

Starting at 9 a.m. July 12, an auction titled "Dance of the Hours" will feature an rare portrait model designed by the Parisian sculptor Albert Marque.

The Marque doll, bearing the original pencil inscription, “Danseur Russe 3” on its foot, was presented in the Margaine-Lacroix 1915 Exhibition of Dolls. Likely as a male ballet dancer from that troupe, it is garbed in a superb silk costume of the French 18th century court, a theme that was both a favorite of Russian ballets and of the Margaine-Lacroix studios that costumed the doll.

The doll is offered from the private Milan collection of Eredi Di Adriana Bracco along with other significant French dolls from an earlier epoch. These include three very fine bebe models by Andre Thuillier, and a wonderful petite bebe “H” by Halopeau. There are, too, gorgeous Bru bebes with classic Bru Jne faces, as well as beautiful earlier Bru models. Jumeau bebes include an especially lovely example of the elusive E.J.A. bebe, two bebes Triste including the rare size 9, and stunning early portrait models. There are other French bebes by Schmitt et Fils, Mothereau, and Petit & Dumoutier.

If the day belongs to Europe, then only America can own the night. An evening auction promises more action as the partial collection of noted doll researcher John Axe crosses the block.

More than 250 dolls that were the beloved playthings of American children from the 1920s to 1960 include exemplary examples from all categories, ranging from wonderful Shirley Temple dolls to #1 Barbie, from Howdy-Doody to Pinocchio, from Margaret O’Brien to Seven Dwarves. There are Dionne Quintuplets, Patsy Dolls, Charlie McCarthy and other celebrity and character composition models.

Alexander dolls range from early cloth models to composition dolls to superb examples of 1950s fashionable ladies and children.

Toy collectors have already learned about gems tucked inside the doll auction. A week before the sale, bidding on a pair of American tin mechanical "Amos and Andy" walkers by Marx had moved well into its pre-auction estimate of $400 to $600. The walkers are just a sampling of the rare toys in excellent condition waiting to be discovered.

Axe’s collection is crisp and nearly every example is the best of its kind. There are wonderful dolls in near condition by Vogue, Effanbee, Ideal, Arranbee, Storybook and other icons of mid-century American childhood.

For more information, visit