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Googly eyed doll could command upward of $950

A reader's inquiry into the identity of her family's googly eyed doll nicknamed the 'hate doll' generates a detailed historic assessment by Susan Mullikin.

Q Enclosed are photos of a doll my grandmother and her sister won in a talent contest. She always called it the “Hate Doll” as none of them could play with the doll. They said she was only about five years old when they got the doll as a second place prize. She was born in the late 1800s.

Late 19th Century Googly Eyed Doll Prized Possession

The doll is between 9 1/2 and 9 3/4 inches high. It is in excellent shape. She has all her original clothes, underclothes, even socks and leather shoes and hair and bonnet. I have seen pictures like her in doll books, but they are a little bit shorter. I know she is a googly eyed doll, but not much else.

Google eyed doll

She has hinged arms and lets; however, her head doesn’t move. Her body, legs, arms and feet are all felt. I was offered $500 for this googly eye doll at one time, but felt that was low.
— M.W.
Doyle, California

A Upon reading your story of how your grandmother and her sister received their lovely doll, I can only imagine what the first place prize was! You refer to your doll as a googly eyed doll which is absolutely correct. Googly eyed dolls were produced during the period of 1912-1938. They were referred to as Goolie Eye, Googly Eye, Googly Eyed, or Googly Eyes. All these terms are used to describe the side glancing and sometimes side rolling eyes of these charming dolls. They were produced in bisque, or composition heads and later hard plastic and vinyl. The term googly is thought to have originated from the German words, “ Guck Augen” ogling eyes that move to one side.

Check Doll Body For Manufacturer's Mark

From your description and photos your doll appears in pristine, excellent, never-played-with condition. However, to properly identify your doll to a manufacturer of the time no label was mentioned. Most doll manufacturers of this time did make dolls with googly eyes. Many doll manufacturers were in existence in Germany, France, Japan, and America. For example two famous manufacturers Kestner, and Armand Marseilles also made googly eyed dolls. To appraise your doll correctly one main item of importance to consider is if there is a manufacturer’s mark.

Many of the earlier doll manufacturers marked the body with a name, or a number. In some cases, it was a combination name and number. Still others used a combination of name and letters. Manufacturer marks can be found on the head or neck between the shoulder blades or on the feet. Also possibly in your case since you mentioned your doll’s body is felt but does wear all its original clothing, a tag as to its identity may be hidden under perhaps a garment.

I did notice a googly eyed doll somewhat similar to yours but bigger, valued at $950. Yes, I do feel that the $500 you were offered was low, some of the Kestner Goolie/Googly dolls run into the thousands of dollars.

Little Golden Book Display Adds to Literary Legacy

QI was wonder if you might be able to help try to find a value for a unique item my mother has. It’s an old Little Golden Books display case from an old store that was in the family. If you could help me out at all it would be greatly appreciated .
— P.W.
via email

A Nothing revolutionized the concept of the child’s book more than the introduction of the “Little Golden Book” as we know it today. Prior to 1942, a child’s book was most likely in the form of hefty volumes and cost anywhere from $3 and up. With the advent of 1942 and the partnership of Simon and Schuster with the Western Publishing Company, a new series of accessible and affordable childrens books was created. The Little Golden book being of high quality and at just 25 cents each assured that most people could easily afford to purchase one. These books were stocked where most people shopped each day: in department stores, supermarkets, train stations, and five-and-dime stores.

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Display Housed Books Available for 25 Cents Each

In regard to display of these books, this is where your most interesting Little Golden Books display unit comes into play. Of course a unique display unit was needed at each location advertising the price of just 25 cents a book and to help cause an instant sensation in attracting attention.

While doing research, I noticed another display unit for sale with the capacity to hold 18 various Little Golden Books priced at $300. From your photo, I noticed your unit would hold more titles. I would place a value of $300 to $325 on it. In addition, I would consider demand for it in the marketplace. Even though people are enamored by Little Golden Books themselves I feel selling this display unit would take the right interested customer looking to put together an original display of Little Golden Books.

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