NEW YORK — A felt boudoir doll sold for $6,250, more than seven times its pre-auction estimate, at Bonhams June 24 auction of The Doll Collection of Alexandra and Sidney Sheldon in Los Angeles. Dressed as a maid, the doll was created circa 1930 by the esteemed Italian firm Lenci. The outfit included lacy knee-high stockings and high heels, in addition to the distinctive black and white maid's uniform with apron. The doll's expertly hand painted face featured a coy smile and flirtatious, side-glancing eyes with eye shadow.
"Lenci dolls were reflective of an era when women were breaking away from the restrictive and demure fashions of the Victorian era," explained Dana Hawkes, Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Consultant, and specialist in charge of the auction. "The Lenci company embraced this period of change, winning them many celebrity fans in their heyday and making them highly desirable for today's collectors. I'm very pleased this Lenci boudoir doll attracted so much interest."
Alexandra and Sidney Sheldon's remarkable collection featured many fine Lenci dolls, including rare and early examples. Additional Lenci highlights included a felt girl doll with a rare trunk made circa 1930 that achieved $3,125, the same price achieved for a Lenci felt girl doll in traditional Russian costume. A charming springtime bride and groom pair of Lenci dolls from 1931 realised $2,500, while a historically notable Lenci character boy doll from 1930 dressed in a Fascist Youth Movement costume more than doubled its estimate to sell for $3,750.
Interest in the dolls was truly international, with the US, the UK, Europe, East Asia, Australia, and South Africa all represented. Bidding via the internet was particularly popular with the global clientele, and those participating live online took home the majority of the top lots. Notable pieces also found new homes with eager attendees.
In addition to the Lenci dolls, other exceptional makers also performed well. A set of R. John Wright dolls in the form of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs more than tripled its pre-action estimate to sell for $2,750. A 1930s felt girl doll with an original Easter egg trousseau from Spanish maker Talleres de Arte Fuste also tripled its pre-auction estimate, realising $3,750.
Bonhams next doll auction will take place in December at Bonhams Oxford. For more information, please visit www.bonhams.com.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com