Alexandra and Sydney Sheldon's exceptional collection up for auction at Bonhams Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — Bonhams is pleased to offer the exceptional doll collection of Alexandra and Sydney Sheldon on June 24 at the Sunset Boulevard salesroom. Alexandra, a former actress, model, and advertising executive married the late Sydney Sheldon in 1989. Sydney won an Academy Award® in 1947 for screenwriting and created hit television shows like I Dream of Jeannie and The Patty Duke Show, all before becoming the seventh best-selling fiction writer of all time, authoring titles including 1973's number one bestseller The Other Side of Midnight.

During their marriage, Alexandra introduced Sydney to collecting dolls, an interest inspired by her love of design, color and whimsy. The couple acquired an impressive collection over several decades, which graced their Paul R. Williams-designed Hombly Hills estate. Bonhams will offer the entire collection of well over 450 dolls on June 24.

A variety of esteemed international dolls makers are represented, including fine examples from the Italian maker Lenci. Made in the early 20th century, Lenci dolls were constructed of felt and renowned for their unusually large size and beautiful craftsmanship. The company had many celebrity fans in its heyday, including Josephine Baker and Queen Elena of Savoy.

An extremely rare Lenci felt doll of Rudolph Valentino, as seen in his film The Son of the Sheik, is the auction's top lot (est. $6,000-8,000). Standing over two feet high, examples of the Valentino doll are scarce as it was discontinued only one year into production after the 1929 stock market crash. Lenci incarnations of famous fictional and historic figures will also be up for auction, including Madame de Pompadour (est. $800-1,200), Mozart (est. $1,200-1,600), Columbina (est. $1,800-2,000) and Madame Butterfly (est. $2,000-3,000).

Two Lenci felt "boudoir dolls" on offer are sure to raise eyebrows (est. $800-1,200 each), as are the "opium smoker" dolls from 1921, one of which comes with a pipe (est. $1000-1,500). Lenci dolls in traditional dress from Asia, Europe and the Middle East are also represented.

Other highly collectable makers on offer include R. John Wright dolls, Skookum dolls from the 1920s-1940s, Kewpie dolls, and German bisque-head dolls.

"We're so pleased to offer the exceptional doll collection of Alexandra and Sydney Sheldon," said Dana Hawkes, Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Consultant, and specialist in charge of the auction. "It's an excellent opportunity for a new generation of collectors."

Bonhams auction of the doll collection of Alexandra and Sydney Sheldon will take place on June 24 in Los Angeles. The auction will preview in Los Angeles from June 21-23.

A fully illustrated catalog is available at now


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

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