Published: April 25, 2017
Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
STURBRIDGE, MASS. – It could have been Santa’s workshop, or maybe Willy Wonka’s or Mister Geppetto’s – but, no, it was Kimberly Kittredge’s annual gathering of about 100 of her friends at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center. Here on April 2, they were all exhibiting their inventories of dolls, toys, bears and holiday decorations among themselves and the many hundreds of shoppers who came to add to their collections.
Right from the start Scott Tagliapietra was selling from a table filled to overflowing with Santas, better known in this environment as Belsnickels, along with other related Christmas items from times gone by. This Milwaukee dealer also brought 100-year-old toys from Germany and the United States, which were moving quickly to new homes.
Julia Hoik, Wellesley, Mass., filled her tables with stuffed toys, including people, special characters and animals. In one case her sales were so good that while Santa riding on the donkey was being photographed, someone was reaching out to buy it, while nearby was a collection of happy Halloween goblins and pumpkins.
From Altamont, N.Y., Ann and Glenn Barker offered a grouping of miniature dolls, each only about 2 inches tall, with crocheted outfits, all different.
Stafford Springs, Conn., collector/dealer Moira Hatton was present with an assortment of dollhouses and the furnishings to go with them. Her collection offers examples in several different scales, from very little to not so small.
While the word “dolls” dominates the show’s title, there is a great deal more to offer. For example, Patricia Hatch, of Harvard, Mass., filled a cupboard with miniature furniture. Granted, it was dollhouse furniture, but still it gave much more variety and appeal to shoppers.
Mary Thought, Meriden, Conn., collects bears with an emphasis on Steiff. Her tables were filled to overflowing with them; big and little, old and young and varied in values.
Nearby, Cookie’s Critters, Bloomfield, N.Y., were the ones made by Cookie herself – a variety of forms that included bears, rabbits, pandas and other “fuzzie wuzzies” that were not zoologically correct, but very cute.
The Toy Store from Toledo, Ohio, was another bear place, in this case, mostly Steiff. Beth and Ben Savino were selling bears with Model T cars, American patriotic flags and colors, sleepy bears, muzzled bears and more.
Dolls came in all shapes, sizes and values, too. Carol Tribble offered a collection of some of the most valuable. One was described as “Pintel & Godchaux, with original mohair wig with extensions, period costume on marked Jumeau body,” and it was a late 1800s doll marked at $2,950.
This dealer offered several others in the same category.
Stuck on Dolls, Laurel, Md., is Stacey Lea’s business, which included some Nineteenth Century dolls with bisque heads but also a few that were made with love by moms or grandmothers for their little girls. Often called rag dolls, these are today highly prized as folk art.
The Village Antiques, Camillus, N.Y., is a toy store from a hundred years ago. Charlie Landon and Sandra Belko offer dolls and bears, animals and games that were made for children a long time ago. This Sunday their eye-catching showcase was one containing the small woolie animals that were made for farm scenes.
And there were later toys, too. Mary Jane Jamrogowicz, Enfield, Conn., makes a business with toys from the mid- Twentieth Century, offering the metal cars and trucks, planes, trains and motorcycles. Many have their original boxes, which are important to the serious collector.
Nancy Stronczek, Greenfield, Mass., offered a Stars & Stripes costume from just after World War II that may have been worn by a child in a Fourth of July parade.
Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were available from Tracy Jackson, a dealer from Londonderry, N.H. Games and children’s books from the 1920s through the 1950s were a part of Sue Johnson’s collection from Chelmsford, Mass.
The Doll, Toy, Bear & Holiday Show comes once a year and Kimberly Kittredge has to manage the date around availability of the hotel and Easter holiday. Look for it again next April. For information, http://treasuredmemoriesantiques.com or 860-559-5040.
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