Published: July 24, 2007
“Can there be too many Jumeau dolls in an auction?” was the buzz in the doll world prior to Theriault’s auction of “A Cherished Collection” at the Venetian Hotel on May 5 and 6. The auction featured 65 Jumeau dolls, among its 700 lots of dolls and playthings. If sales results were any indication, the answer is a very definite, “There can never be too many.”
The top selling price of the two-day weekend was accorded to a 22-inch size 9 bébé A.T. by Thuillier that realized $52,000.
French bébé dolls, particularly those of Emile Jumeau, were the specialty of Madame Andree Petyt of Brussels, Belgium, whose collection was featured in Theriault’s single-owner auction. Her 30-year collection, begun in the early 1960s, offered a large variety of models by that firm, and collectors were wowed not only by the quality of the dolls, but also their original wigs and costumes.
Original couturier costumes from the Jumeau firm appeared on several of the bébés, including a size 14 tete model with a costume of burgundy silk and velvet that topped at $23,000, a 24-inch early portrait bébé selling for $21,000, a 20-inch depose model that fetched $11,500, and a Bébé Triste, size 13, at $26,000.
Four models of the Bébé Triste, also known as long-face bebe, were available at the auction, including two examples of the very rare size 16 measuring 33 inches. One, wearing a antique silk jester costume, reached $28,000, while the other, garbed in ivory silk satin and lace, soared to $34,000. A size 12 Bébé Triste brought $26,000.
Petite dolls as well as grand were in demand. Three little bébés in size 1, 2 and 3 were presented, and realized, respectively, $5,600, $5,000 and $7,800. Lady dolls or poupees by Jumeau were well represented. A near mint model by Pierre-Francois Jumeau, with its original label from the Paris boutique of A La Galerie Vivienne, moved quickly to $10,500, a 30-inch portrait model went to $25,000, a 14-inch model with bisque hands sold for $3,600 and a classic size 4 beauty with sturdy original kid body and wig topped at $3,200.
Bébés by Leon Casimir Bru included a brown-eyed classic period 22-inch bébé for $24,000, and a 22-inch, blue-eyed bébé at $29,000. A 27-inch bisque bebe by Schmitt et Fils with pear-shaped facial modeling fetched $25,000, and a round-faced model with original costume, measuring a mere 11 inches, was $34,000.
The auction marks Theriault’s fifth anniversary at the Venetian, which also hosted its auction of the Mildred Seeley doll collection, and last year’s auction of the Lego Museum Collection of Antique Dolls and Toys.
“If the Lego Museum was the first important museum collection of dolls to be sold in America,” said Stuart Holbrook, company president, “then Madame Petyt’s Cherished Collection is certainly the first important private collection. America has become the benchmark for selling important doll collections today.”
For more information, 410-224-3655 or www.theriaults.com .
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