Friday, November 14, 2014

Something to think about....

This post is a little off the beaten path, but has to do with something I am still dealing with.  On the one hand, I adore doll collecting, prop collecting and my dollhouses and dioramas. I could not exist if I did not create. On the other hand, it boarders on hoarding- we are always on the lookout and share deals, where to get these neat props, etc to add to our scenes.

Last year this time my mother had a stroke and was in the hospital, went through surgery, then went into a coma, and eventually passed away on life support. Her death was a huge loss to me, and the rest of my family because of her vitality and she was full of life. She was also the reason I began collecting miniatures and dolls, for she loved them as much as I. I remember her being so proud when she would come to shows and always ask, 'do I get a deal?' lol. 

Mom loved tiny dolls, and also porcelain dolls as well as Barbie. Mom was also not a de-boxer. She liked to keep her dolls in the boxes and look and enjoy them about the room. She also loved 'rescuing' tiny dolls or dolls at yard sales, doll shows, and the like. Mom wasn't a doll specific collector- if she liked it- she bought it. She collected alot of Ashton-Drake dolls, and Franklin Mint and often ordered from them.  When she passed, she had about 30 boxed Barbies and a lovely Princess Diana in the box with the chenille suit, as well as matching boxed outfits. 

Which brings me to my main point of this long winded post-- what do you do with a loved one's collection? I have often thought of this and made plans in that direction as my own family will be mystified- my collection has not only fashion dolls- but vintage, as well as rare and hard to find furniture pieces, designed by me but by other well known artists. 

Regretfully, most of what I have left to go through in my mother's collection are a basketful of dolls such as these-

But what about the lovely Princess Diana doll, and all of those Barbies you ask?
THIS was the point I am attempting to make. My father, bless him, was attempting to clean out the dolls. Part of it was my own fault and procrastination for not taking the dolls sooner- it was very hard to go through her collection because of the finality of it- Mom isn't here, an irrational part of me could say she was still here if her dolls were there. Stupid yes. My dad, decided to let one of her 'close' friends take the dolls and insisted he helped her. He had no idea the worth of her collection, which wasn't much or a great deal- the monetary value is never the part you treasure, right? Now this so called close friend was the wife of one of his friends they had vacationed with, etc and I had grown up with their kids. She and Mom used to go to yard sales, flea markets, and pick up Barbies and this lady would fix them up, make home made clothing, and sometimes give mom a doll she had remade over. (I know because I found a box of them when going thru her Christmas decorations- I happened to notice the yard sale barbies she had given mom she did not take- just the Barbies of any value as well as the Diana doll.)Yes, she loaded up her car and took home the loot. To this day she has never contacted me and I doubt she ever will. She took nothing that was not deboxed unless she knew what it was- such as an Elizabeth Taylor Barbie in the purple gown I had given Mom for her birthday, that was gone as well. Don't trust that when friends who know the doll world will not look after their own interests first, and then your family last. Am I still angry- yes, it was mostly at myself and the natural greed of people. It is a subject I am still touchy on a year later and I cannot bear to be around the person whom I speak of.I would never want my friends to go through an experience like this which Is why I decided to write this post today. 

This is my very point- and the lesson learned- prepare a list of your dolls and the retail value you purchased them at,and the date. Keep a list. Make it easy for your family. Deboxed dolls- take a picture of them if you redress, etc. Keep it in a ringbinder with the name of the doll. Time consuming but you can always copy the pics from the doll website and have them printed on your computer on photo paper. Don't rely on your family being able to discern Silkstone Barbie from Fashionista Barbie or a Fashion Royalty doll from a playline doll. 

The above dolls I do not think she knew the worth of, and they probably are not worth very much. When I again visited my dad he did not realize that the dolls were something I had given Mom- he seemed to think this woman had given mom a great deal of them. One of the things that was so wonderful in this box of dolls were the only hearts dolls- the toddlers I deboxed today, and a small Raggedy Ann Kelly in the bottom of the basket! Mom collected Raggedy Ann and ANdys, and she had the complete boxed set that was also taken by the 'friend'. Finding this tiny little Raggedy Ann Kelly really did my heart good. It was almost like she was here saying- see, I saved one for you.

Stewing on this issue, I sat down and spoke to my husband, and showed him my notebook, with its list, and also a trusted friend's name  who could help him sell/move my collection if something happened. I can only imagine a so-called 'friend' coming in and seeing the Fashion Royalty dolls and my Sybarite, bjd's, and thinking they had hit the jackpot.Most families do not understand the net worth of the dolls and sometimes- they do not even care. My example with my mother's collection is a small example and not one of monetary amount of any consequence. Imagine someone of this caliber coming into a valuable collection and that family may need the funds for expenses, etc. after the fact. The whole thing makes me shudder. 

I know this is a very sad and depressing subject- I get depressed thinking I wouldn't be here to play with the dolls!!! lol...but it is a serious one on the spectrum I have experienced and I hope to do some good to the fellow collectors who I know read this blog and maybe take something away from my bad experience. I only regret it took me almost a year to write it down here. 
All for now~Lisa


Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, I'm so sorry for your loss, this time of year must be a difficult time for you. About the situation with this person, it's terrible that she did this to you and your dad. I have met several persons like that, sadly enough, in the past. The kind of inconsiderate doll collector that would do anything to profit, even if that means they have to dupe fellow befriended doll collectors or their families. Greed is an ugly thing. Thank you for your advice about making lists of a collection, a lot of people (like me) don't even think of that, but it's important!

Phyllis said...

Lisa, so sorry this happened to you, but I know this happens all the time because of people's greed. Even family will do this. My mother died when I was 15. My father remarried - twice. The second wife after my mother was a year older than me. He married her when I was in college. He died while married to her. She took everything and would not even let us come to get our own things out of the house. That is how I lost my original Barbie. More importantly, we lost gift from my mother and grandmother. You idea of documenting your dolls and their value is a good idea. Taking it a step further, I think you should also put it in your will or trust who you want to have them or how you want them to be dealt with -- even if you want them sold so the proceeds can go where you want them too. An important post by the way!

billa's dolls and fashions said...

Hi Lisa, thanks for sharing. What happened to you is such an awful thing. Unfortunately it is in these kind of situations that you come to measure people around you. The idea of making the list is a good one, even though I already trusted my collection to my niece Carlotta, but one can never tell...
A Big Kiss

Lisa Neault said...

thank you everyone. In all fairness, my dad thought he was doing a good thing as their home, was full of stuff- Mom loved to shop! I agree Phyllis- family can be as bad as 'friends' and it should be stated specifically in a will so there is no doubt the collection is to be sold. I have also made a list of auction houses who specialize in selling doll and dollhouse collections.

Members of my fashion doll club run into this- at least our president and vice president do- some people have contacted them having no idea but that they wish to get rid of these dolls- lovely vintage collections and you've hit paydirt even if the dolls are boxed and not worth that much.

I have hoped that by sharing here everyone can avoid this happening. Phyllis, I am so sorry what happened to you, that really is more awful than losing a bunch of dolls. Glad my experience could help everyone, as this has been bothering me for months.

Muff said...

A painful post for you to be sure, but I'm so glad you were willing to share it with us along with ideas and cautions for our own collections.

Vanessa said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. I can't imagine what you are going through. This is a subject that I thought about soon after getting diagnosed. That's when I decided to debox the majority of my dolls. No one is going to enjoy my dolls more than me. I really don't have anyone to leave my dolls to. I will probably send a few of my favorite families to a doll collector who follows my stories. I don't really have any expensive dolls. If I did I would sell them off. Goodness knows I always need more money.

As for the friend, just know that what goes around comes around. Doing the wrong thing usually doesn't bring about good rewards.

I'm sending you a hug right now.