The Thrill of the Hunt



So far, we’ve talked about what a collection is ,  box or no box, and displaying.  Today my post is about the Thrill of the Hunt.  If you are a true collector, you know what I’m talking about.   Finding those elusive rare dolls you want to put into those cabinets.

My first experience with hunting for a doll was in the Ideal Saucy Walker line.  I fell in love with Saucy Walker dolls early on; the hard plastic walker version, not the larger vinyl Saucy.  I found all types of Saucys from no box, no clothes, to MIB gorgeous high color Saucys.  Then I discovered the book written by Judith Izen titled “Collector’s Guide to Ideal Dolls-Identification & Values”.  (At the time, the book was the first edition.) It was a wealth of information on my beloved Saucy Walker.  And then I saw it – right there on page 115! Something I didn’t even know existed – in fact, there were TWO somethings I didn’t know about.  There was a Saucy Walker Boy from 1953 22″ tall, that you could only get as a premium from Chicago Daily Tribune, and right next to him was a Saucy Walker Big Sister, 25″ tall, also only available as a premium from the Chicago Daily Tribune.  There was my holy grail of Saucys.  And so I went on the hunt.  At the time, the internet was just beginning to play a part in finding dolls.  I looked high and low for those dolls.  Doll shows, magazines, trade papers, and then when it came along, on EBAY. (You EBAY shoppers will know as I do that if you look long enough for something on EBAY, it will eventually show up there.)    Then,  finally I found both the boy version (a photo of my actual doll is in the Ideal Doll second edition book- shown here at the left) and eventually, I found the 25″ version of the big sister.  I was thrilled beyond belief!  So excited I had found the elusive dolls.  Then, about 4 years later, I sold both of them.  I know, I know… WHY???  Sometimes, I still ask myself that question.  Then I remember the answer.   Too many dolls, and I needed money.  Can’t even remember what I needed the money for, but you can bet it was something important for me to have to sell my prized dolls.  But it happened at one of those times when my collection was changing, and I thought I would pass them on to someone else to enjoy.  And then, on to the next hunt!  Not that I can now remember what that was!  😉  Right now, I don’t have a particular hunt, but I can tell you that’s it’s probably just a matter of time before I find the next one to hunt for!

So, have you ever hunted for a doll?  Did you finally find her -and maybe it’s from a totally unexpected place? Maybe it’s a Tonner doll!  SHARE! 🙂


Next week, VACATION!  So when i return at the end of August, my next post will be about books that are great resources for collecting dolls.  Here is a link to the newest Ideal Dolls book from Amazon.  Ideal Dolls 





15 responses to “The Thrill of the Hunt

  1. Yes I am always on the hunt for a new doll. My ultimate doll find- a 1972 Blythe with original dress. I bought her for only $5.00. I am still sick over the fact that I sold her to pay bills. If I ever find one again (and yes I am looking!) I will never sell her even if I have to live in a tent and eat bread and water LOL! and yes I did make a ton of money on the doll but as true collectors know some dolls are loved so much they no amount of money would make you want to part with them.

    1. hi Tina
      I totally empathize with you. I had a 24″ Alice by Alexander with a gorgeous face and cloth body – I sold her – I curse the day I sold her. And now I want her back. And now I can’t find one! So I’ve stopped looking for a while. But I know, in the future, I will start looking again.
      Miss Nancy

      1. Glad someone can empathize with me.Thank-you for your comment! My husband still doesn’t get why I didn’t want to sell her. But I will find another one at a tag sale or flea market someday…..p.s. If I ever see a perfect MA Alice like the one you sold I’ll will sure let your know! 🙂

  2. Hi Miss Nancy,

    I really enjoyed your blog. I too am a dollaholic. I have loved dolls since birth. I never outgrew my love/appreciation of dolls. When I discovered ebay aroun 1998, I was in doll heaven. So many dolls to pick from. I remember being on the hunt for a 1970’s Darci doll, back then. I had the blonde version but, I wanted a brunette and red head too. I must have paid at least $30 each for the dolls back then. They only came in their bathing suits and shoes, no box. I have since sold all but, one of the Darci dolls. I kept the red head. She was in the best condition of the three. Now, I am on the hunt for the rest of the Twilight dolls and Vampire Diaries dolls. I currently have 2 versions of Edward, 1 Bella, 1 Alice, and 1 Damon. I just need Jacob, Jasper, Jane, Stefan, and Elena.

    1. hi Kim
      wow – on the hunt for Vampires! just be careful and always carry your wooden stakes and your cross! lol
      and i know this is off topic, but it does involve collecting. I watched one of the auction reality shows on tv the other night, and you won’t believe what someone brought in. It was a vampire killing kit from the 1700’s when they believed in vampires. It was a wooden box with all kinds of stuff inside – bottles of holy water, wooden stakes, a cross, a rosary, a silver dagger, etc. It was amazing to see.
      miss nancy

  3. I too have “Holy Grails” I want to find in terms of dolls–but of course they are Evangeline Ghastlys! I desperately want two Evangelines–which I believe are called “Moonlit Shadows”, and a special event one called “A Gathering Storm”(?). Of course I can find them nowhere…even eBay has deserted me in my time of need…

    AARRGGHH I am dying to attend the Tonner Halloween Convention!!! –Halloween has always been a huge interest of mine over the years (okay, decades), and just recently Evangeline Ghastly has gotten me “into” dolls for the very first time (when I was a child, I played with STAR WARS figures…). I actually have a hotel reservation–I even think I completed (at least most of) the registration–and I can’t find a way to get there!!! There seems to be no airlines that leave from Midway and fly to Burlington (and I can only leave from Midway due to limited transportation availability). I’ve been searching and searching, and the closest location I can fly to from Midway would then entail a rental car and a four-to-six hour drive on top of the flight!!! Driving the whole way would take 16 hours, and you don’t even want to know how long Amtrak would take….does anyone know of an airline that flies to Burlington out of Midway that I somehow missed?? I am especially desperate since there is going to be a HALLOWEEN EVANGELINE available at the conference!! Thanks for any info!!!

    1. hi Melissa

      well, I’ll keep an eye out for those evangelines for you.
      As for convention, if you join the Yahoo group that’s for convention only, you might be able to find someone else that’s driving from that area that would be willing to share the drive. I’ll do some checking on the airlines for you too. I’ll keep you posted!
      Miss Nancy

      1. thanks Nancy! As always you are awesome!! (-8

        I was just thinking about a “Holy Grail by Proxy” I thought I could mention! My Mom had a Betsy McCall doll from her youth, and about 20 years ago my dog chewed her up. )-8 So I have been browsing eBay for years, and earlier this year I was not only able to finally find a brunette Betsy McCall like she’d had, but also the Betsy McCall trunk and several of her outfits. I was thrilled!! –the not-so-expected outcome of this, though, is when I triumphantly presented my prize to my Mom as a make-up for Rover’s long-ago snack: she was completely unimpressed!! In fact, she wondered why I had gotten it!!! SO, I guess the moral of that is: unless you have specific requests, only doll-search for yourself!! (-8

    2. Hi Melissa!

      Wow, we sure hope you can make it to H-Con! You’re enthusiasm is just what we need! You may want to post on Prego or even our FB page to see if there is anyone you can carpool with or make travel arrangements with or something. It certainly couldn’t hurt to put it out there, and our group of collectors are generous and caring to a fault! I just know if there is someone out there who can help you, you’ll find it through one of those channels.

      We really hope to see you there, Melissa, and thank you for leaving us a comment! We hope someone can help a sista out!

      Joanne Canapini
      Community Manager

  4. I have a “holy grail” that dates back to when I first started collecting dolls. I wanted to find my Betsy Wetsy again. My own doll “disappeared” (Mom probably caught me in a weak moment – I still have most of my childhood dools) some time after I started with Barbie, by I remembered how dear she had been to me. But none of the Betsy Wetsys looked right and none of them smelled right! But then I saw a Tiny Tears at a doll show and the scales fell, so to speak. She looked *almost* right and she certainly had to correct smell (rubber wig cap). I then poured over dolls shows and EBay until I got the correct doll – a later 16″ TT with a vinyl body. Now I think of that doll as co-equal with my other dolls saved from childhood.

    1. It’s amazing when you do find the Holy Grail, and we’re glad you’ve shared your story with us! Childhood memories are not only stored in our brains, but also in objects, too, and it’s quite delightful and nostalgic when it can be recaptured in adulthood! It’s almost like we learn to play all over again! Really great story, and thanks for sharing, Elise!!

      Joanne Canapni
      Community Manager

  5. Oh, my grail dolls… I’m sure subconsciously I’m looking for a new grail item, but I couldn’t tell you what at the moment! (Actually, I am always hunting for the perfect BJD doll to fit my image of the ‘Doctor’ from Doctor Who… That, I guess, is a grail, even though I have no idea what I’m looking for!!!)

    Most recently, I found a lemon haired Living Skipper that I had been searching the web for for years— in the back of a box at a doll show! Before that, I had been trying to find a vintage Japanese Skipper (b/c of their unique eye paint). I could never imagine selling my dolls, especially my grail dolls. You guys have more guts than me!!!

    1. Hi Ashley – So glad you found your Skipper – that is a great doll – love the lemon yellow hair!

      miss nancy

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