Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A doll stringing masterpiece

My Madame Alexander Polly Pigtails is one of my doll stringing masterpieces.

Polly Pigtails was made from 1949 to 1951 with Madame Alexander's Maggie face. I had wanted one for some time, but unfortunately they can be expensive — especially with outfits other than the plaid one (which I don't like as much).

Shortly before I found my Polly, I'd seen a pristine-mint Polly Pigtails on eBay. She was 14 inches tall (my favorite size), and had a pale yellow dress with a blue ribbon sash. Her light brown braids still had the original blue ribbons in them. I was heartbroken when she sold for far more than I could afford — somewhere around $700, if I remember correctly.

Not long afterward, I found what would become my Polly Pigtails. It was love at first sight, although not everyone would have thought so. Her body and dress were soiled, and worst of all, she was in pieces: Her original stringing had broken. But as you already know from some of the other dolls I've posted about, such as my ravaged Cissette Ballerina, I have a soft spot for unwanted dolls.

Anyway, I knew that this Polly Pigtails was quite possibly a diamond in the rough. She was all original: She had her yellow cotton eyelet dress (at least, I was pretty sure it was yellow underneath all that dirt), her yellow cotton slip-and-underwear combo, her straw hat, and black patent side-snap shoes. All I would have to provide would be the appropriate socks, which aren't too difficult to find if you know where to look.

I won the auction for a little over $100. Everyone was scared away by her condition, but because I knew how to string and do simple repairs, such as cleaning, I was able to get her for a good deal. And all I had to do to make her beautiful again was restring her and wash her clothes.

Polly isn't perfect, of course: Her face is pale, and her floss wig is both red and blond — an interesting factory flaw that I've only seen a couple of times. Her dress shows some play wear and a faint stain I was not able to entirely remove. However, she is in good condition and all original, which speaks for something. I've seen less complete dolls in this outfit command a couple hundred dollars, so I think she is probably worth at least half her book value, which Linda Crowsey's 2008 Madame Alexander price guide reported as being $500.

But what I love best about my Polly Pigtails is knowing that I made her beautiful again. It's amazing how deep an attachment you can form with a doll you have brought back to life.

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