Ah, Valentine’s Day!! February 14th is a day to celebrate many types of love and friendship, from the first letter signed by the saint himself, “Your Valentine,” to his student, a young, sightless girl. Valentine, who was martyred for marrying Christian couples in defiance of Roman Law, is responsible for the miracle that restored the girl’s sight.
Since that day, eons ago, we have given tokens of platonic and romantic love – red roses, chocolates, and yes, even dolls!
Valentine’s Day dolls abound on Ruby Lane, whose very name invokes the theme color of this holiday, red. It is great fun to dress a favorite doll in a red outfit, but how about a Nancy Ann Storybook Doll called Valentine that wears a heart decorated red and white dress, and that “lives” in a heart cut-out decorated box? If this strikes your fancy, view her at Carol’s Collectibles. Carol’s also has the Nancy Ann Queen of Hearts. Other red and heart themed Storybook Dolls live on Ruby Lane, too. Legacy Lane Antiques features an adorable, if slightly naughty, Valentine Troll wearing a red, heart-shaped teddy trimmed in black lace.
For many doll collectors, that treasured Valentine’s Day gift was a treasured doll for their collection. Beautiful French bisque dolls wearing pink and red silk, velvet, and organdy costumes from The Golden Age of Dolls often sport flower-trimmed hats, nosegays, and even small boxes of candy. Some antique dolls have cloth bodies made of a red material, like a bisque blonde Parian doll from Caldwell’s Miscellaneous Fancy Goods on Ruby Lane. Or, perhaps a vintage, jointed ballerina doll from the 1950s, all in pink silk, could dance her way into our sweet heart’s 14-inch dreams. Rocher on Ruby Lane offers a lovely example by Molleye Goldman, but others, including one nicknamed “The Capezio Ballerina” came from a company called Valentine.
Elaine’s Dolls feature a beautiful little Recknagle toddler type with molded hair that is dressed as a Valentine clown in red and white. Another Dydee baby doll wears white eyelet trimmed in red ribbon.
Red Door Antiques and Collectibles is showing a darling, mint Valentine Ginette, dressed in white faux fur and red! If you love tiny things, many doll sized Valentines, heart bottles, heart objects, and doll clothes are available, especially Wee Forest Folk Valentine mice sold by Joan and Lynette Antique Dolls and Accessories.
Lest we lose our heads, there is the Queen of Hearts in doll form, including a spectacular R. John Wright example, and the Tin Man who wanted a heart, offered by RJW Dolls.
For those who swoon over antique dolls, Turn of the Century Antiques also has a wonderful Kestner 1860s China head wearing a red print dress with a fancy lace collar. They also show a darling Ginny in a red trimmed dress, and a wonderful Automaton strumming a mandolin, an instrument often associated with love songs. A 14 inch musical marott with a bisque head is just the ticket for a Valentine surprise.
Also, don’t forget Cupid figures and dolls, Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, friends, and memorabilia, Valentine Barbies, bears, Enesco figures with hearts, angels, Kewpies, vintage red plush Valentine’s stuffed animals, vintage Dream Pets, Russ Berrie, TY vintage Beanies of Valentine the bear, and so many more!
If all else fails, look for a vintage heart shaped candy box topped by an early hard plastic doll, or a doll that is herself a candy box. Wonderful French and German examples exist.
So, as Geoffrey Chaucer, esteemed author of The Canterbury Tales might say to us in Middle English, “ Sweteherte,” gladly would we seek poppets for the 14th of February, and gladly would we gift them with a red silk bow.
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