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Rare Maggie Bessie Oil Painted Cloth Doll
This 13 ½ inch tall doll, circa the late 19th or early 20th century, was created in Salem, North Carolina, by sisters, Margaret Gertrude and Caroline Elizabeth Pfohl. These dolls are called Maggie Bessie and are quite rare and sought after by cloth doll collectors. This particular example wears a red check cotton dress with tatting trim and a matching bonnet. The costume is quite appropriate for a Maggie Bessie doll but I do not know if it is original or not. Maggie Bessie has an oil painted head and lower arms. The cloth body is jointed at the shoulders, hips, knees, and elbows. She has individually stitched fingers and toes with a thumb separated from the other four. The right hand is worn with the thumb missing the cloth covering. The doll is sturdy and clean with general wear and age discoloration but there is no repaint or repair. She has crazing to the paint on the head but this is exaggerated by my close up photography. I love the primitive painting look of these dolls. Maggie Bessie dolls are so scarce that this is the first I have ever owned. What a treasure!
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