Arts and Entertainment

Finding a lot of love in little dolls

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

This weekend could be a dream for doll collectors as two special events come together.

 

Trinity United Methodist Church hosts a two-day estate sale on May 18-19 for Nancy Bedford, a 24-year member of the church, whose family donated her collection to the church after her death at the age of 80 last July.

 

The event coincides with the Olympic Peninsula Doll Club’s 30th annual show on May 19 at Sequim Middle School.

 

Both events feature a variety of makes and sizes of dolls, dollhouses, doll-sized furniture, chinaware, kitchenware, vintage toys, teddy bears, clothes and more.

A passion for dolls

At the time of the interview, volunteers only had gone through one-third of Bedford’s doll collection stored in more than 30 large boxes. It filled one section of pews in Trinity’s sanctuary.

 

The Rev. Bill Green said he learned when Bedford was a girl she was given a doll and a dollhouse.

 

“It sparked something in her,” Green said. “After she moved here, her collection began to really grow.”

Finding collectors in church isn’t uncommon, Green said.

 

A woman in a former Idaho congregation of Green’s converted the upstairs of a barn to hold her 1,000-plus dolls.

 

Green said selling and readying the show is going to take 20 or more volunteers.

 

Sue Christensen, event co-chairman, said looking through the collection, she can tell it meant a lot to Bedford.

 

Proceeds from the sale benefit the church’s local and global mission programs, in which Bedford and her husband, Fred, were both active. Bedford was on the global missions committee, too.

 

“This is an opportunity to celebrate Nancy’s joys with her doll collection as well as help other people through our mission’s programs,” Christensen said.

 

During Saturday’s sale, the church will accept donations of disposable diapers and baby wipes for the Sequim Food Bank and the North Olympic Foster Parents Association as part of their denomination’s “Change the World” weekend of simple acts of kindness.

A collection’s appraisal

Bedford’s collection will be appraised by Dori Beachler, a Sequim resident and president of Just Dolls of Washington.

 

She’s been appraising for 10 years, and after going through one-third of the collection, said Bedford’s collection has a little bit of everything.

 

“There’s going to be something for everyone at this sale,” Beachler said. “From what I did see, there’s a lot of reproduction dolls but some modern original porcelain dolls, a lot of storybook dolls, some old Ginny dolls, a Dy-Dee baby, a lot of very old dollhouse furniture, cribs and furnishings.”

 

One rarer doll she’s researching is a limited edition by a deceased designer whose dolls are quite sought-after.

 

Beachler estimates that it’s worth about $400.

 

She’s hoping to find in the rest of the collection older dolls and accessories from the 1850s to 1930s because much of the collection is from the 1940s and on.

 

From what she’s seen, Beachler has a lot of respect for the amount of work going into the show.
“It’s a monumental achievement to handle all of this,” she said.

A show continues

The estate sale runs concurrently with the Olympic Peninsula Doll Club’s 30th show. Connie Holtz, co-chairman of the show, said the club has been going for 40 years and the show has continued because members stay active and maintain their love for of dolls.

 

“For a day outing, it’s wonderful for kids,” she said.

 

“Last year, we had a lot of little girls in dresses and outfits. We do have a lot of boys coming too because there are a lot of toys.”

 

Holtz said the event helps give girls a fantasy world in the reality world of growing up, too.

 

One of the biggest draws for the event, she said, is a raffle for a custom American Girl doll. People buy a ticket for a chance at a custom doll with several outfits based on the holidays.

 

It’s valued at more than $250. Proceeds from the sale go to a yet-to-be-named charity. The event features nearly 30 vendors.

 

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