A small collection of six Sasha dolls sold for nearly £4,500 at Shropshire’s leading fine art auction house on Wednesday.
Top sellers at Halls’ successful toys auction in Shrewsbury were two rare dolls, which were made without a philtrum, the dimple between the lip and the nose. A 1966 brunette with a blue gingham dress sold for £2,100 and a 1968 Gregor Red Head doll realised £1,650.
Sasha dolls were created by the late Sasha Morgenthaler (1893-1975), a Swiss artist whose vision was to create dolls that reflected the spirit of children of all races and cultures.
Between 1940s until her death in 1975, she created one-of-a-kind 20 inch cloth, gypsum and plastic dolls in her studio and travelled the world extensively studying children of all racial, cultural, and economic groups to portray in her work.
Her dream to make an inexpensive play doll that would have universal appeal came true in the mid-1960s when she developed the design for the 16 inch doll which was manufactured in Germany and England until the 1980s.
The dolls have vinyl bodies and heads with rooted nylon hair and painted eyes and lips, but differ in style and face painting. Some, which are keenly sought after by collectors, were made without a philtrum.
Halls’ toys specialist Stewart Orr said the six Sasha dolls were consigned by a Shropshire woman who had originally bought them for her mother in Yorkshire. Halls had developed a good record for selling Sasha dolls, particularly the rare examples without a philtrum.
A 1969 blonde Sasha doll with a philtrum, from another Shropshire vendor, sold for £260.
Another excellent result came in the form of a rare tinplate clockwork Dick Whittington and his cat, which sold for £1,100 after competitive bidding by two telephone bidders.
Mr Orr said it was the first time he had seen the toy, which had no maker’s mark, had a broken motor and was in unrestored condition. “I suspect it was made in Germany between 1910-’20,” he added.
“The toy had been sitting in a box in a garage for a number of years and the owner is delighted that it sold so well at auction. It’s another example that highlights the importance of getting old toys assessed, as I’m sure there are lots of people who have potentially valuable toys that have been stored away and forgotten about.”
A selection of painted Robin and Nell Dale figures, including Baldrick, Joshua Marlin, Admiral Mainbrace and Mrs Pilgrim, together with two small painted figures, also sold for £1,100.
A rare Sutcliffe Models Bluebird II Speedboat, made in tribute to British water and land speed record breaker Donald Campbell, sold for £220. The boxed model was discovered by Halls at a recent charity antiques valuation event in Barmouth for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Bluebird II was produced by Sutcliffe Models from 1958 but the model was not endorsed by Campbell, who died when his powerboat crashed during a world water speed record attempt on Coniston Water on January 4, 1967. He broke eight records in the 1950s and ‘60s and remains the only person to set both world land and water speed records in the same year, 1964.
Other results included £200 for a quantity of Hornby Dublo platforms and buildings and £170 for a trestle mounted rocking horse, which may be destined for a Christmas gift.
Mr Orr is already busy gathering toys for the next auction in February, 2016, which will include a large collection of Britains farm figures and a rare 1970s Dalek playsuit from the popular BBC series Doctor Who.
He holds a free valuation surgery every Monday morning from 9.30am to 2pm at the Battlefield saleroom in Shrewsbury. For more information contact Halls on Tel: 01743 450700.