Thursday, November 08, 2007

Doll Club small in numbers, big in heart

Warren County Doll Club currently has fewer than twenty members, but they manage to cover quite a bit of real estate, and share their love for dolls with as many as they can. That’s why they’re having a doll and toy show and sale November 17th, at Galesburg’s Oaks Senior Center.

The club, whose members come from five counties in two states, meet on the first Tuesday of each month to share common ground on their collectibles.

Founded in the mid-1970’s, two of the founding members, Maxine Hiett of Monmouth and Jan Speer of Kirkwood continue to participate in club activities today, often spearheading projects for the club’s members, including day trips to visit museums, shows, and special events.

Warren County Doll Club was once affiliated with a national organization, but went independent by the 1980’s. Since then, the Warren County Club has used funds from their modest annual membership dues -- which once would have gone into paying national dues -- to make regular donations to local charitable organizations such as Jamieson Community Center in Monmouth. Their Christmas meeting is also planned early enough that the members have a “gift exchange” in which each member brings a new doll or action figure, to be donated to the Jamieson Center Christmas Store.

Not only do these women collect rare, antique and other unusual dolls for their own pleasure, but some of them, like long-time member Esther Diehl of Kiethsburg, IL, take the time to restore and make dresses for older dolls which have seen hard times. Mary Sullivan and Vickie Johnson, both of Galesburg, have thriving businesses selling collectible dolls and figurines, and both still manage to find a vast number of others for their personal collections, as well. Members have favorite types, such as Kewpie dolls, Barbies, Madame Alexanders, and other well-known, well-loved dolls, as well as teddy bears, beanie babies, toy trucks and tractors, and even Santa Clauses.

Eventually, though, even the most ardent collectors run out of room for all the dolls and toys they love, and so it is with these ladies. They will be opening up some of their collections, modern and antique, for show and for sale on Saturday, November 17th, from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm, at the Oaks Senior Center (176 N. Farnham Street) in Galesburg. There will be no fee for admission to the doll show. Portions of the proceeds from their sale will benefit the Warren County Doll Club and local charities.

So, if you are still trying to find the perfect Christmas gift for a child -- of any age -- be sure you check out the Warren County Doll Club’s doll and toy sale. They may have just the item you need to put a smile on someone’s face. And, even if you’re not in the market for new or gently-loved, precious toys and collectibles, the members of the club invite you to come meet them, get to know them, and, maybe, join them in their passion for playthings. And although the value of a well loved doll is not measured in dollars; the members may be able to help identify your treasure and use published price guides to estimate value.

For further information on either the Warren County Doll Club or their November 17th sale, call (309) 343-8295, or e-mail with subject line “Warren County Doll Club”.

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