Episode 1 of Downton Abbey, Season 5 just premiered in the US last night. Set in 1924, it got me thinking about all things flapper. I just loved Lady Mary’s black, above the elbow gloves.
Back in May of last year, in Shoes, Socks, and a Pair of Stockings, I gave you a peak at my Simon & Halbig 1159 flapper doll. In honor of Downton, today she’ll be the star.
First a disclaimer: When I buy a new doll, I usually take their clothes off, check the body and bisque head and delight at what a savvy shopper I am. Only when I later take detailed photos and examine the doll for this blog (or to sell on eBay), do I usually spot “inconsistencies”.
So back to my flapper. She was sold to me as “all original”. We’ll see…
There is no denying that she’s cute. Made in Germany around 1920, she stands 12 3/4″ (33cm) tall. Simon & Halbig 1159’s came in several larger sizes, but I wanted a petite one.
Her bisque is perfect. She has blue, sleep eyes, beautifully painted, feathered lashes and brows, rosy cheeks and 4 molded teeth. Yes, she’s a bit buck toothed.
With her youthful features, I always think of her as a young lady in her late teens.
She is marked 1159, over Simon Halbig, over S & H, over 5.
The mohair wig is a simple bob.
It was made by sticking the mohair through the hole in the cardboard pate. There’s lots of glue! Is it original? I really don’t know. This is the only 1920-era German bisque doll I’ve ever examined.
Her body, legs and arms are more slender than a child doll and her feet are shaped for heeled shoes. The finish on her body is original.
Since her half slip is sewn on, I have chosen not to undress her all the way. Her chemise is made of a stretch fabric, it feels like nylon. Her slip and dress fabric is stiff and feels like polyester. So, she was definitely not dressed in the 1920’s.
Are her seamed, over the knee stockings original, or were they meant for a 1950’s fashion doll?
I thought her oil cloth shoes had to be original, because they are appropriate in style and fit her so well. Even though some of the surface is rubbed off on her left shoe, they have the same trim and are the same shape and size.
But look at the soles and heels. Oops.
Her hat is a beauty. The straw hat is old
and the flowers, lace and trims are appropriate to the period.
But the inside makes me question it’s history. First, there is some lavender fluffy stuff glued to the inside crown. And there is quite a bit of glue residue inside showing that it was placed on her head while the glue on her wig was still wet.
My Simon & Halbig 1159 “lady” doll is all original, in great condition, but her clothes are not.
Do I love her any less after discovering that her costume and wig are most likely not original? Certainly not.
By paying for an “all original” doll, did I overpay? Of course. But don’t we all usually overpay for the dolls we really NEED in our collections.
Do I feel duped? Not really. The seller had a 1920’s doll, dressed in appropriate 1920’s style and made a judgement. I do not believe she was trying to be dishonest, maybe lazy, but not dishonest.
The person who dressed this doll put great care and effort into the costume, hat and shoes and created a lovely “package”. This will always remain part of her trousseau. But, of course, I will redress her one day…