Friday, January 20, 2006

Carlson costume dolls surprisingly detailed

When I first began collecting historical dolls, I made the arbitrary decision not to purchase dolls with child-like faces. But, I noticed that a line of dolls produced by Carlson, although having rather bland childish faces and open and shut eyes, were actually quite detailed in their historical costuming. Carlson dolls was initially a cottage business of a Maple Lake, Minnesota Indian tribe. Beginning in the 1950s, they produced a variety of dolls dressed in costumes to represent various Indian cultural groups. However, in my Ebay searches I discovered that they produced non-Indian dolls as well, often dressed in period costumes of the Revolutionary War but encompassing Frontier figures, Civil War figures, and even military personnel from various branches of the service and the military academy cadets as well.

The diminuitive size of Carlson dolls, 7 1/2" to 8" tall, makes them a perfect cabinet doll and selling in the range of $12 - $22 makes them relatively inexpensive to collect as well. Perhaps the most rare Carlson doll I have in my collection is a Spanish conquistador. In the last five years I have seen only one other like him. The pirate doll pictured here is also relatively rare. These modest dolls have even made their way into collections in other parts of the world. My Carlson cowboy and cowgirl were purchased from a collector in South Africa.
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