Growing up, my older sister used to read the Edith: The Lonely Doll books to me. In each book Edith went on different adventures and her best friend was Mr. Bear. The books contained full-size photos of Edith and you felt as though she was a real person. Imagine my thrill when I discovered that a doll auction in Ohio was selling an Edith doll in mint condition!
My mother and I decided to plan a four day trip and attend the two-day auction. Most people would think it’s crazy to travel from New York to Ohio for a doll auction, but we also justified the trip by planning a visit to see my niece and her family. The auction was being held in a hotel and we were able to book a room at that hotel.
Prior to the auction I received an auction catalog filled with colorful photos of the beautiful antique and collectible dolls. On Saturday, the more modern type dolls would be sold and the older or highly collectible dolls would be sold on Sunday. In addition to the Edith doll, there were a few other dolls that I was interested in.
On Saturday of the auction we were allowed to preview the dolls two hours prior to the start of the auction. Most of the people attending were casually dressed and there were several young girls there. My mom and I chose seats near the front and she guarded the seats while I looked at the dolls. By the end of the day I was the top bidder for a Nabor Kid doll and a pair of piano dolls. I didn’t want to spend too much money because Edith was going to be sold the next day.
Sunday morning we arrived to the banquet hall as soon as the doors opened. Again, my mother grabbed two seats close to the front and I began looking at the dolls. My eyes were immediately drawn to Edith! There she was with Mr. Bear! Edith even came packed in a wicker picnic basket (the picnic basket was a significant part of one of the stories) along with a gingham blanket and a copy of the book. My heart began beating fast and I knew I badly wanted to be the top bidder. I had learned from past auctions not to show my excitement. When other bidders know you really want something, they will run you up in bids.
After checking out all the dolls and walking by Edith at least five times, I took my seat. I began to observe that the buyers on Sunday were a different clientele than Saturday’s auction. Many were dressed in suits and dresses and you could definitely tell that some had lots of money. I began thinking that my chances of winning Edith were slim.
The auction was super impressive in terms of how much many of the dolls sold for. Several went for thousands of dolls, while many went for hundreds. There were phone bids as well as floor bids. I could easily tell who the main bidders were and discovered that for at least two people, money was no option.
Two hours into the auction Edith was up for bid. My original thought was to bid as high as $350. Yet, after seeing how high everything was selling for I decided that my limit would be $600. The auctioneer begin the bidding at $500 and when he got down to $200 I held my card up high. At the same time, another handler was getting the next doll ready (a very rare Bilo baby doll) and apparently people were distracted by it. Another person bid $250 and I quickly held my card up at $300. My heart was racing and I was fearful the bids would go sky high. BUT, no one else made a bid! When I heard the auctioneer say, “Sold to bidder #131,” I knew I was the winner! I got Edith for $300, which was under what I was willing to originally spend. During a recess mid-way through the auction, another buyer said that she was disappointed that she had stepped out of the room when Edith was for sale. She asked me what I paid and immediately offered me $500! I declined the offer and enjoyed the rest of the day watching and learning about antique dolls and what makes them valuable.