Artist Doll Market of the 90’s- Where did it go?

I have collected dolls since I was five so when I went to my first West Coast Toy Show in Pasadena , California I was obsessed with the blossoming new market of doll artists. I was a sub-rep to a handful of artists with “Dolls by Jerri” as the most commercial. At this show I met an incredible gift rep, Tom Boland that had one amazing doll artist, Anna Abigail Brahms. Tom was a “gift” rep and this was a toy show so he was stuck out back almost on the loading dock. I was obsessed with her work so persuaded my customers to walk back and take a look. That doll was the beginning of my doll art passion and have always regretted not buying one of her first dolls. Tom later became the go to guy for the doll artists and had quite a group for years.

BrahamsAnna Abigail Brahms

As the original core group of artists continued to develop their work more and more artists joined the ranks to where the doll artist and doll galleries could host entire shows and conventions for just “Doll Art”. These shows drew the celebrities and art collectors. Marilyn Radzat (Art Of Toys is proud to have 3 of her works offered) was quoted in Art Doll Quarterly, “It was just amazing, Demi Moore and Richard Simmons would come to the art doll shows in New York City and buy art dolls like they were candy.” These celebrities drove the passion for art dolls as well as upward prices.

springtime blessing 1    Marilyn Radzat

As the market continued to grow large companies started trying to get a piece of the pie by going to doll artists and having them sculpt exclusive dolls that would be massed produced in limited editions of ridiculous numbers like 20,000 pieces. I loved the work of Yolanda Bello and was proud to represent her originals from her small Chicago factory, I have quite a collection for she paid me one year in prototype show samples and eventually I will get them online. I often get collectors calling wanting to know the value of dolls such as Jason designed by Yolanda but produced in China in large quantities. The dolls were produced in large quantities and sold as collectables so people took care of them many never leaving the box this leads to the current market having a gluttony of these dolls which means in the current market these have little to no value as art …thou I guess they could be played with.  It will be generations before the value is seen in these thou in the heyday Jason sold for over $1000 in the secondary market!

Jason by Yolanda Bello

I love the works of doll art I own in my own collection and the pieces Art Of Toys has. The wild market of the 90’s is gone for now but the art lives on. Artists like Marilyn Radzat, Marca Castillo, Stephanie Blythe and Anna Abigail Brahms have paved the road for a new generation of artists. Art Of Toys will continue to add the work to site and gallery!