Norah Wellings Doll, ca. 1940
Appraised Value: $1,000 - $1,500
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:42)
Dolls, Toys & Games
GUEST: This doll was a gift to my grandmother by one of her suitors in about 1940. She had three gentlemen after her hand at the time. And this fellow was from Australia, and he was stationed in North Africa. And he picked up a set of three dolls. There were a smaller, and then a slightly larger, and then this one. Of course the other two were played with and destroyed, but this one has never been played with. She went from Africa to England, and in 1945, my grandmother came across by ship with my mother and my aunt, and the doll came with them.
APPRAISER: Okay, well, it was made by a woman named Norah Wellings, and Norah Wellings was from England.
APPRAISER: The doll is called "The South Pacific Islander." Norah Wellings started out as a doll designer for a company in England named Chad Valley. Then in 1925, she started her own company with her brother, making soft toys and dolls and teddy bears. And they were in Wellington. She patented her doll head in 1926, and this doll dates probably in the late '30s into the '40s. It came in many sizes. This is what I think is the largest size. It's about 36 inches. I haven't seen a larger one personally. A lot of Norah Wellings were used on cruise ships from the Atlantic for souvenirs and also in different locations as souvenirs. But it was made in England by Norah Wellings. Now, what's interesting about the South Pacific Islander, it's one of the most popular Norah Wellings. Most of what they made were sailor dolls and little pixies, but collectors love this doll. And one of the really great features about it, it has glass eyes, where a lot of the Norah Wellings don't have glass eyes. And it has a wonderful smiling face, and it's been said, I've heard, that she modeled the doll after Josephine Baker, the famous performer.
APPRAISER: It's all original. It has its original grass skirt, its bracelets are here. Now usually, Norah Wellings are marked with a tag on the wrist or on the foot. Now, this one, the tag must have fallen off. And where do you keep it?
GUEST: It's hung on my bedroom wall with a sheet draped over it.
APPRAISER: Well, that's good, because keeping sunlight off of it is very important. You can fade the velveteen. They also made a lot of Norah Wellings out of felt. So felt and velveteen. The value, good auction estimate in this size and condition, I would say it's worth $1,000 to $1,500.
GUEST: Okay. I finally know where she's from and I know the truth.
APPRAISER: You know the truth.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.