Jumeau Doll with Clothing & Booklet, ca. 1880

Value (2007) | $18,000 Auction$20,000 Auction

GUEST:
My grandmother received the doll from her great-aunt in 1935, when she was nine. My grandmother kept the doll for one generation and it was to be passed to the next daughter. Well, my grandmother had a son-- my father-- and then I was born and when I turned nine, that was my birthday present was this doll.

APPRAISER:
And do you have daughters?

GUEST:
I do have a daughter now. Who is five.

APPRAISER:
Great. One of the fascinating things that was with the collection was the letter.

GUEST:
When the doll was passed to my grandmother, at the age of nine, her great-aunt wrote a letter as if the doll is speaking. And the letter starts out: "To Alice Lillian, my little Mistress to be." And it explains as if the doll, um, started her journey in France and traveled to New York City and then was placed in Macy's, and how she lived in Macy's, but could not speak English; she only spoke French and could not communicate with the other dolls.

APPRAISER:
Well, what you have is a doll made by the company of Jumeau. And Jumeau made very fine dolls in the 19th century. This particular model was made between 1880 and 1885.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The person at that time at head of the company was Emile Jumeau. So, often the dolls were marked E. Jumeau. I looked under the back of this doll's head. This one just has a number. A number eight.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Sometimes they were marked with the company's name. Sometimes they weren't. When they're not marked, this doll is referred to as a portrait Jumeau. What's interesting about this doll is... her entire wardrobe, which covers different periods.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
For example, this little dress here was probably the earliest and probably was very contemporary to the time she was made. The wig originally would have been a lambskin or goatskin. Very short, kind of white hair. So this wig was probably replaced in the latter part of the 19th century, early 20th century. This particular doll won medals at doll fairs and, uh, they won a gold medal and I don't want to take her clothes off to show that but on the back of her torso will be marked "Jumeau, Gold medal, Paris." I think one of the greatest things that you have here is this little book. On the top up here it says, "Letter of Bébé Jumeau to her little mother."

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
On the front. The interesting thing is, it has the little mother, or the little child, stomping on the doll. I don't know the significance of that

GUEST:
Okay. (laughing):

APPRAISER:
but it... it really is kind of charming.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
This particular doll is a very desirable doll on the doll market today. Any of the early Jumeaus. And because you have all of these wonderful things and the accessories, I would say on today's market, very easily you'd be able to sell it for $18,000 to $20,000.

GUEST:
Wow. Oh, well, thank you.

APPRAISER:
And, um, I just hope your little daughter will be loving it as much as you did.

GUEST:
She does, and she's looking forward to receiving it. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

APPRAISER:
You're welcome.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Antique and Collectible Dolls
Folsom, California
Appraised value (2007)
$18,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Event
Orlando, FL (June 30, 2007)
Period
19th Century
December 19, 2011: After this appraisal aired we received an email from a viewer telling us there is a translation of the booklet that accompanied the Jumeau doll in "Spinning Wheel's Complete Book of Dolls," edited by Albert Christian Revi. The booklet features a letter from the doll to her child owner in which the doll expresses her compulsion to destroy "ugly and ridiculous" German dolls of inferior quality:

"I am not a fighter but I assure you, Mademoiselle, that if I find myself one day face to face with one of them, I will break it like glass, this cardboard baby that smells of tallow and wax. Ah! I am a true French baby!"

So now we know: the picture appraiser Marshall Martin referenced is an image of the Jumeau baby doll stomping on another doll!

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