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Installment #17

“How many of these dolls did you say you have?” Wow… who knew! I don’t recall the exact amount but that handful of dolls and outfits put an extra couple hundred dollars in my pocket and I was more shocked and surprised than I was when my $35 sketching sold for $700+. And so I found myself with a new part-time job, every so often I would be given a handful of dolls and in my spare time I would undress them, photograph and list; always the same formula of starting at $9.99 and running for five days. I would check my listings every night when I got home from work, gobsmacked at the amount of bids and bidders trying their luck at all of the dolly treasures I was offering. Back then (2006) eBay didn’t have a shipping label system so I would hand-write all of my address labels. Packages were shipped all over the world, there was a multi-copy carbon customs form that needed to be filled out with every international package, which I also did by hand. Eventually I was smart enough to grab a handful of these forms to take home so that I could have them ready when I brought the packages to the mail clerk window. My local, postage-stamp-sized post office was located right next door to my apartment building… yes, I realize how convenient this really was. I would walk my packages down and stand in line as the clerk weighed and calculated every single package one at a time. After a few weeks of this I started to feel like they probably hated to see me coming because of all of the work they knew they were going to have to do; but I always smiled and showed sincere appreciation and when the holidays came rolling around I would give them gifts to say thank you. They actually ended up coming to rely on my business and shared with me that they feared if I ever stopped or moved away their tiny little postage-stamp-sized post office would close down and be obsolete. After several rounds of listings I started becoming familiar with all of the different Tyler and friends faces and names and eventually I was introduced to Kitty Collier, Tiny Kitty, Betsy McCall and many others. It fascinated me, every evening that I had auctions ending, and I started noticing the same eBay usernames popping up time and time again and I would wonder who that person was and what their doll collection looked like. Isn’t it enchanting how a plastic, miniature human look-alike can bring so many people together? “Could I become a doll collector?”

This photo was taken in 2009, a bit ahead of the story but gives you an idea of the amount of packages I was carrying down to the post office at one time.

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