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The Enduring Charm of Raggedy Ann And Andy

Why Are These Simple Cloth Dolls Such Perennial Collector Favorites?

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Silsby Georgene Raggedy Ann and Andy

Georgene Raggedy Ann and Andy, Silsby Tags

Denise Van Patten
Recently, a family brought their family dolls to me for an appraisal. This family had some wonderful dolls--including about 10 various Raggedy Anns and Andys from several decades! There were Georgene Raggedy Anns and Andys (several, different sets, including some with rarer "Silsby" tags and an Ann with rare vertical leg stripes!) some early Knickerbocker dolls, even a Georgene Beloved Belindy. I was entranced by the dolls, and thrilled to have them in my possession for awhile, yet a few years ago, as a confirmed collector of modern fashion dolls AND antique bisque dolls, I wouldn't have given them a second look, and would have instead spent all of my time oohing and aahing over the completely mint 1950s vinyl Cissy. Now, however, I'm one of many collectors that are subject to the enduring charm of Raggedy Ann and Andy.

Why Do Collectors Collect Raggedy Ann and Andy?

To a collector of Ann and Andy, this seem like a silly, rhetorical question. But, to other doll collectors, this deserves a fair answer--after all, Ann and Andy are made of cloth, sometimes more at home with a display of cloth and nursery toys than with an average doll collection. Ann and Andy, however, have an incredible history. Raggedy Ann and Andy have been in commercial production since 1920, which qualifies them as an antique doll, a vintage doll, and a modern doll. I cannot think of any other doll that span such a long history--in fact, I played with one as a child, as did my grandmother, mother, and daughter! The history alone makes Raggedy Ann and Andy remarkable.

Great Design and An Emotional Attachment

But, there's more. Sometimes, simple designs are the best, and the design of Ann and Andy is classic and clean--two button eyes, red yarn hair, that classic triangle nose. Ann in her flowered dress, Andy in his overalls. A simple doll, made for a child to hold and love, and pleasing to the eye of a collector. Children might play all day with an American Girl doll or a Barbie, but they are going to tuck into bed at night with a Raggedy Ann. Collectors, of course, still remember this emotional attachment to Ann and Andy from their childhood.

Oh, The Variety!

Ok, they are simple, but they aren't boring! One great thing about Raggedy Ann and Andy for a collector are the many companies that have produced them, and the endless variety in faces, cloths, labels and details. Ann and Andy have been made, over the years, by the following companies (among others): Volland, Molly-'es, Georgene, Knickerbocker, and Applause. The doll have been made in every size from miniature to gigantic. And, in the introduction to this article, I mentioned some of the interesting variations--vertical leg stripes are rare and desirable, as are stockings done in other colors, such as blue. Some dress prints are very rare. There are variations to the faces. And, there are even additional characters in the Raggedy Ann and Andy universe that are highly sought after, such as Beloved Belindy (pictured), Uncle Clem, and the Camel with The Wrinkled Knees).

Money Talks

Collectors, of course, are always fascinated by valuable things, and Raggedy Ann and Andy doesn't disappoint in this regard. A set of Volland Raggedy Ann and Andys (circa 1920s) can set a collector back $3,000, as much as a find French bisque antique doll. Early Georgene Black-outlined nose Anns and Andys are just as expensive, as is a Georgene Beloved Belindy.

Starting a Collection

Even though some of the early Raggedy Ann and Andys are so valuable, you can collect Raggedy Ann and Andy on any budget. Many talented artists make Anns and Andys today at very reasonable prices. Applause is currently producing wonderful Raggedy Anns and Andys ranging in price from $5.99 to a pocket-sized Ann or Andy to $60 for a 48" size. Plus, if a little wear is not an issue, there are lovely late Georgene and many Knickerbocker Anns and Andys from the 1950s to 1970s that can be added to a vintage collection.

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