Sunday, July 29, 2018

Matryoshka Madness...Cozy Up to Summer

Character: Cathy McCall
Series: Vintage Toyshop Mysteries
Author: Barbara Early

Cathy McCall here. I thought it might be a good idea to share a little of what I know about dolls, since I do run the doll room at Well Played. I knew when I went out for maternity leave that the dolls might get a little neglected…

Not to say that our newest employee didn’t take good care of them. They were cleaned and cared for. But a new Madame Alexander doll came in, and it was misidentified as a…well, Liz is telling me I need to let it go, and I guess she’s right!

But I thought today that I’d talk a little about matryoshka dolls, otherwise known as Russian nesting dolls. We get them in from time to time, and sell a fair share. It might be one of our most asked for items from non-serious collectors.



That’s not to mean there aren’t serious collectors. (Oh, bother. There’s that baby brain acting up again.) I just meant that because of their decorative nature, we get more casual buyers: people who don’t own any or collect any other type of vintage toy, but think a set might look nice on their entertainment center or on top of the piano. Usually they don’t want to pay too much and quite often we can accommodate them.

But the value of a set of matryoshka dolls varies widely. As always, age and condition matter, of course. And subject matter. (We had a set of clown matryoshkas that sat on the shelf forever, since clowns, frankly, aren’t as universally beloved as they once were! But political and sports matryoshkas will almost always find an audience, as will the more traditional woman in peasant garb.) The number of dolls in the set will make a difference, as will the quality of the paint and the vibrancy of the colors. Also signatures. We always look for signatures of the artist. And if it’s by one of a handful of famous Russians? Cha-ching.

Of course, not everyone is a fan. Russian dolls involve two things that Liz isn’t very fond of right now: dolls and Russians. Not since a certain Russian woman came to town with claims on a certain dashing police chief. 

I think Liz has even been turning our Russian doll around so she doesn’t have to look at it—but she denies it.

Do you, or have you ever owned a set of Russian dolls?


From the author:

Death of a Russian Doll releases in October (Have you pre-ordered yet?), but one commenter below will receive an Advance Reader Copy--as soon as I can get to the post office! (I'm in the middle of a move, so it might take a little while! Then again, I'm moving much closer to the post office, so it might be quick!)

Contest will end on Saturday August 4th, roughly at noon. I'll be at the Suffolk Mystery Festival then, but will choose a winner as soon as I get back! 

And if you're in the Suffolk, VA area--or could be--be sure to check it out and come and say, Hi!

36 comments:

  1. No, I have never owned a set of Russian dolls. If I ever decided to acquire one though, I would pass on those clown dolls and go for something less creepy! mbradeen [at] yahoo [dot] com

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  2. I have a collection of them and some are not the traditional. Mine are probably not collectible. They are dogs, cats, Harry Potter and some pollitics.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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  3. i do not have a set but plan to up for grands for Xmas. Dbahn@iw.net

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  4. Someone in my family had a set of the Russian dolls and they also collected nutcrackers...sounds fascinating.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  5. My older girls had them when we lived in Germany. Thank you for the giveaway.
    debprice60@gmail.com

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  6. I’ve never had a set but I think either my aunt or grandmother did.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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  7. I have not owned any. Would make an interesting collection, though. mcastor07 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  8. I have Santa nesting dolls. Thanks for the chance. Maceoindo(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  9. I don't have any russian dolls. I have wanted to read this series.
    Clgade at att dot net

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  10. I don't have a set of Russian dolls. Your book sounds captivating. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  11. This book interests me greatly. I used to have a set of Russian dolls many years ago which I have as a gift to my granddaughters. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  12. I have never owned a set of Russian dolls. turtle6422(at)gmail(dot)com

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  13. I had a little set of nesting dolls when I was a child.
    sallycootie(at)gmail(dot)com

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  14. I don't think I ever had any, but I remember playing with them somewhere
    akr_48035(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  15. When I visited Russia in the 90's I got both my girls the dolls. I think they are so neat. deniseaustin59(at)yahoo(com)

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  16. When my sister was in College, she went to Russia and brought back a Matryoshka doll for my Mom. Now, when my sister brings her daughters to visit my Mom, the doll is their favorite toy. My in-laws went to Russia and also brought back a beautiful blue-themed Matryoshka doll for my daughter, and it has 10 dolls -- the last one is so tiny! Love these dolls! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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  17. I have not owned a set of Russian nesting dolls. I have always found them intriguing. So looking forward to this next book in the series - thanks for the chance to win! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. I have a set of Russian nesting dolls - a gift from a friend when she returned from her trip to Russia.

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

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  19. We have several. Mostly traditional. I bought a few for my mother while in Gatlinburg. Also we bought some in Germany and elsewhere. We love them. Thanks for the chance to win. kayt18 (at) comcast (dot) net

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  20. I have seen Russian Dolls, but I don't have any.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. I don't have any Russian dolls, but I sure think they are cute.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  22. Never have nor wanted to have Russian dolls. I love reading about them. Thank you for the giveaway!
    teddi1961(at)arcemont(dot)com

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  23. I own a couple of them and a kid story book about them. One set actually came from Russia, picked up for me by a friend. They remind me of when I was a kid visiting my grandmother who had one. We were always taking it apart and putting it together. We would even make up stories about them. Looking forward to this book. Thanks so much for a chance in this giveaway.

    ematov (at) comcast (dot) net

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  24. Yes, I own a set. A few years ago, as part of a Scandianavian trip, we tacked on 5 days in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is an amazingly beautiful city and I would encourage anyone to see it if they get a chance. It was there that I bought my set, and 2 more sets as gifts. I smile at the difficulty I had in choosing which sets to buy every time I dust them, (which is not often enough!)
    gnluciow (at) gmail (dot) com

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  25. My sister brought me some Russian dolls back from Russia, but somewhere among our many moves they got lost.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  26. I would love to own a set but don't at this time. Thanks for the giveaway as I would love to start reading this series. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  27. I haven't ever had a set of Russian Dolls but have seen them in various displays at Christmas. It is amazing how they all fit together the way they do. I've enjoyed Barbara Early's Toytown books and am looking forward to this one. Thanks for the opportunity to enter your giveaway. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  28. We were on an Alaskan cruise many years ago and they had a shop of just these dolls. They had a beautiful on of the nativity and like a fool I didn't get it. Have kicked myself ever since. nettiem(at)toledotel(dot)com

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  29. I've never had a set or wanted a set. Thank you for the giveaway! barbie17(at)gmail(dot)com

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  30. No I don't, but I believe I've seen a set of Santa Nesting dolls. jluebke(at)frontier(dot)com

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  31. I have never owned any, but I remember playing with a set when I was a child. Thanks for a chance to win! ljbonkoski@yahoo.com

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  32. I have two sets - two different sizes and styles. cheers (at) MarjimManor (dot) com

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  33. Had a friend who collected matryoshka's. She died in 1993. They were sent to her daughter in Iowa. Don't really remember them. Do remember she let my daughter play with them when she was little. She did give Rhoda one. I don't know if she still has it or not. Story looks good. Looking forward to it. Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

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  34. I think they are fascinating but I've never had a set.
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  35. I never had a set but my friend has one and i look at it every Wed as go there every Wed night to do crafts. They are so neat and have always loved them. peggy clayton ptclayton2@aol.com

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  36. I have never had them but my friend does and she laughs as i am at her house every Wed and i admire them everytime I am there. peggy clayton ptclayton2@aol.com would love to read a print copy and review on a few sites!

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