Q: I have been reading your column for years and have a question. Enclosed is a photo of a porcelain Kewpie doll that was given to me in 1950 by my great-great-aunt. She told me she got it in the 1920s. Marked on its back is the name “Rose O'Neill,” and it is in perfect condition. It is approximately 7 inches tall, has yellow hair, blue wings, rosy cheeks and toes. I have treasured my Kewpie all this time and want to give it to my granddaughter. Anything you can tell me about it will be appreciated.
A: Rose O'Neill created the Kewpie image in 1912 as illustrations for the Ladies' Home Journal. She was an artist, illustrator, author and sculptor. She quickly realized the commercial value of her popular imp. Porcelain figures were produced by several Germany porcelain factories. As demand grew for O'Neill's Kewpies, a myriad of images were made that included paper dolls, banks, soaps, prints, celluloid and composition dolls, post cards, and salt and pepper shakers. Your doll's rosy cheeks, toes, eyes glancing to the side, starfish hands and little blue wings are typical of the lovable scamp. Some dolls had movable limbs. Kewpie even had a companion, Doodle Dog. Kewpies continue to be made today. Your circa 1920 Kewpie would probably be worth $150 to $200.
Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P.O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556.