Kathy Libraty and Friends


   

   


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Many of you may be wondering who I am and how I became an Antique Doll Dealer.  So I thought that I would share some of my history with you. 

I have to be honest that as a child I was more or less a Tomboy and I didn’t have much interest in dolls.  My love of dolls developed later in life.  But, as fate would have it, all of my previous experiences have come to serve me very well as a doll collector and dealer.

I was born in France but raised in New York when I emigrated to the US with my parents at the age of  4. As an art student in college, I concentrated on photography and after graduating from Brooklyn College with a BA in Art, I traveled for some time in Europe and the Middle East where I first developed a love for history and old objects of art.   I later earned my Master’s degree in Visual Communications at New York University  while I taught photography and Cinematography at Brooklyn College. I switched careers when I became a videotape editor for ABC where I worked on such shows as Good Morning America and Nightline. But the night shift did not agree with me.  I felt that I needed a new direction. I needed a to find my passion!

I always had an interest in art and antiques, but it wasn’t until my husband Frank and I bought an old Victorian house, that I began to seriously pursue collecting antiques. While attending country auctions, I often wondered why people paid so much for old, tattered looking dolls with crooked eyes and wigless heads and broken limbs. I was intrigued but not enough to put my money down.

TREASURES IN A DUMPSTER

Then, one day, while driving in my neighborhood, we came upon an old house that was having it’s antique contents emptied into a huge dumpster.  As we drove by, I noticed a doll leg sticking out of a cardboard box.  We stopped the car and decided to investigate further.  A young man in sweaty work clothes was carrying out boxes of assorted old items and tossing them into the dumpster. We cringed as each box of delicate treasures was spilled out into the gaping mouth of the dumpster with a final clatter.   We greeted him and asked, rather obviously, if he was throwing out the items.  “Yeah, it’s all dirty old junk” he retorted.  My heart pounding, I offered, “Well, if you don’t mind, we’ll take some of it off your hands!” “Suit yourself,” he grumbled, “But if you ask me—I say it’s just garbage--disgusting JUNK!”
To quote an old adage; “ One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.”  So without too much dignity, we scrambled into the dumpster and rapidly pulled out a few boxes with what appeared to be old dolls and doll clothes.  We would have stayed there all day, but we were late to pick up my parents at the airport, so we couldn’t hang around to see what else would come out. When we returned that night, the local people had practically emptied the entire dumpster of its valuable contents.  I often wonder what else was in there…Brus, Jumeaux, an A.T.?…..I try not to dwell on it too much!


BITTEN BY THE BUG

When we finally got to look through the boxes that we had salvaged we found a 24” George Borgfeldt German doll with a bisque head and composition body and a beautiful long brown human hair wig. She had on her original clothes and shoes as well. We also had several composition mama dolls, a broken bisque Cuno & Otto Dressel Shoulder-head doll on a kidskin body plus clothes and assorted accessories.  Little did I know that that experience would be a turning point in my life!  That was the day that I was bitten by the doll bug! And I haven’t recovered yet!




A LOVE AFFAIR

Since then, I have fallen deeply in love with antique bisque head dolls.  I am so enthralled by their perfect beauty as well as the ethereal aura of history and past experiences that surrounds them. So, for the past fifteen years I have been seriously studying, collecting, and selling these dolls and I now have an extensive knowledge of antique bisque head dolls produced in France and Germany from the 1870’s to the 1930’s.  You might say, that I am obsessed with dolls. 

 



PLAYING WITH DOLLS

I never knew how much fun I would have just playing with dolls!  They have brought so much joy and peace to my life. Each new acquisition adds another spark of joy to my heart!   I consider myself very fortunate to have the opportunity to translate my love of dolls into an exciting career.  I love to find the appropriate clothes and accessories for them when they come to me dressed in synthetics and plastic shoes. I love to clean off the grime of time and reveal the beauty hidden beneath.  I love to restring the dangling limbs, clean and restyle the old wigs, and bring these little people back to life again! And when I sell them, I am happy to place them in loving homes.  I can honestly say that my career is playing with dolls!!


A PICTURE TO REMEMBER THEM BY

I love to photograph them! My lifelong love of photography along with my expertise in portraiture and lighting has been a wonderful asset in marketing these lovely historical works of art. And once they are sold, I always have a lovely picture to remember them by. Many of my customers make photo albums with the photos of the dolls they buy from me.








TEMPORARY CUSTODIANS

People often wonder how I can part with my antique dolls.  Although I must admit that it is difficult at times, and there are some that I never want to part with, I always rationalize that we are only temporary custodians and we cannot take them with us when we go.  So we enjoy them now and pass them on later for someone else to love them anew.  And the best part is that they only appreciate in value with time—so whatever you spend on them, it’s a win/win situation!




DOLL FRIENDS AROUND THE WORLD

Since this doll obsession has taken over my life, I have sold thousands of antique dolls. I have handled tens of thousands of them and viewed even more than that in museums, books, auctions, private collections and catalogs.  I know that all of this experience has made me a recognized professional in this field and has earned me the respect and trust of my wonderful doll friends  and customers in the USA, Europe, Japan, Australia and South America and many other countries. For this, I am so grateful to all of my wonderful doll friends all around the world! Thank you for your trust, your support and your friendship!


MY FAMILY


Frank hard at work

I am also very fortunate that my husband, Frank, has shared my love of dolls as well. Frank has accompanied me on my doll adventures and he has become a doll research expert. He spends many hours reading and studying their history as well as the current market fluctuations and trends in doll collecting.  Frank is an invaluable part of this enterprise as the shipper and packer of these precious antiques.  Many of our customers are full of praise for Frank’s excellent packing and shipping skills as well as his facile ability to converse in “doll talk!”




A Bevy of Beauties

I am also proud to say that my nineteen-year-old daughter, is taking a keen interest in the dolls and has begun to help support the family business in many creative and youthful ways!  After all—Dolls are all about children!   Frank and I are always eager to hear her opinion on the latest addition to the doll list or website.  But sometimes it is harder for her to part with a doll that she has bonded with. We still live in our old Victorian house, which we share with many antique dolls, three wonderful cats and our latest family addition, Piccolo, our African Gray Parrot.  (We’re trying to teach her to speak French).


YOUR DOLL FRIEND

I hope that this short biography has given you a better insight about who I am.  I am looking forward to becoming your doll friend and working with you in developing or adding to your collection and sharing our love of antique dolls together. When you purchase a doll from me, you are not only getting a beautiful antique and a piece of history, you are getting a feeling of love and happiness that will stay with you every time you play with or gaze at your antique doll!

I would be honored to become
Your Doll Friend,

Kathy Libraty
                                                                              
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