We all want to be known as good people, and there are many opportunities for charitable outreach, both within the doll-collecting community and outside it. Thanks to one donor, who contributed a selection of mint-in-box Barbie, Madame Alexander, and other dolls, one Texas organization’s annual fundraiser may be of interest to doll collectors across a much wider area. The Rehab 2019 online auction is part of the West Texas Rehabilitation Center‘s annual telethon and auction fundraising event. The 2019 edition is the 49th annual occurrence, and organizers expect the telethon and auction to raise in excess of $1.4 million, which will go to the center’s donor sponsor program.
According to Director of Donor Relations David Williams, this year’s online auction will feature nearly 40 dolls, including Madame Alexander creations from the 1980s, Barbies, vintage Robin Woods designs, and Effanbee dolls. Many of the dolls are portrait creations, and the Rehab 2019 online auction offers a fabulous array of famous personality lookalikes that reflect their time, their culture, and their role in influencing the general public and doll collectors alike.
Right after the glitter and the glitz of this past weekend’s Golden Globes, bidders can bring home their own version of sparkle and spectacle with Effanbee’s 1986 Liberace doll. Sure, Hugh Jackman might be parading around as this decade’s “Greatest Showman,” but way before Wolverine put on a top hat and swung a cane, there was the incomparable pianist Liberace. Dripping with jewels, feathers, beads, and sequins, the flamboyant musician from Milwaukee was a heartthrob! Yes, he was a matinee idol for millions of women, and, as history eventually revealed, for many, many men as well! The portrait doll is spot-on with its detailing, and I have to confidentially admit: Liberace, with his jet-black hair and sweeping capes, always reminded me of Dracula if he had pursued a career in showbiz and not the black arts! This campy doll is available at the Rehab 2019 online auction site, looking quite dapper and mint in box.
One of the Mattel Barbies that is up for bidding is the famous doll “It” girl as one of filmdom’s most beloved and cherished stars. Barbie as Marilyn Monroe in “The Seven-Year Itch” is up for grabs, and the doll is clad as Miss Monroe in the iconic subway –grate scene. (That’s the onetime scandalous moment when Marilyn, in a sheer white dress, stands atop a New York City subway grate and a train rumbles beneath her. The passing subway train from below blows her skirt upward. Marilyn seems equally excited, embarrassed, thrilled, and a tad teasing toward her married escort in the flick.) The Barbie doll is clad in an outfit that evokes that tantalizing movie scene. The Rehab 2019 online auction is filled with such celluloid creations.
Madame Alexander is always celebrated for its fashionable and well-crafted dolls, especially the ones that pay tribute to women who have contributed to our society’s artistic enhancement, political accomplishments, cultural advancements, and world events. In the Rehab 2019 online auction, there are quite a few beautiful Alexander dolls to bid on. The 21-inch Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress of her generation (American author and major celebrity Mark Twain was a big fan), is a stunning doll to possibly bring home. The French thespian looks so elegant in her velvet burgundy gown and veiled hat. Bernhardt looks mysterious and oh-so-sophisticated. Issued in 1987, the doll is over 30 years old, and as Billy Crystal’s Fernando character would say, “She looks mah-ve-lous!”
Some of the other Alexander dolls that are up and waiting on the Rehab 2019 online auction are fellow French patriots Marie Antoinette (21 inches and part of Madame Alexander’s Fine Arts Doll Series) and a Toulouse Lautrec model. The ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette, is a particular favorite of mine. I’ve blogged about her many times, since she is a constant inspiration for doll artists and manufacturers. The real Marie Antoinette collected many figurines and clockwork automata. Her royal dressmaker also created small mannequins — the first fashion dolls, in a way — which she used to fine-tune the queen’s wardrobe. In many ways, Marie Antoinette is the patron of all future doll collectors. In fact, I co-wrote a book about Marie and her eccentric ways with doll artist Robert Tonner. The two books that tell Marie’s tale are called “Love, Death & So On” and “No Time to Waste.” You can check these out on Amazon.com!
Madame Alexander, herself, is on hand at the auction site. The Rehab 2019 online auction boasts the 1984 portrait doll that celebrates Madame Alexander in all her pastel glory. Garbed like a princess, the Madame Alexander doll is 21 inches tall and her attire is lovely and serene. Saturated in pink — Madame’s favorite color — the doll wears a gown with a gorgeous overskirt. She shows off a pink sheer cape — remember, there was a time when this accessory equaled a regal pedigree. Her doll likeness is decorated with simulated diamonds and her blond hair is meticulously styled. It is a doll that honors the company’s founder with its grace and dignity.
The West Texas Rehabilitation Center serves over 630 patients each and every day. The annual telethon is a major component of how the medical support facility continues to operate and thrive. According to David Williams, the Donor Relations director, “The Donor Sponsor program is what allows us to do what we do — provide exceptional care to those who need it, regardless of their financial circumstances. Anyone who needs care receives it, and if they don’t have insurance, don’t have means, can’t meet their deductible, insurance no longer pays, or whatever the issue may be, we guarantee that their care is covered.” The Rehab 2019 online auction features these nostalgic dolls and many other items, including clothing, crafts, home décor, durable goods, music memorabilia, and local events. Many of the items have a totally Texas flair: look for hats, boots, Dallas Cowboy memorabilia, and many other cowboy and cowgirl collectibles. The online auction is a chance to participate in kicking off the new year, possibly in brand-new boots, with a pledge to help those in need.
“Part of our telethon includes an online auction. We do this Rehab 2019 online auction on an app called Handbid. You can also go to the auction on a desktop at Handbid.com and search for Rehab 2019. If you prefer to access from your phone or tablet, go to the app store and search Handbid. Download the app and then search Rehab 2019. Once you are in the auction, the dolls are listed under the Doll Collectibles category,” Williams said. Whether you want to scoop up another well-preserved doll or a piece of sports history, there are lots of choices available. From heavenly Barbies to football stars, the West Texas Rehabilitation Center’s Rehab 2019 online auction is the place to be and to bid!