The Doll We Left Behind

*All the images in this post are sourced from the internet.

Last Friday was Naomi’s birthday and as she is on holiday from work at the moment we planned a day out to do some of our favourite things.

We decided to spend the day in the town of New Norfolk, about 40 km north of Hobart on the Derwent river. We had a nice lunch and browsed the many antique shops in the town.

We did buy a few things but we’re both still thinking about what we didn’t buy. There was one shop that we remembered from a previous visit, not exactly an antique shop but selling retro and collectible items. Like most of the shops in New Norfolk they seemed to be reorganising stock and we went over to look at  a plastic laundry basket filled with a strange mixture of glass vases and other odds and ends including a couple of vintage dolls. Naomi spotted her first under a pile of glassware. “This looks old. I think it is a Shirley Temple doll.” I helped her move the breakables carefully out of the way so that we could take a better look. It was an old Shirley Temple doll marked “Shirley Temple 1930s” and a price of $650. That was way too much for us but we were horrified that such and old and fragile doll would be dumped in a basket of glassware. Naomi actually asked the girl at the counter if she’d like to take her and put her a somewhere a bit safer but she said no, “Just put her back in the basket.” Underneath Shirley was another old doll which I think had a composition head with Asian features and a price tag of over $100.

Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me that day so couldn’t photograph the dolls nor could we afford to buy Shirley even between us. I could not ID her from memory so I can’t even show you a similar doll.

Naomi is not so much a doll collector as I am but she really liked this doll and as she has an interest in movie stars she’d have been a great fit in both our collections. For the rest of the afternoon we worried about Shirley getting dropped and broken and wondered how a store keeper could be so careless with valuable merchandise.

I’d like to tell you that we went back and rescued her but we didn’t. However, Naomi has to go back to New Norfolk to collect something else she bought on lay away in a couple of weeks so I suggested that while she is there she call into that shop and see if Shirley is still around. If she is and does not seem to be in a safe place we might have to see about putting her on lay away after all.

Here is a film of a collector talking about her Shirley Temple doll.

August 1937 --- Shirley Temple and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Temple, are pictured aboard the liner , sailing from San Francisco, for a vacation in Hawaii. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
August 1937 — Shirley Temple and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Temple, are pictured aboard the liner , sailing from San Francisco, for a vacation in Hawaii. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS


  1. OMG, that poor dolly should be sitting in a showcase. I don’t get it, that people can treat such a collectible doll with such disrespect. If they put such a high price tag on her, she should be treated better. I wish the shop didn’t know about her value, then she would now be with someone to cherish her.


  2. this seems to be quite commonplace even in the U.S. in southern California where I live I found a porcelain Shirley temple dumped in a bin with other vintage stuff naked and missing a finger and damaged foot . Thankfully I was able to rescue her because all the dolls were marked five dollars or less unless they were in a box.


    • I find that since eBay came on the scene people are more likely to know a doll might be valuable and the unexpected bargain does not happen as often. In fact I more often see dolls that I know are not vintage marked as such.


      • so far been extremely luckhy at local thrift store..they seem relatively ignorant as such.,I bought a 1962 ken for three bucks told them what he was worth, and they said they only worked in volume not value. hoping they don’t relocate any time son.


      • Our own local op shop is a bit like that. Everything is cheap and if something of value like your Ken came along it might be sold for a bit more than the other toys but not for a fortune because the primary aim is to keep moving stuff on. I volunteer there myself so I keep hoping that if any vintage dolls ever turn up I’ll be there 🙂


      • Bless you for your service..Our shoppe helps employ people who were battered women,or help them get their lives together.I probably feel less guilty for shopping there than I winning too many auctions lately I’ve had a geat Christmas/New Years already.I used to do yard sales but kept finding stuff I’d given neighbors for sale..My favorites though were when I went to a swap meet in San Diego and saw Dave from TLC’s storage wars.Happy hunting and God bless.

        Liked by 1 person

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