Annapolis auction house sells doll for $335K

WASHINGTON — A new world record for an antique doll sold at auction was set Jan. 6, with a gavel-selling price of $335,500, according to Annapolis-based auction house Theriault’s.

The 19th century doll, created by Antoine Edmund Rochard, drew bidding by agents from notable museums and private international and American collectors, Theriault’s said.

The winning bid was from Barry Art Museum at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where the doll will be on display when the museum opens this fall.

“The Rochard doll not only symbolizes the golden age of French dolls, but also appealed to scholars of photography and French culture and history,” said Stuart Holbrook, president of Theriault’s.

The breastplate of the doll is decorated with an elaborately painted necklace with 28 crystal jewels. Hidden inside 24 of the jewels are tiny, microphotographs depicting historic scenes of France, including Fontainebleau, the Louvre, Hotel de Ville and more.

The doll was created in 1868 and was designed so that, when held closely to the eye, each image is magnified 160 times.

The price it sold at auction for is not only a new world record for any doll sold at auction, but is also the first time that a 19th century doll has set the record.

Theriault’s set the previous record for an antique doll sold at auction in 2014.

Theriault’s, a 48-year-old family-owned firm, specializes in the auction and appraisal of antique dolls. Others have included the collections at the Legoland Museum of Antique Dolls in Denmark and the Shirley Temple private collection.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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