Pat in Neustadt P/H w, Bratwurst Our 1st car in 1957 Dessert (yum)
Pat & Susan
We crossed the Alps in our bus, stopping to take photos and eat lunch and continued to Munich where about six more joined our tour-group for the German Puppen Festival. Included among the group was Billie from NC who handles the antique doll section of the TV show Antiques Road Show.
We spent one night at the Airport Hilton Hotel and headed for the town that has become one of Pat and my favorite German towns—Coburg. Located close to the former East Germany, Coburg is a medium sized city where Prince Albert (married to Queen Victoria) lived. It is also located close to the International Doll Festival in Sonneberg and Newstadt, Germany.
We’ve been to this area before, twice, and since we’re used to the area, we were more comfortable this time. Our group contains doll dealers, doll retailers, collectors, doll doctors, and other experts. The doll industry peaked in Germany and France in the mid to late 1880s and although values of most dolls have dropped in the last 25 years there are many selling at auctions for very high values. I heard one person talk about a doll selling for more than $200,000.
Pat started her collection by repairing dolls, which she has done for many years. More recently she has acquired dolls that are more valuable with most requiring some repairs. She is currently working on a valuable French Jumeau automaton. An automaton is a doll that moves. In Pat’s Jumeau, her hands move and Pat has recreated a fan and flower in the doll’s hands—with the flower and fan carved in wood and painted by Pat. She planned to make a hat for her doll before bringing it to the US Doll show in Orlando, Florida in late July and early August. She found two beautiful hats at a stand in the flea market at Newstadt—hand made by a German woman named Sigrid Ramackers (Creation petite Couture). Ingird and her daughter manned her stand of remarkable hand-made hats and dresses.
For four days we visited flea markets, doll shops, and doll museums. We also visited manufacturers of Christmas decorations. In between our stops, we both had lots of interesting conversations with our tour members—all doll experts willing to share their knowledge with others.
I’m writing this in our hotel room at the Airport Hilton in Munich. We’re here an extra day before flying home tomorrow. I later added to my report on our flight home from Munich to Atlanta.
Our sixth TLC Doll Tour has been our best ever! Lynn Murray and her sister, Anne, and associate Marshall are knowledgeable and great fun to travel with. We hope to go on another TLC Doll Tour in 2018 and will meet many of the members of this month’s tour in Orlando, FL this summer. Here's a little more about some of our tour travelers:
Karen was my bus-mate. She was an executive for Honda in Ohio for 25 years and has more energy and smarts than anyone on our tour. She is a walking-encyclopedia of information on dolls and much else. She was a delight to sit next to. Lynn told us Karen is one of the real brains behind the running of the UFDC Conventions. We look forward to having a meal with Karen in Orlando.
Sylvia is from Madrid, Spain. She has become a good friend of Pat and me as they sit together on the bus. She has an extensive collection of dolls, automaton dolls, small sewing machines, which she keeps in an apartment in Madrid. I saw this collection last year on our Spanish tour. Sylvia is an expert on many things who has travelled all over the world. She’s been to Antarctica seven times. She, too, will be in Orlando and we will renew our friendship there.
Pat B. hails from Australia. She is a dynamo who, although she walks with a cane, is usually at the head of our extensive walks on this tour and on every tour we’ve been with her. A doll collector, maker, and repairer, she has lectured all over the world and has a real personable demeanor. Extremely knowledgeable, Pat is a joy to be with, along with her roommate and Australian friend, Adrianne.
Robin hails from Charlotte, NC. She sat across the aisle from me on the bus and we talked much along the way. She worked for Duke Power for many years as their tech expert and her husband, Mark, who we also know, worked for Duke. She knows dolls and was much fun to be with.
Kay and her fellow-Californian, Joanne, have been on most of the tours Pat and I have taken. Kay has a doll-shop and Joanne once had an antique shop. They both are knowledgeable and fun to talk with on the bus. Joanne was once a ski instructor so we talked about that.
Kathy and Diane are sisters from Michigan. Their mother was a doll collector and these sisters have followed in her footsteps. They also run a company that does ‘Estate Sales’ and I was interested in how they operate and had breakfast with them one morning to explore this possibility.
Nancy, Karen, Wanda, and Sheila are all from Virginia and were together much of the time. We met them on a previous doll tour in Paris and got to know them better on this one. Very friendly and fun to be with.
Susan and her Aunt Marie have also been on most of the tours we’ve been on. They are both doll doctors and great fun to be with. We’ve also attended a doll show in Gaithersburg, MD with them.
I could go on and on describing other tour members as we were with most of them for three weeks. Suffice to say, it was a great group with no rotten apples this trip. I was particularly taken with the doll museums in Bologna and the Borromeo Fortress—both put together by a clever guy named Marco Tosa. I intend writing more about Mr. Tosa and his splendid work.
These tours have provided Pat and me opportunities to travel and see European treasures that we’d never seen before and probably would never see and study the way we’ve done it on Lynn Murray’s tours. Lynn is a TREASURE and we’re a little concerned as she is fighting cancer and didn’t feel well some days of this trip. We were planning to have dinner with Lynn and her sister,Anne the last night of our tour but Lynn didn’t feel up to it. We did enjoy our supper with Anne in the lobby of the Hilton. Anne is Lynn’s assistant on these wonderful tours and we were pleased to get to know Anne better—and I ate Wiener schnitzel for the first time on this tour. Delicious.