Collectors of tiny things can fit more in less space


Collectors who can't stop collecting seem always to be complaining that they're running out of room. If you fall into this category and think your collectibles are squeezing you out of house and home, you might consider cashing in on your large-size accumulations in favor of tiny things that take up less room.

Especially interesting to collect are the countless tiny dolls and figures dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Made from molded china, they can be found at antique shops, toy shows and flea markets and at estate sales where old family possessions are offered. Although many of these dolls are no bigger than a peanut shell, some, depending on type, quality, origin, age, and condition, can command sizable sums.

To get an idea of the tiny figures popular in the past, you may want to consult "Children Figurines of Bisque and Chinaware -- 1850-1950" by Elyse Zorn Karlin. The paperback edition of 176 pages is complete with color photos and descriptions of countless dolls along with their current values. It is $21.95 postpaid from Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1469 Morstein Road, West Chester, Pa. 19380.

The book is complete in covering such dolls as Piano Babies, Kate Greenaway examples, Sunbonnet Babies, Kewpies, Snowbabies and No-Snows, Frozen Charlottes, Charleys or Bathing Dolls, and numerous others made in occupied Japan, Germany, France and elsewhere.

The book also contains information on pincushion dolls, teacup dolls, pinhead types, whisk-broom examples, and even tea warmer types. It also contains instructions on how to clean such dolls, a list of organizations one can join relating to such dolls, and a list of auction house galleries where such dolls can be obtained.

A useful hardcover book, also available from Schiffer Publishing for $27 postpaid, is "All-Bisque and Half-Bisque Dolls," by Genevieve Angione. It describes a wide variety of such dolls, pictured in color, ranging from "candy store dolls" to infants to miniatures to immobiles to Kewpies to "old stiffnecks" and more. For additional information on these and other doll books, phone Schiffer at (215) 696-1001.

Other tiny collectibles include:

* Buttons (National Button Society, care of Lois Pool, 2733 Juno Place, Akron, Ohio 44333-4137; enclose a stamped, addressed envelope; or phone Ms. Pool at [216] 864-3296).

* Buttonhooks (Buttonhook Society, 2 Romney Place, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6LE England; enclose proper postage).

* Sugar packets (Sugar Packet Clubs International, care of Mitzi Geiser, 15601 Burkhart Road, Orville, Ohio 44667; enclose a stamped, addressed envelope; or phone [216] 682-7486)

* Swizzle sticks (International Swizzle Stick Collectors Association, care of Ray Hoare, P.O. Box 1117, Bellingham, Wash. 98227-1117; enclose a stamp).

* Butter pats or chips, those tiny plates on which to place a pat of butter. (To subscribe to the Butter Pat Collectors' Notebook, write Marjorie Geddes, 5955 S.W. 179th Ave., Beaverton, Ore. 97007, enclosing an addressed, stamped envelope.)

* Bottle caps (Crowncap Collectors Society International; an annual membership and quarterly newsletter for $10 from John Vetter, 4300 San Juan, Fairfax, Va. 22030).

Write to Anita Gold at the Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611. The mail volume precludes a personal response.

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