The auction of traditional masterpieces in Hong Kong next month is expected to achieve up to HK$200 million.
Vintage Emmett Kelly Dolls are dolls based on the popular U.S clown Emmett Kelly.
Brief history and description
Emmett Leo Kelly was a famous American circus performer who was born on December 9th, 1898 and died on March 28th, 1979. Kelly achieved international fame for creating the clown character "Weary Willie," who was based on hobos during the Depression era.
Many different "Willie the Clown" dolls were created based on Emmett Kelly's "Weary Willie" character during the 1940s and 1950s, and are still considered to be highly collectible today.
Emmett Kelly dolls are typically dressed in the character's signature hobo clothes, and tend to feature a rubber painted face or hands, a hat, a cloth-stitched body, human-like hair or a metal stand.
Guide for collectors
Vintage Emmett Kelly "Willie the Clown" dolls which still feature the doll's original metal stand are considered to be the most rare and valuable.
Restoration of an Emmett Kelly doll is recommended, but only if there is noticeable damage. However, restoring an Emmett Kelly doll may decrease its value.
For more information regarding Emmett Kelly dolls, visit the Emmett Kelly Museum's official website.
Midwest Auction Galleries, Inc. in Oxford, Michigan sold an Emmett Kelly "Willie the Clown" doll featuring a label cloth stitched body, hobo clothes, and a rubber painted face and hands (21" in height) for $80 and another Emmett Kelly "Willie the Clown" doll with a robber body, painted face, human-like hair and a metal stand for $70 in March of 2009.
Midwest Auction Galleries, Inc. in Oxford, Michigan sold an Emmett Kelly doll featuring a cloth-stitched body, hobo clothes, a painted rubber face, hat and stand (16" in height) for $20, and another Emmett Kelly "Willie the Clown" doll featuring a painted face, human-like hair, a rubber body, a bathrobe and a metal stand (17" in height) for $50 in March of 2009.
Livingston's Auction in Oklahoma, City, Oklahoma sold an Emmett Kelly Jr. doll (22" in height) featuring a painted face and a hat for $5 in September of 2006.
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