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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saalfield Double Wedding No. 4432 / 1964

This has been an eventful week. Last Saturday was Eurovision. I voted for Denmark, my son voted for Sweden and we were all cheering for Jedward, only to have a song from Azerbaijan win the contest that none of us can remember!  Then the Queen and Prince Philip made an historic visit to Ireland, spending much of their time in Dublin and next week President Obama is making a fleeting visit to our shores as well.  Exciting times.
I decided that this was an auspicious enough occasion to include what I consider the jewel in my paper doll collection crown in today's post - Saalfield's Double Wedding. When I started collecting the paper dolls I had loved as a child just over a year ago there were two books I was especially keen to find - Whitman's Ballet Paper Dolls #1962 from 1964 (posted 5 March 2011) and Saalfield's Double Wedding. Unlike other sets where I still have battered covers and an assortment of dolls and outfits, in the case of the Double Wedding I had nothing - just a tantalising memory.  All I could remember was that I adored this set that produced two completely different wedding parties in different colour schemes, with dolls and clothes printed on both sides of the card.

The montage I've put together above gives some idea of the effect. The cover mentions 8 punch out figures making 16 dolls, but this is not correct. Counting the flower girl there are 9 figures or 18 dolls making two impressive wedding groups. The only aspect that is fairly strange is that there are not many wedding outfits and the bride's attendants look more like wedding guests. Even the flower girls are clothed for the wedding in their 'undressed' state.

Not even knowing what make of dolls I was trying to track down I searched everywhere.  I found the book included below, printed by Artcraft in 1971 that was intriguingly close to what I thought I remembered but a few elements were not right.  I had no recollection of the cover at all, the date was too late for me to have played with it as a child and most importantly the dolls were not double sided:

I realised, however, that it was based on the book I was looking for.  I recognised the Maid of Honour's dress as being the alternate version of the bride's gown. It was also obvious that many of the outfits show both sides of the double version with the mirror image reversed.  Copies of this book do come up for sale from time to time. There are also a couple of good quality reproductions available but they have cut back on two of the dolls (resulting in a book of 8 pages) which is a pity. 

I soon realised this was another instance of Saalfield recycling dolls to produce multiple books. Although I don't own the set shown below there appears to be yet another version called 'Wedding Day' printed in 1968. It is almost identical to the Artcraft book with only small differences in the way the dolls are presented:

What confirmed both these books are based on the Double Wedding is this single page that I won in an Ebay auction last year. It is too big to scan so I have photographed it instead. It appears to be a proof of the original set. It shows two figures only - Shirley/Carol, Bridesmaid No.1 and Jerry/Jim, Best Man. Written in pencil on one corner is 4432 - at the time I did not realise the significance of this being the issue number of the set.  The following two images are the alternate sides of this single page:

Finally a couple of weeks ago I had the extreme good fortune of purchasing a copy of the book I had been seeking for so long from Kassy Ferguson who sells paper dolls through eBay. Original paper doll books she has on auction can be found at: .  Kassy inherited an impressive collection of paper dolls from her mother Audrey Sepponen (1921-2006) who is well known to fellow collectors in the USA.  Kassy was wonderful and posted a copy of the Double Wedding to me as soon as she confirmed it was the book I was looking for.

The book is fairly fragile and I'm trying not to handle it too much as the dolls will pop out of their punch out slots very easily. As a result I have only scanned some of the pages - the front and back covers as well as the dolls and outfits I wanted to print to put together the montage:

Nancy the Bride and Debbie the Flower Girl

Susan the Bride and Cathy the Flower Girl
Peggy the Maid of Honour

Phyllis the Maid of Honour

Alan, Usher No 2

Steven, Usher No 2
If I have an overwhelming response to this post  (as I had with My Fair Lady posted 9 January 2011) I will try to scan more of the pages if I can do so without damaging them.

Queen's Visit

The Union Jack and Irish Tricolour flying together for the first time in the Republic at Dublin Castle prior to the State Dinner held there on Wednesday night. I'm not sure if anyone outside Ireland would be aware of how truly historic this sight was - the first visit of a British monarch to Ireland since independence.  

Motor bikes of the Garda Traffic Corps, the traffic unit of an Garda Síochána based at Dublin Castle preparing to leave prior to escorting the Queen and Prince Philip during their visit.

The world's press camped out inside this marquee on Wednesday, making their broadcasts during the day from there. I wasn't able to see the queen as all the main activity occured in the main courtyard on the other side of the State Apartments where the flags are flying (and she only arrived at the castle at 7.30pm by which time I was already at home.)  The marquee has been left in situ as I think it is also being used for President Obama's visit tomorrow. 

The dinner was held in St Patick's Hall.  It is a beautiful room - the official tour of the castle (which is well worth seeing if anyone is on holiday in Dublin) ends there and unlike most tours photographs are allowed (unless that has changed since I was there a few years ago).


GardenOfDaisies said...

Oh I just love these wedding dolls! Would love to find some to add to my collection! the fashions are so fun!!!

Kylie said...

you are certainly bringing back some lovely memories for me Sharon...I loved playing with paper dolls when I was little and can remember keeping them in an old biscuit tin. I don't think I had a wedding book, though I know I would've loved one...I was crazy for brides and did have a couple of bride dolls (which I was never allowed to play with in case they got "ruined") x


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