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  • 1930s Shirley Temple items still sparkle | Lifestyles

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    Question: I own an original composition, jointed Shirley Temple doll given to my grandmother as a 1930s Christmas gift. It is 22 inches tall, marked “Ideal,” wears a curly blond wig plus all original clothes and is in very good condition. Information about Shirley Temple and the doll is appreciated. — G.K., Bridgeport

    Answer: Born Shirley Jane Temple (1928-2014) in California, she was an American actress, singer, dancer, businesswoman and diplomat. Touted as the top movie actress from 1935 to 1938, Temple’s dimples, golden curls and lively song and dance routines earned her many accolades and honors including the first Juvenile Academy Award.

    Featured in more than 40 films, Temple was under contract to 20th Century Fox throughout most of the Great Depression. She is often noted as having been one of the bright, shining lights that guided America back to normality.

    In the 1930s and ‘40s, extensive lines of Shirley Temple children’s merchandise were designed, created and sold on markets that ranged from five-and-ten-cent shops to fine department stores. Among the most popular offered were Shirley Temple dolls, especially those produced in a number of sizes for several decades by the Ideal Toy & Novelty Company located in Brooklyn, New York

    Originally founded in 1903 by husband-and-wife team Morris and Rose Michtom, who were credited with having invented the first Teddy Bear, the shop initially designed and produced dolls, teddy bears, toys and some board games.

    Following a name change to the Ideal Toy Company in 1938, and after World War II, Ideal introduced toys for boys, Rubik’s Cube, games based on cartoons, comics and TV shows as well as the popular Toni and Revlon dolls.

    Highest dollars are paid for Shirley Temple dolls in excellent to mint condition who wear rare or unusual outfits. This year, a 22-inch, 1930s Ideal Shirley Temple composition doll like yours, complete with original clothes, fetched $500.

    Question: Can you tell me anything about an old Shirley Temple pen and pencil set in excellent condition recently gifted to my young daughter by a neighbor. It is in a fancy pink box with five photos of little Shirley and contains a 3.75-inch-long fountain pen and a 4-inch-long mechanical pencil, both signed with Shirley’s name. “Sincerely Yours Shirley Temple” and “My Writing Set Shirley Temple” are printed on the set’s box. — E.E., Northfield

    Answer: The “Sincerely Yours Shirley Temple” pen and pencil set was made in the 1930s by Wearever, a division of David Kahn, Inc. The firm was founded in Camden and later established in North Bergen by Latvian emigrant inventor David L. Kahn, who applied for his first patent in 1918.

    A leading manufacturer of affordable fountain pens and low-price mechanical pencils, Wearever also made child-size pens and pencils, frequently marketed as writing sets.

    Offered in a wide number of colorful plastics that included bright pink as well as marbleized gold and green, Wearever’s sets often were enhanced with gold tone decoration.

    Your Wearever Shirley Temple set is collected by folks who search for Shirley Temple items as well as those who look for fountain pens and mechanical pencils made by Wearever and other prominent early manufacturers.

    A “Sincerely Yours Shirley Temple” pen and pencil set sold for $100 in 2017, and another brought $75 this year.

    Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Living section, The Press of Atlantic City, 1000 W. Washington Ave., Pleasantville, NJ 08232. Email: treasuresby alyce81@hotmail.com. Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.

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    Post time: Jul-14-2019
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