Q: My daughter found these adorable Kewpie dolls at a church rummage sale about eight years ago and gave them to me. I put them in a glass-front shadowbox to keep them out of harm's way. They are made as one piece with their arms around each other. Their crepe-paper clothes are showing wear, but they don't seem to mind. Can you give me some information about their age, origin, and value? I would never part with them, but would like to have some "bragging rights" for those who don't appreciate them!
A: Kewpies were "invented" by Rose O'Neill (1874-1944), an author, illustrator, poet, and suffragette. They were first pictured in the December 1909 issue of Ladies' Home Journal. The Kewpies were cupid-like characters that did good deeds. O'Neill said "Cupid gets you into trouble and the Kewpies get you out." A patent for Kewpie dolls was registered in 1913 and the first Kewpie dolls were made in Germany. Bisque, porcelain, and celluloid dolls were manufactured in several different sizes. Since then the dolls have been made of many different materials, with clothing and without, by makers in several countries and they are still being made. Your Kewpies are wedding-cake toppers. Their crepe-paper clothes suggest they date from the 1920s. The pair would sell for about $150 to $200. Buyers often want them to use at a wedding.