Madame Beatrice Alexander Behman started the Alexander Doll Company in 1923. During the course of her life with the company, Madame Alexander, as she was known, created many firsts in doll making. Including making the first dolls with eyes that opened and closed, dolls based on pop culture characters such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “Gone with the wind” and dolls based on famous people such as Queen Elizabeth II. Madame Alexander stayed active in her company until age 93.
Generally speaking there are four eras of Madame Alexander dolls, based on the date of manufacture:
The Antique Dolls: Which means dolls were made before 1939. These dolls will be highly collectable due to their rarity. These dolls will be made of cloth exclusively and have hand painted faces and sown on clothing. Dolls from this era include the Alice doll based on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” books.
Collectible Dolls: These dolls were made between 1940 and 1970 and again are considered very collectable due to their relative rarity. These dolls with will either be composite dolls, that is made of many different materials such as cloth stuffed with sawdust, with plaster of Paris heads. Or after 1947 these doll will be composite with hard plastic or completely plastic in makeup. Dolls from this era include dolls based on people such as Sonja Henie, the Olympic figure skater and the Dionne Quints. Also included in these era are the 1944 and 1945 lines of “Patriotic dolls” representing the Armed Forces.
The Modern Era: All dolls made since 1970 and yet not currently being made by the company are considered Modern. These dolls are considered less collectable because they are not so rare and were often purchased as actual toys for little girls to play with, not just as collectables. These lines included updated versions of the “Wizard of Oz” dolls and the Emily Dickinson doll.
The Contemporary era dolls are all doll lines still being made by the company. These lines will become collectable as they are retired from manufacture. Also, they could be purchased and stored as a long term investment. Indeed some of these dolls are designed to be collectable from the start, such as the “High Fashion and Couture” lines that feature Madame Alexander dolls dressed in exclusive fashions from some of the most famous fashion designers of today like Jason Wu, who design Michelle Obama’s inauguration gown.
Linda Crowsey, Madame Alexander 2010 Collector’s Dolls Price Guide #35 (Paducah, KY: Collector Books, 2010).