These are the remaining questions, answers, and anecdotes about how my Gone With The Wind collection came to be. You can read the first part here.
What was the first piece in your collection? In Christmas of 1991, my mom bought me a Madame Alexander doll that was Scarlett wearing her white lace barbecue dress with green sash, stray hat, and parasol. I would admire it every time we went to the big toy store in town. They had a big display of various Madame Alexander dolls on the first floor, kept locked in a display cabinet. The Scarlett and Rhett dolls were the only Gone With the Wind characters the store had, the rest were Wizard of OZ, the Little Woman characters and I think Alice in Wonderland. In reality the doll doesn’t look a whole lot like Scarlett O’Hara, but to my 11 year old self I am sure the resemblance couldn’t have been any greater.
What do you look for when you want to add to the collection? Do you look at age, quality, specific artists, year produced, material used? Most of the items in my collection come from family members and friends as gifts. There are only a few things that I’ve actually bought myself. When I do buy something myself I prefer to buy the entire series, for example one of the plate collections I have is called “The Critics Choice Series.” They are all plates by the same artist depicting the 12 most poignant moments of the film (according to them). I also purchased the entire collection of World View dolls at once as opposed to buying each doll individually because of the their age (they were manufactured in the 80’s, and certain dolls are hard to come by). Of course I’m always on the lookout for retired or unique items but no, I don’t look for specific artists, years, or anything like that.
Would you consider this as an investment, or is it more a sentimental collection? If sentimental why? Of course its an investment but my collection is mostly sentimental. For the most part, I can tell you who gave me which piece and when I received them. Just about everything I have is on display -- the plates, the music boxes, the dolls, the few pieces of jewelry, etc. The exception to that are three cast member photographs signed by the original actors who played those parts which are kept tucked between acid free paper in special folders under lock and key. The Mattel doll series are in their original boxes but my other dolls are not. When I bought them, they came from a private collection, some of them were in their opened boxes (which weren’t in very good shape) and some were not. In order to easily display them, I made the decision to get rid of the boxes and just set them on doll stands.
I have the original packaging and certificates of authenticity for just about every piece in my collection which does increase their value. That said, I have no plans to sell or dismantle my collection in any way. I would love to pass my collection on to a family member when I am an old woman or if something should happen to me before that, I would prefer the collection be donated rather than being sold. I don’t collect these pieces for their monetary value. I collect them simply because I enjoy them; Gone With the Wind has been a major part of my life. The thought of them being split up and sold saddens me.
When a big group of plates or dolls is added to my collection either by myself or another family member I’ve gotten letters from the original owners, usually daughters or granddaughters selling their deceased mother or grandmothers collectibles stating how happy they are that the pieces are going to someone who will cherish them as much as their loved one did. Its almost as if I’ve been entrusted with someone else’s heirlooms. I could never sell them.
What would you say is the 'holy grail' of all things related to 'Gone With the Wind'? I think for every collector this is different. There are so many different kinds of Gone With the Wind collectibles on the market – dolls, music boxes, snow globes, movie posters, plates, throws, etc. My collection is pretty eclectic and with the exception of the dolls and plates, its just whatever I fancy at the moment or what’s given to me. There really isn’t one piece that I feel I “just have to have.” There were some pieces that as a young teenager I wanted, but slowly over time did in fact add those to my collection but they were more for sentimental reasons.
What I consider to be “holy grail” of my collection is a first edition printing of the Gone With the Wind novel. It was given to me by my former college French professor and mentor, Sister Mary Byron. One day while visiting her at the convent, another sister walked past and admired my purse (it was a Gone with the Wind one). That led to a discussion about the book and the movie. After our talk as I was getting up to leave, Sister Mary requested I follow her. We went into the basement of the convent where each of the sisters had a little area to store some things. Sister Mary pulled out a gray box and handed it to me. Before I opened it to find out what was enclosed she told me it had belonged to her mother, an avid fan of the movie and Clark Gable. Her mother had actually attended the premiere of the movie in Atlanta with some of her girlfriends and was able to see some of the films stars walk the red carpet.
The book is in near perfect condition (its just a simple gray hardback with the title in navy print) and contained copied newspaper clippings of the movie premiere. There was also a story about some of the grammatical mistakes that are in the first two editions of the book. (They really are there, I checked!) I stood there and cried as Sister May told me that while she enjoyed the movie, she had kept the book with her all these years because it had belonged to her mother and asked me to keep it “to remember her by.” I’m never sure if she meant herself or her mother, but I suspect a little bit of both.
Just a few months later Sister Mary passed away. That book is one of the most treasured items I own (again for sentimental reasons) and definitely the crowning jewel of my collection. (Its not on display either nor have I ever read that edition. I actually keep it in the box it was in when Sister Mary gave it to me with the newspaper clippings and a picture of Sister Mary.)