Saturday, March 7, 2015

Welcome Magdalene! A Vintage 1982 La Cheri Sekiguchi Mattel Doll Joins the Doll House!

Hello Doll Friends!

One of the hazards of writing a doll blog is that you need to research 18" dolls and all the various accessories that can be found for them in order to stay on top of what is available and make your blog relevant. Right? That's my excuse and I am sticking with it. One of the best sources for information about dolls and toys is eBay. Don't laugh! It totally is! You can find the most obscure things on eBay and see the very rarest of items for dolls. Usually at greatly, almost obnoxiously, inflated prices! Or if they aren't inflated at the outset of the auctions, they become that way due to market trends. So, it should be safe enough, right? Unfortunately, I've been on eBay since like 1995 and know the in's and out's of the search engines pretty well and know how to navigate them to find the best deals. Not that I would be looking for good deals, naturally, but just saying I needed to find them, I would know how. *nudge-nudge-wink-wink* Which brings me to a day last week when I was doing 'research'. I just put in a generic "18inch doll" into the search engine and started browsing... When, low and behold, what is this? A vinyl doll from the 1980's, made in Japan, that is 18 inches tall, has a soft body and one of the cutest faces I've ever seen on a doll. Seriously. So cute! Her Buy-It-Now was so low I almost fell out of my chair and before I knew what I was doing, I had purchased her!

So, Doll Friends, meet Magdalene! Yes, I named her Magdalene and yes, for Mary of Magdalene. Don't start. She is my favorite woman character in the Bible. The apostle to the apostle, she was. She just got a bad wrap in the 1600's... But that is for another Blog another time. (Hmmm... I'll have to write it! I have another one on non-doll stuff!) I digressed. Sorry!

Meet Magdalene!!

Here she is with Panda, my dear daughters first American Girl Doll. Panda arrived when my daughter was four and she named her Panda then. I figure if Hollywood-types can name their kids after fruit, why not a name like Panda, right?

I thought I liked her before she arrived but when she came, I absolutely fell in love with her. She is so totally cute! She is also made so well!!! Her hair is fully rooted and her clothes are made with amazing details and care!

She still had in her original hair bands and ribbons. The rubber bands were so old that they had disintegrated in her hair, which is why it looks a bit 'loose'. 

She still had her original tag on her arm. It reads 'La Cheri 1982 Sekiguchi' and is attached by a zip cord type fastener.

She is even numbered. I am not sure the original amount they made by Magdalene is #396.

She fits right in to the doll house!

So I loosed her hair and brushed it out and it is so soft and beautiful!! Top quality and very well rooted! It reminds me of Saige's hair (American Girl Doll) in that it's long and curly and thick. Gorgeous!! I also removed her pinafore and was delighted to find that her little dress had smocking on the front, such a lovely detail because it means both the dress/pinafore combo and the plain dress look great! 

She has a soft body, as you can see, all the way to her hands. Her feet are all fabric but are stuffed very well and fit the American Girl Doll Shoes just right. She came in a slip, under her dress and pinafore.

Under her dress she had on pantaloons. 

Her tag is sewn on to her back and reads "Sekiguchi 1981 Distributed by Mattel, Inc. Hawthorne CA 90250 Made in Japan"

Here is what her feet look like. I took these photos later but wanted to include photos of her feet here in the original details about her. They are cloth but are very well stuffed and so are 'hard' even though they are fabric. I thought I'd 'mind' her fabric feet more that I do. They are sized just right to fit into American Girl Doll Shoes and they can wear her shoes too! 

Another photo of her feet. They are kind of cute actually. I used to make stuffed cloth dolls and I admire the workmanship. 

Her hair is fully rooted and thick and beautiful. I love it. It's long and curly and full. I look forward to all the styles I'll be able to put into it! 

I was shocked to discover Magdalene had a tear in her leg stitching! It had to be a manufacturer defect that has been undetected for three decades because she had never been removed from her pantaloons. 

So, naturally, I performed doll surgery and fixed her right up. She has a scar now but it's good for her character. The most interesting people have great scars afterall!

We couldn't wait to get her out of her old fashioned outfit that she'd been wearing for over 30 years! Pretty sure she was glad to have a makeover too. 

The other dolls think she's fabulous too!

See? The girls are already getting along well enough to borrow shoes! Here is Isla wearing Magdalene's shoes. They match her dress pretty well. 

After all my careful, bit by bit, examination of her clothes and taking photos along the way to post here, my dear daughter was so glad when I handed her over to do a "child's" assessment of her. Naturally the first thing she did was give Magdalene an even more modern look. She said she likes her hair and that she is so soft! I think it speaks volumes that she has decided she wants one of her own now!

Thanks again for dropping by! See you next time!

Update! I've researched the dolls a bit more and have discovered that they are commonly referred to as "Sala & Berg" dolls. They came in a really nice box with an insert. The following photos are ones I found doing my research on eBay and the Internet otherwise.

These are some of the inserts that came with the original dolls. See Magdalene in the photo?!

This was a differently dressed one, also very pretty!

As you can see, they originally came in a nice collector box. 

This is the sticker on the doll in the floral dress (above)

Yet a differently dressed one.

I liked this one's bangs. Her dress is very similar to Magdalene's, I think. 

Now this beauty I ran across as I was researching the dolls on eBay. I suspected that if I posted this blog, there might become a market for them. *biting-fingernails* There were very few posted on eBay and none at all really in my realistic price range. Until I ran across this beauty. She was on a Buy-It-Now. Uh-oh. My weakness. Her seller was charging 'real' and reasonable shipping rates... Double Uh Oh. I would be able to get her a 1/3rd of the price that she cost new in the 1980's. Oh, it had to happen. So... She is on her way. So excited to have two!! After looking them over, I am telling you, just the clothing on the doll alone is well worth what I paid for the entire doll. Just as good (better?) quality than American Girl Doll Clothes and they fit the other dolls. Thinking over names as I type... Hmmm...

Note the price tags for these two? They are marked $76.00 from way back in the 1980's! These two were the shorter 14 inch variety so I imagine that the 18 inch ones were a bit more?

Doesn't she have the most adorable face!! I will post a new blog post when she arrives!

Thanks again for dropping by! See you soon!


  1. i bought two brand new Sekiguchi dolls back in 1982. I have the school girl in the burgundy. She's beautiful. The other one is the blonde with bangs in the adorable white pinafore over her navy print dress. I am completely shocked that they are not worth more. I remember at the time they were the first official collectible dolls for Mattel. I bought mine from a doll boutique where they were very well-versed in collectibles.

    1. Hi Hi hi. I am often appalled at how little 'collector' dolls go for on eBay and whatnot too. I went through a time where I was really into the Effanbee collector dolls (I've since gotten rid of most of them because I only have so much space and so I had to sort of settle on one type of doll or get a larger house. Hahaha) Anyway, I was able to find them for next to nothing and often times the original reciepts were included in with the dolls and they were so expensive when they were purchased that I was shocked. I think one thing that it taught me is that I should never collect dolls thinking they'll be 'worth' more money or whatever in the future because who knows but rather to collect dolls that make me happy. I love the faces on the Sekiguchi dolls. I actually packed them away in storage because I don't like their body types but they remind me so much of my original favorite dolls, My Friend dolls from Fisher Price, that I had to keep them. Thanks for comment! I love talking dolls with people!