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Case Auctions
Live Auction

2024 Winter Fine Art, Antiques & Jewelry (Day 2)

Sun, Jan 28, 2024 01:00PM EST
Lot 761

Ella Gantt Smith, Alabama Indestructible Baby, Black Doll

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,200

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
Alabama Indestructible doll, black version, made by the Ella G. Smith Doll Company (operating 1899-1925). Molded and painted head and ears, molded mitten-style hands and red stocking shoes. Clothed in a pink dress and white apron, possibly original. Stamp to torso reads THE ELLA SMITH DOLL CO / MANUFACTURED / IN ALABAMA INDESTRUCTIBLE ---- / ROANOKE ALABAMA. Additional illegible stamp to lower torso, possibly numbering. 1st quarter 20th century. Approximately: 13 1/2" H x 5 1/2" W x 3" D. Note: Ella Gantt Smith was the first doll maker in the South to manufacture dolls for African American children. Ella invented the "Alabama Indestructible Baby" in 1897 by filling the heads with plaster, and would later win a prize for innovation at the St. Louis, Missouri World's Fair in 1904. She received a patent for the design in 1905. (source: Encyclopedia of Alabama, written by the Handley High Community Studies Class, Oct. 2016)


Overall good condition with minor paint loss, mainly around crown of head and tips of hands. Minor craquelure to some painted areas on back of head and feet. Light grime. Slight fading to clothing.

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If paying with wire transfer, please use the following information:
Bank: Pinnacle Bank
150 Third Avenue South, Suite 900
Nashville, TN 37201
Phone # (865) 766-3000
Swift Code: PNFPUS44
Routing, Transit, ABA: 064008637
Beneficiary: Case Antiques, Inc.
4310 Papermill Drive
Knoxville, TN 37909
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