Question: Among some old toys I recently inherited is a hard plastic, jointed, little-girl-type doll in perfect condition. It was given to a member of our family in the 1940s. The doll is 14 inches tall, marked “Original Mary Hoyer Doll” in a circle and in like-new condition with original clothes, footwear and red mohair wig. Anything you can tell me about Mary Hoyer and the doll’s possible worth as a collectible is appreciated. — L.E., Williamstown
Answer: Famous American doll maker, Mary Hoyer, originally was the owner and operator of a yarn and craft shop located in Reading, Pennsylvania. There, she taught women how to knit and crochet outfits for their children and their children’s dolls.
In 1925, Hoyer opened her Mary Hoyer Doll Manufacturing Company where she began designing good quality doll clothes. With the help of famous doll sculptor, Bernard Lipfert, who created a composition Mary Hoyer doll to model and wear Hoyer’s outfits, she launched a business that lasted until it closed in the 1970s.
Hoyer dolls were sold with a pattern book of instructions for making a doll’s wardrobe. Early dolls were composition with mohair wigs and later hard plastic models wore synthetic wigs.
For many years, Mary Hoyer patterns and dolls were sold at her Ocean City boardwalk shop. In 1991, Hoyer’s family members re-introduced her 14-inch vinyl Mary Hoyer doll for limited sale.
Recent prices paid for Mary Hoyer dolls like yours ranged from $125 to $275 based on clothing designs and the inclusion of original shoes and socks.
Question: I just purchased some old baluster-type perfume bottles at a garage sale and hope you can tell me about one I think may be a winner. It was described as an “8-inch high opalescent glass DeVilibiss perfume bottle with metal atomizer and original hanging crocheted atomizer bag.” There is a “FOAL” label pasted on its bright blue glass foot. Is it a winner? — W.S., Seaville
Answer: In 1888 in Toledo, Ohio, physician Dr. Alan De Vilibiss invented the atomizer ball, originally designed for application of medicine to patients’ throats. Eventually discovered to be useful for a number of other purposes, including the application of perfume, the atomizer’s popularity resulted in his founding the DeVilibiss manufacturing Co.
Experienced glassmaker and American entrepreneur Henry Clay Fry (1840-1929) founded the H.C. Fry Glass Company in Rochester, Pennsylvania, in 1901. He and his family produced a wide range of high quality cut crystal items for many years and made hand-blown, fine polished glass until the company closed in 1933.
One of Fry’s most popular lines from 1916 to 1976 was a pearl white oven glass and kitchenware and another was the FOVAL (FryOvenArtLine) art glass, presently a collectors’ favorite.
Your purchase appears to be quite a winner! An early 1920s Fry FOVAL translucent pearl-white perfume bottle with blue foot and hanging crocheted atomizer bag recently fetched $350.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Living section, The Press of Atlantic City, 1000 W. Washington Ave., Pleasantville, NJ 08232. Email: treasuresby firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.