1903 Ella Smith Roanoke Doll

22.5 inch painted fabric doll with Roanoke Alabama stamp as well as a 1903 Patent stamp.


Acquired From:

Auction House

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Mearto's online appraisal:

Morgan C

Mearto specialist

December 20, 2023
Fair Market Value:

Dear Megan, Thank you for choosing Mearto with your appraisal inquiry. This is an antique American cloth doll known as an "Alabama Baby" and dates from the early 20th century. The presence of tab ears indicates that is one of the earlier dolls. These dolls were the creation of Ella Smith and were marketed as "Indestructable Dolls". The dolls were manufactured between 1904-1932. Smith was the first doll maker in the south to produce African American dolls, which made up 10% of her sales. Lore has it that she would work alone, in a locked room on the second floor of her factory only accompanied by a hymn singing parrot. Yours features a hand painted cloth face, hands, feet and hair with a tab jointed cloth body. The doll, by doll standards, is in good condition, even with the loving wear on the top of her head. While she is not in her original clothes, she is dressed in period clothing. Based on recent auction price realizations, a fair market value for your doll would be between 500-800 US dollars. Please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions. Best Regards, Morgan