Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tell Laura I Love Her ...

I recently bought two fantastic catalogues on Australian ebay, from a Sydney toy shop called Hoffnung's. They are from 1968 and 1969, and as well as the toy shop's list of stock, prices, and some black and white illustrations, they both have bound into them various manufacturers' catalogues! Both have Bestoys catalogues!
The Laura dolls house is in both years. You may remember that when I showed my Bestoys Bambolina dolls house, I mentioned that Anna-Maria is very kindly storing for me another Bestoys dolls house called Laura, which she collected for me from a Canberra seller. That Laura looks like this:

The 1968 and 1969 Bestoys catalogues show two other, different Lauras!!!

Here is the one from 1968:

and here is the new Laura from 1969:

I think that my Canberra Laura probably dates from 1970 or just after - it has the same diamond-shaped moulding on the roof as the 1969 Laura, and I can imagine that the artificial flowers might have looked great to start with, but not lasted very long ... so replacing them with a fancy lithographed railing would make sense.

Not long after I received the catalogues, I spotted the 1968 Laura on ebay!!

Missing the front door, but still, look at that lovely sixties crazy paving style flooring!

And the gorgeous aqua shutters!

So, I put a bid on straight away. A middling bid - not as high as I would probably decide to go, but not low either.

Then, the night before the auction ended, I was working late on the Dolls Houses Past and Present magazine (as I have been most evenings the last few weeks), then stopped, went to ebay, put a bid on one auction and .... zooop! ... the power went off. Not just in my house, but all around too. So I got the torch, lit some candles, and did the night chores by candle light - went to bed by torch light - and got up the next morning to find - yep, STILL NO POWER!

The power was off right across the Darwin region, even as far south as Katherine (300 km away). The government had to shut schools and government offices, the police ordered the buses off the roads because it was too dangerous, and had police cadets directing traffic at some intersections until they could get generators for the traffic lights ... and I couldn't bid on my Laura!!!

In my consternation, it didn't occur to me to ring my sister and ask her to bid for me. I have a landline that doesn't need power - very useful in a place that often has blackouts, though they are not usually this long except after cyclones. The power was out at my place for over 12 hours - some suburbs got it back sooner, some later (they had to stagger it, apparently).

So I lost my Laura! To know about three different models of the same Australian-made dolls house, to have the possibility of owning two of them - and then to lose, because of a power outage - I was devastated - and also very cross!

I did message the seller to explain, and say, in case of non-payment or any problems, I was still interested! However, both seller and buyer have left feedback on the auction, so Laura has a new owner, who is not me :-( I just hope they don't wreck renovate her and destroy the original features!

At least I have the photos, so I know the colours of the walls, shutters, flooring and so on ...

Similar colouring to the Canberra Laura, but that is plainer:

The Canberra (ie probably ca 1970) door slides, rather than being hinged as the earlier door is:

So, although I have two Bestoys dolls houses (Bambolina and Canberra Laura), I can't really say I have a collection, yet. Perhaps another Laura will pop up ...

In fact, one already has - with balcony railings and shutters which have the diamond-shaped moulding, but with a hinged door! so clearly I do not yet have enough evidence to date the series ....

But this Laura has been overpainted :-( Is it worthwhile trying to buy her? She would not be as easy to reach as the Laura I lost, which was in the Blue Mountains - this one is in a western Sydney suburb ...

The Bestoys 1969 catalogue has given me another dolls house to dream about, too: Cinderella! Strange name for an A-frame, but I won't hold it against her.