Woman throws heart into massive doll collection

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Judy Trusty has built herself another world, a doll world.

The Ironton resident has an entire room dedicated to her collection, plus a few scattered about the rest of her house, but she does not know how many dolls she has.

"I have never ever tried to keep count," Trusty said.

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To look around the room the number can easily be estimated at hundreds.

"I think a true doll collector never counts her dolls," Trusty said a fellow collector once told her.

She has dolls who talk, change faces and walk. Originals and reproductions. Some are as small as 1 inch while others are almost 40 inches tall. They were made anytime from the 30s to now.

"I collect older dolls," Trusty said. "The dolls I like are from the '50s, from my era."

The collection began after her house burned in 1981. With the house went a small collection of eight to 10 dolls from her childhood. About a year later she decided to recreate her childhood collection. She began searching for her dolls then moved to some from the 50s and so on finally snowballing into a collection of hundreds.

"It's an obsession," Trusty said.

She gets her dolls from flea markets, doll shows, estate sells, collector books and eBay.

"If I saw something I had to have I'd order it," Trusty said.

Trusty said she also enjoys collecting character dolls.

That part of her collection includes Liz Taylor, the Blues Brothers, Michael Jackson, Sunny and Cher, JFK and, of course, Elvis.

She even has collections of character dolls from the Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind and more.

Her latest investment even includes a talking Donald Trump.

"My ultimate doll, the one I wanted after I started collecting was a 36-inch Shirley Temple," Trusty said. "I wanted her so bad, but they are really, really expensive."

She bought a reproduction of the doll made in the 80s then finally broke down and bought an original doll from the 50s.

"She's just perfect," Trusty said.

Trusty said people who see the collection are always impressed and in awe, but she does not even notice it.

"I've gotten used to them," she said. "I don't think much about them."

Trusty said she does not know what will eventually become of her collection.

Trusty said she would like to pass it on to her now 10-year-old granddaughter.

Her granddaughter has not picked up the bug yet, and Trusty said she is afraid doll collecting is a dying art.

"I'd like to get more ladies inspired here," she said. "There aren't too many who do this any more. At least not that I know of."