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Xavier Roberts Little People dolls
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This page features all toys designed by Xavier Roberts in the 1980s!
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A short biography
Xavier Roberts (born October 31, 1955, Cleveland, Georgia), the inventor and manufacturer of Cabbage Patch Kids, is an American artist and businessman. During the American Folk art movement of the late 1970s, Roberts observed several techniques involving the making of dolls from various materials. Influenced by the quilts that his mother, Eula, made, he began experimenting with a quilted doll. After much experimentation, Roberts created a type of doll he called "Little People". Roberts and a small group of friends began to travel from state to state in the southeastern U.S. attending folk art exhibitions. At these exhibitions, Roberts began selling these handcrafted dolls he called "babies". Going into business as Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc., Roberts started producing Little People in his hometown of Cleveland, at a converted medical clinic, which he rechristened "Babyland General Hospital". The Little People evolved by 1982 into Cabbage Patch Kids, which quickly became a major toy fad. In 1984 alone, 20 million dolls were bought, and by 1999, 95 million had been sold worldwide.
Who are the "little people"?
Xavier Roberts produced the "Little People" from 1976 - 1981 in an old renovated medical clinic in Cleveland Georgia dubbed "Baby Land General". The dolls were entirely soft sculpture-each was an original one-of-a-kind creation. Guests were greeted by employees dressed in full hospital garb. Rooms were filled with incubators and the wonderful "Mother Cabbage" cabbage patch of newborn babies just waiting for a little shot of 'Imagicillin'. New 'moms' and 'dads' were given a lovingly swaddled "Little Person" to love, cherish, and adopt as their very own.
Then the CRAZE began! In 1982, Xavier Roberts sold mass-marketing rights to Coleco. Coleco kept the same style as the Xavier Roberts originals, except for using vinyl heads on their dolls. They renamed these dolls "Cabbage Patch Kids".
How do I know if I have an authentic Xavier Roberts Little person?
Here are the things to look for............
- They are entirely soft sculpture.
- They will measure between 18" - 22" tall
- They will not have original boxes-they left Baby Land General hospital in their parents' arms.
-They will have a manufacturer tag that says, "Little people", "Babyland General". The Little People made after 1985 have "Little People", "Babyland General", and "Cabbage Patch Kids" on them.
-Most original soft-sculptured Little People have a tag attached on the right side of the body which gave bathing instructions from the Babyland General Hospital.
-The large thumb is a signature feature of Little People dolls handmade by Xavier Roberts personally.
-They will be signed by Xavier Roberts, hand signed or stamped.
Here is the "Thumb" to look for..............
The thumb of an authentic "Little Person"
Let's talk about that signature on the dolls bum
Xavier Roberts signed every doll
Xavier Roberts signed every Little People doll and every Cabbage Patch doll. You will find this signature on the dolls bum.
On all the Little People dolls created from 1976 - 1980, the dolls were hand signed by Xavier Roberts using a permanent marker. Sometimes he signed each cheek, and sometimes he was known to sign the front of a doll's outfit. Dolls that are hand signed are the MOST desired dolls, and they are the most valuable. Especially the rare dolls that received more than one signature.
Starting with the 1981 Little People dolls, you will start to see the "stamped" signature. Often times with the early 1980s Little People dolls you will find the stamped signature with his personal hand signed signature above it.
The last of the Little People dolls, those from 1981 - 1984, will most often have only the stamped tush.
Finally, you have the mass created Cabbage Patch dolls, manufactured by Coleco. They always have a stamped tush.
The MOST desired Signature
This is the most desired signature. They are most often signed in black permanent marker, but sometimes he signed in a teal blue. Hand signed dolls are worth as much as $100.00 more than stamped signature dolls!
Note the large X?
Xavier usually would put the year of the doll next to his signature. This is very useful when you come across a doll that is missing it's paperwork.
Here is a stamped and hand signed bum
Xavier Signature looks a little different on this doll. Some of his signing have a curlier X, and a more rushed signature in general. This is still okay. It is not the preferred signature, as shown above, but it is still authentic and acceptable. We can assume that he was signing possibly hundreds of dolls per day at this point and was simply tired.
Also notable, this signature is done in teal permanent marker.
A VERY important thing about the signature - some dolls have forgeries! Before you purchase a doll, examine that signature very carefully. Because a hand signed doll is worth so much more than a stamped doll, there are unscrupulous sellers out there who will "add" an Xavier signature themselves. This will be seen in dolls with a stamped tush with an additional signature. With the 1970s dolls you can verify authenticity of the signature with paperwork, or the proper tag.
If you are not sure, consult an expert before you buy.
Here is a stamped bum on a Little People doll
This stamp is basically identical to the stamp that is found on the mass produced Cabbage Patch dolls made by Coleco and Hasbro. The only difference is that the stamp is larger on the Little People dolls.
What do the Little People tags look like? - AKA Tush Tags
The oldest dolls will have a tag that looks like this. These dolls are the first dolls made by Babyland General, from 1977 - 1978. Dolls with this tag are generally worth the most. These are the $600 and up dolls. These dolls always have the hand signed rump. If you find a doll with this tag, (or you have one already), jump up and down for joy!
This is the second most desired tag
This tag still says "Babyland General, 1978. But it is a different design than the earliest tag. Please note that this tag appears on dolls from 1978 - 1980. Just because the tag reads "1978", does not mean that the doll is made in 1978. Age can be verified with the year next to the signature, which incidentally will most likely be hand signed on dolls with this tag), or the dolls paperwork.
Dolls that are between 1978 and 1980 will have this tag. The 1970s Little People are the most desired, and consequently the most valuable. Dolls with this tag will vary in value from $200 - $500 depending upon many variables.
For example, lets take 2 Little People dolls, both in very good condition, with clothing and all papers, and the 1980 WILL be worth more than the 1981. The older the doll, the more valuable.
Early 1980's tag
Here you see the tag that is on the youngest Little People dolls. You will find this tag on dolls starting in 1981 - 1985. Exact age can be verified either with the date next to the signature, or the paperwork if present.
This is the last Little People tag before the dolls were discontinued and re-born as the Cabbage Patch kids Little People dolls.
This is the later 1980's Tag
This tag starts with the 1986 dolls. Please note, "Cabbage Patch kids" text added to the tag.
All the paperwork - Birth Certificate
Each doll came with many papers: Birth certificate, adoption papers, and cardboard name tag. Some dolls came with other extra bonuses such as prescription from Xavier Roberts, and some come with birthday cards sent from Babyland General.
A doll having all original papers will be worth about $20 - $60.00 more than a doll without!
Back side of Birth certificate
Each doll came with adoption papers.
Cardboard name tag
Dolls came with a cardboard name tag. This is the front side.
Back side of the cardboard name tag
All the name tags had this same story printed on it. You will see a copyright date of 1978. This does not indicate the year of the doll, only the date that the story on the document was copyrighted. You will find the date of the doll on the dolls birth certificate.
If you are missing the dolls documents and wish to have the doll dated or appraised, you will need to seek out a Little People expert to assist you.
Tips for buying a doll on-line
1) Start with a reputable site. I recommend eBay, etsy, and Bonanza. These sites have very good buyer protection programs. There may be smaller sellers out there operating out of their own websites. These are okay if they offer payment through paypal or amazon. Paypal and Amazon offer great buyer protection programs.
2) Examine the seller. This is not SUPER important if you are following rule #1. But I always recommend looking into a seller's feedback. I will buy a GREAT doll from an iffy seller if I'm getting a WONDERFUL doll and a GREAT price, but forewarned is forearmed.
3) Don't take a sellers word for it. Examine pictures. If the seller does not have the pictures of the siggy on the bum, the tag, the doll clothed and nude, then ASK for more pictures before you bid or buy.
4) Know the market value of a doll before you place that MAX bid, or click BIN. This is the only way to insure that you get a good deal - or at the very least, do not pay more than you should.
5) If you do not know the market value of a doll you wish to bid on, get it appraised. I do doll appraisals, as described in the module below.
Tips for selling your doll on-line
If you'd like to sell your doll I recommend eBay. They are still the largest and most well known on-line site for collectibles.
Before you start:
1) Know what you have.
2) Know current market value.
3) If you have any doubts about those 2 things, pay for an appraisal. I do appraisals, described in the module below.
4) Have a great title full of keywords
5) Max out the pictures. You are allowed to have 12. Use them all.
6) Include pictures: front, back, with clothing and without, tush tag, bum signature.
7) Include detailed description: measurements, flaws etc.
8) I recommend fixed price for 30 days.
9) I don't like to sell at auction as items do not usually sell for market value.
Again, any doubts about market value, or what to sell your doll for, I recommend you pay for an appraisal as described in the module below.
What's your doll worth? Get it appraised!
Katrina's Toy Blog does doll appraisals!
We currently offer 2 types of appraisals: Basic and Deluxe.
Basic appraisals cost $7.50. A basic appraisal will briefly identify your item and consist of my professional opinion of current market value. No additional questions about the item are included.
Deluxe appraisal will cost $15.00. A deluxe appraisal will be much more detailed than the basic appraisal and that will include much more information. It also will give its Fair Market, with high and low current comparative items that have sold in recent weeks. Up to 10 questions about the item are included.
Click on the Logo for more detailed information
Check out our feedback from satisfied clients:
Shirrin HutchensFebruary 11, 2013 at 8:49 pmEdit#
Thank you so much for the fast response on my request for an appraisal. I am so pleased to learn of the value of Jeremy Glen "Little People" doll by Xavier Roberts.
Sabrina April 24, 2013 at 9:50 pm Edit #
I just wanted to leave some feedback on the appraisal I just received. I had an Xavier's Little People doll and there is SO much info out there that it is just too confusing!! :) Katrina answered all of my questions (and I had several) and provided more information on top of that. She also gave me some examples of other dolls values that were similar. If you want a toy appraised, this is a great place to get that done.
M Norris June 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm Edit #
Katrina just did appraisals for my Xavier Roberts Little People/Cabbage Patch dolls that were so specific about the different factors that added to or subtracted from their value. I couldn’t believe how much detail she was able to provide for just my $5 donation! It turns out my dolls are more valuable than I had realized and now I have the info I need to sell them for what they are worth. This is definitely the place to find out everything you need to know about special toys.
How to clean your doll
Unfortunately with age, and play dolls can become soiled. Here are cleaning instructions directly from Babyland general. As far as stains go, the DO negatively affect your dolls value!!
So do everything you can to remove those stains!
If you have a hand signed doll be VERY VERY careful not to wetten that signature!!
Dilute small amount of mild liquid detergent in water. Gently scrub dirty area with medium bristle toothbrush dipped in this solution. Wipe using clean water. Blot with clean terry towel and dry quickly in warm area or with a fan. Do not use a hair dryer!
Other Great Little People sites
- Xavier Roberts Presents Little People Pals | The Intermediate Period
In 1983, the Baby Boomers took to rioting over Cabbage Path Kids: nylon dolls with plastic heads, yarn hair, and adoption papers with names like Norine Marietta, Chauncey Nolan, and Sheldon Rex. My 15-inch talcum powder-scented "Preemie" was named Ce
- Babyland General Hospital
In 1976, Xavier Roberts created his first soft-sculpture, and the rest is history. Find out how Cabbage Patch Kids became what it is today!
- The Little People and other soft sculpture creations
The Little People and other soft sculpture creations. 126 likes · 1 talking about this. This page is dedicated to The Little People and other traditional...
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