July 2015. The proverbial hammer comes down on THE costume from The Little Princess, and every one of us in the front row that day shared the winner’s joy. Her words to the auctioneer: “The first Shirley doll I ever had was in the dress – from the Danbury Mint!” It took several people to carry it out – train, cape and all. I’ve got to admit – I was in shock. I mean, I knew Tonya was one cool chick – didn’t she write THE book on ST dolls and collectibles? But now she OWNED THIS?! Mind blown. Wouldn’t be the first time.
Fast forward a bit – Tonya’s now acquired quite a few costumes – film treasures of Hollywood’s past. They’d make a mini museum themselves, yet Tonya’s plan in acquiring them was to display them for the public, in the name of continuing Shirley’s legacy. And she lived up to that promise – several key pieces made their way to the Santa Monica History Museum in 2016. Next stop, a Hollywood themed doll convention in Albany, NY in late summer, 2017.
Yeah, we all know what happened next. In a nutshell: the box of five costumes never made it to its destination after being shipped via UPS; instead, four pieces were sold at an auction warehouse in Kansas City, MO just about two weeks later. That buyer, after media pressure, finally relinquished them, and they made their way home.
But Princess didn’t.
Now, here’s the REAL story. Shirley’s Army mobilized like nothing the world has seen before. We announced to the masses – via social and traditional (is that what TV and print are now?) media. It was due to our coordinated attacks (and a weird, unbelievable, and immensely lucky series of events) that the first four costumes were returned. But like Sara/Shirley in this very film, who never stopped looking for her presumed-dead daddy, we didn’t rest.
Just this week, Tonya received a call from UPS that the dress had been located, and it was in their possession. Seems Cargo Largo, the auction warehouse, received the dress – after announcing a $5,000 reward for its return. The details are unknown at this point – Cargo is carrying on some type of investigation – and we may never know where she’s been for more than two months.
But we know where she is now. Home.
I think we can all agree that we would rather not have had this happen, but it did….and it brought out the very best in people. Tonya’s dress was our dress, her heartbreak our heartbreak. And now, we share in her exhilaration, and in her gratitude for all the forces that brought her back.
Thanksgiving came early this year. XOXOXOX