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Vera Martin’s dolls aren’t practicing social distancing during the Covid Pandemic.

Vera Martin has been collecting dolls for nearly 50 years. The Ephrata, Pa. native has filled her seven room phone with dolls including the basement and attic with the exception of the kitchen.

You might describe what Mrs. Martin has put together, just a few dolls at a time, as a mega-collection and it certainly is. She explains dolls still remain popular with collectors and are called the first toy dating back to 3000 BC and the Egyptian era.

Growing up in the Mennonite tradition, Vera, 70, and her twin sister Verna each received two dolls as children one at age three and a large doll when they were in second grade. Vera has kept that Magic Lips doll that came from Sears for more than sixty years and it was the first doll in a collection that includes valuable dolls made by Lee Middleton, Ashton Drake, Patti Playpal and Galoob.

The collector buys most of her dolls at yard sales and auctions and many – purchased for $3-$4 could be sold to collectors for more than $100. Mrs. Martin, however, says she is a collector not a seller and has not sold a doll from her collection although she has been asked multiple times by fellow collectors.

Some of Mrs. Martin’s favorite dolls are the older baby dolls as well as Shirley Temple child dolls that date back to the 1930s. And as would be expected, Mrs. Matin has several Barbie fashion dolls from the very early 1960s which are the most popular dolls of all time with one billion sold since the introduction in 1959.

The Martins have three adult children, 15 grandchildren and two great grandchildren - 11 of which are female. She hopes they will take over her collection in the years ahead and add to it for themselves and their children.


Art Petrosemolo is a freelance correspondent and photojournalist in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.