Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Interview with Pookigram

  Interview with a Collector - A ggsdolls blog Series

A monthly series on my blog where I feature some of the most amazing collectors, sellers, and content creators that have become really good friends of mine and what they collect and why? Read on to learn more...

    For the month of May, my blog interview is with a handsome and truly kind, longtime friend and collector of vintage Japanese Moncchichi's, Pookigram on Instagram, also known as Gabe!

Gabe is Mexican born and raised, and is now living in The Netherlands for well over a decade. He was born in 1980 which makes him 42 years old this year. He is a "Stay-At-Home" partner and sells items from his vintage collection from time to time. You can find him on Etsy, Instagram and Youtube.

How did you discover vintage kitsch? In all honesty it is not like I started looking for “vintage”, or “Kitsch”. I simply buy the things I like and that I grew up with. But as the time goes by, more of my stuff is becoming vintage.

I was the third of 4 siblings, so a lot of my toys were 'hand-me-downs' from my older sister and brother which also contributed to me growing up with toys that were older than I was. Then my childhood occurred during the 80’s which was a bit of a golden age for toys and extremely kitsch.

I mainly collect Japanese toys and dolls specially from the Showa Era, but not limited to it, kitsch ceramics (Mostly Rune Naito and Ado Mizumori, although many other types have infiltrated my collections), fashion dolls, plushies, stationary, zakka and cute and Kawaii items in general.


How do you describe your relationship with your collection?  Well my collections are ever evolving and keep me interested because they revolve around my personal likes and style. It’s not like I collect items for the sake of a name brand or completing a collection specifically. They start spontaneously by me finding something I consider really beautiful and then it seems I manifest these items into my life. Like one of the items I am the most known for collecting are "Monchhichi" dolls and that started by mere chance. One day while walking home in Amsterdam, I saw in a shop’s window a plush Monchhichi key chain and this brought me a lot of happiness and nostalgia as I grew up watching the Hanna Barbera cartoons and always longed for the dolls but they were never sold in Mexico. I remember having a similar doll made by my mom, it was a thumb sucking baby and his head and hands were a Japanese plastic kit. My mom is a very creative person, so she would always be making crafts and toys for our home and for us children. 


I couldn’t buy the key chain that day as the shop was closed and it was during a period I was living between both Mexico and The Netherlands 3 months at a time. So, I returned to Mexico obsessed with the Monchhichi and by the time I got back to Amsterdam the store had closed for good… I then discovered that Monchhichi dolls were quite popular in The Netherlands and vintage ones were fairly accessible in the second hand market. So before I knew it a collection started forming. So that’s how the Monchhichi collection started, a triggered memory that over the years turned into a huge hobby. My relationship with my collections is very sentimental and based on memories and feelings that those Showa era faces that I grew up watching in anime evoked in me and still do to this day.

What is it about the Kitsch aesthetic that distinguishes it from other eras? The expression and artistry of the faces. I think back in those days things weren’t as heavily politicized and regulated as they are now. So the toys/decor were more artistic and spontaneous in their design sometimes bordering on the bizarre (A Japanese specialty). So you come across these dolls and ceramics that would never make it into production with nowadays standards. I fully realized that times and views have changed for the better, but in the process we have also lost sight of artistic freedoms and just plain naivety. Not everything is a political statement, like those naked cherubs or Japanese depictions of other races and the Japanese physique itself. Those figures were not created out of hate or mockery to different races nor their own. 

They were naive depictions of the different kinds of people of the world, but many of them are now considered inappropriate, “hate speech”, suggestive or racist. But to those of us that grew up on the periods they come from they represent the opposite, love and curiosity for the different cultures and races of the world and a desire to get to know them and see them even if it is merely through a caricature of their physique. Back then, the world wasn’t as connected as it is today and other cultures were not accessible to people unless you were someone who traveled the world constantly. So those figures represent that innocent dream of sharing and talking to people from different cultures than yours…

That sense of innocence is what makes the vintage cute aesthetic so unique to me, it captures the feelings of that generation.

Tell me a bit about your collection, what was the first item and how it has evolved? I started collecting toys as an adult back in Mexico. When I saw a Ken doll I really liked in a market and got him, from then on I bought a few more and the collection started. I originally bought them to redress them in clothes I would make them for myself. When I told all my friends I was collecting Ken dolls many of them brought me their childhood ones as presents. But it didn’t stop there, my friends started bringing me also all sorts of 80’s iconic toys for my “toy collection” and before I knew it I was collecting Carebears, Jem, Rainbow Brite, MLP’s, etc. 

This was a few years before I decided to move to Europe, so when I finally made the move overseas I had to leave most of my original toy collection behind and only took very strongly sentimental pieces with me. I always intended to go back for the rest eventually but never did. So after moving the Monchhichi incident happened and Monchhichi became my main collection focus for a long time and in order to make dioramas for my Monchhichi photography. I also started getting miniature items and furniture that would have a scale that worked well with my dolls, Barbie playsets and ReMent are the perfect scale. 

But a large part of the items I began collecting were random finds from markets and thrift stores. I am always looking for miniature items that evoke nostalgia in me and would work for my dioramas. The majority are 1/6 scale, but I also have toys in different scales. So I end up buying things in all sizes. I have gotten to a point where I have to store big parts of my collections in boxes because with my limited space not everything can be on display. So sometimes to help with space and procuring funds to get items I really want I resort to selling pieces from my collections online.

What has been the reaction of your family, friends and colleagues on your hobby? Everyone was always positive about it and they all have helped me immensely in finding items for my collection. My family and friends in Mexico only experienced me collecting vintage toys though, the ceramics and decor has been a later phase in my collecting that started in Europe. My mom is someone who always helped me by surprising me often with toys she would buy for me because she saw them and thought they would go perfect with my collection. My friends as I mentioned earlier, brought me pieces from their own childhoods constantly and would gift me random items I mentioned I was looking for.

I have learned that for many adult toy collectors there seems to be a shame and sense of secrecy tied to their collecting. It was eye opening to me to realize how supported and lucky I was within my social circles where everyone bragged about me and my “fun toy collecting”. I think part of it came from me discussing it openly whenever it came into light, so it cleared any misconceptions people could have from the get go…

Tell me about your favorite item in your collection and why is it so special? It is quite hard to pin point a favorite Item from all what I collect. But one of my most cherished Monchhichi dolls is “Frankie” a Monchhichi I found in a market that had been stabbed in the plush in several places. It made me so sad to see such a sweet doll being abused like that so I bought him and mended all the holes and re-stuffed his body and dressed in him in an outfit with the words “good friend” printed on his shirt. He’s one I am very attached too. I named him Frankie because he has a zillion stitches all over his little body… 

Another big favorite is my Peter Playpal doll “Pietertje”. He was an inheritance from a dear friend that passed away and considered him a faithful companion. Pietertje sat in his dining room for many years and now lives in my toy room. So whenever I miss my friend Gerard, I hug and talk to Pieterje about him and how happy he made us both, when he was alive. I have many dolls I love for their beauty and rarity, but the ones that I cherish the most are ones tied to my life emotionally.

You run a shop, how and when did that start and what has been your experience?

I started first listing some of my repeated pieces on a local sales website to regain some space and also to earn some extra money, overtime. I started to come across really collectable items that I not necessarily collected myself but were at amazing deals. So when the opportunity presents itself I also buy items that I know I can sell for a profit. This however mostly backfires, because then I start getting attached and have a hard time letting go and a new collection starts…  Eventually, I also started selling and listing items on Etsy where I also buy pieces for my personal collections. From those purchases, I have made amazing friends and connections.

Have there been many surprises along the way? Ohhh yes always, both positive and negative ones. On the positive side how friendly and caring some of the customers and sellers can be as I mentioned I have gained personal friends. By purchasing online and having personal conversations with both sellers and buyers. On the negative, the amount of people that try and scam you online, it can be very upsetting and scary. So I’ve learned to always ship tracked and insured even if it takes away my competitive pricing against other sellers.

Is it sometimes hard to let go of a really good item? Totally! Many of those “resale" pieces are still with me and were the start of a new collection…

If someone had no access to the internet to see your shop, how would you describe it to them?  A curated selection of vintage nostalgia and childhood memorabilia from the 50’s forward…

How do you source items for your shop and what do you look for? 

I source mostly from thrift shops and flea markets all over Europe. I had the fortune of being able to constantly be in different cities and countries as I live in a small but very well connected country. This allows me to be in different cities or provinces every week and traveling to neighboring countries on weekends and holidays. So I am always visiting antique markets, thrift shops and second hand shops all over the place, Paris, Brussels, Antwerp, Berlin, Amsterdam. The Dutch provinces is where I mainly shop, but every time I go to a new country the thrift shops and markets are the first places I go to. I also buy online and have a network of good friends in the hobby that have helped me immensely to get grail pieces. Without their kindness and expertise I would have never come across. One big example is the person authoring this interview, Gigi from GG’s doll shop (ggsdollshop) on Etsy is a close friend and she has helped me find some of my rarest most cherished dolls. It really helps to have a kindred spirit that also sells to find just the perfect piece sometimes!


On pieces I sell, I try to usually have them new in unopened box or packaging to avoid dramas and if there are any flaws on something I list. I am very thorough in expressing it and showing the flaws to avoid disappointments or confusions. Honesty is the best policy in my opinion, specially with vintage online sales.

Describe some of your best selling items in your shop or an item that would sell right away as soon as you listed it?

In my experience 60’s and MOD dolls are always a big hit, I should know as I have a big weakness for them. Also Japanese exclusive items are fast sellers as well. But, most importantly is the condition of an item. The better the condition the faster and better it sells. Damaged pieces do sell too, but it takes a longer time and people try to haggle.

What would be the most unique item you have come across and what would be an item that is your ultimate ISO?

Unusual would have to be a Sekiguchi Printemps doll, I once bought in a flea market for 2 Euros! She was lying on the ground amongst several other similar scale porcelain dolls all dirty and tangled. But I recognized that haunting beauty right away and couldn’t believe my luck. Similarly, I have found some really rare and obscure dolls from Japan in the most unexpected places being sold as junk along with McDonald’s toys and dime store knickknacks! Thrifting is such a thrill and you truly never know what will land on your hands when you dig in a dirty box of toys in a market or thrift shop!


An item I am constantly dreaming of finding would be the awake "Memole" doll from Bandai (Tongari Boshi no Memoru). I was lucky to purchase the sleeping version of the doll precisely from YOU, Gigi! (ggsdollshop). She’s something I feel I wouldn’t have come across in my hunts. Also, any of those early Monchhichi animal variations made for "Endo" chain department stores in Northern Japan. Those are something I always dream of finding, but haven’t ever come across physically, only buying them online. In general, vintage Sekiguchi dolls from the Showa Era are one of my big weaknesses as they invoke my childhood memories and dreams. They just make me so happy!



 Have you noticed an increase in popularity for vintage kitsch, why do you think that is so?  


Totally, not only for kitsch but also toys in general! I strongly believe it has to do mainly with social media and the exposure people have nowadays to the collections of others. We’ve seen it happen with Flickr and the boost that it gave to the toy/kitsch collecting hobby in general and how the story is repeating itself now on Instagram and TikTok on a much bigger scale. People who otherwise wouldn’t know about certain items or aesthetics are being exposed to them on social media and falling in love with the styles and items from yesteryear’s and also emulating their favorite collectors. 


Because it also has come to light in many cases like celebrities are also kitsch and toy collectors, Melanie Martinez and Sophie Ellis Bextor come to mind. They both collect Rushton plush, Blythe and Cheburashka respectively and since they have shown their collections I’ve noticed booms and price increases due to a much higher demand. So much so that Rushton plushes are practically inaccessible nowadays when just a few years ago you could still buy them for sometimes as low as $20 online even! So, as a tip to other fellow collectors I would say, If there is a vintage doll/item you’re trying to pursue as a collection it’s better to keep it offline and out of social media at least until you have acquired the pieces that you most desire and need. Because once it’s out there, the chances are you will inspire others and the demand for such item and the prices will soar out of your reach. It’s a lesson we all learned the hard way… 

Social media is a great tool and a way to find kindred spirits from all over the world, but it is also a double edged sword as it can negatively impact your collecting habits and price you out of your beloved hobby. So use it wisely and also don’t 'gate keep' people away from your collecting. Owning something beautiful or rare doesn’t make anyone better than others.

Let your motivation be sharing your collection’s beauty with others and not a bizarre superiority complex because you own something scarce or sought after. I can speak from personal experience and tell that I wouldn’t have the finer pieces of my collection if it wasn’t for the help and kindness of other collectors who started before me and gave me hints or even generously parted with some of their pieces so I could have them. Please don’t ever harass people to sell you their collections online, specially if they’re not specifically tagging them as “For sale” or “Available”. Keep in mind than it can be insulting and disturbing to be pestered to sell something, that someone has a deeper emotional connection or took years to find, just because you just discovered it and find it cool or interesting.


Collecting is like any other hobby and takes time and dedication and has a learning curve. You can’t buy your way into having an amazing collection like those you see online. Usually to get to such a level it takes years or sometimes a lifetime for the people you see online. So don’t feel pressured to own or know everything about a certain item or aesthetic. Discovering it’s secrets and getting there is 90% of the fun of collecting  and getting the actual item is the cherry on top, but what good is a sundae if it was merely a jar of cherries???


Take your time and enjoy the process and if you can help others along the way it is way more rewarding that way!


Beautifully said dear Gabe!! Thank you so much for sharing your collection and shop with us, and most especially your awesome wisdom on collecting. I truly appreciate you my dearest friend!! Sharing Gabe's collection and thoughts on collecting in general was truly a special for me, because we've known one another from way back to the early 2000s. He is definitely right, you meet some of the most amazing people through our love of collecting. Love you Gabe!!


Until next time my dear readers! Happy Collecting!


Thank you for stopping by! ~ ggsdolls

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Kitschy Cuteness!

 Oh my goodness we are five months into 2023!! Time just zips through doesn't it?! Here are some vintage thrift finds that I'm still pinching myself on...

These adorable bunny girl figurines I thrifted. They were simply stunning, and were only missing their felt ears. So I was able to make them some similar and now each of them are just adorable. Definitely a rare find complete and in awesome condition. They are already rehomed. I was so surprised to find them for sure!! Next, this adorable mint in package blue rattle doll. I took him out of his packaging as it was very dirty and worn. I kept his card and wiped him down. He is already listed in my shop!

This lot of vintage Meyercord decals I won! I kept a few for myself and have listed the rest in my shop! Many of the usual variety that are easy to locate, but also some rare ones too! They are the large decals too! Great to be framed or used!! My daughter Taby, also found me this adorable Sammi Ryan sweater top with adorable kitsch deer on it!! She came home from work and was like, "Mom, look at this!!" I was so thrilled. Now, I want to get the pink one. This was at ROSS too! So awesome!

Next, I was able to snag this adorable 'sleep eyed' Kitty plush by Gund. He needed some work and these are the before photos. Sadly, he had that sponge stuffing inside him, which will disintegrate if I don't remove it. So, I restuffed him with cotton batting and it took me about 2 weeks to remove the marker spots on his face. I was not able to remove the gold part of the marking, but still he ended up looking way better!!

He has tiger stripes on his fur too and everything is all original except the satin bow. Here he is, side by side with my Rushton Bunny. Sweet babies for sure! I also acquired these adorable pearly deer for my shop! In lovely condition as well. I've sold a set like this before. This adorable Rushton felt eyes bunny rabbit is just so unique and adorable. I added some 'forget me not' flowers and she is listed in my shop!

Last for today's post is this adorable mini dresser from Japan. It came with extra items like, the Eudermine perfume also made in Japan. This particular dresser reminds me of the vintage mid century dressers of the early 60s. Here is a photo from an exhibition in Japan of a similar life size dresser!

Definitely a keeper for sure! I believe that these mini dressers were used to hold jewelry, makeup, etc. for women and teen girls. A lovely piece of Japanese history for sure! 

Well that's all for now! Happy Kitsch Finds!!

Thank you for stopping by! ~ ggsdolls

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Sweet Kitsch Finds!!

 I received some adorable finds the last few weeks... So here's what came in!

I found this adorable furry ceramic pup in the wider version I was told and she is in lovely condition for her age. I have already listed her in my shop! I generally find the skinnier neck version, so to find this one was a joy! I also won this lovely vintage 1972 Rushton Toy Catalog. Some great colored pages inside too! I am deciding if I want to sell scans of it or not... Hmmmm!

I also adopted this adorable Japan Bisque doll jointed. The original owner, added a wig in blonde with curls and the dress and bows. I couldn't resist. She is just too cute and miniature!! Next, this lovely bright pink Columbia Toys plush poodle! She's huge! But so light. The seller even drew me a little note, how sweet of him!! I am deciding if I will sell her or not... Haha!

This adorable Ideal side laying bunny had a plastic film on her face and I removed it, now she is ready to be loved. I already have her listed in my shop! She is lovely and minty too! Even these sweet bunny tin tea tray and plates were added to my shop! Just so many cute goodies to choose from!!

A dear friend of mine, Savannah sent me a cutie I adopted from her along with several adorable vintage hankies, most I have listed already in my shop! Just look at these lovely hankies. My fave are the blue and pastel pinks! The cutie I got from her! Love this precious vinyl oil cloth bear doll. She is just the sweetest! Thank you Savannah!

Next, I happened upon this yearbook or catalog while searching up Rushton ads and this is basically the next best thing! It's a catalog of toys chosen by the Guidance Council of the USA. Inside, filled with toys, dolls, etc. that were in competition. Rushton's are featured inside as well! Just love the colored pages. Especially to see the Rushton's available prior to the ones we know!
Last, is this adorable Japan made Bunka Doll sign. I bought from an online shop in Thailand. Of course I fell in love with the adorable dolly sign and it used to say, "Sweet Country". See 2nd photo below. But I took my business card and now it says my shop name!! Haha!

Well, April is on its way out! My how time flies! I also had my annual mammogram and the results came in this past Monday. I'm Cancer Free!! Yippee!! Please be sure to get your annual mammogram done. It saves lives, and it saved mine!! Early detection saved me!!

Happy Thrifting Guys!!

Thank you for looking! ~ ggsdolls

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Interview with Paterphobia

 Interview with a Collector - A ggsdolls blog Series

A monthly series on my blog where I feature some of the most amazing collectors, sellers, and content creators that have become really good friends of mine and what they collect and why? Read on to learn more...

    For the month of April, my blog interview is with a lovely toy collector of squeaks and Rushtons, paterphobia on Instagram, also known as Lana!

Lana, was born in the Pacific North West of the United States, and is nearly 29 years old. What do you do for a living Lana? I work as a Mental Health Counselor! I love my job. It's very rewarding.

Tell us more about your collection? I've always been into vintage items and in college I started going to antique stores and browsing eBay. This was back before they were very well-known and prices were so reasonable that I was able to grow my collection rather quickly! I eventually branched out into everything from vintage nursery planters to clothing. One of my favorite non-toy collections is my vintage t-shirt collection. Mostly band tees and rare TV and film collectibles. 

The toys' little faces always put a smile on my face. It's so fun to have so many colorful, bright, expressive little faces in my house! I also really enjoy the restoration aspect of toy collecting and it's so satisfying seeing a toy go from "well-loved" back to fluffy and fresh looking. The process is super fun too.

I started following some "creepy cute" accounts on Tumblr way back in the day. There was just something about the toys, the way they are so well made and expressive. I've always been a bit strange, haha! While many found them creepy, I was drawn to them. I started by finding Kewpie dolls at antique stores. I purchased my first Rushtons on eBay over a decade ago now and the rest is history! I'm mostly focused on getting an entire rainbow of toys now. I'm always still on the hunt for more "rare" Rushtons and rubber faced toys.

What has been the reaction of your family, friends and coworkers about your hobby? Everyone is super supportive and I've even received them as gifts! I know some of them secretly find them a bit creepy, but what's not to love about that? Haha!

Which one is your favorite and why? That's a tough one, but I would have to say my "Chiltern" bunny rabbit. He's BIG and in such great condition and I found him for a reasonable price! He's special to me because I haven't seen too many like him. 

I once had a Rushton rubber faced goose! I honestly miss her very much and it's one reason I think I will be keeping more than I sell in the future.

What would be your ISO? Definitely a fluffy orange Rushton fox. Orange is one of the harder colors to find with Rushtons and they always get snatched up before I get a chance to grab them! One of my wish list items for sure. I also just love their big smiling faces.

Have you noticed and increase in popularity? Definitely! I love to see one of my favorite things get so much love, but it's for sure more of a seller's market now. I think a lot of people found out about them through Melanie Martinez and just appreciate how eccentric and unique they are. 

Is there anything else you would like to add? Thank you so much, I am honored to be included. Cheers to toy collecting! - Lana

Thank you so much Lana for sharing your love of vintage toys with us! Be sure to check out my blog interview next month when we meet a dear sweet collector and friend from my Flickr days. All the way from Europe!! Until, next month, Happy Collecting!

Thank you for reading! ~ ggsdolls

Monday, April 17, 2023

4TH Restoration Attempt...

 Back in October last year, I shared with you all my bad experience with trying to restore a rare kitty plush by Rushton. Here is the post, "To Restore or Not to Restore, That is the Question?" It has been 4 months since that post and since I have tried to work on this little cutie. Today, I began my fourth attempt to restore her...

Here she is!! This time, I had to use a donor body, also a Rushton plush and vintage about 1950s as well. The body was a perfect match. No tag on the body, but still her rubber face has her stamp and the body of course is definitely Mary's signature style. She has a golden furry body with pink felt paws. I also restuffed her with Rushton cotton stuffing.

I added a pink satin bow. Now, she is as lovely as I remember. The fur has some missing patches, and that's okay too. Just glad this cutie looks way better than her original body. Which I still kept by the way. Nothing will be wasted! Whew, always happy when things work out in the end...

Thank you for Reading! ~ ggsdolls

Monday, April 10, 2023

Vintage Thrifts Along The Way!

 Some finds along the way...

Last week I received some Yahoo Japan goodies that I was able to snag! This lot above, included so many vintage anime goodies like, Chieko Hosokawa shoe bags, hair clips still mint in package, Yukiko T. word cards, a rubber ball, bento totes, and a cute bag with anime girl. Most of the items are already listed in my shop!! I kept a few clips for myself, and the pink rubber ball. Below, some vintage dollies! Mostly because if you look carefully I found a "Chiko-Chan" doll in it. Just too cute. Most of the dolls have been cleaned and everything is already added to my Etsy shop, with the exception of the dolly sitting on a stool. I had to keep one! Ha!

A bunch of my postcards are also listed in my shop, great for any occasion!! I was lucky enough to snag this adorable "Bumpkin" bear by Rushton from a fellow collector. He just needed a good cleaning. Sadly, filled with the orange sponge stuffing. I removed and refilled with vintage cotton batting! Now, he is ready to be loved again!

I added a purple satin bow and he is just so cute and little! I found this adorable and unique ceramic striped puppy planter!! I fell in love with his adorable face!! In amazing condition too! He came all the way from Canada. Who could resist that face!! I was also able to find myself a loose Toku-chan friend of Chi-chan. He was wearing a girls fashion and no shoes. Probably why he was still available. I was able to find him some clothes I had from those mini Bratz boy dolls. Haha! He fits them! Until I can find him an original fashion and shoes...

Next, this adorable Mimi pet made in Japan! I have a yellow one and this adorable blue furry pup also has the bobble head feature. It's a nice smaller version to the Bandai plush puppies also from Japan. These types are small enough to display in your cabinets. I also caved and got this mini ceramic head vase lady. My mother used to have a few that I believe were either hers or my grandmother's. Small and cute, she will be something treasured and to remind me of my Mom.

I won a lot of 2 patterned pillow pets this adorable pink gingham bunny and the purple kangaroo. I could not help but adopt them. Perfect for an Easter decor prop too! Their colors are quite unique to me! Oh, the pink Rushton lamb below, I adopted along with the Bumpkin bear. I've found a white lamb and now I have a pink one! Just too sweet. She is definitely a 70s version with the nappier fur.

Last for today's post, this adorable Rushton 70s bunny in white sheer ballet skirt and card tag! She popped up on Ebay and I just had to adopt her! In lovely condition, as shown on her tag "Tween-Stuff" haha! She will live with me for a bit.

I hope you all have a lovely Easter weekend! From my family to yours! ~ ggsdolls