Collection big enough to build a city is also fun benefit

HOBBY ACROSS GENERATIONS: Bella Leverton is preparing for the Ipswich, Doll, Bear and Craft Fair at the Ipswich Civic Centre on September 8.
HOBBY ACROSS GENERATIONS: Bella Leverton is preparing for the Ipswich, Doll, Bear and Craft Fair at the Ipswich Civic Centre on September 8. Rob Williams

SHE owns more than 300 dolls, but Blackstone's Val Metcalfe doesn't consider herself as one of the more fanatical doll collectors.

The 65-year-old reserves that distinction for some of the other people she meets at her annual Ipswich Doll, Bear and Craft Fair.

"Some traders have acquired more than 10,000 dolls," she said.

"Their homes have been jam-packed with them."

Hundreds of doll enthusiasts from across Australia will descend upon Ipswich next Sunday to take part in the popular event.

Mrs Metcalfe, who has been the organiser of the show since 2005, said doll and bear collecting was a big business for many people.

"A lot of traders come to these events, always on the lookout for that elusive doll," she said.

"You'd be amazed at what comes out of people's cupboards.

"Some people have had dolls or bears passed down from their parents or grandparents that have been appraised for thousands of dollars."

The grandmother said a doll or bear's worth was determined by a number of factors such as its age, condition and brand.

One of the drawcards of the show was that people could have their dolls or bears valued for free by expert Keith Rose with sessions at 11am and 1pm.

Mrs Metcalfe said she had been seriously collecting dolls for about 30 years and found the hobby helped recapture childhood memories.

"We have a lot of visitors who come to the show and reminisce when they see toys they played with as a child," she said.

The Doll, Bear and Craft Fair will be held at the Ipswich Civic Centre next Sunday from 9-3pm.

Entry is $10 for adults, $8 for concession, $2 for school students and kids under school age are free.

Proceeds will go to benefit Ipswich Hospice Care.

For more details phone 3282 2434.



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